By editor - 2.2 2022

This is the place where Lord Rama met his dear most servant Hanuman.

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.


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).


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.

History of Hampi

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.


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 banks of Tunghabhadra, in Andhra Pradesh is some 150 km away.

Important sites at and near Hampi

Hampi has various notable Hindu temples, some of which are still active places of worship. Among the most notable are:

Virupaksha Temple

Virupaksha Temple: Known as the Pampapathi temple, it is a Shiva temple situated in the Hampi Bazaar. It predates the founding of the Vijayanagar Empire. The temple has a 160-foot (49 m) high tower at its entrance. Apart from Shiva, the temple complex also contains shrines of the Hindu goddesses Bhuvaneshwari and Pampa.

The Virupaksha temple, located at the foot of the hill called Hemakuta Hill, is the core of the village of Hampi. The temple, often called Pampapathi temple, is the most sacred of the temples of this place.

Historically speaking, this temple has an uninterrupted history from about the 7th century. The temple contains the shirines of Lord Shiva, Pampa and Bhuvaneshwari. It was once a small shrine, in course of time, developed into a large complex under the Vijayanagara rulers. At present, the main temple consists of a sanctum, three ante chambers, a pillared hall and a Mukhamantapa also called Rangamantapa or an open pillared hall. A pillared cloister, entrance gateways, courtyards, attendant shrines and other manttapas surround the temple. In 1510 A.D. Krishnadevaraya added the above-mentioned Rangamantapa.

The Rangamantapa consists of 38 pillars, relieved with sculptures. These pillars are divided into two vertical sections – the first is cut to resemble a rearing Yali – a mythical lion, standing on a Makara, while the second section is basically square with small relief, depicting mostly Shaiva themes. These pillars are aesthetically composed and skilfully constructed.

The central ceiling of the Rangamantapa is of substantial size. The ceiling as well as the beams supporting the ceilings is covered with painted panels. The panel depicts themes from the Mahabharatha, the Ramayana and the Shiva Puranas as well as from the contemporary life.

Virupaksha Bazaar

Starting at the entrance of the temple is Virupaksha Bazaar or market, largest of the many bazaars of Vijayanagara. Each major Temple complex had its own bazaar around which a township developed. This is the only bazaar around which a township of a sort still exists. This bazaar is flanked by the main gopura of Virupaksha temple called Bishtappa’s gopura on the one end and the monolithic Nandi at the other end. The 9 storied, 53 meters high gopura adds elegance to the 732 meters long and 28 meters wide Virupaksha Bazaar.

The other temple of significance in this complex is the shrine for Goddess Bhuvaneshwari. This shrine was rebuilt in the Vijayanagara days, over an 11th century temple. This temple is chiefly noted for its marvelously worked door-frame, pillars and articulately chiselled ceiling panels.

In the basement of the temple is a shrine with a deity of Lord Vishnu holding scale, said to be for weighing the merits between the holy places of Kashi and Pampa Kshetra, which wins out.

Balakrishna Temple

Balakrishna Temple

Krishnadevaraya built this temple in 1513 A.D. to commemorate his victory over Prataparudra Gajapati, the ruler of Orissa. During the battle he seized deity of child Krishna and brought it to Vijayanagara as war trophy. He then built this temple to consecrate the deity. An inscription describing the conquest and the consecration of this temple on 16 February 1515 by Krishnadevaraya is found on a slab in front of this temple. Built in the centre of a courtyard, the temple possesses a sanctum, an antechamber, an ardhamandapa, a circumambulatory passage, a pillared hall with three entrances and an open pillared mandapa, in addition to a number of other shrines for the attendant deities. The sanctum is at present empty. The image of Balakrishna showing him as a child holding butter in the right hand is now resting in the Government Museum at Madras.

The inner sides of the entrance exhibit beautifully sculptured apsaras standing on mysterious animals and holding scrolls filled with panels showing the ten incarnations of the Lord. Like all major temple complexes, Krishnapura, a suburb, is developed around this temple. The bazaar in front is now a lush paddy field.

Shri Vijaya Vitthala Temple

Shri Vijaya Vitthala Temple

If one wants to witness the competition between man and Vishwakarma (the Architect God of Hindus), this is the place on earth. Any number of words would fail to do justice to this wonderful monument dedicated to Lord Vitthala or Lord Vishnu. Legend has it that Lord Vishnu found it too grand to live in and thus returned to his own humble home. The Stone Chariot is situated to the east of the temple hall. By far, this is the most amazing monument in Hampi and is portrayed as the icon for Hampi.

