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Hampi
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The 14th century ruins of Hampi, once the seat of the famed Vijayanagara empire of His Majesty Krishnadevaraya, lie scattered over an area of 26 sq km area, admist gaint boulders and vegetation. The splendid remains of palaces and gateways of the broken city near Hospet, 325 km from Bangalore, tell a tale of immense talent and the destructive power of nature. Every rock, path and monument at Hampi speaks the same language-a language of glory and beauty. A World Heritage Site today, the creation of Hampi dates back to the age of the Ramayana, when it is believed to have been Kishkinda, the mokey kingdom. Developed by the great
Vijayanagara rulers and later pillaged by the Moghuls, the well planned administrative and residential structures, watch towers, and fortification of the city, are today remainders of a highly developed kingdom and its culture. Amidst these ruins stand the Virupaksha Temple, dedicated to Shiva. The temple is still in use and the street leading to the site is the setting for the annual chariot ceremony in February.

Another interesting temple in the area is the Vithala Temple, on the southern banks of the Tungabhadra river. Considered to be a representation of Vijayanagara art, the main pavilion of the temple consists of 56 elaborately carved pillars. Each of these, when struck, emits a different musical sound. In its quadrangle stands a magnificent stone chariot, so perfectly proportioned that the stone wheels actually rotate. The Hazara Ram Temple is built within a rectangular complex in the royal centre of the town. Bulit in the 15th century, the enclosure walls of the temple are carved both on the exterior and the interior with stories from the epics, and images of dancers and troops. On the walls of the sanctorum are two rare depictions of Vishnu as the Buddha.

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