Sabyasachi Basu Profile picture
Apr 20, 2018 65 tweets 69 min read Twitter logo Read on Twitter
Drove from #Bangalore to #Hospet, a distance of 350 km, on March 25th to see the #Hampi ruins. Instead of going back via Chitradurga, turned onto NH 150A from NH 48 at Hiriyur. The Hiriyur - Hospet stretch has much less traffic compared to Chitradurga-Hospet. #IndiaRoadTrip
Soon after crossing Hiriyur en route to #Hospet (near #Hampi), the landscape transformed itself dramatically. There were beautiful craggy hills and fields with the characteristic red soil of the region, with moderate to scanty vegetation. #IndiaRoadTrip
The #Hiriyur to #Hospet route goes close to #Bellary (now #Ballary), w/ its many mines of the best quality iron. Saw trucks transporting iron ore plying on this route. Incidentally, Bellary has often been in the news for rampant illegal mining & export of iron ore. #IndiaRoadTrip
As I reached within 100 kilometres of #Hospet (near #Hampi), the road become narrower & wound its way between craggy hills or through open, red-soiled fields. It also became very deserted & often there was no one to be seen for kilometres. #IndiaRoadTrip
Once in a while the road to #Hospet from #Hiriyur passed by small villages, connected to the highway by Gram Sadak Yojana roads. The solitude was occasionally broken by the presence of a villager or two, sometimes with their livestock. #IndiaRoadTrip
About 60 kilometres from #Hospet, passed though the #Bandravi forest reserve. #IndiaRoadTrip
The dashboard clock told me it was past 5 pm & the light was starting to fade. I continued my solitary journey to #Hospet (via #Hampi) on the narrow, winding road through the picturesque countryside. #IndiaRoadTrip
Occasionally the road to #Hampi & #Hospet passed right through small villages, Had to slow down & watch out for children, puppies, cows, chicken, piglets & of course big, completely unmarked speed breakers. #IndiaRoadTrip
Had to brake all of a sudden when a group of peacocks suddenly appeared right in the middle of the road near #Hampi. They scampered onto the adjoining field before I could aim my camera. Subsequently I could spot only these two. #IndiaRoadTrip
#Hampi is a UNESCO World heritage site located in the Bellary(Ballary) district of #Karnataka, about 13 km from the modern day city of #Hospet. It became the highly cultured & affluent capital & centre of the Hindu Vijayanagara Empire in the 14th century. #IndiaRoadTrip
#Vijayanagar empire was founded by brothers,Harihara I &BukkaRaya I. Historians don't have a definitive account of their origins, but they agree that Hindu sage Vidyaranya of Sringeri gave them moral & spiritual guidance to fight the Muslim invasion of south India. #IndiaRoadTrip
#Vijayanagara was born after a series of Muslim invasions.Attacks by Khilji &Mohammad-bin-Tughlaq ended the Hoysala empire in 14th century.The short-lived Kampili kingdom was completely destroyed & its women committed Jauhar(mass suicide) during Tughlaq's invasion. #IndiaRoadTrip
Founded in 1336 CE, 8 years after the fall of Kampili,#Vijayanagara kingdom grew into a centre of culture & learning, where art & architecture flourished. By 1500 CE, the capital #Vijayanagara (Hampi) became the world's 2nd largest medieval city after Beijing. #IndiaRoadTrip
"...The city of Bidjanagar is such that the pupil of the eye has never seen a place like it, and the ear of intelligence has never been informed that there existed anything to equal it in the world ...", Abdur Razzak, a Persian visitor to #Vijayanagara in 1443 CE. #IndiaRoadTrip
#Vijayanagara reached its golden age during the rule of Krishnadeva Raya, who ascended the throne in 1509 CE. His inflicted crushing defeats on the Bahmani Sultans, took the Raichur Doab, captured Telangana & carried campaigns as far north as Orissa. #IndiaRoadTrip
Domingo Paes,Portuguese traveller to #Vijayanagar in 1520:"...In this street live many merchants,& there you'll find all sorts of rubies,& diamonds,& emeralds,& pearls,& seed-pearls,& cloths,& every other sort of thing there is on earth that you may wish to buy..." #IndiaRoadTrip