History- The construction of this temple started during the reign of King Krishna Deva Raya in the year 1513 AD. The project was so colossal that the additions continued for almost five decades until the Empire fell down in the year 1565 AD and was never completed.

Architecture: Built mainly on the original Dravidian temple architecture, this temple has all those which a typical south Indian temple would have. There is a small main inner sanctum where the deities are placed. Only the chief priest of the temple is permitted inside this sanctum. The smaller sanctum is followed by a bigger outer shrine where the general public is allowed. The monumental decoration of the temple can be seen mainly in this bigger outer house.

The temple stands, within high walls with 3 gateways on the east, south and north. The temple stands on a strong stone basement with richly carved designs of the King’s army and dancing girls. The dancing halls and kalyanamandapas in the corners are equally worth noticing.

The carvings on this temple give an insight into the architectural splendor achieved by the artisans of Vijayanagara Empire. The temple consists of 56 musical pillars. When tapped gently, these pillars produce musical sounds. These pillars are popularly known as Musical Pillars or SaReGaMa pillars after the sapthaswaras of the Indian classical music. The British wanted to check the reason behind this wonder and so they had cut two pillars to check anything was there inside the pillars that were producing the sound. They had found nothing but hollow pillars. Even today we can see those pillars cut by the British.

To the east of the hall is the famous Stone Chariot with stone wheels that actually revolve. In front of the shrine stands the great mandapa.

The road leading to the temple was once a market where the horses were traded. Even today we can see the ruins of the market on both the sides of the road. The temple contains the images of foreigners like Persians selling horses.

Hazari Rama Temple

Hazari Rama Temple

This temple for Lord Rama is popularly called “Hazari Rama Temple” or “Hazara Rama Temple” because of the large number of Ramayana panels on the walls. This temple is believed to have been the private place of worship of the Royal family. It was originally called Hajana Rama, which in Telugu means “the palace temple.”

Originally, the temple consisted of a sanctum, an ardhamandapa and a pillared hall to which an open porch with tall and elegant pillars was added subsequently. A high wall encloses the entire complex with the main entrances set on the east. To the south is a small doorway, which leads to the Durbar Area. The pillar hall is notable for its unique pillars in black-stone. They are set on a raised stone platform in the middle of the hall.The tall and elegant pillars of the open porch also worth a second look. The other structures in this temple complex are a shrine for Devi and Utsava mandapa.

As the name indicates, this temple is famous for its many Ramayana panels. This is the only temple in Hampi where the exterior walls have boldly chiseled bas-reliefs. These bas-reliefs are narrative in nature. The Ramayana epic is carved in detail. Incidents in the story like Dasaratha performing a sacrifice to beget sons, the birth of Rama, his exile into the forest, the abduction of Sita and the ultimate fight between Rama and Ravana are all carved in a vivid manner. In these panels, the story of Rama and through it the triumph of good over evil is brought out. The genesis of Hampi dates back to the age Ramayana when it was the monkey kingdom Kishkindha.

On the wall of the god’s sanctum are two rare depictions of Vishnu as the Buddha. Though the temple is small it is a fine example of the skill of Vijayanagara’s sculptors. Only master craftsmen can coax filigree and lace out of Deccan stone.

Kadalekalu Ganesha Temple

On the slope of Hemakuta Hill, near the Sasivekalu Ganesha is another monolith called in the same vein, the Kadalekalu (gram seed) Ganesha. The huge seated Ganesha, carved in the round out of a massive boulder, is about 4.5 meters high and is housed in a large shrine with a fine open pillared mandapa in front. The temple also forms one of the important vintage points from which a good and picturesque view could be had of the Hampi monuments.

Matanga Hill

The visitor who makes an effort to climb this hill will be rewarded with a breath taking view of the Hampi landscape. One will then appreciate the forethought of Vijayanagara rulers in choosing Hampi as their capital. A beautiful view of the Achyuta Raya Temple can be seen from the top of this hill.

The name to Matanga Hill comes after the Sage Matanga who used to live on this hill in Treta Yuga, the period of Ramayana. It is also the place where Sugriva benefited from the magical protection of the sage Matanga who had placed a curse of death on Vali, if he dared enter the area of Matanga Hill.

