The whole of Hampi is crisscrossed with a network of irrigation canals of varying size. Connecting everything from temples to palaces to tanks to quarters to the agricultural lands, many of them were made during the Vijayanagara days. A good number of them, especially the ones run along the valley area, are still in use.
The major canals made by the Vijayanagar kings are the Raya Canal (King’s canal), Basavanna Canal (Nandi or Bull canal), Turthu Canal (Fast Canal) and the Kamalapura water tank. All of these are still in use (for agricultural irrigation of the near by village fields).
Local folklore has it that it’s at Turthu Canal that Rama did the last rituals to his father. You cross this canal near the Lakshmi Narasimha statue on the way from Kamalapura to Hampi.
Inside the Royal area you can see a number of stone aqueducts connecting 20 or so wells and ponds. Most of it is in the ruined stage, but you can still see the sophistication of the water supply system. The giant aqueduct located at the north bank of Tungabhadra River, called the Bukka's Aqueduct at Virupapur Gadde is remarkable.
Most of the large canals are lined with a trail along its course. It’s interesting to take a bicycle ride along the bank of these canals, as a nice way to feel the village life going on around it. Most of them are many kilometers long going into far places away from the regular tourist spots.
Tungabhadra is a major river in the south Indian peninsula. Hampi is located on the south bank somewhere in the middle of this river’s path. In this area the river takes a number of twists and turns owing to the rocky terrain. The river has immense significance in forming the political & religious history of Hampi. The river along with along with the boulder-strewn hills formed the northern barrier of the capital. It was not easy for an invading army cross the river without the fate of a sure defeat.