Hampi, traditionally known
as Pampa kshetra, Kishkindha kshetra or Bhaskara kshetra,
has an unbroken tradition of sanctity from ancient days and
still continues to be an important pilgrimage centre. Pampa
is the ancient name of the river Tungabhadra. The word Hampi
or Hampi is generally held to be a later Kannada form of the
term Pampa. The ancient Kishkindha of the Ramayana is believed
to have been situated close to present day Hampi.
Kishkindha was ruled by
the monkey kings, Vali and Sugriva. After a quarrel, Sigriva,
who had been driven out, took refuge on the Matanga
Parvata, along with Hanuman. After Sita had been carried
away to Lanka by Ravana, Rama and Lakshmana came south in
search of Sita and met the refugees, Sugriva and Hanuman.
Rama killed Vali, restored to Sugriva his kingdom and then
stayed on the Malyavanta Hill nearby awaiting the results
of Hanuman's search for Sita in Lanka.
Hampi and its environs are
considered holy ground and many of its sites and names are
connected with the episodes of the Ramayana. Thus the Matanga
Hill, on which Sugriva took refuge, is a steep hill on
the south bank of the Tungabhadra and to the east of the Hampi
village. A good view of the surrounding country can be had
from the top of this hill. The Malyavanta Hill, on which Rama
stayed, is on the road to Kampili and has a Raghunatha temple
with a large image of Rama. A huge mound of scorious ash in
the adjacent village of Nimbapuram is believed to be the cremated
remains of Vali. A cavern on the southern bank of the Tungabhadra
is said to be the cave where Sugriva hid Sita's jewels for
safety, while certain marks and streaks on the sheet rock
near it are pointed out as the marks made by Sita's garments.
The Anjanagiri and Rishyamukha hills are the sacred tanks
of Pampasarovar are on th enorthern bank of the river Tungabhadra.