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Old 5th May 2008, 01:06   #16
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Gorgeous!! I've never been to Hampi and I now realise I've missed something special in my travels through South India.
I can now see what the fuss was all about.

Beautiful and detailed narration and terrific photos as usual. Bravo Samu!
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Old 5th May 2008, 08:13   #17
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Gorgeous!! I've never been to Hampi and I now realize I've missed something special in my travels through South India.
I can now see what the fuss was all about.
Even I missed it for so long being from the same state, so you can be excused. It will be interesting to see your version of Hampi travelogue along with Jenny, you can definitely make it lot more exciting.
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Old 5th May 2008, 12:02   #18
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Fantastic travelogue. I guess I gotta stop reading it now because once I read this beautifully detailed travelogue with pictures, there would probably be no reason to go and visit it actually
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Old 5th May 2008, 12:23   #19
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... But I didn’t happen to write about it right away because of couple of reasons. At first, I was quite disturbed by what I saw, I wanted to have better understanding of this place and its history. Secondly, I had more than 200 photographs to process and select.

...

While I was at Hampi, I bought a historical book on Vijayanagara Empire authored by a British Civil Service officer and Historian Robert Sewell, and first published in 1900. Prior to 20th century, India was hardly known for keeping detailed records of events. Most of our history is known to us from foreign travelers who visited our famous empires and courts. Compare this with Roman history, where you can still find transcripts of speeches made in Roman senate more than 2000 years ago. This book by Robert Sewell is based on the first excavations at Hampi and on the chronicles of Firishtah, Fernao Nuiz and Domingo Paes. The last two are Portuguese while the first one was in Ahmednagar court. There are lots of discrepancies between the chronicles of these folks, often they contradict each other. And they were obviously not unbiased, for example Firishtah always referred to Vijayanagara army as infidel army. The Portuguese had their own prejudices since they were trying to spread their tentacles in India. In other words, one can only glean broad historical brush strokes from these chronicles, otherwise they are full of inconsistencies and exaggeration. In fact, nobody knows the real facts, we can only make guesses.

I took about a month to read this book, not fully finished, but I got the main gist. It got really depressing after some time for it is so different from the pretty picture I had about Vijayanagara Empire. Anyway, this thread is not about Hampi history, so I will get on with the travelogue, but I will add a few historical tidbits along the way.
@Samurai- I had been to Hampi two years back. It was a lip service visit. We were travelling to Bangalore from Ahmedabad and thought of taking a different route via Ellora, Aurangabad, and Hampi so that we can visit these places. What I saw in Hampi left me spellbound. As I imagine the city during its full bloom, all the fairy tale things that I have heard about India come to life. The city was build so complete, its hard to believe.

I have decided to go back only after I gain good knowledge on the history of this place. Many times my friends and family members say, lets go to Hampi, and I have to say, no not yet. Your travelogue has motivated me to complete my reading and visit this place. Planning to visit in September now.

And thanks for sharing the name of the book. If you can put a short review of the book and any other material that you referred...

Last edited by akbaree : 5th May 2008 at 12:24.
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Old 5th May 2008, 12:46   #20
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Only the period of Sri Krishna Deva raya is great in Vijayanagara empire. those twenty years are the best.

it was a period of golden age in telugu literature as Krishna devarya used to patronage telugu language over others. he called it as the best indian language.

there were eight great poets in his court called as Asta Diggajam's

each one of them wrote one or two great epics which are available even today and some of them even text books

Krishandevaraya himself wrote Amukta Malyada in Sanskrit. this was also available

Vijayanagara is the largest pre moghul empire in India extending almost all over the present south india and parts of maharashatra.

the story of Timmarasu and krishnadevaraya is folk legend in many parts of south, more so in AP where it was part of text books in 8th /9th standard ( one novel has to be part of syallabus for languages from 8 th standard onwards)

Samurai have you seen the Anantasayana temple ruins in Hospet? it was incomplete because the battle of tallikota started and empire ruined. we were told the main deity is at some place called "Vulla" or some thing like that about 60 Km away

Empire lost because of the arrogance of Aliya Rama Raya ( son in law of krishnadevaraya) he used to interfere in the battles between the 5 bahamani kingdoms and played one sultan against the other. finally all the five joined and ruined Hampi.
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Old 5th May 2008, 13:12   #21
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Samurai San, Kudos to you on this fantastic travelogue.
Its so well depicted, The tourist department might feel threatened by this travelogue.
cheers:
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Old 5th May 2008, 13:14   #22
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Well. Rome is still a functioning city. This place is not. And, the architecture is not unique. Nothing that one can't find anywhere else in South India. Where does the myth end and reality begin?.
Architecture is not unique because It goes by the name Vijayanagara style of architecture and one sees it majority places in south india, especially in temples. ( it was there even in turumala temple- a big mantapa , just like what one can see in Vittala temple at hampi, in Someswara temple at Ulsoor in Bangalore)

When Hampi fell in 1565, the reverberations were felt in Europe because many of them are dependent upon this empire for trade. check history

What one can see now is the remains of savage destruction 450 years ago. If the ruins are so mesmerizing what it could have been in its full splendor?

