The Puranas State that in ancient times, the Deccan Peninsula was divided into three Kingdoms and that the first one was the Kingdom of the Rakshasa's, stretching from the island of Lanka to the coastal area of southern India. The second region was Kishkindha stretching across Hampi and Anegundi, surrounded by the hills of Matanga, Malyavanta and Basavasrunga.vasrunga.
Hampi is world famous not only because of its sacredness but also due to the fact that it was the capital of the Vijayanagara empire. Grandeur and glory were synonym with the city and Abdul Razzak had remarked in 1442, "The city of Bidjanagar is such that pupil of the eye has never seen a place like it, and ear of intelligence has never been informed that there existed anything to equal it in the world" .Several other foreign travelers have also praised Hampi in most vivid terms. During the era, temples came to symbolize the wealth and power of the rules and hence on effort was spared to make the sacred architecture more exalted than the other. Today much of the area is in ruins except for some of the religious structures, edifices of Hampi include the Vijaya Vittala temple, the monolithic statue of Ugra Narasimha, Kadale Kalu Ganesha, Sasuve Kalu Ganesha and others. There are many temples dedicated to Rama including the Hazara Rama temple (14th -15th century), Kodanda Rama Temple of the 15th century, Malyavanta temple (15th -16th century) and the Pattabhi Rama temple (16th century), emphasizing the close association of Hampi with Ramayana.
Hampi the 14th century capital city of the Vijayanagar empire lies in the Deccan heartland, in the state of Karnataka. The ruins spread over an area of more than 26 sq. Kms protected by the tempestuous river Thungabhadra in the north and by rocky granite on the other three sides. A terrain such as this was excellent for a capital city that needed to be vigilant. It may not have been military shrewdness alone that made the god-conscious Vijayanagar kings settle for this fierce landscape and build on it one of the great imperial cities of medieval times. It was believed to have been the site of the monkey kingdom of Kishkindha associated with the Hindu epic, the Ramayana. The presence of a large number of monkeys seems to testify to that.
Hampi or Hampe is generally held to be a later Kannada form of the term Pampa, the ancient name of the river Tungabhadra. The site is naturally endowed with great strategic importance. The wide, torrential Tungabhadra on one hand and the rugged hillocks on the other made it a natural fortress. These factors no doubt induced the Vijayanagara rulers to choose this site. What was once only a pilgrim center of the devout became the seat of a mighty empire.
Hampi is also referred to a Virupakshapura, Vidyanagara and Vijayanagar. In course of time, this capital city developed into a sprawling metropolis with the establishment of suburbs of Krishnapura, Nagalapura, Tirumalapura and others. Lord Virupaksha became the patron deity of Vijayanagar rulers and they used the word "VIRUPAKSHA " as their insignia.
The city was founded in 1336 by two brothers Harihara (also called Hakka) and Bukka who had been taken as prisoners of war by the Delhi Sultan, Mohammed-bin-Tuglak in 1326-1327, when the Chalukyan kingdom of Kampili near Hampi was overthrown. Harihara and Bukka seem to have been model prisoners, because when his southern provinces began to get rebellious, the sultan sent back the brothers to restore order. Restore order they did, and so successfully that they were soon able to set up an independent kingdom. The Vijayanagar Empire grew in strength and splendor and resisted all onslaughts till 1565 when the then Vijayanagar commander Rama Raya was defeated by a confederation of Muslim kings and the capital city was ransacked.
The Vijayanagar rulers were in power from 1336 till the battle of Rakkasa -Tangadi in 1565. After the disastrous battle, the rulers shifted their capital from Hampi, which never recovered its past glory and is in a ruined state till today. The disaster of the 1565 defeat can still be seen in the ruins of the imperial-city. Workmen seem to have fled, abandoning their tools by the side of the river. The broken kingdom came under the Moghul rule in 1689 and was later annexed by the Nizam of Hyderabad in 1780.
