Chalukyas and Vijayanagara

I have been pretty lazy from many days. Haven’t been reading many blogs. Haven’t commented on many that I read. I was so lazy that my mom had to give death threats to make me download pics from the camera. My friend after pestering me for pics for more than 2 weeks, forgot that I had been on a trip when I gave her a link to the pics finally. One question that I keep hearing is “What is there to see in Karnataka? Any interesting places?”. These places were on my must-visit list from quite sometime now.

I had been to Hampi and Bijapur when I was a small kid and hence remembered nothing about them, other than what I saw in old photos where I am posing in front of every nice looking building with a pant and a new boy cut looking exactly like a boy (courtesy: my granddad). Β So finally I saw those places in this order : Hampi, Kudalasangama, Bijapur, Aihole, Pattadakal, Badami and Chitradurga.

Our first destination was Hampi which we reached pretty late evening. Thanks to the Hampi Utsav which was supposed to start the next day, there was lighting everywhere. The lighting glorified the monuments and temples. Hampi was the capital of Vijayanagara empire, founded by two people named Hakka and Bukka. The most famous emperor in that empire was Krishnadevaraya. This year marked 500th year of the coronation of Krishnadevaraya. It seems it was one of the richest kingdoms in the world, next only to Rome. They would sell gold, the way they sell groundnuts on the footpath today. It seems a rose costed 2 gold coins. So you can imagine how rich the dynasty was. I never knew that Krishnadevaraya ruled so many Indian states – from Orissa to Kanyakumari. It seems they had some 10,000 elephants in their kingdom and even the elephants have such beautiful stables constructed for them. Unfortunately, most of the kingdom is in ruins; thanks to the many invaders that India had – especially Muslim rulers who made it a point to break every deity present in almost 2000 temples which still exist in bits and pieces today.

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One most interesting place is Vijaya Vittala temple, where dancers would perform sometimes. And for such occasions, they never used separate instruments. They have pillars which when hit produce sounds of various instruments. Unfortunately, one was allowed to hit them in the past but now since most part of the temple has been falling into pieces, government has banned public from hitting the pillars. The most famous ones are the stone chariot that you can find outside this temple and a huge statue of Ugra Narasimha. Apart from the stone chariot in Konark, this is the only stone chariot existing in India. The other places to visit there are Jalakanteshwara, Saasevekalu Ganesha, Virupaksha temple, Market, Hazara Rama temple, Dasara Dhibba, Queen’s bath, Lotus Mahal (where queens rested and is built in Muslim style and hence remains untouched) and Elephant stable. It seems they had their own air conditioning system in Lotus Mahal for summers. A water pipe with small holes sprayed water drops on to the walls and somehow kept the building cool.

Mysore Dasara is just a custom which Mysore maharaja continued after Vijayanagara empire fell. Dasara originated in Vijayanagara empire. It had 11 elephants in the dasara, while the mysore one just has one elephant.

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The second place we visited was Kudalasangama. This happens to be the birth place of Basavanna and also a place where three rivers meet – Krishna, Gataprabha and Malaprabha. Basavanna was a philosopher and a social reformer. His “vachanas” are very famous. His samadhi along with Linga and a shiva temple are there.

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And then we headed to Aihole, Pattadakal andΒ Badami, which are famous for Chalukya style architecture but unfortunately even these are in ruins today. Aihole was supposed to be the place of learning for students of architecture in those days. It has 100s of temples, each of which are different in terms of architecture and carvings. These temples were built by architecture students as part of their project to earn a degree in architecture. Pattadakal is again famous for architecture and beautiful temples. It has a combination of North Indian style (e.g Orissa) and South Indian style temples. The carvings and writings are simply too beautiful. Badami has cave temples. Not even a single pillar was brought from outside and assembled into the temple. The entire temple including the pillars were carved out of rocks. There are 4 main temples here – 2 of them being Vishnu’s, one being Shiva’s and 1 being that of Mahaveera (since they belonged to Jainism but later became devotees of Vishnu). There are too many monkeys in Badami and that made taking out my camera impossible.

Another place to visit in Badami is Banashankari Temple. The temple in Banashankari, Bangalore got deity from this original temple in Badami. It was a friday and was so crowded that we hardly got a glimpse of the Goddess.

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Enroute to all these places, you see plenty of maize fields. I have never seen one before or atleast dont remember seeing one. Beautiful huge fields with only maize growing in them were so pleasant to look at.

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One thing we must not have seen was “Animal Sacrifice“. I assumed that government had banned it, but enroute to Hampi we saw it in some village. In front of a Durga temple, they were mercilessly chopping the heads of goats, sheep, buffaloes and carrying their head and torso separately. It was so gory to look at that I could not sleep that night. Until those sacrifices were over, they did not let our vehicle pass. I felt so bad for those poor animals.

