Samskriti…

Hampi, Karnataka

Posted on: May 21, 2009

As you skim towards the older portions of Hampi’s history, it appears as if history often gives way to folklore and then deftly glides into to mythology.

   Map of Vijayanagara empire during 1540 AD

The typical version Hampi’s history starts with a popular folklore. Two local chieftains, Hakka & Bukka , reports to their guru an unusual sight they saw during a hunting expedition. A hare chased by their hound suddenly turns courageous and start chasing back the hound.

Vidyaranya, the guru, tells them that the place is so special and asks them to establish theirs local capital at this place. The seed of an empire was sown.

Over the next 200 plus years (1336 AD – 1565 AD) four dynasties ruled Vijayanagar .

History of Vijayanagar’s had been a saga of resistance against the northern Sultanates as well as building of its spectacular capital in Hampi.

The capital was one major trading center. Anything from horses to gems was traded in Hampi. Art and architecture found its special place in Hampi. The rulers were great patrons of art and religion. Most of the kings associated names of their favorite gods with their names. Some of the kings were renowned for their ambitious projects.

King Krishnadeva Raya (1509-1529 AD) of the Tuluva Dynasty stands tall among the rest. During his regime the empire saw its peak.

By this time Vijayanagara Empire covered the whole of south India and beyond.

The Krishna temple that you can visit in Hampi was commissioned by him to commemorate the victory over the Gajapathi kings of Utkala (in present day Orissa state).

A practical history lesson for the school kids on an excursion to Hampi.
 Hampi Tour

. The warring Deccan Sultanates could finally join together to defeat the Vijayanagara army at Talarikota, a place north of Hampi.

Vijayanagar army suffered heavy losses. The capital city was plundered, its population massacred. Treasure hunters ransacked its palaces and temples for months. Kings lost, capital fallen, population fled, Hampi turned into a ghost city. For centuries Hampi remained as a neglected place. This erstwhile metropolitan with more than half a million population slowly turned into a jungle where wild animals roamed freely.

The area came under many kings from time to time with the flow of history. But it was no more considered strategic and hence neglected.

During the colonial period, Hampi evoked some curiosity among the western archeologists. Robert Sewell’s (1845-1925), seminal work aptly titled as A Forgotten Empire :Vijayanagar was a major attempt to narrate the empire that was. In 1917 A.H. Longhurst’s Hampi Ruins Described and Illustrated became the first travel guide for the visitors to Hampi. UNESCO’s World Heritage Site was conferred to Hampi in 1986.

Currently Hampi’s monuments- hundreds of them – are popular among tourists, pilgrims and the area is one of the exotic locations for the Bollywood and local film shootings. Jackie Chan film “Myth” was shot in the Hampi.

source: http://hampi.in

There’s no dearth of such inscriptions you can spot in Hampi. These provided innumerable clues to the archeologists on the Hampi’s past. In fact a temple, called the Inscribed Vishnu Temple, is carved with such scriptures on its wall.
 Inscriptions on Temple wall

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2 Responses to "Hampi, Karnataka"

Dude … nice blog … and I like this post as well! You could consider some bookmarking and other widgets on your blog.

i tried… its not possible to add javascripts in wordpress.com, but its very much possible in wordpress.org… 😦

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