Hampi was once the capital of the powerful Vijayanagar empire, which for two centuries was one of the most powerful empires in the Indian history. Vijayanagar means ?the city of victory?. It was considered at one time greater than Rome and ?the best provided city in the world?. At its height half a million people lived in the city, and the Vijayanagar empire had an army of over one million.
At this place Lord Rama first met Hanuman. It is also said to be the spot where Parvati (known as Hampi) met and married Lord Shiva.
The town of Anegundi, about five km from Hampi, is situated on the north bank of the Tungabhadra river. Local people believe this to be the ancient place known as Kiskindha where Rama met Hanuman and Sugriva. As Hampi, is also the Rsimukha mountain mentioned in the Ramayana.
The ancient place, Kiskindha, was ruled by two monkey chiefs, brothers Sugriva and Bali. After a quarrel with Bali, Sugriva was driven out. He then went to stay at Matangaparvata hill. You can get a good view of the surrounding area from the top of this hill. While searching for Sita, who was kidnapped by Ravana, Rama and Lakshmana came south and met Sugriva and Hanuman. Rama killed Bali and restored the kingdom to Sugriva. While Hanuman went to search for Sita, it is said that Rama stayed at Malyavanta hill, which is on the road to Kampili, about six km east of the Virupaksa temple. There is a Ranganatha temple there with a large idol of Lord Rama.
On the way between Virupaksa temple and Vitthala temple there is a cave on the bank of the Tungabhadra where Sugriva is said to have hidden Sita'sjewels for safety. There are marks and streaks on the rocks, which are said to have been made by Sita'sgarments.
There is a huge mound of scorched ash in the nearby village of Nimbapuram that is said to be the cremated remains of Bali. The birthplace of Hanuman is said to be a little to the north-west.
Other places to see
The Hazara Rama temple (One thousand Ramas) is believed to have been a private temple for the royal family and was originally called Hajana Rama, which in Telegu means the ?Palace temple?. It was originally dedicated to Lord Rama in the 15th century and contains many interesting sculptures of scenes from the Ramayana on the walls. It is no longer active. From the Virupaksa temple of Lord Shiva along the path on the river bank toward the Vitthala temple, there is a natural cavern marked with painted stripes where Sugriva had hidden the jewels that Sita dropped after Ravana abducted her.
At the Kodandaram temple there are large idols of Sita and Lord Rama and Lakshmana. It is opposite the bathing ghat. Here Rama crowned Sugriva as the monkey king.
The very ornate 16th century Vitthala temple is dedicated to Lord Vitthala, after the deity in Pandharpur. It is on the southern bank of the Tungabhadra. It has musical pillars, which make different sounds when struck. It is considered to be the most outstanding temple in Hampi.
The Virabhadra temple is at Matanga hill, where Lord Rama had stayed.
Nasik is a holy city located about 187 km north-east of Mumbai. Lord Rama stayed here for some time during His exile and Sita was carried off by Ravana from this place. Nasik is on the banks of the Godavari river, which flows to the Bay of Bengal. Lakshmana cut-off the nose of Surpanakha, the younger sister of Ravana, here. That is why this place got the name Nasik. Kumbha Mela takes place here every 12 years. Sri Chaitanya visited here.
The Rama Kunda area is the main pilgrimage place in Nasik. Here Rama and Sita used to bathe, so the tank is considered especially sacred. It is also called Asthi Vilaya Tirtha (Bone immersion tank) because bones dropped here dissolve. In recent years the following people'sbones were dropped in the Tirtha after they died: Mahatma Gandhi, Jawaharlal Nehru, Dr Rajendra Prasad and many other eminent people. Lord Rama is said to have performed the last rites in memory of His father, King Dasaratha.
Lord Rama and Sita are said to have stayed in the forest here during their 14 year exile. Chitrakuta is situated on the border of Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh. It is 132 km south of Allahabad.
Lord Rama and Sita lived here for 11 years of their 14 year exile. ?Chitra? literally means ?beautiful? and ?kuta? means ?mountain?.
Bharata, the brother of Rama, came to Chitrakuta and begged Rama to return to Ayodhya, but Rama would not disobey His father'sorder. Rama stayed on Kamadgiri (The hill which can fulfill all desires).
Lord Rama used to daily bathe in the river here. Sita'sfootprints are on the rocks at Janaki Kund, where Sita used to bathe.
How is it that Rama could destroy the Rakshasa hordes singly? Really Rama is not a single person. He has got many forms. Sahasra Seersha Purushah Sahasraksha SahasraPat, (Myriad headed, myriad eyed and myriad footed is the Purusha). A mere sight of His presence was enough to reduce the Rakshasa hordes to unconsciousness.
?Sweeter than sugar, tastier than butter, sweeter indeed than the essence of a beehive, constant repetition of this nectarine sweet name makes you taste the very divine Amruta itself. Therefore, contemplate on this sweet name incessantly. Don'tassociate with anyone who is afflicted with jealousy even at the cost of losing your life?, Lakshmana said to Sita. He told Sita, ?It is even possible to count the waves in the ocean, but there are no words to describe the manifold powers of Lord Rama.?
In Rama, there are transcendental powers which transcend the Trigunas. Let us chant the name of Lord Rama for obtaining the moksha or salvation.
Rama Rama Jaya Sitaram
Ramam Dasaratham vidhhi,
maam vidhhi Janakaatmajam
Ayodhya mataveem vidhhi,
gaccha thaatha yattha sukham.?