The Government of Karnataka organizes the Hampi Festival on 3rd, 4th and 5th of November every year in the city of Hampi. Admist rocks and ruins that dates back to hundreds of years this festival of dance, drama and music are organized for everybody to enjoy. Village of Hampi near Vijaynagar have its share of visitors all year around but during the month of November prominent people from the field of art, dance, music and drama land in this village to participate in the Vijaya Utsav also called the Hampi Festival. Hampi festival includes Dance, drama, music, fireworks, puppet shows, spectacular processions, all combine to recreate the grandeur of the bygone era. Artists from every corner of India and foreign countries gather here to enjoy the beautiful splendor of the festival, the village of Hampi and the appreciation of the people. The soothing classical music and the carefuly placed light dance steps of artists who have trained day in and day out to perfect various 'Mudras'or dance steps, are visible to the visitors as they enjoy the open air environment of the celebrations. This festival have turns around the lifestyle of the people in Hampi. So, that this calm and quiet village enjoys the vibrant and the soothing classical music and enjoy the presence of the artists in their village.
World Heritage Monument Hampi:
A World Heritage Site
A world heritage site HAMPI, situated on the banks of the river Thungabhadra in the region of Bellary, is a vast site of monuments and ruins, a mute witnesses to an era of glories, triumphs and tragedies the ruins of Hampi, are so majestic and imposing that they leave the visitor totally dumbfounded, awestruck and humbled. Founded by Hukka (also called Harihara) and Bukka in 1336, the famous capital of the kings of Vljayanagara has now become the focal point as it attracts attention and great admiration of architects historians and archeologists, and of course the innumerable tourists who visit these monuments from all over the world. Some recent excavations have unearthed beautifully preserved temples, one of them underground, and the ruins of what must have been the once splendid palaces and gateways. The broken city of a glorious 14th century empire might speak of man's capacity for senseless destruction but it also tells of his infinite talent to restore and rebuild. Travelogues and historians have admired the glorious period of the Vijayanagara empire in the indian history, the pomp and the legendary wealth of the kings and the court, the exquisite architecture of the monuments and the temples. Others have described in superlative terms, the material wealth of the empire where the pavement shops/ boutiques sold pearls, precious stones and gold available in great abundance.
Several dramatic events took place in Kishkindha, namely Hampi during Ramayana,where Lord Rama met the monkey King Sugreva and sought his help to trace the whereabouts of Sita kidnapped by Ravana. Rama stayed at the Malyavanta hill awaiting Hanuman's return from Lanka and made it a customary habit to have Darshan of Pampapathi at Hemakuta every day. After his victory against Ravana, Rama returned to Hampi along his wife and conducted many festivals as a thanks giving to Pampapati. The area surrounding Hampi has many sacred spots including Sita Sorovara, the bathing tank sanctified by Sita. The place where Vali was killed known as Valikasta, and huge mound of ashes is described as Vali's mortal remains. Madhuvana was garden of Sugreva. Pampa Sorvara is the place where Sita threw her ornaments from the sky upon abduction by Ravana. White streaks in the cave where Sugreva had Sita's ornaments are said to have marks left by her clothing. The Anjana devi hill Anegundi is Hanuman's birth place. The famed ashram of Shabari was on the banks of lake. The area was also called as Bhaskara Kshetra as it personified the powers of Brahma, Vishnu and Maheshvara, The mighty trinity, the word Pampa kshetra, as the abode of Pampapati, was abbreviated to Pampa and corrupted over the centuries into the Hampi.
With the commencement of kaliyuga, people lost devotion and faith in God. Due to lace of habitation a forest grew around the Pampapati temple and as it was frequented only by wild beasts, no worship was conducted at the temple. However a Brahmin by name Madhavacharya realized the glory of the Pampa kshetra as described in the puranas and prayed to Shree Bhuveneshwari for her benevolence. Placed with the intense devotion of the sage, she appeared before him in all her glory. With her blessings Madhava decided to rebuild the empire of Karnataka and fortunately could identify Harihara (Hukka) as the most deserving pupil. Hukka was crowned at Hampi by laying the foundation for one of the mightiest empire of the world.
Nearest Railway station:
Hospet and Bellary Railway stations are nearest to the temple. Hospet railway station located about 13 kms from the temple and Bellary Railway station is located at a distance of about 72 Kms from the temple. Gunthakal is the major junction of southern indian railway net work located at a distance of about 95 Kms from the temple.
Hubli domestic Airport is nearest to temple. Bangalore, Hyderabad and Goa international Airports are located in a circular manner with Virupaksha temple as center. The details of Airports and their distances from the temple are given in the table below. Jindal Helipad is about 45km from temple for special cases
- Hubli Domestic Airport - About 150
- Bangalore International Airport - About 360
- Hyderabad International Airport - About 356