Hampi is a temple town located in the ruins of the city of Vijayanagara which according to UNESCO, is the last capital of the last great Hindu Kingdom in Karnataka, India.
Listed as the Group of Monuments at Hampi, until today it continues to be an important center which houses the Virupaksha Temple and many other monuments from the 15th and 16th century. There are many bastions and gateways which show that seven fortified lines originally surrounded the city.
The best-preserved line is the seventh which enclosed the main city. The monuments at the site are divided into three buildings- Religious, Civil and Military buildings. Some temples even predate the Empire city, and some of them are the Jain temples located on Hemakuta Hill, two Devi shrines, and smaller temple complexes. The oldest structures are the Shiva shrines which date back to the 9th century AD.
Many historians suggest that the site was part of the Maurya Empire from the 3rd century BC. There are inscriptions from the 2nd century CE which were found during the excavation of Hampi. It is believed that before the reign of the Vijayanagara kings, the region belonged to the chiefs of Kampili, a small town near the old city.
Before the Deccan Muslim confederacy took it, Hampi had been the best area of the Vijayanagara Empire. It was chosen because of its strategic location. In 1800, the ruins of the city were surveyed by Colonel Colin Mackenzie who was the first Surveyor General of India. Hampi has a great architectural and historical significance, and, even today, excavations are conducted in this area.
The most beautiful structures are the religious buildings, and some of them are still open for pilgrims. The most notable of these buildings are Achyutaraya Temple, BadaviLinga, Krishna Temple Complex, the Jain temples, the Vittala Temple Complex, and Virupaksha Temple.
The Virupaksha Temple, also known as the Pampavathi temple, predates the founding of the Vijayanagara kingdom. The Civil buildings contain the Zanana enclosure, the Lotus Mahal, the museum at Kamalapura, and the aqueducts and canals.
The military buildings embrace the elephant stables which housed the royal elephants and The King’s balance part. The magnificent ruins of this old city and its surroundings are one of the most famous tourist attractions in Karnataka.