Many of the more important temples built by the Vijayanagara rulers had large bazaars – market places – in which all kinds of goods were sold. The locals sold spices and silk both within and to foreign traders, who bartered them for horses and gold. It is said that the spices from Vijayanagara were traded all over the world, especially to the Arabian and Persian kingdoms, in return for Arabic steeds.

The origin and raison d’être for the monuments in the hillock called Hemakuta, adjacent to the Virupaksha temple, are not clear. It is believed that sculptors sculpted these monuments/temples to try out different styles of architecture, before building the outer towers of the main Virupaksha temple.

A couple of the numerous test monuments at Hemakuta

You can easily google Hampi and see all the important monuments, so, I won’t post them all here, except the Lotus Mahal, which impressed me for the following reason. The Lotus Mahal was the conference hall for the king and his ministers, and other visiting royals. It was air conditioned in that the walls were inlaid with terracotta pipes through which water was circulated from an overhead tank. I want to live there.

The Conference Hall with Eco-friendly A/C

The Mahanavami platform is a large square platform in which the Vijayanagara kings honoured soldiers during Dussera. It likely had a wooden mandapa above it, which was burnt down by the Muslim invaders. The reliefs on the lower walls are breathtaking with lines of marching animals including elephants, horses and camels, musicians and dancers, battle procession, couples and scenes of common citizens celebrating spring season by throwing water at each other. Near the great platform is an audience hall, which also probably had a wooden pavilion, evidenced by 100 stone stubs; this too was burnt down by the invaders

The Grand Platform in which brave soldiers were awarded by the king
Rock plates on which the soldiers were served food. I want that.

The empire had an all-women army.

Women practicing warfare
Women solidiers
Woman fighting a lion
Women taming an elephant

Some more random scultpures

Dancer
The ten headed-ten armed Ravana who abducted Sita in the Ramayana
Some wannabe young sculptor was probably practicing. One sees unexpected pieces like this on random rocks if one keeps their eyes open

More pictures to follow…

One thought on “Some more pictures from Hampi

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