A very popular folklore associates the landscape in Hampi with the Hindu epic Ramayana (see Ramayana in Hampi). The monkey kingdom, Kishkinda, is portrayed as the region around Hampi. Anjaneya Hill, located across the river Tungabhadra, is believed to be the birth place of Hanuman.
Rama and Lakshmana , reaches Hampi in search of his lost wife Sita. Hanuman, the general of the monkey king Sugreeva mistook them for spies from the rebel kin of Sugreeva. On hearing their story Hanuman brings them to Sugreeva. He eventually takes them to a cave and shown them a set of jewels. Rama recognizes them as that of his wife Sita. Sugreeva explains them that Sita dropped them at this site when the demon king Ravana (of Lanka) abducted her on his flying chariot.
Later Rama kills Vali, the rebellious brother of Sugreeva, and installs Sugreeva as the undisputed king of the monkey kingdom.
Hanuman offers for help to fly to Lanka. He returns with the news that Sita was indeed in the custody of Ravana. Hanuman offers Rama the help of his monkey army to make a bridge across and attack Lanka. Rain plays the spoil spot and the plan gets postponed till the rains are over. Rama and Lakshmana takes refuge during the rainy season at a nearby Malyavanta Hill. The epic goes on till saving Sita from Lanka and further.
What signify are the locations narrated in the epic. The place is treated sacred since it born the footprint of Rama, one of the ten incarnations of Lord Vishnu. Hanuman , who is a loyal follower of Rama is iconic of devotion and valor. Probably Hampi has much more icons of Hanuman than any other gods. Rishimukha Hills where Hanuman met Rama & Lakshmana is a hermitage. The cave where Sugreeva supposedly hide the fallen jewels is on the way to Vittala temple via the riverside ruins.
Matunga Hill , name after the sage Matunga ( who cursed Vali with death on stepping to this spot) is the highest spot in Hampi. The hilltop temple dedicated to Rama on the Malyavanta hill is an important pilgrimage and tourist location. A heap of ash hill at a village near the Vittala temple is believed to be that of pyre of Vali.
Temples are generously carved with mythical themes. May be because it was ( ... and still is! ) the monkey’s kingdom, the images of monkeys are splendidly carved on the walls and pillars of the temples of Hampi.
As a tourist to this place all these places are located in a circuit that forms a typical itinerary.