"...This is the best provided city in the world, and is stocked with provisions such as rice, wheat, grains, Indian-corn, and a certain amount of barley and beans, moong, pulses, horse-gram, ... there is large store of these and very cheap ...": Domingo Paes. #IndiaRoadTrip
Krishnadeva Raya died in 1529. In 1542, Krishnadeva's son-in-law, Aliya Rama Raya, who had previously served in the Goldconda Sultanate, became the de-facto ruler of #Vijayanagara as regent of the minor king Sadasiva. #IndiaRoadTrip
While consolidating his hold on the kingdom of #Vijayanagara, Rama Raya appointed two Muslim generals in this army, the Gilani brothers, who were earlier commanders of Sultan Adil Shah. This would prove fatal for him & the people of Vijayanagara. #IndiaRoadTrip
In 1565 CE, all the Sultanates came together and attacked #Vijayanagara in the Battle of Tailakota (Rakshasi-Tangadi). Rama Raya's army was on the verge of victory, when suddenly the Muslim generals switched sides and captured & beheaded Rama Raya on the spot. #IndiaRoadTrip
The plunder of #Vijayanagara after its tragic defeat by treachery at the Battle of Tailakota in 1565 CE has been summed up by Robert Sewell in his book, "A Forgotten Empire" #IndiaRoadTrip
The ruins of the city of #Vijayanagara are spread over an area of 26 square kilometre, are known as #Hampi (or the Hampi Group of Monuments), a name that predates Vijayanagara & is considered as the Kannada form of Pampa, the ancient name of the river Tungabhadra. #IndiaRoadTrip
#Hampi is also considered as the general area of #Kishkindha of the Ramayana, and abode of Vali & Sugriva. Hampi & its surroundings are holy ground for the Hindus, and this area continues to draw thousands of pilgrims. #IndiaRoadTrip
#Hampi is located on the banks of the #Tungabhadra river in an extremely picturesque setting. The unfordable Tungabhadra and the steep, craggy hills of huge, denuded granite boulders provided a natural defence which the #Vijayanagara rulers used to their advantage. #IndiaRoadTrip
The banks of the #Tungabhadra river in #Hampi are visited by pilgrims for their regular worship. The women in the picture are carrying water from the river as part of their holy rituals. Just a hundred metre of so away are temples that are still in use. #Karnataka #IndiaRoadTrip
There are basically 3 areas to stay for tourists to #Hampi. The first is the town of #Hospet, 13 km away, which has many budget & mid-range hotels. I stayed here, as it was convenient to drive to Hampi early in the morning & explore the ruins till late evening. #IndiaRoadTrip
Many foreign backpackers prefer to stay in the very basic guest houses in rural environs in Virupapur Gadde, an island north of the river Tungabhadra from Virupaksha Temple. It has a Goa-like, party ambience & is sometimes called Hippie Island #IndiaRoadTrip
The best way around Virupapura Gadde is by renting a scooter, motorbike or bicycle.However, there's no bridge to #Hampi & one is dependent solely on traditional,circular boats called coracles to transport oneself & one's scooter/motorbike/bicycle to #Hampi and back #IndiaRoadTrip
Domingo Paes,16th century Portuguese traveller:"People cross to this place by boats which are round like baskets.Inside they are made of cane,& outside are covered w/ leather;they are able to carry 15 or 20 persons, & even horses and oxen can cross in them." #Hampi #IndiaRoadTrip
There are a couple of hotels in the Kamalapura village, 4km from Virupaksha temple & closer to the other #Hampi ruins. One is a #Karnataka state tourism hotel & the other an upscale hotel right opposite the archeological museum. #IndiaRoadTrip
Opposite the sacred bathing ghat of the Tungabhadra, the Chakratirtha, there are three temples where worship is still carried out: Yantrodharak Anjaneya temple, Kodandarama temple, and the Suryanarayan temple. #IndiaRoadTrip
Walking up a small flight of steps from the ghat & going left, past the temples, one comes onto a huge open space that has the ruins of famous Achyutapete bazaar, now known as Soolai bazaar. The Varaha temple & the Achutya Raya temple are also in this square. #IndiaRoadTrip
