Not just another temple town- Hampi!


IMG_6569 IMG_6552 Camera 360There is something very poignant about the presence of ruins, they make up a benchmark for so many emotions that underplaying any of them seems to be unfair.-anonymous

Hampi welcomes you like every other tourist town in this country.It greets you with the promise of intense history and architectural beauty that has carved its own niche with people over time , but what one wouldn’t expect of Hampi is its amazing natural backdrop and its effortless merge with the historic canvas. Every cliché about green fields, windy blue skies and a blissful solitude seems to come alive in this place, so much that they inspire the lurking artist inside every person.

There is an unusual impulse to capture the essence of this place. Maybe in a few poetic lines, a dab of paint on canvas or just by humming a melody that echoes in your head every time you pass through this stunning landscape .Hampi by nature is not perfect, but it’s those flaws with their air of impudence that inspire so many. We are always caught up by the brilliance of drama and challenge of everything that surrounds us. Therefore it seems all but natural to assume that the people of Vijaynagara empire would have fallen a prey to the same raw splendor .it seems impossible to curb the instinctive creative streak when the choppy hills pose as a contrast to the flat plain and where the river tries its best to merge them into one spectacular picture.

It’s human nature to be inspired by such intense beauty. So if the land still holds the power to make an avid traveler bow to its opulence, imagine the stir it would have created a few centuries back. No wonder they tried to re capture it time and again in the only everlasting form that they always understood well, architecture.

It may also be partially true that my judgement about this place is also baised by my awe for its withstanding structures .But on the other hand; their transformation of a simple utilitarian architecture in terms of public spaces to a much more magnificent scale is what takes your breath away. Here again I am not implying that the usage of detailed ornamentation or grand proportions is what makes these places stand out, it actually quite the opposite. These places while achieving their main aim of standing out have employed such through tricks of simplicity in terms of materials and planning. The ornamentation, if truth were to be spoken just looks like a loose mirror image to match the guidelines produced by their forefathers(read older southern empires architecture techniques) so if we are complaining about the building façade being phony with the usage of aluminum panels for cover up, well the Vijaynagara sculptors did the same! ,in order to reduce the load to be borne by each structure by the usage of authentic stone carvings on the gopura they in fact did a spectacular cladding limestone and eggshell mixture to that of inner brick structure, thus achieving the same effect as that of the older southern temples which leaned towards complete sculpture!

Other the standing structural evidence of architecture Hampi’s history also can be described as our own version of Pandora’s Box. Where the kings have their tainted secrets, the plunderers have jealousy brimming in their eyes and the villages in awe and respect for everything around them. If the history of this place were a painted on a single large canvas Hampi would make a definite confusing abstract painting with its distinct character.

When you think about this place removing the intense historic background from the equation, the place seems so NORMAL with its own characteristic flaws yet completely content in its own nutshell, it often makes me wonder a lot of things on the personal front, but we shall leave that for another day. For now, well Hampi is all that you imagined and perhaps a tad bit more if you are looking into the details and not just being a passing tourist!

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