Sasivekalu Ganesha Temple

On the slope of Hemakuta Hill beyond the Krishna Temple, there are two huge stone images of Ganesha. First one is the Sasivekalu Ganesha about 2.4 metres tall and ironically named as Sasivekalu or mustard seed. The potbelly of the god is in the shape of mustard seed and hence the name (Sasivekalu means of mustard seed in the local language). The god is seated in a large open mandapa with plain rough square pillars. The right hands hold the ankusa and broken tusk, while the upper left holds a looped pasa or noose. The lower left hand and the trunk are broken. The belly is tied with a snake. This Ganesha is fashioned out of a single boulder in sitting position.

Prasanna Virupaksha Temple

More popularly known as underground Virupaksha temple, this is situated to the west of the Danaik’s enclosure. A large broken loose slab containing an inscription which records a grant to the temple of Prasanna Virupaksha by King Krishnadeva Raya on the occasion of his coronation.

Malyavanta Raghunathaswamy

On the road toward the Kampli, stands the temple of Malyavanta Raghunathaswamy. It is here where Lord Rama and Lakshmana stayed for the rainy season after Sugriva had been installed on the throne. It was also here where Rama and Lakshmana stayed while Hanuman went to search for Sita. The main one of which has a sanctuary with images in black stone Rama and Lakshmana who are in sitting positions, with a standing Sita, and Hanuman kneeling near Them carved from a boulder. The scene is said to depict how Rama and Lakshmana were dismayed and discussing the means to save kidnapped Sita.

Down the hill from here heading west is Madhuvan, which has a little temple of Hanuman. It was here where the monkeys were stopped to enjoy the gardens of fruit after Sita had been found.

Ugra Narasimha

Ugra Narasimha

Nearby is the 6.7m tall monolith of Ugra Narasimha. An inscription nearby states that it was hewn from a single boulder in 1528 during the reign of Krishnadeva Raya. Lakshmi Narasimha : This giant monolithic statue of the man-lion god is the largest icon in Hampi. Narasimha which is one of the ten avatars (incarnation) of lord Vishnu is depicted in a cross-legged seated position. It’s believed that the original image contained his consort Lakshmi sitting on his lap. This image was destroyed during the enemy invasion. Currently only a hand of the goddess resting on his waist can be seen.

Nearby is a shrine with huge three meter high Shiva linga called Badavilinga. It is permanently surrounded by water that comes through an ancient channel.

King’s Balance

Hampi is also full of surprises: like the King’s Balance where kings were weighed against grain, gold or money which was then distributed to the poor, the Queen’s Bath, a swimming pool, 50 ft.long and 6 ft.deep, with its arched corridors, projecting balconies and lotus-shaped fountains that once sprouted perfumed water, the two-storeyed

Lotus Mahal

Lotus Mahal

Shaped like a lotus flower from top, this two-story structure has beautiful arc ways set in geometric regularity. It was an air-cooled summer palace of the queen.

Elephant Stables: This huge stable, a beautiful example of Hindu-Muslim style of architecture, housed about 11 elephants in separate compartments.

Elephant Stables

Achyuta Raya Temple

This temple can be reached either from Kodanda Rama Temple through the Bazaar wrongly called “Soolai Bazaar” or “Courtesan Street” or from the Virupaksha Bazaar by climbing the steps next to the monolithic Nandi at the end of the bazaar. Achyutaraya Temple is a large complex built by an officer of the King Achyutaraya, Salakaraju Tirumaladeva. This temple is better known as Achyutaraya temple, in whose period it was built rather than the name of the deity “Tiruvengalanatha” or Lord Venkateshwara.

Hemakuta Hill

Hemakuta Hill, south of the Virupaksha temple, contains early ruins, Jain temples and a monolithic sculpture of Lord Narasimha, a form of Lord Vishnu. Hemakuta Hill offers excellent view of Hampi Bazaar.

Lord Shiva did penance on the Hemakuta Hill before he married Parvati. This was also the place where Lord Shiva burnt Kama, the god of lust. This sacred hill lies to the proper right of the Virupaksha Temple.

