Hampi, a small hamlet located in the Bellary district of northern Karnataka, is known all over the world for the ruins of the ancient empire of Vijayanagar. Situated on the banks of the River Tungabhadra on an uneven terrain, Hampi sits at an altitude of 467 meters above sea level.A UNESCO World Heritage Site, Hampi was the capital city and religious centre of the Vijayanagar Empire. Now in ruins, Hampi attracts a multitude of tourists to its historic premises.
Legends tell us that Hampi is Kishkindha, the renowned capital of the Vanara Kingdom (Monkey Kingdom) from the epic of Ramayana. Later, Hampi became the center of the Vijayanagar Empire. From the years 1336 to 1565, Hampi prospered under the reign of the Vijayanagar dynasty, whose rulers patronized art, architecture and religion. Hampi came into the hands of the Muslim rulers of the Deccan, who were attracted by its strategic location, as it is flanked by River Tungabhadra on one side and hills on the other three.
Hampi is under the care of The Archaeological Survey of India, who, in association with other researchers, takes deep interest in the place as it is historically and architecturally unique. The sightseeing attractions of Hampi are divided into two, namely, the Hampi Bazaar and the Royal Centre.
Hampi is dotted with monuments of various kinds like exquisite carvings, huge boulders and great structures of temples to name a few. Majority of the Hampi ruins are temples, which were constructed to commemorate the victories of the monarchs of the Vijayanagar dynasty.
The major attractions among the ruins of Hampi are the Malyavantha Raghunathaswamy temple and the Virupaksha Temple.