Saturday, August 1, 2009

Continued from the previous post…

The history of Hampi goes a long way back to the 13th Century when cousins Harihara and Bukka laid the foundation of an empire which would flourish for the next 300 years. During its period, the empire extended from Andhra Pradesh to entire Karnataka to parts of Tamil Nadu and Kerala.DSC00664

A special mention need to be made about the Royal Emblem. It consists of the Varaha (Boar, which depicted a form of Lord Vishnu), a dagger, Sun and the Moon. This means that the kingdom of Vijaynagar, with the grace of Lord Varaha would rule the land as long as the Sun and the Moon exists.

The Vijayanagar empire was ruled by four dynasties, the Sangama, the Saluva, the Tuluva and the Aravidu. The empire has seen its glory during the rule of the Tuluva King, Sri Krishnadeva Raya. Krishna Devaraya was a poet and a musician himself. He was known to be a great player of the Veena. During his rule, the empire was at its best in terms of art, literature and trade.

DSC01265During his tenure, there were no famines and the people of the kingdom were abundant with wealth. Precious stones were sold publicly for weight and the enemies of the king feared his valour. Many foreign visitors travelled across the kingdom and there are texts by Dominigo Paes, who visited the kingdom during the years 1520 - 1522.  He describes the King himself as shown in this picture.

Krishna Devaraya had no sons and he was succeeded by his son - in - law, Ramaraya who took charge from Achyutharaya the cousin of Sri Krishna Devaraya. Ramaraya ascended the throne at the ripe age of 93.

The Kingdom was almost at its end when Ramaraya came to power. Heads of small provinces started revolting and declared themselves independent. Moreover, the prominence of the Mohammedan Rulers was evident and the same rulers who sometime earlier had no unity and feared the name of Ramaraya, started plans to takeover the kingdom.

The year 1565 A.D had seen one of the greatest kingdoms fall. Four rulers, Ali Adilshah the Sultan of Bijapur, Mohammed Qutub Shah the Sultan of Golconda, Berid Shah the Sultan of Ahmadnagar and Nizam Shah Shah the Nawab of Arcot came together to take down the mighty Vijaynagar Empire. Finally in the battle of Tallikota, Ramaraya was killed and Vijayanagar ruined. Historians say that every soldier who looted the city turned into a millionaire.

The Hampi we see today is a result of the brutal warfare that happened in 1565. The palaces were taken down and the temples looted. There are around 100 temples in Hampi and not even one has an idol. The idols wereDSC01128 desecrated and the rubble thrown around. Every statue of an elephant in Hampi bears a mark of the brutality, its trunk cut off.

After Ramaraya, the descendants of Ramaraya and Krishna Devaraya tried ruling the kingdom but they were soon challenged by the local landlords. Soon the kingdom which shone as the mightiest of the empires faded.

Even though the temples were looted, no one could damage their architecture. Even the minute details of the carvings are intact. And we are indeed lucky to find them intact even after 500 years of wear and tear. Visiting these places makes a person nostalgic as to how might they might have looked during their days of glory. So lets travel across Hampi to see a glimpse of India’s glory.

To be continued…


Hari said...

A recent research says that the Vijayanagara Kings hail from Andhra Pradesh and not Karnataka as thought by many people. The founders of the kingdom Harihara and Bukka were generals in the Warangal Kingdom and the ancestors of Krishna Devaraya are clearly from Andhra Pradesh and Krishna Devaraya himself was born and bought up in the kingdom of Devagiri. Only Krishna Devaraya's mother was a Kannadiga.

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