Hampi, the capital city of
Vijayanagara Empire, was founded by two brothers Harihara
and Bukkaraya (more popularly known as Hakka and Bukka), under
the guidance of their Guru Vidyaranya. It was not just the
largest Hindu empire of its time, but was also one of the
largest trading centres of the world. The markets in Hampi
were always crowded with merchants from all over the world
to barter their goods in exchange of spices and cotton, grown
abundantly in the area. Rubies, diamonds and all precious
stones were sold on the streets in the scale of seers (litre
like measurement, commonly used even today in many parts of
rural India). Gold and silver were the currencies.
Hampi, built in the year
1336 flourished and had a population of over half a million.
The city was important not just for the traders but also for
devotees and poets. There were temples built in hundreds,
which stand as an evidence to the religious inclination of
Hampi. Public ceremonies and festivals were celebrated in
their true meaning. Names like Shri Purandhara Dasa and Tenali
Rama can be linked with Hampi. Hampi is also the place where
Lord Rama met Hanumantha and killed Vali in exchange for help
from Sugreeva. Click here to learn
more about the Ramayana episode of Hampi History.
As the saying goes, everything
that goes up must come down. It was true in case of Hampi
also. After seeing its golden reign during King Krishna Deva
Raya (AD 1509 - 1529), Hampi fell down to the attacks of the
five Sultans of Deccan - Bidar, Bijapur, Golconda, Ahmednagar
and Berar in the year 1565. The city was looted for a period
of 6 months. The temples were destroyed and the markets were
plundered. The golden empire had come to an end.