Kodanda Rama Temple

The Kodanda Rama Temple is situated towards the east of Hampi at the end of the Virupaksha Bazaar. A small pathway from Virupaksha Bazaar at the east end leads along the river bank to Kodanda Rama temple. This temple faces Chakrathirtha, the most sacred bathing ghat in the river.

The spot marks the place where Lord Rama crowned Sugriva as the King of Kishkhinda. The rectangular “GarbhaGriha” of the temple contains about 15 feet tall standing figures of Lord Rama, Sita and Lakshmana. These Deities are carved out of a natural boulder.

Just behind the temples of Kodanda Rama are the temples for Sudarshana in the shape of a human figure with sixteen hands and Yantrodharaka Anjaneya or Hanuman.

Pattabhirama Temple

The temple is about 0.8 kilometres to the east of Kamalapura. Though it contains two inscriptions of King Achyuta Raya, its date is not clearly determinable.

The east-facing sanctum is a tri-talavimana with an antarala, ardha-mandapa and maha-mandapa. The large and square maha-mandapa is a finely proportioned seven aisled structure with tall and slender composite pillars of various types.

Pampa Sarovar is a lake in Koppal district near Hampi in Karnataka. To the south of the Tungabhadra river, it is considered sacred by Hindus and is one of the five sacred sarovars, or lakes in India. Pampa Sarovar is regarded as the place where Pampa, a form of Shiva’s consort Parvati, performed penance to show her devotion to Shiva. The Pampa Ambika temple next to the kund is small.

Pampa Sarovar

It is also one of the Sarovar that finds a mention in the Hindu epic, Ramayana, Pampa Sarovar is mentioned as the place where Shabari (also Shabri), a disciple of the Rishi Matanga, directed Rama as he journeyed southwards on his quest to redeem Sita, his wife, from the demon king Ravana. According to the story, Shabari, a pious devotee of Rama, prayed faithfully everyday to see Rama. She lived in the ashram of her guru, Matanga in the place now known as Matanga Parvat, in Hampi. Before her guru Matanga Rishi died he told her she would certainly see Rama. After his death, Shabari continued to live in the ashram awaiting Rama. Many years passed by and Shabari became an old woman, before Rama stopped at the ashram on his journey to Lanka. She proceeded to feed Rama and his brother Lakshmana. Touched by her piety Rama and Lakshmana bowed down at her feet. Then, they narrated to her the incident of Sita’s kidnapping and Shabari suggested that they seek help from Hanuman and Sugriva of the monkey kingdom who lived further south near the Pampa Lake.

Five hundred years ago Lord Caitanya came here too:

(a) Chaitanya Charitamrita Madhya lila 9.311 :
“dhanus-tirthadekhi’ karila nirvindhya tesnaners yamuka-giriaila dandakaranye” – Lord Caitanya next arrived at Dhanus-tirtha, where He took His bath in the river Nirvindhya. He then arrived at Rsyamuka Mountain and then went to Dandakaranya.
Purport: According to some opinions, Rsyamuka is a chain of mountains beginning at the village of Hampi-grama in the district of Belari. The mountain chain begins along the bank of the river Tungabhadra, which gradually reaches the state of Hyderabad;
(b) Chaitanya Charitamrita 9.316:
“prabhuasi’ kailapampa-sarovaresnanapancavatiasi, tahankarilavisrama”-
Eventually Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu arrived at a lake known as Pampa, where He took His bath. He then went to a place called Pancavati, where He rested.
PURPORT- According to some, the old name of the Tungabhadra river was Pamba. According to others, Vijaya-nagara, the capital of the state, was known as Pampatirtha. According to still others, the lake near Anagundi, in the direction of Hyderabad, is Pampa-sarovara. The river Tungabhadra also flows through there. There are many different opinions about the lake called Pampa-sarovara.

Lord Nityananda’s Traveling to the Holy Places: “Lord Nityananda next took bath in the Gomati, Gandaki, and Sona Rivers. He also climbed the top of Mahendra Mountain. There He offered obeisances to Lord Parasurama. He also visited Haridvara, the source of the Ganges. The Lord took bath in Pampa, Bhimarathi, Venva, and Vipasa Rivers.” and in Vrindavanadasa Thakur’s Sri Chaitanya Bhagavat, Adi Lila Chapter 9: “Thereafter Sri Nityananda went to Gomati and bathed in the waters of Gandaki and Sona. He climbed the Mahendra Hill where He offered obeisances to Lord Parasurama. From there He travelled to Haridvara, the source of Mother Ganga. He visited Pampa, Bhima, Godavari, Benva and in the Bipasa (or Vyasa) river He remained submerged in the water for a while.”

