Hampi

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By editor - 16.10 2020

Introduction

Hampi-is a village in northern Karnataka state, India. It is located within the ruins of Vijayanagara, the former capital of the Vijayanagara Empire. Predating the city of Vijayanagara, it continues to be an important religious centre, housing the Virupaksha Temple, as well as several other monuments belonging to the old city. The ruins are a UNESCO World Heritage Site, listed as the Group of Monuments at Hampi.

Etymology

The name was derived from Pampa, which is the old name of the Tungabhadra river on whose banks the city was built. The name “Hampi” is an anglicized version of the Kannada Hampe (derived from Pampa). Over the years, it has also been referred to as Vijayanagara and Virupakshapura (from Virupaksha, the patron deity of the Vijayanagara rulers).

History

Hampi is identified with the historical Kishkindha, the Vanara (monkey) kingdom mentioned in the Ramayana. The first historical settlements in Hampi date back to 1 CE.

Saint Vidyaranya established the seat of Vijayanagara Empire in 1336 A.D, with the help of his devotee disciples Harihara and Bukka. The empire later became famous for its support towards renovation/reconstruction of temples throughout India. It also became renowned for re-establishment of Indian culture, its support for music, art and literature. With the prime purpose of caring for the people and their welfare, this empire stretched physically covering Karnataka, Andhra and Maharashtra and became a by-word for golden rule.

HAMPI, the seat of the famed Vijayanagar Empire was the capital of the largest empire in post-mogul India, covering several states. The destruction of Vijayanagar by marauding Moghul invaders was sudden, shocking and absolute. They reduced the city to ruins amid scenes of savage massacre and horrors beggaring description.

Hampi formed one of the core areas of the capital of the Vijayanagara Empire from 1336 to 1565, when it was finally laid siege to by the Deccan Muslim confederacy. Hampi was chosen because of its strategic location, bounded by the torrential Tungabhadra river on one side and surrounded by defensible hills on the other three sides.

Geography

Hampi is situated on the banks of the Tungabhadra river. It is 353 km from Bangalore and 74 km away from Bellary. Hospet which is thirteen km away, is the nearest railway station. Mantralayam, which is also on the bank.

The History of Vijayanagar Empire

The typical version Hampi’s history starts with a popular folklore. Two local chieftains, Hakka & Bukka, report to their guru an unusual sight they saw during a hunting expedition. A hare chased by their hound suddenly turns courageous and start chasing back the hound.

Vidyaranya, the guru, tells them that the place is so special and asks them to establish Theirs local capital at this place. The seed of an empire was sown.

Over the next 200 plus years (1336 AD 1565 AD) four dynasties ruled Vijayanagar .

History of Vijayanagar’s had been a saga of resistance against the northern Sultanates as well as building of its spectacular capital in Hampi.

The capital was one major trading center. Anything from horses to gems was traded in Hampi. Art and architecture found its special place in Hampi. The rulers were great patrons of art and religion. Most of the kings associated names of their favorite gods with their names. Some of the kings were renowned for their ambitious projects.

King Krishnadeva Raya (1509-1529 AD) of the Tuluva Dynasty stands tall among the rest. During his regime the empire saw its peak.

By this time Vijayanagara Empire covered the whole of south India and beyond.

The Krishna Temple that you can visit in Hampi was commissioned by him to commemorate the victory over the Gajapathi kings of Utkala (in present day Orissa state).

The warring Deccan Sultanates could finally join together to defeat the Vijayanagara army at Talarikota, a place north of Hampi.

Vijayanagar army suffered heavy losses. The capital city was plundered, its population massacred. Treasure hunters ransacked its palaces and temples for months. Kings lost, capital fallen, population fled, Hampi turned into a ghost city. For centuries Hampi remained as a neglected place. This erstwhile metropolitan with more than half a million population slowly turned into a jungle where wild animals roamed freely.

The area came under many kings from time to time with the flow of history. But it was no more considered strategic and hence neglected.

A batch of school students at Virupaksha Temple.

During the colonial period, Hampi evoked some curiosity among the western archeologists. Robert Sewell’s (1845-1925), seminal work aptly titled as A Forgotten Empire :Vijayanagar was a major attempt to narrate the empire that was. In 1917, A.H. Longhurst’s Hampi Ruins described and illustrated became the first travel guide for the visitors to Hampi. UNESCO’s World Heritage Site was conferred to Hampi in 1986.

Currently Hampi’s monuments hundreds of them are popular among tourists, pilgrims and the area is one of the exotic locations for the bollywood and local film shootings. Jackie Chan film “Myth” was shot in the Hampi.

Sangama Dynasty:

Harihara Raya I 1336-1356
Bukka Raya I 1356-1377
Harihara Raya II 1377-1404
Virupaksha Raya 1404-1405
Bukka Raya II 1405-1406
Deva Raya I 1406-1422
Ramachandra Raya 1422
ViraVijayaBukka Raya 1422-1424
Deva Raya II 1424-1446
Mallikarjuna Raya 1446-1465
Virupaksha Raya II 1465-1485
Praudha Raya 1485

Saluva Dynasty:

Saluva Narasimha Deva Raya 1485-1491
ThimmaBhupala 1491
Narasimha Raya II 1491-1505

Tuluva Dynasty:

TuluvaNarasaNayaka 1491-1503
Viranarasimha Raya 1503-1509
Krishna Deva Raya 1509-1529
Achyuta Deva Raya 1529-1542
Sadashiva Raya 1542-1570

Aravidu Dynasty:

Aliya Rama Raya 1542-1565
Tirumala Deva Raya 1565-1572
Sriranga I 1572-1586
Venkata II 1586-1614
Sriranga II 1614-1614
Ramadeva 1617-1632
Venkata III 1632-1642
Sriranga III 1642-1646