General Information

HAMPI is a small village (lat.15 20N . and long,76.30 E) on the southern bank of the Tungabhadra in the Hospet Taluk of the Bellary District of karnataka and is a well-known center of pilgrimage. The place has been identified by some with the Kishkindha-kshetra of the Ramayana. In historic times Hampi, as the seat of the Vijayanagara empire, was famed for its fabulous magnificence and for its protection and promotion of Brahmanical religion and culture.

Read Also: Hampi History 

HAMPI situated

Hampi is situated in picturesque surroundings amidst striking and beautiful scenery depicting nature as its wiledest and best. The site is naturally endowed with great strategic strength. The wide, torrential and almost unfordable Tungabhadra on the one hand the impassable craggy hills and ranges with bare and denuded massive boulders and tors on the other afford strong natural defences which the rulers used to the utmost advantage. These facts no doubt induced the vijayanagara rulers to choose this site as their splendid imperial capital which was the admiration of the contamprary visitors. The city was called ‘Vijayanagara’ or the city of victory, or’ Vidyanagara ‘ in the memory of the stage Vidyaranya who is said to have been mailny responsible for the founding of the city.

About Vijayanagra City

The ruins of the imperial city of Vijayanagara are spread over a vast area of about 26 square kilometers covering several modern villages , while the outer lines of its fortifications include a still larger area. The monuments, which are popularly known as the Hampi ruins, are mainly situated between the villages of kamalapuram in the south and Hampi in the north. To reach the monuments the visitors may travel by train to Hospet (558 km north -west of Madras) from where there is a good motorable road to the village of kamalapuram 13 km to the north- east. There are regular bus-services also between the Hospet and Kamalapuram . Kamalapuram may be reached by road from Bellary also, the distance being 67km.

About Travellers Bungalow at kamalapruam

There is a Travellers’ Bungalow at kamalapuram. The Assistant Engineer ,Public work Department Hospet, should be addresed for reservation of accomodation here. A second Inspection Bunglowis at the Hampi camp of the Hydro- Electric scheme, and reservation here is done by the Assistant Engineer-in-charge .In the village of Hampi , about 6 km north-west of kalamapuram, there are a number of dharamshalas.

A Travellers’ Bungalow in Hospet (at Amaravati, about 116 km south-west of the railway station) is in the charge of the Assistant Engineer, Public Work Department, Hospet. The Tungabhadra dam is about 6 km from Hospet railway station. There is a limited accomodation available for visitors in the ‘Vaikuntham’ and ‘Kailasam’ respectively on the right and left banks of the dam, the reservation there being done by the Superintending Engineer, Public Work Department, Tungabhadra Dam, Hospet.

Routes and position of the temples

The routes and positions of the temples and archaeological monuments mentioned in this book are indicated on the map at the end of the book (pl.XVII). Photographs of the temples and antiquities can be had of the Superintending Archaeologist, Archaeological Survey of India, Bangalore Circle, Bangalore 560011. Picture postcards and guidebooks are available at the Archaeological Museum, Hampi near Kamalapram.

Early References

HAMPI, traditionally known as the Pampa-kshetra, Kishkindhä-kshetra or Bhaskara-kshetra, has an unbroken tradition of sanctity from ancient days and still continues to be an important pilgrimage centre. Pampa is the ancient name of the river Tunga bhadra.

The word Hampe or Hampi is generally held to be a later Kannada form of the term Pampa. The ancient Kishkindhã of the Ramayana is believed to have been situated close to Hampi. Kishkindhä was ruled by the monkey-chiefs, Vali and Sugrīva.

After a quarrel, Sugriva, who had been driven out, took refuge on the Matanga-parvatam, along with Hanuman. After Sitä had been carried away to Lanka by Ravana, Rāma and Lakshmana came south in search of Sitä and met the refugees, Sugrīva and Hanuman. Rāma killed Väli, restored to Sugriva his kingdom and then stayed on the Malyavanta hill nearby awaiting the results of Hanuman’s search for Sitä in Lanka.

Hampi and its environs are considered. holy ground and many of its sites and names are con nected with the episodes of the Ramayana. Thus the Matanga-parvatam, on which Sugriva took refuge, is a steep hill on the south bank of the Tungabhadra and to the east of the Hampi village. A good view of the surrounding country can be had from the top of this hill.

The Malyavanta hill, on which Räma stayed, is on the road to Kampili and has a Raghunatha temple with a large image of Rama. A huge mound of scorious ash in the adjacent village of Nimbapuram is believed to be the cremated remains of Vali. A cavern on the southern bank of the Tungabhadra is said to be the cave where Sugriva hid Sita’s jewels for safety, while certain marks and streaks on the sheet rock near it are pointed out as the marks made by Sita’s garments. The Anjanagiri and Rishya mukha hills and the sacred tanks of Pampasaras are on the northern bank of the Tungabhadra.

History of the empire

The history of the Hampi region dates back to the neolithic/chalcolithic times as can be ascertained from the discovery of neoliths and handmade pottery in recent excavations near the Vitthala temple here. That the region was within the Asokan empire may be surmised from the recent discovery of Minor Rock edicts-one from nittur and the other from Ude-golam, both in District Bellary. Mention may also be made about the discovery of a Brähmi inscription and a a terracotta seal of the second century AD from the excavation.

Prior to the rise of the Vijayanagara dynasty, Hampi and its environs were under the control of the various dynasties which ruled over the Karnataka country in succession such as the Kadambas, the Chalukyas of Badami, the Rashtrakutas, the Chalukyas of Kalyani, the Hoysalas, Yadavas and others. Often it was ruled by one or other of the feudatories of these powers, such as the chiefs of Kurugodu Anegondi, Kampili etc. Immediately, before the rise of the Vijaya nagara dynasty the place was probably under the control of the chiefs of Kampili which is now a small town, about 19 km east of Hampi was a Western Chalukyan capital in the eleventh century.

In the first half of the fourteenth century south India was seriously affected by the Muslim inroads of Malik Kafür, the general of ‘Alau’d-Din Khalji, and by the imperial ambitions of Muhammad-bin Tughluq.

The attempt of the southern powers to resist the Muslim inroads finally culminated in the rise of the Vijayanagara empire which acted as a bul wark of Hindu culture and nationalism for nearly four centuries. The empire soon rose to such heights of splendour and magnificence that it won the admira tion of every contemporary visitor.

The origin of this medieval power is surrounded by so much of mystery and obscurity that numerous legends and accounts have grown up and a number of theories are advocated regarding it. Taking into consideration all the avail able evidence it seems likely that the kingdom of Kampili played a most significant role in the rise of Vijayanagara.

In the early fourteenth century, between AD 1303 and 1327, Kampili became the seat of an independent principality for a short time under the family of Kampiladeva.

Kampila and his father Mummadi Singa were feudatories of Ramadeva, the Yadava ruler of Devagiri, and often helped him against the Hoysala Ballala III. After the capture of Devagiri by the Sultan of Delhi, Kampila appears to have become an indepen dent ruler. He steadily built up a large kingdom which included parts of modern Anantapur, Chitradurga, Shimoga, Raichur, Dharwar and Bellary Districts. His son Ramanatha was noted for his heroic strength and valour.

The ambitious Kampila was frequently at war with the Hoysala Ballala III, Prataparudra, the Kakatiya ruler of Warangal and the Sultan of Delhi. Muhammad-bin-Tughluq led several expeditions against Kampila since he had sheltered the rebel refugee Bahau’d-Din Garshasp. Kampila and hi. son fell fight ing and the kingdom became a province of the Delhi empire in about AD 1326-27.

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