Check the Lime and mortar plaster with the motif designs on ruined temples which remained even after 450 years? can the modern engineering achieve some think like that?

Finally visit the place after reading Robert Swell book at the link given by me and then say the same thing again

Last edited by rkg : 5th May 2008 at 13:20.
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Old 5th May 2008, 14:13   #23
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Anyone doubting Hampi and its grandeur should visit the place. I was there for 3 days and I still hadn't see it all. Its magnificent in its isolation and in its ruins !!! It just stone hills all around (no wonder they thought it would be a natural defence). What beautiful structures.

NickatNite: Please go and visit the place. Photos and travelogues do no justice to it. I've seen Thanjavur, Madurai, Belur, Kanceepuram, Mahabalipuram. Hampi is right there in that list and probably in the scale of execution and destruction its right at the top.

Amazing how such things had been built and so sad about the wanton destruction of these places. One should remember, being among the northern most part of South India, most northern invaders got to it first. The Cholas and the Pallavas had already waned and it was left to Vijayanagara to withstand the onslaught from the Deccan sultanates.

Samurai, I hope you have the travelogues for the other days as well.... Lotus Tank, Hazari Rama Temple, Bear Sanctuary (yes, there's a bear sanctuary there as well !!)
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Old 5th May 2008, 14:18   #24
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It should not be seen as a religious place with temples etc., It was a great city with architecture and design unheard of in those days.
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Old 5th May 2008, 14:26   #25
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@Samurai, as usual, you are really good at your travelogues and pictures.

I have seen Hampi many times, as I lived close to that place for 9 years. Each time I visited Hampi, I was always depressed for quite a few days.

@rkg, it is good of you to have provided the link of the book. I can go through that at leisure. I always was fascinated by Vijayanagar empire and it will be great to go through the history.

You really have to visit the place to appreciate it. No amount of words or photos, however good they are, will give you a true picture of what Vijayanagar once was.
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Old 5th May 2008, 14:47   #26
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Thanks for the report and photos, Samurai.

After nearly a decade and half, I visited Hampi last year. This time, I think I was old enough to appreciate the history. I felt sad to see the systematic destruction which has taken place here, but happy to see that it is NOT completely destroyed. Whatever is remaining, we can still show and explain it to our kids.
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Old 5th May 2008, 15:19   #27
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Wow!! Amazing pics. I am planning to go to Hampi post-Monsoons. Thanks for the wonderful narrative.
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Old 5th May 2008, 15:19   #28
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Wonderful pictures and writeup!

I guess there are better resorts and restaurants in Hampi now..The Mango Tree restaurant figures a lot in the reviews I've read on Hampi.
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Old 5th May 2008, 15:56   #29
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Originally Posted by rkg View Post
Only the period of Sri Krishna Deva raya is great in Vijayanagara empire. those twenty years are the best.
That was when the empire was a superpower in every sense. All the traditional enemies from Bijapur, Golkonda, etc., didn't dare to breath. But they were the richest empire for most of the two centuries since they received tribute throughout the period. They played the firewall all the time.

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it was a period of golden age in telugu literature as Krishna devarya used to patronage telugu language over others. he called it as the best indian language.
That's probably because he didn't have strong ties to his native Tulunad, he grew up around Hampi I suppose, where Telugu was in prominence.

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When Hampi fell in 1565, the reverberations were felt in Europe because many of them are dependent upon this empire for trade.
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Originally Posted by csentil View Post
Samurai, I hope you have the travelogues for the other days as well.... Lotus Tank, Hazari Rama Temple, Bear Sanctuary (yes, there's a bear sanctuary there as well !!)
Yes, I have posted only half the travelogue so far. I'll try to post more in the night. Will be covering more history.
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Old 5th May 2008, 16:56   #30
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That is a very careless comment. This empire singlehandly protected the south for more than 200 years like a firewall, while shedding enormous amount of blood. This empire hardly saw any peaceful period during the whole time.

Did anybody spend 6 months systemtically destroying rome? If you are genuinely interested in understanding Vijayanagara empire, read Robert Sewell's book at the link provided by rkg.
My comment was not "careless". It is my view and i'm entitled to it.

Re: your 2nd comment, Rome has been the scene of internicine battles and power struggles through the millenia,,including WWII. The city still survives, unlike this mediocre , run-of-mill South Indian architecture ridden monstrocity of a failure named Hampi. "Protecting the South" indeed!. This so-called "Empire" could not even protect the Karnatak region. My sincere comment that your write-up about this place and the photos you have posted don't match, still stands. Nothing personal.Regards.
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