Monday, July 13, 2009

Hampi, Forgotten Empire

Hampi has a history from the epical age of Ramayana, ages before the Vijayanagara Empire was born. This history begins and ends with the Ramayana. To prove this there are plenty of materialistic proofs in Hampi which indicate that it might have been the capital of the mighty kingdom - Kishkindha. We shall not delve much into epical history for now.

Later in the 14th century it has been the capital of Vijayanagar Empire from 1336 to 1565. Art and architecture found its special place in Hampi. The rulers were great patrons of art and religion. The city has tempestuous river Tungabhadra in the north and rocky granite ridges on the other three sides. The demography is abundant with large stones and these stones have been utilized beautifully to make larger than life statues of Hindu deities. In its hay days the place was known for its splendor and fabulous wealth. For the same reason it was destroyed by Muslim Sultans.

The splendid ruins of palaces, temples and gateways of the broken city silently narrate the story of once glorious past and the final senseless destruction. Today the ruins of Hampi lie scattered in about 26 sq. km areas, amidst giant boulders. One can see a structure of historic importance every quarter of a mile.
(Click on the image for bigger view)

On 5th December 1986, Hampi was inscribed on the World Heritage List for it represents a unique artistic creation. Currently Hampi's monuments - hundreds of them - are popular among tourists, pilgrims and the area is one of the exotic locations. Some of them which we will cover in subsequent posts are:
How to Reach There

From Bangalore it is at a distance of 353 kms. One can travel to this place either by train or road. By road from Bangalore to Chitradurga drive on NH 4. From Chitradurga to Hospet take the NH 13. From Hospet it is at a distance of 12kms. By road it takes 6 to 7 hrs.

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