Hampi – A victim of Time’s Ruinous Force

Time is the most ruthless manipulator. Time makes, then breaks and remakes. This is the eternal game of time; to do, undo and redo. Normal human tendency is to rebel against the oblivion to which time condemns man. Man of power wrecks all before him and gets himself wrecked by time. This ruinous force of time has been depicted by the great poet Percy Bysshe Shelley in his sonnet, ‘Ozymandias’ in which the sculpted statue of the great monarch Ozymandias lies shattered on a desert.

Hampi, a UNESCO World Heritagesite is the erstwhile capital of Vijaynagar Empire, situated on the banks of river Tungabhadra, in the state of Karnatak. During 1336 to 1565, four dynasties, namely, Sangama, Saluva and Aravidu ruled over this empire and constructed more than 500 monuments in the shape of palaces, temples. People of Vijayanagar had days of prosperities by trading on cotton, spice, horses and gems. But, the ruthless time brought it to oblivion. In 1565, it was conquered by combine army of Muslim rulers who looted and brought it to ravages. Yet, Hampi attracts tourists who could conceptualize its past glory from whatever remnants it has.

The Virupaksha Temple at Hampi is a monumental religious site that attracts tourists because this place is considered the sacred wedding spot of Lord Shiva and Parvati. A prayer offered to the divine spouse is considered to bestow a happy matrimonial life to the devotees. Built in the 7th century, this temple stands 50 meters high.

The Lotus Palace at Hampi, also called the Chitrangani Mahal or Kamal Mahal escaped the ravages of the looters and stands witness to the aesthetic fervor of the kings of Vijayangar who liked the Indo-Islamic architecture; a confluence of two distinctly separate cultures. The dome on the structure bears the curved form of a lotus bud and thus derives its name ‘Kamal Mahal’.

Those having interest in Ramayana find Hampi a must-to –be-visited destination because of its mythological associaton with Ramayana. Hanuman, the great devotee of Shri Rama is believed to be born on the Anjayaneya hills, located across the Tungabhadra River. Kishkinda, the monkey kingdom, is located around Hampi, where Rama and Laxmana reached, in search of Sita. Visitors can find touch of this myth at the Hazara Ram Temple that has the walls with episodes of Ramayana carved on them.

Laxmi Narasimha Temple at Hampi portrays carvings of Lord Vishnu, Hanuman and Goddess Laxmi. It is believed to be Jaina temple because of its architectural style. The gigantic structure of the Elephant Stables and the exclusive facilities provided in the Zenana Enclosure keep the visitors astounded. The structure of stone chariot, of the Vijaya Vittala Temple showcases intricate carvings depicting fables and Hindu mythological stories, about the victories and glories of the king Krishna Deva Raya and the routine life of his subjects. Vijaya Utsav is a cultural event organized every year in the premises of this temple.

Hampi is the perfect destination to evidence that there is always a universal decline of all leaders and empires they build with the lasting power of art and architecture.