The typical version Hampi’s history starts with a popular 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 back the hound.
Vidyaranya, the guru, tells them that the place is so special and asks them to establish theirs local capital at this place. The seed of an empire was sown.
Over the next 200 plus years (1336 AD 1565 AD) four dynasties ruled Vijayanagar .
History of Vijayanagar’s had been a saga of resistance against the northern Sultanates as well as building of its spectacular capital in Hampi.
The capital was one major trading center. Anything from horses to gems was traded in Hampi. Art and architecture found its special place in Hampi. The rulers were great patrons of art and religion. Most of the kings associated names of their favorite gods with their names. Some of the kings were renowned for their ambitious projects.
King Krishnadeva Raya (1509-1529 AD) of the Tuluva Dynasty stands tall among the rest. During his regime the empire saw its peak.
By this time Vijayanagara Empire covered the whole of south India and beyond.
The Krishna Temple that you can visit in Hampi was commissioned by him to commemorate the victory over the Gajapathi kings of Utkala (in present day Orissa state).
. The warring Deccan Sultanates could finally join together to defeat the Vijayanagara army at Talarikota, a place north of Hampi.
Vijayanagar army suffered heavy losses. The capital city was plundered, its population massacred. Treasure hunters ransacked its palaces and temples for months. Kings lost, capital fallen, population fled, Hampi turned into a ghost city. For centuries Hampi remained as a neglected place. This erstwhile metropolitan with more than half a million population slowly turned into a jungle where wild animals roamed freely.
The area came under many kings from time to time with the flow of history. But it was no more considered strategic and hence neglected.
A batch of school students at Virupaksha Temple
During the colonial period, Hampi evoked some curiosity among the western archeologists. Robert Sewell’s (1845-1925), seminal work aptly titled as A Forgotten Empire :Vijayanagar was a major attempt to narrate the empire that was. In 1917 A.H. Longhurst’sHampi Ruins Described and Illustrated became the first travel guide for the visitors to Hampi. UNESCO’s World Heritage Site was conferred to Hampi in 1986.
Currently Hampi’s monuments hundreds of them are popular among tourists, pilgrims and the area is one of the exotic locations for the Bollywood and local film shootings. Jackie Chan film “Myth” was shot in the Hampi.
The Royal insignia of the Vijayanagara
Harihara Raya I 1336-1356
Bukka Raya I 1356-1377
Harihara Raya II 1377-1404
Virupaksha Raya 1404-1405
Bukka Raya II 1405-1406
Deva Raya I 1406-1422
Ramachandra Raya 1422
ViraVijayaBukka Raya 1422-1424
Deva Raya II 1424-1446
Mallikarjuna Raya 1446-1465
Virupaksha Raya II 1465-1485
Praudha Raya 1485
Saluva Narasimha Deva Raya 1485-1491
Narasimha Raya II 1491-1505
Viranarasimha Raya 1503-1509
Krishna Deva Raya 1509-1529
Achyuta Deva Raya 1529-1542
Sadashiva Raya 1542-1570
Aliya Rama Raya 1542-1565
Tirumala Deva Raya 1565-1572
Sriranga I 1572-1586
Venkata II 1586-1614
Sriranga II 1614-1614
Venkata III 1632-1642
Sriranga III 1642-1646