In 1336, the city of Vijyanagar was founded in Central India . It flourished despite the odds, eventually becoming a city of 500,000 occupants. For over 200 years the kings improved upon the city, building temples, monuments, palaces, and concert halls. It was visited by envoys from as far away at Portugal and China. But the Indian Sub-continent was in a state of unrest and the kings were constantly fighting their rivals from the north. In 1565, the Deccan sultanates launched a final assault. The king was killed and the city’s residents were forced to flee. Once they captured the city, the Sultanate armies spent a full six months systematically destroying everything within–temples, homes, statues, bazaars. The Vijayanagara Empire faded away and the ruins of the city were all but forgotten forgotten until the 19th century. Since then, a tiny village has cropped up amongst the ruins. Now known as Hampi, it has become an international destination for lovers of archaeology and history.
One of the highlights of Hampi is Virupaksha Temple. One of the last remaining holy sites in Hampi, this temple was largely undisturbed by the invading armies. Its temple is popular with Hindu pilgrims, who sleep in the open for the night and then bathe in the river the next morning.