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World Heritage Sites in India: Group of Monuments at Hampi, Karnataka

The last great Hindu Kingdom before it was conquered by the Deccan Muslim confederacy in 1565; the somber, colossal site of Hampi was the last capital of once mighty Vijayanagar Empire. Traditionally known as Pampakshetra of Kishkindha, Hampi is situated on the southern bank of the river Tungabhadra. The princes of Hampi built many Dravidian temples and palaces between 14th to 16th centuries that gained the attention of the travelers. The Muslim invaders however raided and ransacked the city for over six months before abandoning it.

World Heritage Sites in India
Ancient Ruins at Hampi which is now designated as the UNESCO World Heritage Site
Temples of this city are noted for their big dimensions, ornate embellishment, bold and delicate carvings, grand pillars, outstanding pavilions and a great wealth of iconographic and traditional depictions which include subjects from the Ramayana and the Mahabharata.

Group of Monuments at Hampi, Karnataka
Lotus Mahal at the Zenana Enclosure
Hampi, flourishing on its cotton and spice trade, was considered to one of the most stunning medieval cities of the world and Its palaces and Dravidian temples were much admired by travelers, be they Arab (Abdul Razaak), Portuguese (Domingo Paes) or Italian (Nicolò dei Conti). The city was believed to cover an area of nearly 26 sq km and was stated to be enclosed by seven lines of fortifications.

Historical and Heritage tours, India
The remains of a giant Bukka's Aqueduct located near Anegondi
The tourist attractions of the city are Virupaksha Temple, 6.7 m tall monolith of Ugra Narasimha, Lotus Mahal, Queen's Bath with stark exteriors and ornate interiors, Singaradu Hebbagilu, the oldest and most massive gateway of the capital, Hazara Rama Temple with its exquisitely carved basalt pillars depicting the incarnations of Shri Vishnu, and Vitthala Temple with its 'Musical Pillars' and ornate stone chariot of Garuda in the temple courtyard.

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Monument of a chariot which two elephants in the courtyard of Vitthala Temple


In one of the interior courtyards of the temple of Vitthala, a small monument of a chariot which two elephants, sculpted in the round, struggle to drag along is one of the the favorite tourists attractions today as well as travelers of the past. Hampi definitely is one of the must visit destinations in India as well as an important tourist destinations in India.

Besides the temples, the impressive complex of civil, princely or public buildings (elephant stables, Queen's Bath, Lotus Mahal, bazaars, markets) are enclosed in the massive fortifications which, however, were unable to repulse the assault of the five sultans of Deccan in 1565.
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Virupraksha Temple tower
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