Archive for February, 2013

Hampi

Posted: February 18, 2013 by randommuzings in India
Tags: , , , ,

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I’ve wanted to visit Hampi ever since I had heard about it 5 years ago and had even made plans to travel there several times but somehow they never materialized. This year I had firmly resolved to visit Hampi and I’m so glad that my new year resolution was achieved in Jan itself. The intoxicating mix of history and nature, respite from any connectivity and the sun boring into your very soul left me completely dizzy!

Location and Getting there:

Designated as a World heritage Site by UNESCO, Hampi is a Deccan Plateau town full of ruins located on the banks of the Tungabadhra River in Karnataka. It is about 350 km from both Hyderabad and Bangalore and about 300 km from Goa. Trains are available to Hospet from all three cities mentioned above. The road is good from Bangalore and Goa and takes about 6-7 hours but very bad from Hyderabad.

I had planned to reach Hampi earlier from Bangalore several times but there plans had never materialized so this time I travelled from Hyderabad and too an overnight train from Hyderabad to Hospet.

History: Although Hampi finds a mention even in Ramayana and was a part of many kingdoms post that, it rose to prominence as the capital of the Vijayanagara Empire from AD 1343 to 1565. Interestingly the Vijayanagara Kingdom was founded by two Sangama brothers- Harihara and Bukka, who had been prisoners of the Delhi Sultanate and were appointed by the Sultanate as kings in the Deccan Plateau to gain control of the south. But soon they broke their allegiance to the Muslim Rulers and started the golden era of Hindu reign of 23 kings, which peaked under the reign of Krishnadeva Raya. Krishnadeva Raya had laid the foundation to most of the temples that exist as edifices today but lost the city in 1564 due to an attack by the Mughals.

Architecture: In Fountainhead Ayn Rand has described the protagonist- Howard Roark, an ingenuous architect, designs a building that emerges from the rocks and appears to be only a natural extension of the rocks. All the temples at Hampi seemed to be have been designed and then carved with the same ingenuity that they feel to be a part of the barren rocky landscape. A model of the proposed temple was carved out of rocks first and then the main temple was constructed based on the model. The model was just a smaller version and was not so intricately carved. The model has been preserved for some of the temples even today.

Apart from the temples, there are watch towers all over the terrain, palaces, King’s court and bazaars. The world’s best diamonds were mined in the Deccan plateau and Hampi had been the only diamond trading bazaar in India, which had attracted traders from all over the world. In fact there was also a Sule bazaar (Harlot Street).