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The Story of Vijaynagara

26 Aug

As we crawled through Friday evening Bangalore traffic with two tired yet over excited children (I guess you know what that means), I started telling them about Hampi..

I started at the point where two defeated brothers, Hakka and Bukka saw a hare attack hounds and decided to found the city of Vijaynagar (City of Victory) on the advice of their Guru Vidyaranya. After a round on whether people with such names can establish a kingdom that extended from the Vindhyas to Kanyakumari and became one of the most powerful and prosperous kingdoms of its time, I finally got their attention.

What we know of Vijaynagar today comes from the zeal of British and Indian historians, who researched the court records of , Abdul Razak, Ibn Batuta, Bahamani rulers, Portuguese travelers, Arab traders and our rich folklore to unlock the stories  in these forgotten stones.

forlorn Hampi

This city built across seven hills once competed with Rome for its architectural splendor and was at one point the largest city in India and the second largest in the world. And it was the envy of the Bahamani warlords who hated this city of  ‘infidels’ even more than they hated each other.

What I left out:

Were snippets they would come to know as they learnt about facts in history that our always grim. The decadence which led to the downfall of this glorious empire. The ruthlessness, treachery, and greed for power which led the royal household to murder and blind the children of their own brothers, and ultimately to their own powerlessness.

I had to tell them about the final war against the Sultans, because that is all that is left in Hampi today.  Silent testimonies of the six months of ruthless rampage, as  the Deccan Sultanates finally got together to reduce the city into rubble in a six-month long wave of barbaric destruction, savage plundering and  vendetta.Vitthala temple

What stands today is just charred temples, crumbling palaces, disfigured idols, and forlorn works of art which were created painstakingly.Foundations of palaces razed to the ground, charred sculptures, crumbling temples (with idols smashed or spirited away).

Does this place prove what takes generations to build can be vanquished in just one burst of hatred and rivalry? Yes, but this place is also testifies that some reminders live on to tell the story

Lotus Palace

Like the Ashram in the Virupaksha temple compound where the followers

of  Guru Vidyaranya still practice.Virupaksha Temple

My travel diary

7 Aug

Where do I start? Chronologically since our first trip with Elena? Or would it actually start with our trip to Sariska when I was seven months pregnant. (The tigers were around at that time). We reached home after midnight, found the main gate locked-and had to climb over the compound wall to get in.

Or let me start with the latest trip to Hampi and then go back and fill in as much of the memorable trips as I can. That would be random-and more like the way I think.

Travel diary