#Virupaksha (Pampapati) Temple is considered the most sacred of #Hampi temples. The sanctum has a Mukha Linga, a Shiva Linga with a face superimposed on it. Facing the temple is the Hampi Bazaar, one of the biggest thoroughfares in ancient #Vijayanagara. #IndiaRoadTrip
Walking towards east from the #Virupaksha temple at #Hampi, past that 750 metre long row of ruined stone shops, one comes across a Nandi shrine with a huge, monolithic Nandi. #IndiaRoadTrip
The sacred Matanga Parvatam (Hill) at #Hampi. There are shrines at the top of the steep hill. One also gets a very good panoramic view of the ruins from the top. #IndiaRoadTrip
Hanuman langurs frolicking on a tree in #Hampi Bazaar. #IndiaRoadTrip
The #Hemakuta Hill is located right next to the Virupaksha Temple in #Hampi. The group of temples on this hill have been dated from 9th to early 14th century CE. Among them is the temple of Kadalekalu Ganesha w/ a 4.5 metre image cut from a single granite boulder. #IndiaRoadTrip
Also on #Hemakuta hill in #Hampi is another monolithic Ganesha, the Sasivekalu ("mustard seed") Ganesha. This open-pillared Vinayaka Mandapa housing the 2.4 metre monolithic Ganesha built in 1506, as per a rock inscription found nearby. #IndiaRoadTrip
Going past the Saivekalu Ganesha temple on #Hemakuta Hill, #Hampi & climbing a few stone steps, one arrives at a so-called Sunset Point from where one has a nice panoramic view of the ruins below. #IndiaRoadTrip
Krishna Temple, #Hampi. It has an 1513 CE inscription of Krishnadeva Raya stating that he had brought an image of Bala-Krishna from Udayagiri & enshrined it in this temple. One of the pillars of this temple has all avatars of Vishnu carved on it. #IndiaRoadTrip
The gopuras of the Krishna Temple,#Hampi are in a dilapidated state.The east gopura has only a part of its superstructure left,but the west face of this gopura has fine stucco figures of warriors, horses & elephants, probably from Krishnadeva Raya's Orissa campaign.#IndiaRoadTrip
Just off the road from Kamalapura to #Hampi, a few hundred metres from the Krishna temple is the huge 6.7 metre monolithic image of Lakshmi-Narasimha. The image has been mutilated (arms broken off) & the pedestal has burn marks. Pic 1: at 2pm. Pic 2: near sunset. #IndiaRoadTrip
Right next to the Lakshmi-Narasimha murti in #Hampi is a single-chambered Shiva temple, with a huge Shiva Linga that measures 3 metres & has part of its base permanently submerged under water. #Karnataka #IndiaRoadTrip
The Queen's Bath is one of the first buildings that one encounters in the main citadel area of #Hampi as one approaches from the direction of Kamalapura. #IndiaRoadTrip
To the north of the Queen's Bath in #Hampi is the King's Palace enclosure. One of the important structures here is the Mahanavani Dibba, used for the Navaratri festival celebrations. Records show it was a huge, gorgeous structure, but now only the base survives. #IndiaRoadTrip
A large tank in the King's Palace enclosure in #Hampi with flights of steps on all four sides. Located just about 150 metres or so from the Mahanavami Dibba. #IndiaRoadTrip
All that survives of the once magnificent King's Palace in #Hampi is the base & some architectural remnants that are a reminder of the grandness of the structures. Razzak in the 15th century stated that Audience Hall was the loftiest structure in the citadel. #IndiaRoadTrip
Abutting the King's Palace enclosure in #Hampi is the Hazarrama temple. It is the only temple in the core zone of the royal enclosure and is dedicated to the Lord Rama avatar of Vishnu. It shows many transitional features, indicating additions were made over time. #IndiaRoadTrip
The walls and pillars of the Hazarrama temple in #Hampi are extremely ornate and have exquisite bas-reliefs depicting scenes from the Ramayana, as well as Ganesha, Hanuman and many avatars of Vishnu. #IndiaRoadTrip
Right opposite the Hazararama temple in #Hampi royal core zone is the location of the curiously named market, Pan-Supari Bazar. It led directly to the royal palace and was an important market place during the #Vijayanagara era. #IndiaRoadTrip
