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Tourist Places To Visit In Hospet
It’s a surprise that though Hosapete or Hospet means the ‘New City’, the city is in reality, an ancient one. Naagalapura, as Hospet was known in early times, was built in 1520 AD by King Krishnadeva Raya, the ruler of the Vijayanagara Empire, in honour of his mother Nagalambika.
Hospet is the entryway to Hampi, where lie the ruins of the ancient Vijayanagara Empire. Tourists who visit the ruins at Hampi do not fail to visit the tourist attractions at Hospet, for the bustling city which stands in sharp contrast to the solitude of Hampi, still has memories of the Empire that ruled over it. Here’s a list of some of the most interesting tourist places in Hospet and the towns close by.
The TB Dam is one of the finest landmarks of Hospet. The dam which had been a joint venture of Hyderabad State and Madras Presidency was duly completed in 1953. Today the dam serves as a multipurpose dam as well as a hot spot for tourists who visit Hospet.
There are a number of fish in the reservoir and you’d also find birds like Flamingos, Pelicans and Storks. Tourists are not allowed by the side of the dam, but you can take a shuttle bus from the entrance to the top of the hill where from the watch tower, you can get an awesome vision of the dam, with its 33 sluice gates and the Tungabhadra River on the other side. Tungabhadra Dam is about 14 km from Hospet.
Jambunatheshwara Hill Temple
The Jambunatheshwara temple for Shiva is located 900 m above sea level on the peaks of Jambunatha Hill. Close by is a spring, whose waters are said to have healing powers. According to legends of the Ramayana, Jambavan consecrated a Shiv Linga on the hilltop and did penance and the Shiv Linga in due course came to be called Jambunatheshwara after him. The hill is surrounded by more hills with iron ore mines and monkeys. The ancient temple with its intricate architecture and the serene atmosphere makes the Jambunatheshwara Temple a must-see.
The Temple is about 5 km from Hospet via Jambunathahalli Road.
Huligemma Devi Temple
The Huligemma Devi Temple in Koppal is about 800 years old. According to legends the temple was built on divine orders and has emerged to be one of the most significant Shakthi Peeths. Huligemma is believed to be a very powerful deity and devotees throng to the temple more than ever on Tuesdays and Fridays to get their prayers answered.
The Huligemma Devi Temple is on the banks of the Tungabhadra River at Munirabad or Huligi. The temple is close to Munirabad Railway Station and there are trains from Hospet that will take you to Munirabad in about 10 minutes. Munirabad is about 14 km from Hospet.
The Bellary Fort sits on a hill top and we need to climb about 400 steps to reach the top. There is a panoramic view of the surrounding plains of Bellary from the peak. There are a few ponds around the peak that get filled up during monsoon, adding to the quaintness of the place.
Portions of the Fort were built by Hanumappa Nayaka, who owed allegiance to the Vijayanagara Kings and the portions on the lower side were built by Hyder Ali. Check out the Kote Anjaneya Temple at the eastern gate of the Lower Fort and the cisterns made naturally among the rock formations that were used to store water. The Fort is within city limits, and quite close to the Bellary Rail Station. Bellary Fort is about 61 km from Hospet.
Krouncha Giri Temples
The Krouncha Giri twin temples are one of the most protected and popular temples of Karnataka. The Kumaraswamy Temple was built by the Rashtrakutas in the 8th-10th centuries while the adjacent temple for Parvathi was built in the ‘Vesara’ style of the Chalukyas of Badami in the 7th-8th centuries.
The Krouncha Giri boasts of a lush verdant hillside with a number of flora and fauna, as it’s located in the Swami malai woodland ranges. The Swami malai ranges of Sandur are home to the Neela Kurinji (Strobilenthes Kunthianus) flowers that blossom once in 12 years. The hills of Sandur are otherwise busy with mining for iron and manganese ore. Sandur is about 29 km from Hospet and from Sandur the temple is a 20 minute drive by road.
Hazara Rama Temple
Hazara Rama, could probably refer to the thousand bas reliefs on the walls of the 15th century temple, that depict the story of Rama. This beautiful, yet diminutive temple built within the palace enclosure, was the private shrine for the Vijayanagara royals and every inch of the temple, be its dance hall, the pavilion and the story narratives on the walls, speak on the artistic interests of the royalty. On the outer walls of the temple you’ll find running sculptures of animals, attendants and soldiers. The well manicured lawn on the northern side of the temple adds a sense of appeal to the place.
A number of pathways lead away from the temple to the ruins of various other temples within the enclosure. The Hazara Rama Temple is in Hampi.
The Virupaksha temple dedicated to Shiva and his consort Pampadevi, sits on the southern banks of the Tungabhadra River. The 50 m high temple gopura stands majestic amid all that rubble and debris of the ruins and the rocky enbankments of the hills.
Said to have been built as a tiny temple in the 7th century, the Virupaksha Temple thrived under the patronage of the Vijayanagara Kings. Today, the temple is still used for worship, with additions and alterations made necessary by the passage of time and the destruction of the settlement in 1565 by the Delhi Sultanate. People throng to the Virupaksha temple in February for the annual Chariot festival. The Virupaksha Temple is in Hampi.
Lakshmi Narasimha Temple
The Lakshmi Narasimha sculpture, at an imposing height of 6.7 m, is the largest monolith statue in Hampi. The Lakshmi Narasimha temple where the sculpture is located, was built in 1528 AD during the rule of King Krishnadeva Raya. The Lakshmi Narasimha is one of the grandest examples of the craftsmanship of Hampi and even after the monuments were destroyed by the Delhi Sultanate in 1565 AD, the remnants of the sculpture still retain its magnificence. Narasimha, who is labelled the Ugra Narasimha or the Fierce One, is seated on the coils of Sesha the serpent, who provides a hood on the top for the Lord. Check out the intricate engraved detailing on the sculpture. The broken remains of the statue of Lakshmi who was originally seated on Narasimha’s lap, is now placed in the archaeological museum at Kamalapura.
The Lakshmi Narasimha Temple is on the southern side of Hampi.