This hilltop and its gentle slopes offer a splendid view of the sprawling ruins site.
This hill is sprinkled generously with a large number of temples, archways and pavilions. The whole of the hill was fortified with tall wide stonewalls, the ruined remains of which can be still be seen. Once you have reached the top (about 15 minutes climb) , it’s almost a flat expanse of rocky sheet with occasional ups and downs.
Hemakuta Hill is one among the best places in Hampi to see the sunrise and sunset; and not as tedious to reach the top say compared to the Matanga Hill nearby, which is boasted as the best location to watch sunset in Hampi. So if you find it difficult to make it to Matanga Hill for sunset view, try from Hemakuta Hill.
The Myths of Hampi have it that it’s on this hill that Lord Siva (the god of destruction) did penance before marrying a local girl Pampa. Siva was impressed by her dedication for him and consent to marry her. On this it rained gold on this hill. Hema in Sanskrit language means gold. The name of the hill thus connects with this legend.
Also this is the place where Siva burnt Kama (the god of lust) with his third (fire) eye. In helping Pampa to marry Shiva, Kama distracted Shiva from his penance. This attracted the wrath of Siva and eventually killed Kama by fire. Later Rathi (goddess of passion and Kama’s wife) pleaded for the life of Kama. Siva brought him back to life but only in character not as a physical being.
Hence a number of temples in this area are dedicated to Lord Siva, the major one being the Virupaksha temple at the north of this hill. This place packed with the largest number of pre Vijayanagara temples. Atop is the Moola Virupaksha Temple with a pool infront, considered to be the original Virupaksha Temple
You can access it mainly through two ways. The first is through the tower located close to the Virupaksha temple’s main entrance. From the very end of the Hampi Bazaar that terminates in front of the Virupaksha temple, take the left (southward) alley. You can see the giant but topless tower to the hilltop. On the way you see the Hampi post office on your right.
The second access point is through the twin storied archway located near the Sasivekalu Ganesha & Kadalekalu Ganesha shrines. The top locations near this archway is a great place to get an aerial view of the Krishna Temple campus just south of it; and the Lakshmi Narasimha & Badivilinga shrines located beyond the Krishna temple.
Cover this as part of Route 1 of your Hampi Itinerary.
Admission free. Visit Hemakuta early in the morning or just before the sunset, to make a fetish out of photography!