Hampi, Living History in all its Glory

Hampi: Living History in all its Glory

Hampi: Living History in all its Glory

Suvendu Rout narrates his travel experience to this magnificent world heritage site of Hampi in India

 

Hampi, a UNESCO World Heritage site, is a treat to all your senses. Its grandeur will leave you spellbound. Often when you hear lofty praises about a place, your expectations become so high that the actual experience could be a let-down! There are very few places that rise above your expectations; Hampi is one of them. Hampi, in south India is quite a marvel- history, heritage, architecture, nature, people, culture- all packed into a small bundle of joy. Last December (2017) I experienced this magical land and I will cherish the memory forever. I would like to share my vivid experience with you.

History talking to you:

Rarely would you find a historical site that has had a constant importance through the ages. This place predates history. It has prominent mentions in Hindu scriptures such as ‘Sthala purana’ and ‘Ramayana’.

In ancient times, Hampi was known as Pampakshetra which derives its name from ‘Pampa’, the other name of Goddess ‘Parvati’. Pampakshetra was a medieval era pilgrimage site. It was mentioned in Kishkindha chapter of ‘Ramayan’ as the place where Lord Rama met with Hanuman.

In the modern era, it came into full glory with the rise of the Vijayanagar Empire in the 14th century around 1336 AD. It served as the capital city of the empire.

The rise of the Empire was dramatic, the first King Harihara-I, in a mission to stop the marauding Muslim rulers from Afghanistan, developed this area and a strong army. In course of time he and his successors built a huge metropolitan city around Hampi with forts, palaces, temples and markets (where diamonds were traded!). The traveler of that period Ibn Battuta and later scholars have estimated it to be the second largest city of that period (after Beijing) in the whole world!

Today, it stands in shambles (after being destroyed by the unified Muslim sultanates in 1565). The ruins are spread over a vast area, but close to each other; so you can walk through them leisurely or cycle around. As you go exploring the place, you will see the remains of the grand structures. The whole area is so lively, you will feel the history; you will feel as if events are happening in front of you, as if the ruins are talking to you!

#DidYouKnow In ancient times, Hampi was known as Pampakshetra which derives its name from ‘Pampa’, the other name of Goddess ‘Parvati’. #Travel stories of #IncredibleIndia www.giglee.in/hampi-living-history-glory/ Click To Tweet

 

Marvellous, original and unique architecture:

Located in hilly terrain formed by granite boulders, Hampi is part of the wider-spread Vijayanagara ruins which has about 1,600 monuments and covers 41.5 square kilometres of which Hampi alone is spread across 26 square kilometres!

The architecture is mostly original and unique Dravidian style which had developed in the later part of the first millennium in south India under various kingdoms; however, there are a few monuments of Indo-Islamic style. The temples are mostly devoted to Hinduism with a few exceptions- six Jain temples and a Muslim mosque.

The most important monuments are:

  1. the Virupaksha temple (Lord Shiva and Pampa Devi/ Parvati),
  2. Narasimha temple,
  3. Achyuta temple, Vitthal temple,
  4. numerous market complexes,
  5. Hemakuta hill monuments,
  6. Elephant stables,
  7. Lotus temple,
  8. Hazara Rama temple,
  9. Kodanda Rama temple, and
  10. the water structures.

Spellbound nature: 

The magnificent ruins of Hampi, established on the bank of a beautiful river Tungabhadra, is surrounded by an amazingly scenic landscape that has captivated travellers for centuries. Giant boulders perch precariously over kilometres of undulating terrain, flowing water creating a soothing music, the calm and serene environment, green palm groves, banana plantations and paddy fields- all make it such an attractive proposition that one can spend days just marvelling the splendour of nature here. Small beautiful and unique circular boats float on the river. One can take a boat-ride for an experience here.

The rustic hills, blue water and green plantations weave a magic like nothing else. This particular part of Hampi is also rich in pre-historic stories and mythologies from Ramayana which makes the experience spiritual. People who like both architectural runs and have a sense of culture will fall in eternal love with the place.

The magnificent ruins of Hampi have captivated travellers for centuries. Have you been there? #Travel stories of #IncredibleIndia www.giglee.in/hampi-living-history-glory/ Click To Tweet

 

Amazing culture:

Can you imagine a culture evolving through the ages since time immemorial! A place that has seen immense bravery, and witnessed incomprehensible destruction and has still managed to live and prosper. Though the prosperity in terms of wealth is gone, its richness in terms of heritage and culture remains intact to this date, and will continue forever to amaze one and all.

One of the most original and unadulterated places of Hinduism, which assimilated Jainism and Islam to a significant degree, it was a multi-cultural society in those days!

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Conquering the Unconquerable: Daulatabad Fort

The Most Beautiful Hidden Church in Goa: St Cajetan Church

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A true world heritage

When I was coming back from Hampi, I asked myself: how come such a beautiful and historically rich place is not among the most visited places in India, let alone the world! One of the reasons that perhaps answers this question is its location. It’s situated at least 4 hours’ drive from the nearest airport in Hubli or an overnight train from Bengaluru (where there is an international airport) to Hospete (nearest railhead; 13 km from Hampi). However, people interested in history, ancient civilisations, or architecture can explore other amazing places in the vicinity (by road only), like I did. I proceeded from Hampi to Badami, Pattadakal, Aihole (all UNESCO World Heritage sites) and Bijapur. One could also visit Gulbarga (which I couldn’t). From Bijapur, I took an overnight train to Pune where I boarded my flight to Delhi.

Further reading:

http://www.gutenberg.org/cache/epub/3310/pg3310-images.html

Suvendu Rout is an amateur traveler, based in New Delhi. You can find him on Instagram where he posts some marvellous pictures of Incredible India

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Have you been to Hampi? What was your experience like? Comment below as I would love to know!

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Chennakeshava Temple, Belur, Karnataka 🇮🇳 We visited Karnataka years ago. It was a road trip. Such fun! Unfortunately since I was too young, I don’t remember even visiting this temple but pictures prove otherwise 😅 To get a nice old vibe, I decided to share this picture in black and white. India as a country is far from being black and white though. It’s so colourful. The temples and architecture in the south is a breath of fresh air from the temples in the north. It might be the same deity but the architecture, as you can see, is very different. The Chennakeshava Temple in Belur dates back to 1117 CE. King Vishnuvardhan of the Hoysala Empire commissioned this temple of Lord Vishnu. It took them about a century to build this ornate temple. The artwork on the walls is very minutiae and intricate. A century’s worth of hard work can be seen and felt inside the beautiful historic premises.

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