There’s a good chance that Hazara Rama temple isn’t even mentioned in your guidebook. It’s on the loop that includes the Queen’s Bath, the Mahanavami Dibba, the Lotus temple, and the Elephant Stables, but it would be easy to dismiss as lesser ruins if you’re traveling by yourself. This would be a mistake. This small temple has some of the most impressive friezes and carvings at Hampi. This was the King’s own personal temple.
The centerpiece of the temple are four black marble pillars. While black marble can be seen commonly enough at sites in other parts of India (e.g. Agra), it’s a rare building material here. In fact, these pillars were the only use of black marble that I remember seeing at Hampi. The marble holds the carved images better than the sedimentary stone that is most common at Hampi.
Experts say the most prized sight at Hazara Rama are the friezes of Vishnu as Buddha, which are apparently quite rare.
The Mahanavami Dibba was a monument built to honor Emperor Krishnadevaraya’s win over the state of Kalinga. (I believe he had it built himself. The arrogance of emperors knows no bounds.) At a little over 20 foot tall, it’s the highest structure in the Royal Enclosure, and offers a nice view of the palace ruins as well as the boulder mountains of the surrounding countryside. The sides of the platform are covered in friezes in which elephants play heavily, but also dancing-girls and hunting scenes. We had great skies for our visit.
The Royal Center is part of Hampi that one will need to have transportation to get around because it’s quite far from the Hampi Bazaar (where the guest houses are) and the key sites (e.g. Queens Bath, Hazara Rama Temple, the Lotus Mahal, and the Royal Elephant Stables) are spread out over a large area. However, willing auto-rickshaw (tuk-tuk) drivers abound.