Vittala Temple

Top choice in Hampi

Hampi's most exquisite structure, the 16th-century Vittala Temple stands amid boulders 2.5km from Hampi Bazaar. Work possibly started on the temple during the reign of Krishnadevaraya (r 1509–29). The structure was never finished or consecrated, yet its incredible sculptural work remains the pinnacle of Vijayanagar art.

The courtyard's ornate stone chariot (illustrated on the ₹50 note) is the temple’s showpiece and represents Vishnu’s vehicle with an image of Garuda within. Its wheels were once capable of turning.

The outer ‘musical’ pillars, supposedly designed to replicate 81 different Indian instruments, reverberate when tapped. To protect them, authorities have placed them out of bounds.

As well as the main temple, whose sanctum was illuminated using a design of reflective waters, you’ll find the marriage hall and the prayer hall, to the left and right, respectively, as you enter.