Pampa sarovar is also famous for the pushtimarg vaishnavas, where in Srimad Vallabhacahrya had performed Srimad Bhagavad in the 16th century.

Anjaneya Hill

This hill top Hanuman temple, is believed to be the birthplace of Hanuman and is located in the center of Anegundi area (original Kishkinda). You can see this hill from the Hampi side of the river as you trek along the Kampa Bhups’s (the riverside trek) Path.

At the top of the hill is the temple dedicated for Hanuman. He was born to Anjana. Thus Hanuman is also known as Anjaneya and his birthplace as Anjaneyadri (Anjaneya’s hill). On the way up there is one place called kesaritirtha, the cave where Hanuman’s father Kesari, had lived.

The deity of Hanuman is carved on the rock. Also is the small shrine for Rama and his consort Sita inside the temple.

In Anegudi is the old Raghunatha temple where worship still continues. In sanctum there is small Vishnu deity about three feet long reclining on Seshanaga. In the back of the temple on the right side is a separate shrine to Lakshmi. Not far from the temple is the Samadhi tomb of Madhvacarya’s disciple Narahari Tirtha.

Hampi Yantroddhara Anjaneya Temple

Situated right behind the Kodanda Rama Temple near the Chakrathirtha, Yantroddhara Anjaneya Temple, also known as Yantroddharaka Anjaneya Temple is one of the most sacred places in Hampi. The temple is dedicated to Lord Hanuman. The temple has a very interesting story behind its origin.

Sri Vyasathirtha, a great scholar saint during the reign of King Krishna Deva Raya used to go to very calm spots on the banks of river Tungabhadra and meditate uninterrupted. One day, while he was meditating in a hillock near Chakratirtha, an image of Lord Hanuman kept coming to his mind. This happened only at that particular spot and nowhere else, even in nearby hillocks.

Sri Madhvacharya (believed to be an incarnation of Lord Hanuman) appeared in the dreams of Sri Vyasathirtha and instructed him to install a deity of Lord Anjaneya (Hanuman) next time. The next time Sri Vyasathirtha saw the image in the middle of his meditation, without any delay, he drew the image from his mind on to a rock using an Angara (coal used by Brahmins during Pooja performance). To his surprise, a monkey came to life from the rock and jumped out of the rock and his drawing would disappear. He repeated the process of drawing and every time, a monkey would jump out of the rock and the drawing would disappear. This happened 12 times.

Full of surprise, Sri Vyasathirtha finally decided to bind the image of Lord Hanuman in a Yantra. A small temple was built there and hence the temple has the name Yantroddhara Anjaneya. In the core of the Yantra is the statue of Lord Hanuman in Padmasana position. This is probably the only temple of Lord Hanuman in a sitting position which is generally in a flying or blessing position. The Yantra here is a form of binding which looks like a 6 cornered star. The star is encircled in a circle with flames going outwards giving it the drawing look of a sun. A closed, benzene like ring of 12 monkeys holding each others’ tails can also be found around the star and the sun which forms the outermost structure of the yantra.

It’s the place where, Hanuman first saw Lord Rama and Lakshmana.

Sugriva’s Cave

Sugriva’s Cave

Located almost on the river shore, this is a naturally formed cave by huge boulders one leaning over the other.

It’s believed that this is the place where Sugreeva lived. He used the cave to hide the jewels dropped by Sita, when the demon king Ravana abducted her. Later Sugreeva met Rama & Laxmana nearby the riverside searching for Sita. The colored pattern at the rock in locale parlance called Sitakonda. It depicts the pattern on the costume of Sita. Near the cave at the riverside Sugriva met Lord Rama and Lakshmana when they came here in search of goddess Sita.

A number of carved footprints can be seen on the floor of this flat surface. This depicts the footprints of Rama & Lakshmana. Notice them carefully.

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.

