"Never perhaps in the history of world has such havoc been wrought and wrought so suddenly, on so splendid a city; teeming with a wealthy and industrious population in the full plenitude of prosperity one day and on the next day seized, pillaged and reduced to ruins amid scenes of savage massacre and horrors beggaring description."
The city mentioned in the above quote is Hampi, located in the Bellary district of Karnataka. The city was the focal point of the golden age of the Vijayanagara Empire.
Though Hampi was mercilessly sacked by the marauding armies of the Muslim Sultanates of Deccan after their coalition defeated the de facto ruler of Vijayanagara, Ram Raja, in the famous battle of Talikota in 1556, the ruins of the city remain as a testimony to its past prosperity and the exceptional talent of the sculptors and artists.
The splendor and affluence of Hampi, capital of the powerful Hindu Kingdom of Vijayanagara ("City of Victory") on the Tungabhadra River, has been described in the accounts of European travellers who visited India during the period. Prominent among them are the Italian Nicolo dei Conti (15th century AD) and the Portuguese travelers Paes and Nuniz who visited India in the 16th century.