Hampi Pushkarnis in Karnataka – Ancient Sacred Water Tanks (Stepwells) with brilliant architecture in one of the most beautiful UNESCO World Heritage Sites of India

Hampi is one of our favourite places and I can spend more than a week walking around these beautiful heritage city of India.  One of the heritage sites which I liked the most was huge stepwell around ruins of Vijayanagara Empire. The Pushkaranis in UNESCO world heritage site Hampi are the sacred water tanks that are attached to the temples. Hampi has lot of temples whch are surrounded by such stepwells and this one being the biggest one.  Most of the major temples in Hampi have a pushkarani built near them. The pushkaranis were a prominent feature of the ruined town of Hampi.

Hampi is one of our favourite places and I can spend more than a week walking around these beautiful heritage city of India.  One of the heritage sites which I liked the most was huge stepwell around ruins of Vijayanagara Empire. The Pushkaranis in UNESCO world heritage site Hampi are the sacred water tanks that are attached to the temples. Hampi has lot of temples whch are surrounded by such stepwells and this one being the biggest one.  Most of the major temples in Hampi have a pushkarani built near them. The pushkaranis were a prominent feature of the ruined town of Hampi.

 
Above photograph shows one of the biggest Stepwells of India. Notice those 2 tiny human bodies on upper part of the photograph. That will give you a sense about the size & depth of this stepwell in Hampi. The sacred tanks were related to various rituals and functional aspects of the temples and the communities surrounding these temples. The tanks were considered to be sacred places by the people of Hampi in the ancient times.   The pushkaranis in Hampi town are a part of the ancient planning and architecture. Many of the pushkaranis were built during the time of the Vijayanagara Empire, which are now preserved as part of World Heritage site. The water tanks related to the temples were used to serve the ritualistic purposes of those temples by communities around this area and who used to visit these temples because of faith.  Related blogpost - Hampi Travel Guide : How to reach, Where to Stay & Things to do !  There are some water tanks in Hampi which are not related to the temples. Some of the water tanks are situated within the Royal enclosures and they were built for the use of the members of the royal family of Vijayanagara. There were a few large public water tanks as well that were for use of the general people. So water tanks you find today in Hampi belong to these 3 major categories - ritualistic purposes, for royal family and for public. Architecture of these also vary, especially one can see significant difference in royal water tanks in terms of architecture, safety and grandeur.

Above photograph shows one of the biggest Stepwells of India. Notice those 2 tiny human bodies on upper part of the photograph. That will give you a sense about the size & depth of this stepwell in Hampi. The sacred tanks were related to various rituals and functional aspects of the temples and the communities surrounding these temples. The tanks were considered to be sacred places by the people of Hampi in the ancient times. 

The pushkaranis in Hampi town are a part of the ancient planning and architecture. Many of the pushkaranis were built during the time of the Vijayanagara Empire, which are now preserved as part of World Heritage site. The water tanks related to the temples were used to serve the ritualistic purposes of those temples by communities around this area and who used to visit these temples because of faith.


There are some water tanks in Hampi which are not related to the temples. Some of the water tanks are situated within the Royal enclosures and they were built for the use of the members of the royal family of Vijayanagara. There were a few large public water tanks as well that were for use of the general people. So water tanks you find today in Hampi belong to these 3 major categories - ritualistic purposes, for royal family and for public. Architecture of these also vary, especially one can see significant difference in royal water tanks in terms of architecture, safety and grandeur. 

These huge water tanks (stepwells) have large stone steps that used to help people to go down and fetch water easily. The water tanks are connected to an extensive network of stone structures & canals. The more you know about it, more it surprises you and you wonder how detailed this whole planning was in ancient times. These water channels were used to provide the tanks with fresh water from the Tungabhadra River. Some of these water channels are functional even today, although I couldn't see any evidences around tanks I saw during my visit to Hampi.  There are lot of stepwells in Rajasthan and Gujrat states of India, but these stepwells of Hampi are different in many ways. I didn't see much cravings around stepwells of Hampi while stepwells of Gujrat & Rajasthan are super rich in terms of carvings & fine designs.  It seems there are multiple Water tanks in Hampi. The photographs you see in this post are of Stepwell inside royal enclosure. The others are close to Virupaksha temple, Vittala temple, Pattabhirama temple, Krishna Bazaar, Achyuta Raya Temple etc.  Related Blogspot - 5th Day on the Golden Chariot - The Luxury Train through Hampi in Karnataka State of India   Many of the water tanks in Hampi are in a ruined condition. Only a few pushkaranis can be seen in a functional state. Some of the water tanks are dry places that have remained without water for a long time now. A few among the water tanks are still full of clear water. In ancient times, pushkaranis were an integral part of the lives of the people of Hampi.  I was so happy to find these stepwells in Hampi and would love to go back & explore al stepwells of Hampi by spending good amount of time there.

These huge water tanks (stepwells) have large stone steps that used to help people to go down and fetch water easily. The water tanks are connected to an extensive network of stone structures & canals. The more you know about it, more it surprises you and you wonder how detailed this whole planning was in ancient times. These water channels were used to provide the tanks with fresh water from the Tungabhadra River. Some of these water channels are functional even today, although I couldn't see any evidences around tanks I saw during my visit to Hampi.

There are lot of stepwells in Rajasthan and Gujrat states of India, but these stepwells of Hampi are different in many ways. I didn't see much cravings around stepwells of Hampi while stepwells of Gujrat & Rajasthan are super rich in terms of carvings & fine designs.

It seems there are multiple Water tanks in Hampi. The photographs you see in this post are of Stepwell inside royal enclosure. The others are close to Virupaksha temple, Vittala temple, Pattabhirama temple, Krishna Bazaar, Achyuta Raya Temple etc.


Many of the water tanks in Hampi are in a ruined condition. Only a few pushkaranis can be seen in a functional state. Some of the water tanks are dry places that have remained without water for a long time now. A few among the water tanks are still full of clear water. In ancient times, pushkaranis were an integral part of the lives of the people of Hampi.

I was so happy to find these stepwells in Hampi and would love to go back & explore al stepwells of Hampi by spending good amount of time there.

If you liked this post and found it helpful, I would request you to follow these things when traveling - 

1. Manage your waste well and don’t litter Use dustbins.
2. Tell us if you went to a place and found it hard to locate a dustbin. 
3. Avoid bottle waters in hills. Usually you get clean water in hills and water bottles create lot of mess in our ecosystem. 
4. Say big no to plastic and avoid those unhealthy snacks packed in plastic bags. Rather buy fruits. 
5. Don't play loud blaring music in forests of jungle camps. You are a guest in that ecosystem and disturbing the locals (humans and animals) is not polite. 

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