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HomeUncategorizedHampi - Standing Tall Amid Ruins

The usage standing tall amid ruins usually refers to heroes who valiantly fought till the last in battles. Hampi cannot be described with such a usage for it tugs your heartstrings and brings time to a standstill. Walking among the ruins of Hampi, one could not help thinking of the people who build and lived in this place which was the heartland of the great Vijayanagara Empire. The vast ruins of Hampi are now a UNESCO world heritage site and the pride of Karnataka tourism.

I was in charge of a group of students from KITTS during this trip which started off from Trivandrum. After a brief halt at Bangalore, we boarded a train to Hospet, the nearest railway station to Hampi. Hospet is a small town in the Konkan route but has been in limelight ever since Hampi started attracting national and international attention. A bus had been arranged by our tour operator to take us to the ruins. The weather was dry and the place had an arid look.

Compared to the lush greenery in Kerala this place looked forlorn and depressing. Once we started the walk amid the ruins, it was a different story. The ruins told a story which took as back in time as far as fourteenth century, the time when Krishnadevarya ruled the Vijayanagara Empire. It was time when Hampi flourished. In around 1500 Vijaynagara had 500,000 inhabitants, probably making it the second largest city in the world after Peking-Beijing and twice the size of Paris back then. Hampi traditionally known as Pampa-kshetra, kishkinda-kshetra or Bhaskara-kshetra is derived from Pampa, which is the old name of the Tungabhadra River on whose southern banks the city, is built. I felt it was not a mere coincidence that the holy river originating in Sabarimala, also had the same name, Pampa.

The scorching sun was literally burning us up, but the enthusiasm was too great for it to be a hindrance. This site has been carefully reconstructed from what remains of the broken idols and some priceless monuments. Virupaksha temple, is remarkably preserved considering the ravages that happened during the mugal invasion. The buildings are classified into religious, civil and military. The prominent religious monuments in addition the Virupaksha temple are Achyutarya temple, Chandramauleshwar temple, Malyavantha Reghunathaswamy temple, Hazara Rama temple, Krishna temple and the Vittala temple. Civil buildings include aqueducts and canals, Lotus mahal, Kamalapura temple and Zanana enclosure. The main military buildings are the elephant’s stables and the King’s balance. All these buildings have interesting stories associated with them. The most interesting ones are those associated with the King’s balance. It is said that Krishnadevaraya used to sit in one of weighing pans of the balance, balancing it with gold on the other. The King distributed this gold to the poor and needy at regular intervals. This was indeed and amazing story considering the fact that even the richest countries of this age cannot afford to treat their citizens in this manner. Krishnadevaraya was a just king and Vijanagara flourished under his rule.

Another major attraction of Hampi is the stepped water tank near the underground temple. The precision with which the steps have been constructed is an architectural marvel. Hospet has become the hub of activity for tourists along the Konkan path since it is the main town near Hampi. My friend, Manoj who is a well known guide in Kerala has asked me watch the sun set at the sun set point if at all I happened to visit Hampi. Sunsets leave a tint of sadness among viewers as the sun sinks beneath the horizon. But this one was even more poignant. Setting sun with the magnificent ruins of Hampi in the foreground was a captivating experience. It left us moved, for the time had come to standstill in this memoir of history intrinsically linked to the souls of that glorious era.

Source by Dr. Venugopal C K


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