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Adil Shahi among the Bahamani Sultans, who apparently invaded Vijayanagara empire and destroyed Hampi, built Gol Gumbaz in Bijapur. It was built mainly for holding darbar it seems. It is supposed to be the second largest dome in the world, next only to the one in Vatican City. The uniqueness about this dome is the “whisper gallery”. You can whisper from any corner and your whisper can be heard from anywhere inside the dome. There is no need for shouting or using a mic/speaker. I wonder how they made this possible. Also everything you say gets echoed 7 times now (initially when built, it was 14 times). Hats off to those engineers who designed it that way! We can seeΒ tombs of Muhammad Adil Shah II in the building below the whispering gallery.

But you get to see Vandalism everywhere. Look at this expression of love inside the building. Is this the best way to express one’s love towards another? By spoiling a monument which is unique in the world?

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Our last place of visit was Chitradurga, which is famous for Madakari Nayaka‘s 7-walled fort. The fort has been built in a snake-like fashion. This was done to prevent invaders from bringing elephants and then using them to break the gate of the fort. It was a long and tiring walk and we had to climb uphill at many places. This was the first fort I had ever been to and it was just amazing how they came up with such a well-protected fort, which looks so strong and unbreakable. It seems Hyder Ali’s army tried thrice to enter this fort and got defeated. Finally they came in through a trick. They followed a shortcut into the fort used by a lady who delivered curd. But they were spotted in time by “Vonake Vobavva” whose husband was a guard. She killed them one by one but one of the soldiers who had already entered before she could spot him, killed her from behind. You can see the exact “kindi” or hole from where soldiers entered. It was really interesting to see a cave, which was her house. Also we got a chance to see “Monkey man” in action, who is known for climbing walls within seconds.

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47 thoughts on “Chalukyas and Vijayanagara

  1. Wow some nice pictures you have put and you seem to have had a good trip.. reminded me of my 10th class hsitory lesson when we had all this in our curriculum the chalukyaas and the mauryaas and all

    amazing πŸ™‚

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  2. There is one excellent tamil historical novel called Sivakaamiyin sabadham (Sivakami’s Vow). Its about Chalukya pallava war. You should read that book sometime. Its a lovely one.

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  3. πŸ™‚

    Wonderful ! Historical places and monuments were always one of my favorites. πŸ™‚ Haven’t seen much of them though. 😦 Specially southern India.

    By the way, some much needed inquiry coming your way. πŸ˜›

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  4. Hey Avada, first things first.. your blog tempate.. hmm… well change it! πŸ˜› it doesnt go well with the wonderful articles you write

    As Bikram said, you reminded me about my history textbook.. a subject i pretended to hate but liked a lot and still now following the trend by reading one article every day on Wiki.. Beautiful explanation of places and facts that are astonishing.. whisper gallery, the supposedly second largest dome, the pillar that make sound.. awesome architecture.. we had so much talent, where is all that now?? why we havnt been inventing these, using these in modern construction and make it royal.. spending cores of rupees on buildings, i dont think it will harm if they analyze and reconstruct these beautiful wonders of engineering.

    the animal sacrifice is still largely prevalent in India though Govt. has banned it.. but wont take much actions because its a religious sentimental issue and it may also cause an outcry. locals officials are at bigger risk of facing a backlash from these groups which may include vandalism or even personal / physical injury to death. It has happened in the past, no one can stop it from happening it again, so its a very very tender issue to be dealt with…

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    • Yep blog template change is much needed.. this one is too boring I guess πŸ™‚
      Hehe..even I hated History so much in school, mainly because we had to memorize the years and dates.. but now I simply like reading about/watching historical places.. and thankfully our India has such a long history and there is so much of heritage.. Hmm very true.. they can spend money and do some research..learn how these wonders were constructed and try to reconstruct..
      yeah I guess you are right.. but it was so horrid to watch them chop heads 😦

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  5. Hey Avada, first things first… your blog tempate.. hmm… well change it! πŸ˜› it doesnt go well with the wonderful articles you write

    As Bikram said, you reminded me about my history textbook.. a subject i pretended to hate but liked a lot and still now following the trend by reading one article every day on Wiki.. Beautiful explanation of places and facts that are astonishing.. whisper gallery, the supposedly second largest dome, the pillar that make sound.. awesome architecture.. we had so much talent, where is all that now?? why we havnt been inventing these, using these in modern construction and make it royal.. spending cores of rupees on buildings, i dont think it will harm if they analyze and reconstruct these beautiful wonders of engineering.

    the animal sacrifice is still largely prevalent in India though Govt. has banned it.. but wont take much actions because its a religious sentimental issue and it may also cause an outcry. locals officials are at bigger risk of facing a backlash from these groups which may include vandalism or even personal / physical injury to death. It has happened in the past, no one can stop it from happening it again, so its a very very tender issue to be dealt with…

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  6. I wanna visit those places too. I had heard that they are beautiful and you just confirmed it. πŸ™‚

    By the way, I don’t wanna “hate” anyone however cannot help but hate people who destroyed those places. x-(

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  7. Nice new look for the blog eh? πŸ™‚

    Quickly skimmed over the part of the animal sacrifice 😐 * shudder * Cannot deal with it.
    And yes….it seriously annoys me when people do that to monuments….why can’t they preserve them! 😑

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  8. I’ve been to Hampi…and have fallen completely in love with the place. It’s a time machine that transports you back to those ages!
    Never been to Bijapur, but sooo want to!

