Kishkinda Kshetra: Hampi

Authored by:
Kalyan Murthy

Kalyan Murthy

Study abroad broadens your perspective while living in a culture different from your own, meeting people and visiting tourist places.

The weekend educational excursion this semester to a world heritage site was fascinating because to be included on the World Heritage List, sites must be of outstanding universal value and meet at least one out of ten UNESCO’s selection criteria.

Heritage is our legacy from the past, what we live with today, and what we pass on to future generations. Our cultural and natural heritages are both irreplaceable sources of by life and inspiration –writes UNESCO.

The ancient site of Hampi comprises mainly the remnants of the Capital City of Vijayanagara Empire (14th-16th Century).  Hampi’s spectacular setting is dominated by river Tungabhadra, rocky hill ranges and widespread paddy fields. Dravidian architecture flourished under the Vijayanagara Empire and is described by their massive structures, secluded enclosures, and tall towers over the entrances. Among these, some of the highlighted are the Krishna temple complex, Narasimha monolith, Ganesa, Hemakuta group of temples, Vitthala temple complex, Lotus Mahal complex & Virupaksha temple. The Vitthala temple is the most elegantly elaborate structure.

The best preserved structure in the Royal Centre of Vijayanagara is the Lotus Mahal. The Lotus Mahal is symmetrically laid out, with equal projections on four sides. Curved eaves around the building protect the walls from the sun and rain is an interesting architectural work of those times.

Hampi is a tourist delight for backpackers and pilgrims alike. The place today knows as Hampi features in the Hindu epic Ramayana as Kishkinda. One can see the walls of the Hazara rama temple carry the story of Ramayana carved on stone. Another unique feature is the 7th century Virupaksha temple dedicated to lord shiva and inside the temple area an elephant Lakshmi blesses the devotees with its trunk. It is interesting to see a huge chariot standing tall at the temple entrance is operated during festivals to take procession of idols of god & goddess. It is a treat to eyes to see the devotees pulling the huge chariot with long ropes goes around the town chanting the lord.

The group spent some time strolling through the countryside village & visited a women’s handicraft workshop in Anegundi. The Coracle boat ride and sitting by the river side was quite relaxing on a hot day. The student group got the opportunity to interact with the descendent of the Vijayanagara Empire. This octogenarian answered all the questions of our students very patiently.

The student group had a mesmerizing view of Hampi and sunrise from Matanga hill top and the rock climbing was fun too. Locals in Hampi say that the boulder strewn landscape is like a paradise for rock climbers. One can see many international enthusiasts bouldering in Hampi. If there is a photographer hidden in you then Hampi is the right destination to fulfill your passion and show the world your talent by capturing some delightful images.

Hampi has been an internationally acclaimed tourist destination and it is worth a mention here that Domingo Paes, a Portuguese traveller who visited the Vijayanagara Empire in the 16th century. Paes recorded his impressions of this empire in his Chronica dos reis de Bisnaga("Chronicle of the Vijayanagar kings").

Don’t worry, Be Hampi !!!

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