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India >> Karnataka >> Hampi >> History of Hampi

History of Hampi

Hampi has both an epical and empirical history. Evidence from India’s popular epic, the Ramayana has led to the belief that in the epical age, Hampi was the capital of the monkey kingdom of Kishkindha. Hampi was once the centre of a vibrant, thriving Vijayanagar Empire that enriched the entire region with carved temples and rock-cut magnificence. Guided by their spiritual leader Guru Vidyaranya, two princes, the brothers Harihara and Bukkaraya (popularly referred to as Hakka and Bukka) established the Vijayanagar Empire in 1336.

Soon, the markets of Hampi became one of the largest trading centres of its time, a place where precious stones were sold and goods from all over the worlds were bartered for cotton and spices. Temples abounded in Hampi and there were hundreds of devotees flocking to the city. In an age when the powerful Mughal army of the north was stamping its authority on almost the entire subcontinent, this southern Hindu kingdom proved too difficult to crack. In 1509-29, during the reign of Krishnadevaraya, the empire reached the pinnacle of its influence economically, militarily and culturally, the legacy of which abides till date.

In 1565 the end came swiftly. Unable to withstand the combined assault of the neighbouring Deccan Sultanates, Hampi fell at the battle of Talikota and was ransacked totally. Legend has it that so rich was the city of Hampi, that it took several days for it’s wealth to be looted by the invaders.


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