The base of the Queen's Palace in the Zenana Enclosure with the watchtower behind it. The Zenana enclosure is one of the only 2 ticketed areas of #Hampi. The term "Zenana" is not of #Vijayanagara origin; it comes from a 19th century translation of a Persian memoir. #IndiaRoadTrip
The Lotus Mahal in the Zenana Enclosure in #Hampi. It is built in a syncretic Indo-Islamic architectural style, but completely with Hindu patronage. In the absence of any epigraphs or inscriptions, the function of this double-storey edifice is unclear. #IndiaRoadTrip
Just behind the Zenana Enclosure are the elephant stables, which is one of the least damaged structures in #Hampi. The royal elephants were kept here during #Vijayanagara times. It contains 11 large stalls (some interconnected) with domed roofs & arched doorways. #IndiaRoadTrip
The Vitthala temple, on the southern bank of the Tungabhadra, is the most magnificent of the temples in #Hampi & is dedicated to the Vitthala form of Vishnu. In the courtyard is a Garuda shrine in the form of a chariot. #IndiaRoadTrip
Facing the stone chariot in Vitthala Temple, #Hampi is a mandapa with 56 carved pillars, each of which has a different shape and size. They produce different musical sounds when tapped. The mandapa is currently closed for restoration. #IndiaRoadTrip
One afternoon decided to drive to the Virupapura Gadde/ Anegundi side. As mentioned there's no bridge across the river from #Hampi, & the usual way to cross over is to take a short ride on a basket-like boat called a coracle. With the car had to take a long detour. #IndiaRoadTrip
It was about 30 km drive from #Hospet, where I was staying, to Virupapur Gadde. It would've been over 40 km from the #Hampi ruins. Went past the #Tungabhadra dam reservoir. #IndiaRoadTrip
Crossed some villages and a densely populated small town with bad traffic on the route from #Hospet to #VirupapurGadde. The rest of the route was through picturesque paddy fields & banana plantations. There were craggy, boulder hills all around. #IndiaRoadTrip
Ruins of a massive aqueduct from the #Vijayanagara era near Virupapur Gadde, on the north bank of the Tungabhadra River, right across the river from #Hampi. The backpacker huts & guest houses are a few hundred metres from here. #IndiaRoadTrip
Went further along the road towards #Anegundi to reach the base of #Anjaneya Hill. This place is sacred to the Hindus, as it is considered the birthplace of God Hanuman. Melodious hymns to Hanuman wafted through the air as I stopped near the base. #IndiaRoadTrip
I'd have preferred to stay a couple of hours more on the Virupapur Gadde side, but there were some under-construction, unlit road stretches to negotiate & the sun was beginning to set already. It took about 1.5 hours to get back to the hotel in #Hospet. #IndiaRoadTrip
Spent 5 wonderful days wandering among the ruins of #Hampi. There area is extensive, & apart from the prominent structures that most tourists usually see, there's much more to explore. There are ruined structures & building artefacts strewn all over. #IndiaRoadTrip
It wasn't a busy season. Often found myself alone in some part of the #Hampi ruins. Couldn’t help reflecting on the city's grandeur during the #Vijayanagar empire. Recalled the detailed accounts of the magnificent city by awe-struck travellers like Razzak, Paes etc #IndiaRoadTrip
Felt a tinge of sadness to see such precious works of art &architecture burned &ravaged by savages driven by such hatred of infidels that mere possession of their riches wouldn't do.They had to totally destroy all their wonderful creations &the images of their Gods #IndiaRoadTrip
As I went around the ruins of #Hampi, climbing on the remnants of once lofty palaces, walking into dilapidated temples which still reflect their magnificence, or simply walking along the river bank or on a craggy hill, the words of Will Durant often came to mind. #IndiaRoadTrip

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