Hampi, once a flourishing capital of the Vijayanagar Empire, is a very small village in the Northern Karnataka. Hampi exhibits the vast relics of the city of Vijaynagar, also known as the City of Victory. The Vijaynagar empire extended from the Arabian Sea to the Bay of Bengal and from the Deccan Plateau to the tip of the peninsula. It was built as a showpiece of imperial magnificence. The main attraction in Hampi are the temples built by the Vijaynagar empire. The temperature in Hampi ranges from 23 to 38 degree Celsius in summers and 10 to 15 degree Celsius in winters. Hampi can be visited throughout the year, except from April to June, when it is very hot.
Hampi was the seat of the Vijaynagar empire. The Vijaynagar rulers were the great lovers of art and architecture which can be known from the carved temples, monuments and sculptures in Hampi and all over the South. The Vijayanagar rulers patronised a variety of Hindu cults and also permitted the practice of other religions. Under their enlightened leadership, the city became rich and a cosmopolitan blend of people with a wide variety of linguistic, ethnic and religious background. The Krishnadeva Raya, who raised his empire to the Zenith of its glory during 1509-1529 was the most outstanding ruler. But in 1565, the combined armies of the Muslim Sultanates defeated the Vijayanagar ruler and plundered, burnt and sacked the abandoned city mercilessly, and left some ruins for the treasure seekers. Today, the temples and palaces are scattered over an area of 25 square km. The rulers also introduced new techniques in warfare, buildings, waterworks and agriculture. Today, some of the irrigation networks constructed by them are still in operation.
The main tourist attractions in Hampi are its temples. The various temples in Hampi are Virupaksha Temple, Vittala Temple. The other tourist attractions in Hampi are Lotus Mahal, Hazara Rama Temple, Queen's Bath and Tungabhadra Dam.
Virupaksha Temple is one of the few temples amidst the ruins, that is still worshipped. At the heart of the complex are several minor shrines that belongs to the Chalukya and Hoysala periods, completely engulfed by Vijayanagar extensions. The eastern gateway which is 50 metres high, is a marvel of engineering skill. The hall leading to the sanctum sanctorum has finely carved columns of animals. The ceiling is painted with scenes from mythology. To the south of the Virupaksha Temple are the two colossal monolith images of Ganesha carved on boulders. One of the image of Lord Ganesha is enclosed in a temple with unusually tall columns and other stands within an open hall. Further south, the statue of Narasimha is situated which is carved out of a single boulder.