Under the light of the rising sun one can enjoy the panoramic view of the ruined city of Vijayanagara, the granite surface of which is shining in gold. There are many peculiar shaped rocks heaped all over the area, which, according to myth, are stones thrown against enemies by the monkey god Hanuman, aiding prince Rama.
Besides the 12 principal temples, there are various shrines, watchtowers, colonnades, bath houses, fortresses, and palaces scattered around the vast area. Though it is a little later in age, Vijayanagara was a magnificent city that compared favorably with other renowned ruined cities in the Middle East and Southeast Asia, such as Thebes, Persepolis, and Angkor Thom.
he city on the south bank of the Tungabhadra River, long known as Vijayanagara, is nowadays called Hampi, which is the modern form in Kannada derived from Pampa, of the old name of the Tungabhadra River.
The indigenous goddess Pampa was identified with the Hindu goddess Parvati. The large Virupaksha Temple along the river, dedicated to her husband Shiva, is also called Pampapati Temple, and is still a living place of worship.
This ruined city, fortunately conserved and restored just as it was approaching extinction, embraces a great number of remains of temples and palaces in its vast area, almost as if it is an open air architectural museum, showing the essence of Dravidian style architecture in southern India.
Hampi was made the capital of the great Hindu Kingdom, which had been formed through the unity, after incessant conflicts with each other in south India, of the Hindu monarchies in order to confront the Islamic forces that had rapidly invaded the Deccan. It was in 1336 that the construction of this new capital began for the purpose of obstructing marching Islamic armies from north India.
Within 100 years this town grew into a metropolis guarded with strong ramparts and named Vijayanagara, meaning the ‘City of Victory.’ However, the conflicts with Islamic power continued for a long period and the capital had occasionally to beg the Portuguese governor of Goa for help.