Hampi is a village in the northern Karnataka state of southern India. Located within the ruins of Vijayanagara, the former capital of the Vijayanagara Empire (from 1336 to 1565), its history hails back to the 1st century C.E. It has been identified with the mythical kingdom of Kishkindha, the Vanara (monkey) kingdom mentioned in the hindu epic, Ramayana. Ruled by King Sugriva, the Vānara were ape-like humanoids described in the epic as possessing supernatural powers, able to change their shapes.
Today, Hampi lies within an area that boasts over 500 monuments dispersed across approximately 26 square kilometers of forested natural scenery. Years of research have uncovered a much larger area of settlement surrounding this Hampi urban core, a broader area that supported a large population over a region of about 650 square kilometers, including forts, walled settlements, temples and religious sites, mortuary sites, canals, fields, trade routes, the remains of industrial production sites, all within a scenic watershed featuring massive boulder outcrops.
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