The Royal insignia of the Vijayanagara

Vijayanagara Empire:

Sangama Dynasty:

[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

Lord Ramachandra in Kishkinda – Hampi

The Glories of Lord Ramachandra

[Lord Ramachandra in Kishkinda]

(Back to Godhead article by H.H Satsvarup das Goswami)
Millions of years ago, according to Vedic sources, the Supreme Lord appeared on this planet as the warrior Ramachandra, in order to execute His will and display the pastimes of the Personality of Godhead. As it is stated in the Bhagavad Gita, “From time to time I come, in order to vanquish the demons and rescue the devotees.
The Pastimes of Lord Rama are revealed in the famous vedic scripture called “The Ramayana”, written by Sri Valmiki. Before being empowered to write The Ramayana, Valmiki had been a plunderer; but, by the grace of the great saint Narada, he became a Vaishnava that is, a worshipper of the Personality of Godhead. Narada had first asked Valmiki to please chant the Name of the Lord, but Valmiki had replied that he would not. He was a murderer, and so what had he to do with chanting God’s Name? Narada then asked him to meditate on his murders, by saying the name of “Mara, which means death. Valmiki agreed to this, and meditated on “Mara”. “By rapid repetition of the word Mara, Mara, Mara he found himself saying Rama, Rama, Rama, and by the power of reciting the Holy Name of God, his heart became purified.
The Ramayana is written down as an historical epic, but it contains all the information of the original Vedas. Vedic literature such as The Ramayana and The Mahabharata (of which the famed Bhagavad Gita is a chapter), are especially recommended for this age, even more so than the highly intricate vedas, or the philosophical thesis of the vedanta sutra all of which are prone to misinterpretation by the fallen mentality of this age of quarrel.
So diminished is the capacity for receiving God consciousness in this age that The Bhagavad Gita, which was set down 5000 years ago and was especially intended for the less intelligent, is today not understood by the greatest so-called scholars. These men generally attempt interpretations of the Gita leaving out the importance of the Personality of Godhead, Krishna, Who is the essence, Speaker, and goal of the Gita.
Lord Ramachandra appeared on this earth as a man. This means that He actually walked the earth. What is written in The Ramayana, we should note here, is best understood as it is. When the pastimes of the Supreme Personality of Godhead are narrated, there can be no question of allusion to a higher principle. Allegory means that there is a truth higher than the literal sense of a given text. But the highest realization of spiritual perfection is that the Absolute Truth is a Person which precludes any possibility of going beyond Him. God means the Highest Reality. He is the One from whom everything emanates. Although He appeared as a man out of kindness to His devotees, Ramachandra is the Supreme Lord. His history is, therefore, very marvellous and filled with wondrous feats, as we’ll see.
Ramachandra was the son of King Dasarath, in the line of King Ikshaku, the first ruler of earth, and an early recipient of the Bhakti Yoga system of The Bhagavad Gita. Lord Rama was the darling of His father and mother, Queen Kausalya, as well as the hero and darling of all Ayodha, the capital of what was then the single world kingdom.

Sita Ram Lakshman and Hanuman

Rama had all the admirable qualities of leadership, even from earliest youth. Ramachandra possessed all physical strength, all beauty, religious wisdom in submission to truth, fame for prowess with weapons, royal wealth, and complete renunciation. He played the part of a human, and yet His stature as a human was praised by all His contemporaries as being worthy of the gods.
Inseparable from Rama was Lakshman, His younger brother. Lakshman was born of Sumitra, one of the 350 queens of King Dasarath. His position is like that of Rama’s Own Self, and nothing is dearer to Rama than Lakshman. Together, the two brothers appeared on earth to vanquish the almost invincible atheist King Ravana and his numberless host of rakshasa (man-eating) warriors.
Ramachandra is described as being of greenish hue, His bodily lustre like fresh green grass. And Lakshman is golden-hued. Lakshman is as attractive and as a formidable warrior as Rama Himself. During the course of one of the blood-drenched battles against Ravana’s army, Lakshman was rendered unconscious by rakshasa magic, and at that time Rama gave vent to a spontaneous expression of love for Lakshman: “If I lose kingdom that I can bear, but I could not bear the loss of Lakshman! I cannot go on if Lakshman is lost to Me!“ Lakshman was likewise dedicated to the service of his brother, and had no other pleasure than to please Ramachandra.
Sita, the wife of Rama, is not considered an ordinary being. It is understood that, as Lord Ramachandra was Vishnu, the Supreme Lord Himself, so Sita was actually Lakshmi, the Goddess of fortune, who serves eternally at the feet of Vishnu in the spiritual sky. Being the daughter of the royal saint Janaka, she is also sometimes called Janaki. Actually, Janaka found Sita when she was a baby. He had been plowing a field, and he upturned her in a clod of earth. It is stated in The Ramayana that Sita came to earth for the destruction of Ravana, who was a villifier of married women. As Ramachandra was the greatest warrior and expounder of religion and morality, so Sita was the greatest beauty among women, and the most chaste.
Valmiki compares the sight of Rama and Sita together to the moon and the brightest star. The Ramachandra worshipper, therefore, never makes the mistake of thinking Sita an ordinary wife. Throughout the Ramayana, the poetry again and again turns to images of the various moods of natural beauty in the jungle, in the sky, and in the night with its wonderful galaxies for comparisons to the loveliness of Sita. And always the worshipper addresses first Sita, and then Rama like Sita-Rama.
Kidnapping of Sita by Ravan and Lord Rama’s alliance with the monkeys:

