Hampi, a magnificent open air museum that shows off the grandeur of the Vijayanagara empire. A glorious city, set against the backdrop nature’s magnificence, where every stone speaks the story of a regal dynasty.
“…broad and beautiful streets, full of rows of fine houses…all sorts of rubies and diamonds, and emeralds, and seed pearls sold on streets, and clothes and every other sort of thing there is on earth and that you may wish to buy..” wrote the foreign travelers who visited the city of Vijayanagara in the Hampi of 14th century.
Every rock, every path and every monument at Hampi speak the same language; a language of glory and architectural beauty.
This 15feet monolithic statue of Ganesha is just one of those many wonders!
The fact that it took six months for the invading rulers to destroy Hampi alone tells the grandeur of this city. Portugese traveler Domingo Paes, who visited in 1520 wrote, “What I saw seemed as large as Rome, and very beautiful to the sight”
In the picture is another monolith, of Ugra Narasimha, which initially had a statue of Lakshmi sitting on his lap but vandalized.
This structure, a mixture of Indo-Islamic style architecture, resembles a lotus flower and most importantly it was built such that it kept the interiors cool even in scorching summer, some challenging to the modern air cooling systems!
Every corner of Hampi paints a seductive picture of the Vijayanagara Dynasty.” All the services of this house, with the things which they make use of, is of silver and gold…’”, writes Nuniz, another traveler.
In the picture here is the royal bath or a tank. The small vents on the windows were through which perfumes and oils came flowing into the bath. Aromatic royality?
The notion is that the pillars were made deliberately to produce music. While the British were ruling, they snapped off a pillar to test and to check if its hollow. Not only it was found to be solid but also it stopped producing music!
Every structure in Hampi is mammoth. Probably since the granite was easily available around and since it was very hard to carve on them, they must have decided to make it bigger if not intricate in carvings. So what the Hoysalas achieved in detailing at Belur, the Vijayanagara Kings achieved in size at Hampi.
In the picture is the 170 feet gopuram of Virupaksha Temple, the sacred heart of Hampi.
Many say it is a chariot, few others say it is a shrine, but stone chariot is definitely one of the architectural marvels of Hampi. This beauty of a sight once had rotatable stone wheels and stone horses that seemed pulling the chariot.
Today, Stone Chariot of Hampi is the icon of the state of Karnataka and that truly emphasizes the pomp of this legendary kingdom.
An aura of grief and mystery still prevails around Hampi. Had there not been religious hatredness, vandalism and greed for power & wealth, Hampi would have been one of the greatest cities in the world. But whats more saddening is that the destroying of this priceless heritage is active even today.