Hampi is a village located in the north of Karnataka, amongst the ruins of the former capital of the Vijayanagara Empire, Vijayanagara. The town lies on the banks of the Tungabhadra River, 74 km away from Bellary. It is located atop a rugged terrain, 467 m above sea level.
The place is a significant religious centre of the Vijayanagara Empire due to the presence of the historic Virupaksha Temple along with many other monuments of the old city. UNESCO has listed the Vittal Temple and other ruins of the town of Hampi as a World Heritage Site.
The history of Hampi is related with the historical Kishkindha, which is known for the ‘Vanara’ or Monkey Kingdom, whose reference is also there in the epic Ramayana. Hampi was the settlement of main areas of the Vijayanagara Empire since 1336 to 1565. After this, these areas were persecuted by the Deccan Muslim Confederacy due to the decisive location of Hampi with the Tungabhadra River on one side and hills on the other three sides.
The Archaeological Survey of India and other researchers also take deep interest in the place due to its historical and architectural significance. The region of Hampi is full of large stones, out of which the statues of Hindu gods and goddesses have been crafted. The town is also an important mining site due to the presence of several mineral deposits in this region.
The place hosts the annual Vijayanagara Festival, organised every January by the Government of Karnataka. Popularly known as Hampi Utsav or Hampi Festival. This cultural affair is a mix of dance, music, drama, processions and a host of other events which take visitors back to the grandeur of the bygone days of the Vijaynagara Empire.
Along with this, the town is also famous for the Purandara Festival, which is held around the end of January to celebrate the birth anniversary of the poet Purandar, in the Vittal Temple.
The popular Virupaksha Temple situated near the Hampi Bazaar is one of the oldest monuments of the town. Its top is 50 m from the ground with its main Shrine being dedicated to the Virupaksha form of Lord Shiva.
The Hemakuta Hill located at the south of this temple contains early ruins of the Jain Temples and a colossal idol of Lord Narasimha. The sightseeing areas of Hampi are divided into two regions namely the Hampi Bazaar and the Royal Centre, near Kamalapuram. The World Heritage Site of Hampi, the Vittal Temple, is located 2 km east of the Hampi Bazaar.
Located at a distance of 60 km Bellary domestic airport, serves as the closest airport. Bangalore International Airport is the nearest international Airport at a distance of 350 km. Tourists can avail taxis from Bellary to Hampi and from Bangalore to Hampi. Bangalore airport is well connected to all major cities of India. Hospet railway station, at a distance of 13 km from Hampi is the nearest railhead. Hospet is well connected to Bangalore, Hyderabad and other major cities in Karnataka and neighboring states. Hampi is well connected by road through KSRTC bus services.