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Vijayanagara Site

The site of Vijayanagara is located in Hospet Taluk, Bellary District, and Gangavati Taluk, Koppal District in central Karnataka state. The ruins occupy a dramatic physical landscape that is infused with historic and sacred meanings. The Tungabhadra River flows in a north-easterly direction through rugged ridges formed by ancient granite outcrops piled with boulders. Many of the great temple complexes comprising the Sacred Centre of the city overlook this holy stream. Here, traditions about divinities of local, regional and pan-Indian significance that are linked to the site create a mythological landscape.

Further south, where the landscape begins to open into a broad plain, are the remains of the fortified Urban Core where the city’s large population was most densely concentrated. Within the Urban Core lies the Royal Centre, comprising the ceremonial and residential seat of the Vijayanagara kings. Additional populations lived in the outlying Suburban Settlements.

Since the construction of a dam on the River in the mid-20th century, agriculture and industry has grown in the region. Tourism has also become more important particularly since the site was inscribed on UNESCO’s World Heritage List. Increasing economic activity and population as well as greater national and international attention have accelerated conflicting efforts to develop the site and to conserve the archaeological record.

In linked pages we describe the overlapping landscapes of the Vijayanagara site, as well as the different zones of the city and some of the diverse monuments that can still be seen. We note the contemporary setting of the site and present-day efforts to restore and preserve these monuments. Pages also advise visitors on available facilities and point readers to additional resources.

Evocations of the site can be found in a number of illustrated books, see Gollings, Fritz and Michell 1991, City of Victory, Vijayanagara; Satyan and Srinivasachar 1995, Hampi; Fritz, Michell and Gohbai 2009, Hampi; Sen Gupta and Arni 2012, Hampi; all in Bibliography.

View of Tungabhadra River
Tungabhadra River

Last updated February 9, 2014 - ©2014 Vijayanagara Research Project