Hampi – Karnataka

Hampi (Hampe) is a village and temple town recognised as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, listed as the Group of Monuments at Hampi.[2] in northern Karnataka, India. It is located within the ruins of the city ofVijayanagara, the former capital of the Vijayanagara Empire. Predating the city of Vijayanagara, Hampi continues to be an important religious centre, housing the Virupaksha Temple and several other monuments belonging to the old city.

History

Emperor Ashoka‘s Rock Edicts in Nittur & Udegolan (both in Bellary district) suggest that this region was part of the Maurya Empire during the 3rd century BC. A Brahmi inscription and a terracotta seal dating to the II century CE were also recovered from the excavation site.[4] The first settlements in Hampi date from 1 CE.[5] Immediately before the rise of the Vijayanagara kings, the region was probably in the hands of chiefs of Kampili, now a small town, 19 km east of Hampi.[4]

Hampi was one of the best areas of the capital of the Vijayanagara Empire from 1343 to 1565, when it was besieged by the Deccan Muslim confederacy.[2] 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.

The ruins of Hampi were surveyed in 1800 by Scottish Colonel Colin Mackenzie, first Surveyor General of India.

The site is significant historically and architecturally. The landscape abounds with large stones which have been used to make statues of Jaina deities. The Archaeological Survey of India continues to conduct excavations in the area.[6]

The Islamic Quarter, sometimes called the Moorish Quarter, is located between the northern slope of the Malyavanta hill and the Talarigatta Gate. According to archaeologists, high-ranking Muslim officers of the king’s court and military officers lived in this area.[7]

Geography

Hampi is situated on the banks of the Tungabhadra River. It is 353 km from Bangalore and 74 km from Bellary. Hosapete (Hospet), 13 km away, is the nearest railway head. Guntakal Jn S.C.Railway just 99 km from Guntakal, which is also on the banks of Tunghabhadra, in AP is some 150 km away.The principal industries of the village are agriculture, the support of the Virupaksha temple and some other local holy places in the vicinity, as well as tourism. The annual Hampi Utsav or “Vijaya Festival” has been celebrated since the reign of Vijayanagara. It is organized by the Government of Karnataka as Nada Festival.[8]

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