    In my first job, i worked n a calendar that had north karnataka as a theme…and we covered aihole, pattadakkal, hampi, bijapur and many more places…ever since, i’ve wanted to go to all these places! i love old architecture n ruins πŸ˜‰

    And i really hate ppl who vandalise monuments to carve in their names.if ppl want their names etched in history, they need ot do things that make an impact — not carve on monuments someone else took the trouble to build!

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    • Yeah when I was in Hampi, I was trying to imagine how it would have looked in those days.. really a time machine πŸ™‚
      Gol Gumbaz is very nice..you should visit it sometime..
      Exactly.. I hate to see people engraving their lovers’ names on monuments and trees..

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  9. Nice historical places..:) Some of the places I am yet to visit.. Karnataka has a lot of such historical monuments.. But vandalism is one thing that needs to prevented in all these places.. I never understand the people who spoil these places..

    And as always nice pics.. πŸ™‚

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  10. I think the only contribution we have made are the lighting effects (as seen in one of your photos)… The whisper gallery was very interesting. There is a similar place in Auroville where just one small ray of sunlight falls on a crystal and illuminates the whole place (it a globe like place for meditation)… Its beyond my comprehension as to why people would destroy monuments… I mean the invading emperors. I guess its all a part of the eternal cycle. Loved the pictures…

    Destination Infinity

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    • yeah lighting effects are the only contribution and that was also there only because of the utsav they had.. Oh never heard of that place you mentioned.. really like a wonder right? Should try to visit it.. Thanks DI πŸ™‚

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  11. Hi there! Nice post.. I wish to go visit such places too. Last yr I went to Belur-Halebid and enjoyed it. The architecture is marvellous. Speaks of our wonderful rich heritage and always makes me proud.

    And yes, Karnataka does have plenty of places to see for those who want to explore .. πŸ™‚
    Great pics too..

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  12. History fascinates me. I always wanted to visit the places you have listed. I have visited Gol Gombaz but some day I need to catch the rest of the architectural wonders.

    About the stone chariots, apart from Hampi and Konark, there are stone chariots in Mahabalipuram also, if am right.

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  13. I have been to those places when I was a kid. You know, the trips in 90’s were amazing!! No mobiles, digicams, atms, etc., The thrill we got is missing now a days (If planned now, we just google it and get the pics). I still coudn’t believe that how my dad remember all the routes in Karnataka(we r frm TN) without asking anyone, driving exactly in time to the destination, and a perfect schedule. Go to the place, enjoy the sight, have some nice chats, drink a goldspot, take some 10 pics and comeback. This ‘roll’ cam days are wonderfull! I still have my Kodak!! Sightseeing is a goner now. The digicams made those monuments just as a backgrounds for 100 pics, everyone a solo and a permutation & combination of groups.
    Taking photographs in electronic cameras and developing has been driven to extinction now. Infact the first digicam was on 2000, Nikon D1, owner by my ‘singapore’ uncle.

    Note: I think you need to read history once again.

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    • yeah trips in 90s were so good.. with no mobiles to disturb you when you are enjoying something… your dad was really good with routes then.. I mean being from TN, he knew roads in KA.. that’s really cool… Roll cams were better than these digicams..even I feel so.. I click like 500 pics in every trip and hardly glance through them ever again.. but I have developed this habit of getting them printed and then have albums.. I love glancing through albums rather than viewing them on the screen..
      Need to read history again for sure.. When I read in school, I disliked it so much that I never studied it with interest.. now I am interested in reading history πŸ™‚

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  14. the pictures and history were amazing AK… thanks for all the info πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚

    Our lovers to make their history write in those historical monuments πŸ˜‰

    that stone Ratha is amazing.. there are a lot to see… u mentioned Krishnadevaraya.. then you should have mentioned about Thenali raman too… I like him much… πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚

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    • Thanks Kanagu πŸ™‚ Thenali Rama was in his court right? The guide dint mention anything about him.. I like Thenali Rama a lot.. have read so many stories about him when I was young..

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  15. Pingback: Indian Monuments « Stung by the splendor of a crazy thought

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