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Radiah A Bashrahil.
R K Premi
Prabhjot Gill
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Hampi
wattch tower photo by: guru [Upload image] Hampi, the 14th century capital of one of the greatest empires of the world, lies in the Deccan heartland in the state of Karnataka or Karu&39nadu (meaning &39elevated land&39). The ruins of Hampi are scattered throughout an area of 26 sq. km area, amidst giant boulders and vegetation. Protected by the tempestuous river Tungabhadra in the north and rocky granite ridges on the other three sides, the ruins narrate silenty the story of grandeur splendor and fabulous wealth.

The splendid remains of palaces and gateways of the broken city tells a tale of man&39s infinite talent and power of creativity together with his capacity for senseless destruction. The genesis of the place, known today as Hampi, dates back to the age of the Hindu epic &39Ramayana&39 when it was the site of Kishkinda, a monkey kingdom. Between the 9th and 10th century, this area was known as Vijaypur and later in 1150 AD as Vijaynagar under the king Vijayadhawaja. Vijayanagara, the capital of the mighty Vijayanagara, was founded in 1336 AD by two Hindu brothers Hakka and Bukka under the able guidance of a Brahmin priest Madhva Vidyaranya. The empire that lasted for over twenty years despite to dizzy heights culminating into the golden era of South Indian history.

The Empire, that extended from river Krishna to Cape Comorin, included the modern state of Orrisa and was ruled from a capital stretched over 165 sq. miles, the central portion of which is called Hampi today. The Vijayanagara Empire also annexed the state of Goa as early as 1380 under Madhavacharya, a minister of king Harihara. The most well-known and powerful ruler of this empire was Krishna Deva Raya (1423-May 1446 AD) This fairy tale city was devoid of all its strength and splendor in 1565 AD when the then ruler Rama Raya was defeated and killed by a confederation of Muslim kings.

The capital was ransacked and reduced to Shambles within 6 months by the victorious Mohamedans who left it desolate, resembling more a ghost city than a former captital. The state of Goa lost its prominence after the fall of this empire as the then rulers, the Portuguese, lost interest in this territory because of the fall in spice and horse trade. Today a world heritage site, archeologist try to reveil the unknown secrets and they are working patiently at this remote (yet beautiful place) and treasure, when they excavate to unearth, beautifully preserved monuments.


The Vijaynagar city ruins near the village of Hampi, 353 kilometers from Bangalore, are one of the most fascinating historical sites in South India. Hampi holds many delightful surprises. The most famous is the King&39s Balance where kings were weighed against gold or money which was then distributed to the poor. Also worth a visit are the Queen&39s Bath with its arched corridors, projecting balconies and lotus shaped fountains, the two storeyed Lotus Mahal, the huge Elephant Stables, the splendid Vitthal Temple with its musical pillars and the Stone Chariot, the Virupaksha Temple, Ugra Narasimha, the 6.7 meters tall monolith, the Pushkarini Tank, the Mahanavami Dibba, etc. Temples of this city are noted for their large dimensions, florid ornamentation, bold and delicate carvings, stately pillars, magnificent pavilions and a great wealth of iconographic and traditional depictions, which include subjects from the Ramayana and the Mahabharata. The Pampapati temple is one of the largest temples at Hampi. The Vitthal temple is an excellent example of Vijayanagar style. Also present are some monolithic statues of Lakshmi, Narasimha and Ganesha which are noted for their massiveness and grace. Other temples in the surroundings are the Krishna temple, Pattabhirama temple, Hazara Ramachandra, Chandrasekhara temple and the Jaina Temple.

 

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