Friday, May 10, 2013

Magnificent ruins

My 4-year long wait came to an end on a warm April evening with the first glimpse of magnificent ruins of Hampi on the banks of Tungabhadra. The ruins looked mystic in their poignant beauty in the fading sun. The resounding quietness of the place made even the chirping birds, flowing river and gliding breeze noisy.  And for me, time simply ceased.
As one approaches Hampi, the terrain transforms into interesting contrasts of rocks and lush greenery.  It’s hard to ignore the precariously placed heavy boulders while traversing through the mountain rocks. I decided to stay in Virupapura Gadde, a small village on river Tungabhadra across Hampi town. The boat ride to reach Hampi every day gave me an opportunity to connect with locals, though briefly.  
Unlike other historical cities and towns where monuments and buildings are generally tucked away to one corner, the whole of Hampi town looks like a piece of art. The way intricately carved mandaps, pillars, unfinished statues are strewn around the place, it makes one believe that stone carving was a favourite pastime those days. The grandeur of temples and bazaars, finesse of work, intelligent town planning speak of a bygone era marked by pomp and prosperity, good living standards and unprecedented achievements in the fields of art and culture. At the same time, I couldn’t help feeling philosophical about the fact that even a shining star meets its end. Once a bustling city has now reduced to mere ruins. Walking through the deserted streets, the eeriness was overwhelming as if everyone left the town in a hurry.
There’s something for everyone in Hampi. It gives an insight into the engineering techniques used in building magnificent structures 500 to 700 years ago. One can also get a sneak-peek into the art and culture and administrative guidelines followed by one of the most successful dynasties in southern India. And finally, it’s THE place to go if one is seeking tranquillity, some time to introspect and lose oneself in the serenity.