Hampi, traditionally known as Pampa kshetra, Kishkindha kshetra or Bhaskara kshetra, is an important pilgrimage centre. Pampa is the ancient name of the river Tungabhadra. The word Hampi or Hampi is generally held to be a later Kannada form of the term Pampa. The ancient Kishkindha of the Ramayana is believed to have been situated close to present day Hampi.

Kishkindha was ruled by the monkey kings, Vali and Sugriva. After a quarrel, Sigriva, who had been driven out, took refuge on the Matanga Parvata, along with Hanuman. After Sita had been carried away to Lanka by Ravana, Rama and Lakshmana came south in search of Sita and met the refugees, Sugriva and Hanuman. Rama killed Vali, restored to Sugriva his kingdom and then stayed on the Malyavanta Hill nearby awaiting the results of Hanuman's search for Sita in Lanka.

Hampi is considered holy ground and many of its sites and names are connected with the episodes of the Ramayana. Thus the Matanga Hill, on which Sugriva took refuge, is a steep hill on the south bank of the Tungabhadra and to the east of the Hampi village.

The Malyavanta Hill, on which Rama stayed, is on the road to Kampili and has a Raghunatha temple with a large image of Rama. A huge mound of scorious ash in the adjacent village of Nimbapuram is believed to be the cremated remains of Vali. A cavern on the southern bank of the Tungabhadra is said to be the cave where Sugriva hid Sita's jewels for safety, while certain marks and streaks on the sheet rock near it are pointed out as the marks made by Sita's garments. The Anjanagiri and Rishyamukha hills are the sacred tanks of Pampasarovar are on th enorthern bank of the river Tungabhadra.