Inside Hampi: Ruins that Inspired the New Rs 50 Note
The newly issued Rs 50 note has an image of the stone chariot from Hampi.
The newly issued Rs 50 note has an image of the stone chariot from Hampi. (Photo altered by The Quint: Nishtha Gautam/Harsh Sahni)

Inside Hampi: Ruins that Inspired the New Rs 50 Note

"Where there is ruin, there is hope for a treasure," attributed to Rumi - the worst victim of made-up quotes on the Internet - regardless this line certainly holds true for Hampi, the stone-laced temple town in north Karnataka.

Like many an awestruck traveller, that visit this 26 sq km stretch of boulders and architectural marvels that were once boulders, the government has made its admiration for Hampi public by putting it on a currency note.

Photo shared by one of the first bearers of the new Rs 50 note. 
Photo shared by one of the first bearers of the new Rs 50 note. 
Photo Courtesy: Twitter/@indiantweeter

Breaking Dawn Over the Ruins

This photo-essay takes you around the ruins of Hampi, a UNESCO heritage site, and reveals its many treasures.

Sunrise over the boulder-strewn landscape of Hampi
Sunrise over the boulder-strewn landscape of Hampi
(Photo: Nishtha Gautam/The Quint)

The Stone Chariot at the Vittala Temple

The latest thing in an Indian’s wallet is the neon-y blue Rs 50 note with an image of the stone chariot representing the glorious ruins of Hampi. The lesser known fact about the structure is that it is a shrine for Lord Vishnu’s vehicle, the Garuda, and not a chariot.

A chariot that wasn’t.
A chariot that wasn’t.
(Photo: Nishtha Gautam/The Quint)

The Temples That Were Once Rocks

The temple town of Hampi is a remarkable site to marvel at humankind’s creative ingenuity. The monolithic temples carved out of giant boulders are awe-inspiring. The message from the town is clear – each commonplace boulder has in it to become a revered temple. As William Blake said, we only need the eyes to see the world in a grain of sand.

(Photo: Nishtha Gautam/The Quint)

The Army’s Banquet

On the way to the Vittala Temple, you come across these large black slabs. They are nothing but the dining plates for the soldiers of yore. An army certainly marches on its stomach and it better be well-fed!

(Photo: Nishtha Gautam/The Quint)

One Thousand Lord Ramas

This 15th century structure of the Hazara Ram temple boasts of carved panels depicting the story of the epic Ramayana. The name literally means “a thousand Ramas”.

(Photo: Nishtha Gautam/The Quint)

Hampi’s ruins are replete with architectural and design masterpiece such as this temple. Go through the galleries below for more pictures and information.

  • 03
    Badvi Lingam temple houses a large monolithic shivalingam. Even in matters religious, size does matter.
    Badvi Lingam temple houses a large monolithic shivalingam. Even in matters religious, size does matter. (Photo: Nishtha Gautam/The Quint)
  • 02
    The Lakshmi Narsimha statue was built in the 16th century. The original statue had his consort Lakshmi sitting on Narsimha’s lap. During the Deccan Muslim Confederacy siege of Hampi, the statue was vandalised and the consort torn apart.
    The Lakshmi Narsimha statue was built in the 16th century. The original statue had his consort Lakshmi sitting on Narsimha’s lap. During the Deccan Muslim Confederacy siege of Hampi, the statue was vandalised and the consort torn apart. (Photo: Nishtha Gautam/The Quint)
  • 01
    The Sangeet Mandapam inside the Vittala temple is magical for the sounds the pillars produce when struck by light sticks.
    The Sangeet Mandapam inside the Vittala temple is magical for the sounds the pillars produce when struck by light sticks. (Photo: Nishtha Gautam/The Quint)
  • 03
    Across the stream that runs in the middle of the town lies a serene lake.
    Across the stream that runs in the middle of the town lies a serene lake. (Photo: Nishtha Gautam/The Quint)
  • 02
    The rare three-headed Nandi inside the Virupaksha temple.
    The rare three-headed Nandi inside the Virupaksha temple. (Photo: Nishtha Gautam/The Quint)
  • 01
    The 7th century Virupaksha temple remains one of the holiest religious sites for Shaivites.
    The 7th century Virupaksha temple remains one of the holiest religious sites for Shaivites. Photo: Nishth(Photo: Nishtha Gautam/The Quint)a Gautam/The Quint
  • 03
    Part of the royal enclosure in Hampi, the Kamal Mahal was meant to be used by the women of the royal family.
    Part of the royal enclosure in Hampi, the Kamal Mahal was meant to be used by the women of the royal family. (Photo: Nishtha Gautam/The Quint)
  • 02
    This ruined mosque tells the tale of the cyclical nature of history. The Deccan Muslim Confederacy attack on Hampi destroyed much of its Vijaynagara style architecture. The Islamic structures that they built, in turn, got destroyed by time and strife.
    This ruined mosque tells the tale of the cyclical nature of history. The Deccan Muslim Confederacy attack on Hampi destroyed much of its Vijaynagara style architecture. The Islamic structures that they built, in turn, got destroyed by time and strife. (Photo: Nishtha Gautam/The Quint)
  • 01
    The ‘Elephant Stable’ is one of the most imposing buildings in the royal enclosure.
    The ‘Elephant Stable’ is one of the most imposing buildings in the royal enclosure. (Photo: Nishtha Gautam/The Quint)

If you are already packing your bags for Hampi, here are a few pointers:

-The nearest airport is at Hubli, 143km away from Hampi.

-The nearest railway station is Hospet Junction (IR station code: HPT), 13km away.

- Karnataka State Road Transport Corporation operates daily buses to Hospet from Bangalore, Mysore and Gokarna. From Hospet you can go to Hampi on a local bus for ₹20.

- Once you reach Hampi, bicycle around or walk. If you feel lazy, hire an auto-rickshaw for the entire day. The driver may double up as your guide.

- There are plenty of cottages and home stays in Hampi, thanks to the regular foreign tourist inflow.

And if you have already been there, let us know about your experiences from Hampi in the comments section!

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