Hanuman Carrying Lord Rama and Lakshmana

In the absence of Sita, Ramachandra was plunged into unalloyed grief. He was crazed, and His understanding appeared clouded. He was going through the forest asking the flowers and trees if they had seen His wife. He feared that she had been eaten by the rakshasas. He and Lakshman searched everywhere. Rama questioned the sun: “Where has My darling gone? “ He asked the wind if she were dead or alive or stolen, or had he seen her on any path?
Lakshman attempted to draw off Ramachandra’s despair by sensible words, but he was paid no attention. Finally the brothers found signs of Sita, pieces of clothing torn while resisting Ravana, and ornaments which had fallen from her as she rose up in his chariot. They also found the bloodied dying body of Jatayu, the ancient king of birds, who had made a valiant attempt to stop Ravana’s might. Frothing in his last blood, Jatayu informed Ramachandra that it was Ravana, the king of the rakshasas, who had taken Sita. The brothers got further information that they could obtain the help needed to find Ravana’s kingdom by making alliance with Sugriva, the king of the vanaras, a monkey race who lived in the Pampa region of rivers and lakes.
This chief of the monkeys, Sugriva, beholding Ramachandra and Lakshman within his province, was at once fearful. The Vanaras were taking refuge from their enemy Vali, who was the chief’s brother, and Sugriva thought that Rama and Lakshman had come to do some harm, as they appeared so formidable with their weapons. The monkeys ranged from peak to peak, and joined their leader for a conference on what to do about the two mighty young men who were walking amongst the trees and lakes. The chief counsellor to the King, named Hanuman, assured Sugriva that their enemy Vali had no access to the Pampa region. Therefore, why should they fear these two godlike warriors?

Hanuman approached Rama and Lakshman on behalf of the king, and with eloquent words invited them to meet with the monkey chieftain. Rama was at once delighted with the eloquent speech and appearance of Hanuman, and a meeting was arranged. Seated on giant Sala leaves, Rama, Hanuman, Lakshman and Sugriva spoke out their hearts and concluded a pact of honorable friendship.
Sugriva narrated how he had become confined to this region of the Pampas in fear of his life, having been deprived of his kingdom by his brother Vali. Ramachandra acknowledged that the expression of friendship is good service, and He agreed to kill Vali, who had also abducted the wife of Sugriva. Rama accepted the hand of Sugriva in embrace, and the monkey chief promised to aid Rama in His search for Sita by employing his vast, worldwide army of Vanaras.
Sugriva, however, had some doubts that Rama could actually subdue Vali. In order to assure him, Rama Chandra shot one arrow which traversed through seven palm trees, a rock, through the innermost region of the Earth and in a minute returned to Rama Chandra’s quiver! He then set out, and soon met Vali, and slew him.
After some delay, while Sugriva tasted the sensual pleasures of his regained kingdom, he mobilized his forces and sent them out to all quarters in search of Lanka, where Sita was imprisoned. But after months of futile searching, the armies began to lose hope. Some returned, and some dispersed in foreign lands. It was Hanuman alone who received information that the kingdom of Lanka was an island far across the Indian ocean.

