Hills of bare rock rise beside the swift Tungabhadra River as it swirls and curves through a barren landscape strewn with giant boulders. In this daunting terrain, many centuries ago, rose a magnificent medieval city that rivalled the most famous cites of the world- the imperial Capial of Vijayanagar Kingdome “Hampi”. “The City carved in Stones”.
Hampi’s Mythological Pouranic dimensions appear to lie beyond the categories of historical times. The typical modern history of Hampi starts with a folklore. Two local Chieftains, Hakka & Bukka, reports to their Guru an unusual sight they saw during a hunting expedition. A Hare chased by their Hound suddenly turns courageous and start chasing the Hound. Sri Vidyaranya, The Guru, tells them that the place is very special and asks them to establish their local Capital at this place. The seed of an Empire was sown.
Hampi's mythological dimension lie beyond the categories of historical time. The name Hampi is evolved from Pampa, the ancient name of the river Tungabhadra. Pampa the 'mind born' daughter of Bhramha, the God of Creation was a devoted worshiper of Shiva, the God of Destruction. Impressed by the penance performed by her Lord Shiva offered her a boon and she opted to marry him! The place thus came to be known as Pampakshetra and Shiva as Pampa's Lord or Pampapathi. For pilgrims to Vijayanagara the most important aspect of the site is the association with various myths and legends. Many of the granite hills, caves and boulders of the Tungabhadra valley are linked with these stories, The Hemakuta Hill in Hampi is the place, according to the myth, Shiva did his penance before marrying Pampa. Kama, the God of Love, felt sympathy for Pampa for her love towards Shiva. He disturbed Shiva from his deep meditation. That attracted Shiva's wrath. Known for his anger, Shiva burned Kama with his third eye. On Shiva's marriage with Pampa Gods from the heaven showered gold on the place. This hill in Hampi is called Heamakuta, literally means heap of gold. The region around Hampi is also closely associated with the Hindu Epic Ramayana.
Rama and Lakshmana, who were traveling southward in their search for Sita, reaches Hampi. Here they encounter Hanuman, the general of the monkey king who brings them to Sugreeva who eventually takes them to a cave and shown them a set of jewels. Rama recognizes them as that of his wife Sita. Sugreeva explains them that Sita dropped them at this site when the demon king Ravana of Lanka abducted her on his flying chariot. Later Rama kills Vali, the impetuous brother of Sugreeva, and installs Sugreeva as the undisputed king of the monkey kingdom. Rama and Lakshmana takes refuge during the monsoon at a nearby hill called Malyavanta. Hanuman returns with the news that Sita was indeed in the custody of Ravana. Hanuman then offers Rama the help of his monkey army to make a bridge across and proceed for the epic battle against Ravana. The epic goes on till saving Sita from Lanka and further.
Kishkinda the mythical monkey kingdom of the monkey kings, Vali and Sugriva is portrayed as the region around Hampi. The place is treated sacred since it borne the footprint of Rama, one of the ten incarnations of Lord Vishnu. Anjanadri Hill, located across the river Tungabhadra, is believed to be the birth place of Hanuman. Rishimukha Hills is where Hanuman met Rama & Lakshmana. The cave where Sugreeva supposedly hides the fallen jewels is on the way to Vittala temple via the riverside ruins. Matanga Hill is named after the sage Matanga who protected Sugriva against Vali and who guided Shabari. A heap of ash hill at a village near the Vittala temple is believed to be that of pyre of Vali. Pampasara is where Rama sought the goddess's protection and where Shabari sheltered.
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