Hampi is famous for its ruins belonging to the erstwhile medieval Hindu kingdom of Vijaynagar and it is declared a World Heritage site. The temples of Hampi, its monolithic sculptures and monuments, attract the traveler because of their excellent workmanship. The Hindu style of architecture found at Hampi reflects the splendor of the Vijaynagar Empire. The rugged landscape adds to the historic ambiance of this site.
Hampi is located in the central part of Karnataka in the southern part of India. It is 353 km from Bangalore, and 13 km from Hospet. It is located on top of the rugged terrain and is 467 m above sea level. Tungabhadra River flows through Hampi. It has a tropical climate with hot summers (April-June), and cool winters (October-February). It experiences the southwestern monsoon rains from June to August.
The first settlement in Hampi dates back to 1st century AD and several Buddhist sites belonging to that time have been found nearby. Hampi was the capital of the mighty Vijaynagar Empire. Vijaynagar was one of the largest Hindu empires in India. Two brothers, Harihar and Bukka, founded it in 1336. Krishnadevaraya (1509-1529) was the greatest ruler and controlled almost all of peninsular India south of Tungabhadra River. The town of Hampi in the 14th century had a population of half a million people. Seven concentric lines of fortifications protected the city. It maintained a huge army to protects it from other kingdoms. Vijaynagar Empire flourished, as it controlled both cotton and spice trade routes of southern India. Medieval historians refer to Hampi as an important center of trade. However, the glory of Vijaynagar was short-lived. With the death of Krishnadevaraya, the combined armies of the five Muslim kingdoms-Bidar, Bijapur, Golconda, Ahmednagar and Berar-destroyed this mighty empire in 1565.