Hampi is an ancient village situated on the banks of Tungabhadra River in northern Karnataka. Hampi is a renowned UNESCO World Heritage Site. The village stands within the ruins of the city of Vijayanagara, the former capital of the Vijayanagara Empire. It is one of the best heritage sites in India.
It is one of the most popular tourist destinations in South India. Hampi, also known as Pampa-kshetra, Kishkindha-kshetra or Bhaskara-kshetra, is derived from Pampa, which is the old name of the Tungabhadra River. Virupaksha Temple, Vittala Temple and Hampi Bazaar are among the must include places in your Hampi. Hampi is an extremely significant place in terms of history and architecture. The first settlement in Hampi dates back to 1st century AD and a number of Buddhist sites belonging to that time have been found nearby. The seat of the Vijayanagara Empire was established by Saint Vidyaranya in 1336 AD with the help of two of his disciples, Hakka Raya and Bukka Raya. The kingdom flourished under the rule of Emperor Krishnadevaraya and stretched over the states of Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and Maharashtra. Hampi was the capital of the Vijayanagara Empire and was an extremely important part of the Empire from 1343 to 1565. It maintained a huge army to protect it from other kingdoms. As a capital of the Vijayanagar Empire, Hampi grew as a trade center for cotton, spices, and gem stones. It was one of the richest and largest cities in the world during 15th and 16th centuries. After the death of Krishnadevaraya, the invading Deccan Sultanate forces destroyed Hampi and the rampage was continued for one year. The ruins of Vijayanagara Empire in and around the village of Hampi are spread over an area of more than 26 Sq.km. The place is a significant religious center of the Vijayanagara Empire due to the presence of the historic Virupaksha Temple along with many other monuments of the old city. The main tourist spots in Hampi can be divided into two broad areas; the Hampi Bazaar area and the Royal center near Kamalapur. Hemakuta Hill, south of the main Hampi temple, contains early ruins, Jain temples and a monolithic sculpture of Lord Narasimha. The famous Vittala Temple is located 2 km east of the Hampi Bazaar.