Said to be 'Kishkindha', the kingdom of Sugriva, the ape-friend of Lord Rama as mentioned in the epic of Ramayana, the historic origins of Hampi dates back to 14th century, when saint Vidyaranya founded the Vijaynagar kingdom with two of his disciples, Harihara and Bukka, on the banks of the Tungabhadra River. The art, architecture and Hinduism flourished under the patronage of the Vijaynagar rulers until the Islamic invaders from Deccan won over its king Ramaraya in 1565. The Golden Age of the empire is said to extend from 1509 to 1529, under the emperor Krishnadevaraya, when it extended to cover the states of Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and Maharashtra.

The beauty and magnitude of its ruins retain the past glory and splendor and have been adopted by UNESCO as a World Heritage Centre. The Hampi Festival was recently started to promote tourism by Indian Government and starts every year from the 3rd of November. The other things worth seeing in the city are King's Balance where the kings were weighted against grain, gold or money so that the item worth the king's weight could then be distributed to the poor, huge Elephant Stables, the Pushkarini Tank and the Mahanavami Dibba

Places of interest

Ugra Narasimha: To the south of Virupaksha Temple, atop Hemkuta Hills, is the early ruins of Jain temples and the 6.7m tall monolith of 'Ugra Narasimha', a form of Lord Vishnu with head of a lion and body of a man. He is shown seated under the canopy of a seven-hooded snake. It was erected in 1528 during the reign of Krishnadevaraya and was carved out from a single boulder.

Vithala Temple : The Vithala temple is a World Heritage monument with fantastic sculptural work from the time of Vijayanagar Empire. It features 56 'Musical Pillars', which reverberate when tapped and an ornate stone chariot in the temple courtyard with an image of Garuda, the Bird-God and the 9m tall statue of Lord Ganesha along with recently excavated 'Nobleman's Palace'.

Shivalinga : Next to the statue of Narasimha is the 3 m high Shivalinga that stands permanently in water coming through an ancient channel.

Lotus Mahal : A delightful blend of Hindu and Muslim style of architecture, this palace features two-storeyed elegant pavilion situated in the 'ladies' section' of the palace.
Queen's Bath: A 15m square structure, Queen's Bath is 1.8m deep, has stark exteriors and highly ornate interiors and by delicate and elegantly ornamented arched corridors and projecting balconies.