A small quaint village in the middle of the Deccan Plateau, in the middle of South India, Hampi is believed to be Kishkindha, the monkey kingdom, home of King Sugreeva and Hanuman mentioned in the Ramayana. The first historical settlements in Hampi date back to 1 AD. It is also believed to be a location where Lord Shiva came to meditate.
Hampi, the capital city of Vijayanagara Empire, was the largest Hindu empire of its time, and also one of the largest trading centres of the world. The markets in Hampi were always crowded with merchants from all over the world to barter their goods in exchange of spices and cotton, grown abundantly in the area. Rubies, diamonds and all precious stones were sold on the streets. Gold and silver were the currencies. There were 7 main market places – one for each day of the week.
Hampi was destroyed in 1565 by the Deccan Muslim confederacy and was looted for a period of 6 months. The temples were destroyed and the markets were plundered.
Today, Hampi’s ruins, spread over an area of 26 sq Km is a awe-inspiring and incredibly picturesque boulder strewn river-scape. The Archaeological Survey of India continues to conduct excavations in the area, to discover additional artifacts and temples. UNESCO’s World Heritage Status was conferred to Hampi in 1986.
Visit Hampi on our South Indian Odyssey Tour and our Heartlands of India tour..