The name is derived from Pampa, which is the old name of the Tungabhadra River on whose banks the city is built. The name "Hampi" is an anglicized version of the Kannada Hampe (derived from Pampa). Over the years, it has also been referred to as Vijayanagara and Virupakshapura (from Virupaksha, the patron deity of the Vijayanagara rulers).
A Hindu temple naga decoration at Hampi.
Hampi is identified with the historical Kishkindha, the Vanara (monkey) kingdom which finds mention in the Ramayana. The first historical settlements in Hampi date back to 1 CE. Hampi formed one of the cores of the capital of the Vijayanagara empire from 1336 to 1565, when it was finally laid siege to by the Deccan Muslim confederacy. 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 site is significant historically and architecturally. The topography abounds with large stones which have been utilized to make larger than life statues of Hindu deities. A structure of historic importance appears every quarter of a mile. The Archaeological Survey of India continues to conduct excavations in the area, to discover additional artifacts and temples.
Hampi is situated on the banks of the Tungabhadra river. It is...