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Its fame came from the Kishkindha chapters of the Hindu epic Ramayana, where Rama and Lakshmana meet Hanuman, Sugriva and the monkey army in their search for kidnapped Sita.
The Hampi area has many close resemblances to the place described in the epic.
Hampi is situated on the banks of the Tungabhadra River in the eastern part of central Karnataka near the state border with Andhra Pradesh.
It is 376 kilometres (234 mi) from Bangalore, 385 kilometres (239 mi) from Hyderabad and 266 kilometres (165 mi) from Belgaum.
The site was multi-religious and multi-ethnic; it included Hindu and Jain monuments next to each other.
According to mythology, the maiden Parvati resolves to marry the loner ascetic Shiva.
In 1565, at the Battle of Talikota, a coalition of Muslim sultanates entered into a war with the Vijayanagara Empire.
Hampi and its nearby region remained a contested and fought-over region claimed by the local chiefs, the Hyderabad Muslim nizams, the Maratha Hindu kings, and Hyder Ali and his son Tipu Sultan of Mysore through the 18th century.
The closest railway station is in Hosapete (Hospet), 13 kilometres (8.1 mi) away.
During the winter, overnight buses and trains connect Hampi with Goa, Secunderabad and Bangalore.
Indra sends the god Kama—the Hindu god of desire, erotic love, attraction and affection—to awake Shiva from meditation. Shiva opens his third eye in his forehead and burns Kama to ashes.