Hampi is a village in Northern Karnataka state. It is spread across 26sq kms. It lies in the remains of the splendid medieval city of Vijayanagara, the city of victory. It was the capital of the powerful Vijayanagara empire from AD 1343 to 1565,which was ruled by the powerful kings like Harihara II, Devaraya II, Krishna devaraya who showcased their immense might in the grandiose monuments they constructed. It is listed in the UNESCO world heritage site.
This hill is spreaded generously with a large number of temples, archways and pavilions. The whole of the hill was fortified with tall wide stonewalls, the ruined remains of which can still be seen. Once you have reached the top (about 15 minutes climb), it’s almost a flat expanse of rocky sheet with occasional ups and downs.Hemakuta Hill is one among the best places in Hampi to witness the sunrise and sunset.Myth is that, on this hill Lord Shiva (the god of destruction) did penance before marrying a local girl Pampa. Shiva was impressed by her dedication for him and consent to marry her. Hema in Sanskrit language means gold. The name of the hill thus connects with this legend.Also this is the place where Siva burnt Kama (the god of lust) with his third (fire) eye. In helping Pampa to marry Shiva, Kama distracted Shiva from his penance. This attracted the wrath of Siva and eventually killed Kama by fire. Later Rathi (goddess of passion and Kama’s wife) pleaded for the life of Kama. Siva brought him back to life but only in character not as a physical being. Hence a number of temples in this area are dedicated to Lord Siva, the major one being the Virupaksha temple at the north of this hill. This place packed with the largest number of pre Vijayanagara temples. Atop is the Moola Virupaksha Temple with a pool infront, considered to be the original Virupaksha Temple HEMAKUTA Temple Most of them are dedicated to worship Shiva. These smart looking compact temples with pyramid-like roofs resemble that of the Jain temples.A number of temples located on the northern end of the hills are made in the Trikutachala style.
That is, three shrines positioned perpendicular to the next face a common central hall. The outer walls of the temples are plane with the horizontal chain of floral motifs carved around. The fluted foundation and the curvy eaves overhanging are other typical features on the wall.You can find a series of such temple complexes scattered all over the hill top.
One can easily count at least three dozen structures in the vicinity. These are in fact one of the oldest clusters of temples in Hampi, much older than the empire itself.The whole area looks more like a gigantic sheet of rock with undulation. When you move further south you can spot the two storied southern gateway to the hilltop. This area too has a number of temples built in the pre-Vijayanagara style architecture.
The whole of Hemakuta Hill area is encircled with an ancient fortification. Though broken at many places, you can still make out the boundary line circling the hill.Stay tuned to get more information on Hemakuta Hills.