Hanuman is eulogized by all sages and scholars of the vedic science of God, for Hanuman is the ideal servitor. He simply wanted to carry out the order of Ramachandra effectively. His career in finding Sita and battling the rakshasas on behalf of Ramachandra sets the highest spiritual standard, surpassing all mechanical yogic practitioners and speculative philosophers and scholars in search of the Absolute Truth.
It is clearly stated in “Teachings of Lord Chaitanya” by A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami, that at the last stage the highest spiritual perfection is favorable service unto the Personality of Godhead. The exact example of Hanuman is not to be imitated, but his service attitude is to be followed. That is, each of us has some capacity. Hanuman had the capacity of enormous physical strength and agility. He used every ounce of that strength, not in pursuit of sense gratification or for conquering some land or women, but in humble devotional service to the Lord of the senses, whom he worshipped exclusively as Lord Ramachandra. We should do likewise.
There cannot be any exaggeration in praising the stature and exploits of this formidable monkey warrior. He is not great because he was wonderfully powerful, but because he used all his strength even his anger in discharging service unto the Personality of Godhead in the matter of vanquishing Ravana.
Hanuman resolved to travel through the air in search of Janaki. He was the son of the wind god, Vayu, and thus had the facility for flight. Passage across the ocean is arduous, even for one who can fly like the wind, but Hanuman made it in one leap. His monkey brothers had gathered to watch him off. With a great contraction of strength, Hanuman stood at the edge of the sea and grasped a mountain in his arms. He held his breath and tightened all his limbs. He then spoke these words to his brothers, “I shall reach Lanka with the velocity of the wind, just like an arrow shot by Rama, and if I do not find Janaki there I shall at the same speed go to the region of the gods. And if I do not meet with success even there, then I shall uproot Lanka itself and bring Ravana here in bondage.
“With these words, he sprang up with ease. Like Garuda, the eagle of Vishnu, Hanuman flew over the water, raising great waves by his speed, and exposing the aquatics below, who fled in fear. At times rakshasas rose from the sea for his destruction, but he was not deterred in his mission. Sri Valmiki says that when Hanuman landed in Lanka and went over the city wall, it appeared as if he had planted his left foot on the crown of Ravana.
The perfection of Hanuman in action is open to anyone who will use to the full his own personal capacities in serving the Lord. There is a nice story that occured at the time Ramachandra and the monkeys were building a bridge across the ocean to reach Lanka. Hanuman and the other Vanaras were hefting huge boulders and throwing them into the sea. In the course of such tremendous labor, Hanuman spied an insignificant spider, who appeared to be brushing some specks of dust into the water with its back legs. “What are you doing, worthless?” Hanuman asked of the spider. “I am helping Ramachandra build His bridge” the spider replied.

Hanuman was about to move the spider out of the way of his own serious work, when Ramachandra interposed, saying, “What are you doing, Hanuman? This spider is worth as much as you are by doing his utmost for Me.

“The gist of this is that the topmost position of loving service unto God is made manifest by directly applying whatever you have in the way of words, thoughts and energy. And that will be accepted by the Lord as first class devotion.

Lord Ramachandra’s whole program was based on the concept of the ideal king, and it is in that light that we can best understand Him. As the perfect ruler, Ramachandra followed the principles of morality and ethics just as they should be followed by the perfect human king or ruler. Ramachandra submitted Himself to those principles, though He was actually the Supreme Personality of Godhead, and not subject to any moral code. At this instance He showed that a good leader must think only of the welfare of his people, setting aside his entire life for that purpose, with no private pleasures withheld.
A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada explains the mood of the Lord in His Appearance as Ramachandra: “The comparative studies on the life of Krishna and Ramachandra are very intricate, but the basic principle is that Ramachandra appeared as an ideal king, and Krishna appeared as the Supreme Personality of Godhead, although there is actually no difference between the Two. A similar example is that of Lord Chaitanya. He appeared as a devotee and not as the Supreme Personality of Godhead, although He is Krishna Himself. So we should accept the Lord’s mood in His particular Appearance, and we should worship Him in that mood. Our service should be compatible with the attitude of the Lord. Therefore, in the shastras, there are specific injunctions, such as: The method to worship Lord Chaitanya is chanting Hare Krishna.

Lord Ramachandra and their Associates

Sri Valmiki declares that he who always listens to this epic becomes absolved from sins. He who listens with due respect meets with no obstacles in life. He will live happily with his near and dear ones, and get his desired boons from Ramachandra, the eternal Vishnu, the Personality of Godhead.