By – Kavya Manoj
Excitement and anticipation were in the air, a million plans in the minds of all and smile, laughter on every face, as we boarded the buses on the night of 19th of July. While the rest of the city slept, we sang and danced our way through the roads connecting Bengaluru and Hampi.
By the next day’s sunrise, we were at Hampi. All of us were divided into rooms of three. The thrill of living with the people we see for about 7 hours of our days, is unexplainable. For breakfast, we had a filling spread of South Indian dishes. Subsequently, we boarded the buses and headed to the very first destination. The kingdom of Hampi, situated by the Tungabhadra River, was recognized after the second world war and developed to become one of the most prosperous kingdoms in the world in the 1500s. It is also known as the ‘Monkey City’ as it is marked as the birthplace of Hanuman and the other significant monkeys in the Hindu epic—Ramayana.
The Queen’s Bath in Hampi is a colossal bath that exemplifies the architectural excellence prevalent during the days of the Vijayanagara Empire. The Queen’s Bath is believed to be constructed by Achyuta Raya for the women of the royal family of Vijayanagara. This building is mostly made of sandalwood and rosewood. Though in ruins, the most striking features of this historical monument are its arches and intricate ceiling designs that have been made with great detail.
The architecture type of the monument is similar to that of the Indo-Islamic architecture type that involves domes and arches. The floor deep below the entrance floor along with water paths around the structure help understand its purpose. The King’s Palace in Hampi is that of the famous King Krishnadevaraya. We’ve heard endless stories of the wit and wisdom of his court jester, Tenali Rama but on that day, we could guess the grandeur of his palace based on the size of its foundation and the few ruins that were left to see. The palace was mainly made of limestone and brick.
In the vicinity of the palace was a multileveled structure called the Mahanavami Dibba, which was a platform for the celebration of the auspicious festival of Dussehra that took place with great festivities and fervor. On the structure wall, there are carvings of people’s lives in the past, the cavalry, the infantry, and expensive jewellery, etc. On the white granite next to the structure are carving of the royal family and the other people of higher social stature.
The Hazara Rama temple is yet another epitome of splendid architecture. The first thing one notices are its walls as it is rightly popular for the comic strips of Hindu mythology, Ramayana. The pillars of the temple are made with great intricacy and skill. The temple has greater significance being in the royal area. It was believed to be the private temple of the royal family. The temple got its name Hazara Rama (a thousand Rama) Temple owing to this multitude of these Ramayana panels.
Our last place of visit on the first day was the famous Tungabhadra Dam of Karnataka.
The multi-reason supply was worked by Dr. Thirumalai Iyengar, a designer from Chennai. The dam has a capacity limit of 135 thousand million cubic feet. The Tungabhadra Dam is constructed across the Tungabhadra River, a tributary of the Krishna River. The dam is near the town of Hospet in Karnataka. It is a multipurpose dam serving irrigation, electricity generation, flood control, etc.
Although we had to walk a long way up to the dam, each one enjoyed the peaceful walk admits the golden rays of the setting sun and peaceful wind brushing the faces of all, sotting everyone’s minds. As the water sparkled and roared with pride and the breeze ran through the hair, the place had planned the perfect welcome for all. To reach the top of the lighthouse, we climbed the hill that stood between us and a beautiful view but as it is rightly said, tougher the climb, the more beautiful will be the view.
The peace of mind and relaxation that each one felt on the top was inexplicable. After a long and tiresome day, that was a perfect solution to everyone’s fatigue. The dam dividing the water and the land standing strong as a border was visually appealing. The day ended with a fountain’s show that was a treat to the eyes. With each jet of water, a new color said a different story. Thus, the first day ended on this note and that of the excitement of everything that unraveled the next day.
Day 2 – 14.07.19
Day 2 of the trip began with the visit to Vijayaratha Temple better known for its magnificent stone chariot, the pride of the Vijayanagara empire. The path to the temple was a 1000m market, the students walked all the way up to the time observing the various little subjects of historical significance such as the horse camp and gigantic rocks fulfilling the immemorial beliefs of the locals in Hampi.
The stone chariot is emphasized the awe-inspiring architecture of Karnataka under Krishnadevaraya back in 15th Century. The Vijayaratha Temple is a pandora’s box for items with encrypted messages. The tour guide explained the meaning of apparently trivial carvings which later in our minds transformed to unforgettable pieces of art. The temples were burnt and destroyed by the Deccan Sultan and the half-burnt temple structures were citings to uplift our Indian culture. The tourists here included many Europeans who were amazed by the architecture here and the 3km walk to the temple was relatively clean and secure.
The Vittala temple signifies the already flourished science of that era. It has an enhanced cooling system within it comprising of minute intricately designed funnels all through the ceiling which keeps the temple cool during summer. The temple has stones that highlight the musical fashion of that era.
More importantly, the students appreciated the Indo-Islamic unity with all their heart. The Lotus temple consists of a mosque adjacent to the fancy temple, It highlights the Hindu-Muslim brotherhood right before the reign of Aurangazeb. Close to the lotus temple were the elephant stables whose dimensions were intellectually decided with zero wastage of space, labor, and resources. Again the half-burnt stones were distinct. This brought a sense of enlightenment among the students. They decided with mutual unspoken words that the need to protect, promote and preach the culture of India is an alarm louder than it has ever been.
A brief visit to the Lakshmi Narasimha temple which is currently being restored. The entire temple is carved out of a single rock in the 15th century made up of limestone. The temple is called Trinetra and Badvilinga. Followed by the final visit to a newly renovated temple and at the peak of the people’s believes.
In a nutshell, the students appreciated the rich culture of Hampi and the friendly environment along with its business free surroundings. The locals wanted tourists to admire the architecture of Hampi rather than make money out of them. The students also compared and contrasted the architecture of Hampi to the other historical places they’ve visited which unleashed their creative and discrete thought process. All in all, it was a memorable trip and a perfect combination of the past, present and the future.