In its heyday in the 15-16th centuries Hampi was an important centre of commercial and cultural activities. Moors, which was a name used collectively for Muslim merchants, Chettis and agents of European traders such as the Portuguese, visited the markets of Hampi.
Temples were the hub of cultural activities. Temple dancers known as devadasis performed before the deities, royalty and masses in the many-pillared halls inthe Virupaksha, a form of Shiva, temple. The Mahanavami festival was one of the most important festivals celebrated at Hampi.
Hampi fell into ruin following the defeat of Vijayanagara in 1565 by the Deccani Sultans.