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Whoa! Don’t tell me you are going to write about the Vijayanagara empire? That will need a book or volumes of books. Just saying.
Of course not. I am just touching lightly upon my visit to Hampi
where the ruins can be found.

*****

Last year, the DIL (daughter-in-law) planned a weekend getaway for her parents and me. The place of choice was Hampi. I was super-duper thrilled. Places of historical importance interest me greatly, and Hampi is a UNESCO designated World Heritage Site. In case you didn’t know, the ruins of Vijayanagara (“City of Victory”), the capital of the erstwhile powerful Vijayanagara Empire, are found all around the present day Hampi.

I’m not sure whether I should let the pictures speak or go blah-blah myself. Perhaps I will do both. Or not. Umm… undecided. This is so not me. Oh, what the heck. You can read all about the Vijayanagara Empire on its Wiki page. Let the pictures speak for me.

The entrance to the Vittala temple complex. One side of the structure has been restored, the other not.
Situated just outside the entrance to the temple complex, this is part of what used to be a thriving market. From flowers to horses, everything was sold here. Just pause and imagine the hustle and bustle that would have been on market days!
Women could be warriors, dancers, wrestlers in short everything, in the Vijayanagara empire. The King himself had female warriors as guards. How did we descend to this lowly existence of confining women to home and hearth from those days? In this picture you find women warriors practicing their craft.
Vijayanagara had trade connections far and wide. The King is supposed to have owned horses of the finest breed from as far away as Mongolia. The features of the people in some of the carvings is proof (according to the guide) of their visits. A few even married locals and settled down in the city, said he.
This is our guide whose English was Greek to me. Yes, he is the same guy who said I don’t know to take pictures 😉 All the same his heart was in the right place!
The “wimmen” in front of the iconic stone chariot in the Vittala temple complex. I don’t have to point out which one is me, right? Oh btw, all ye Indians, you gotta tell me where you come across this chariot often. Let’s see if you are as clueless as I was till the guide enlightened me.
A stone plate off which soldiers ate (kept in the museum). Can you imagine the effort involved in trying to clean this? Ahh, presumably it wasn’t too difficult because these plates were carved into the stone surface on either side of a small canal made for the explicit purpose of availability of water to clean these plates. Ingenuous, what?
Lotus Mahal, also known as Chitrangani Mahal and Kamal Mahal, is located inside the zenana enclosure. Made out of lime mortar and brick, apparently, it is the shape of the structure that gave it its name.
A closer look at the beautiful arches in Lotus Mahal.
Mahanavami Dibba, is pyramidal, three tired stone platform, in the royal enclosure. It was one of the most important ceremonial structures of royal use and is dated to the 16th Century. The King and his entourage sat on top to watch ‘sports’ of the day, wrestling and such… And then ‘prizes’ were given to the winners. I didn’t dare climb it because of the hot afternoon sun and of course the rather steep incline.
Queeen’s bath, in the Southeast of the Royal Enclosure. It is a structure in the Indo-Islamic style of Vijayanagara architecture.
Inside the Queen’s Bath. While I stood there I was trying to imagine the sene as it must have looked in the past: The women of the royal household bathing, frolicking in the cool water (now it is dry), while their personal maids waited above to be of service as soon as they were done.
Constructed in the 15th century, this impressive structure was used to house the royal elephants of the Vijayanagara Empire. Each chamber is large enough to accommodate two elephants at a time. The architecture is Indo-Islamic.
The Virupaksha temple, intact among the surrounding ruins, is still in use as a place of worship. It was built by Lakkan Dandesha, a nayaka (chieftain) under the ruler Deva Raya II of the Vijayanagara Empire

I spent so much time hemming and hawing over which pictures to post. But I am glad that I opted for a picture-post because Vijayanagara cannot be written about in a single post. Maybe I will write on particular aspects that spoke to me in future posts. But for today, this is it. 😉

© Shail Mohan 2020