Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Let's Rock Hampi - Part III

Ever heard of a saying, too much of a good thing is good?
No? That's bad ...... !
For those who answered yes.........you guys watched the promos .. of Garfielf 2, isn't it? Cool .....! ;-)

Anyway, that was exactly, what was happenning to us ....!

The night's accomodation was at Malligi .... ! No, No that's not a spelling mistake! We were all raring to go the next day. Ofcourse, after (an awesome) breakfast, ....! :-). Our next stop was at Kamalapur, where we joined the fellow caravaners and off we headed, to Hampi.

The first stop was at Virupaksha Temple. We were joined by a middle aged gentleman named Keshav. He was the, ASI director (South) and curator of four museums around that place and had been involved in excavations in Hampi from about 30 years! :O. He was an individual filled with energy,enthusiam and opinions. His witty comments, just ended up making the trip-o-trivia far more interesting! Apart from a few architectural marvels, in Krishnadevaraya's signature style (all puns intended), we witness a few frescos on the ceiling!

Fresco painting of Manmatha ..... (a.k.a Ananga, lest, someone questions me about Calvin or Mickey Mouse! For the sake of argument, i don't know an alias of Mickey Mouse ... :D)

This fresco above depicts, Manmatha, yes the manipulative dude, who can't keep his arrows to himself. As, mythology has it .... Manmatha, who uses sugarcane as bow, flowers as arrows, crocodiles as earings and parrots as mode of transport, disturbs Lord Shiva (who sports a French Beard ...! This fresco dates to 16 Century ,....!! Huh! Then maybe French copied it from us ......! ), who obviously retorts by killing Manmatha. Well, brilliance of Keshav was evident, when, he explained the details embedded in the picture, by the iconographer. The sugarcane .. indicates, the sweetness that should exist in the relationship, the flowers indicate the tenderness and fragrance, the crocodiles indicate, the nature of attachment that should prevail amongst couples .......... ... Cool? Eh? ;-). He went on to add, that there are remedies to most ailments in this world, except for love, resulting in thunderous applause and laughter amongst the victims in the group ......Oops .. did i say victims? They are realists ... :-)

Sasvikal Ganesha .... A monolithic sculpture of Lord Ganesha.

This monolithic Ganesha, is at an elevated platform. The sculptor, of this structure, was pathetic in his estimation! He began, creating the structure with such finesse, that he forgot, he had used up most of the stone. Thus, the dorsal side has not much intricate work, just a thin line .....! Huh! So much for not following the process .... ! There are granaries, that can be viewed from this elevated platfrom, proving that there was definitive trade relations with other countries .........!

The Lotus Mahal ... in the Queen's Palace ...

The Queens', had a time of their lives!! Apart from having plush palaces, these folks had the treasury by their side! The had a water trough within and the place boasted of gardens and such facilities. The picture above, is the Hawa Mahal. The contrbution of Satavahanas to architecture. One can clearly see the influence of the Islamic style of construction. The arches. This place, looks like an inverted lotus. Nope, the place is not as inclined as it looks above........ ;-) . Keshav, aggressively, defended, the reason, kings had so many queens, was because, the queen's were attracted, to the king's who had power. Well, not many agreed to that ..... , though!

The Bold and the Beautiful ..... The Bold and intimidating Narasimha, with Lakshmi. Who says, manicuring was not an in thing then?

Ugra Narasimha, was a brilliant sculpture. The image of Narasimha, is intimidating to say the least. Goddess Lakshmi, is seated on Narasimha's lap. This was completly destroyed, when the kingdom was attacked. ASI has brought back and done up a lot of work on this sculpture. Keshav, then went on to narrate the story of the sculptor. When, the sculptor, was summoned to take up this assignment, he agreed, on one condition, that no one should disturb him when he worked. There were gaurds posted, and work went on for quite sometime. The gates were locked and the sculptor, worked in isolation. After, many days, the sound of chisles stopped. The alarmed gaurds communicated the same to the king, and when they came down .... to see, the sculpture was complete ........... but the sculptor, lay dead prostrated at his own creation. He paid the ultimate tribute to this timless work of art! Indeed, the sculptors' passion .........can evoke goosebumps .... even today ....!

The Stepped Tank,also known as ... Pushkarni

The citadel area of the palace, boasts of remnants of the KrishnaDevaRaya kingdom. It's majestic. One can just imagine, the way this place would have been in its days of glory....! There is a darbar hall, that contained a hundred pillars, with its pillars (at that point) being covered in ornate gems and stones. There are hosts of security points and it had seven layers of security before one can enter the royal citadel area. There are secret passges where the king could get messages from his ministers and the passages are sound proof! What impressed me, most was this tank shown above. ASI found aquaducts and on excavating found, this Stepped tank. Every stone, in this tank was pre fabricated and numbered in the quary itself!! Each stone contains the marking as to which part it would fit into! Brilliant .......! The aquaducts brought in water from Kamalapur, which is about thirty kilometers away!! The principles of gravity were used to design ..... these ducts such that once, the tanks filled it would fill the other and so on. In case, the duct clogged, there were folks who were employed, who filled the ducts back, thus ensuring, supply of water to citadel area was always intact. One can see ... the barracks where gaurds lived too ......... Its amazing ....!

A work of Art .......

A Granite pillar at Hazarama ....

The Hazarama, is another architectural marvel. It boasts of excellence in all its pillars. Granite was used in pillars and some of them have tales of Ramayana emblazoned on them ....

Tales of Ramayana .....

'Kishkinda', the kingdom of monkeys, which is mentioned in Ramayana, is believed to be closer to Hampi. There is a peak, that is supposed to be the birthplace of Hanuman.

A visit to Hampi, and all these places, bring out a mixed bag of feelings. The beauty and marvel of these constructions, on one end give you a sense of pride, that you belong to a culture that *ruled*! In every sense of the word. On the other, we just have to satiate ourselves with only these remains. We are just left to *imagine*, how this kingdom may have been in its days of glory. We walk along the left overs, that serve as a stark reminder of man's greed. The greed of power, can be that strong ....... that constructions that were meant to be timeless ........ were destroyed abruptly.

Each pillar, stone in this place has a tale to narrate. A tale of how it had witnessed, the best of the craftsmen, who shaped it ...... the best of the kingdoms, it was a part of ......... the best of the times, it has been in .........and the greed of a few men, that destroyed it.

Hampi, used to be the venue for Dasara. Mahanavami Dibba, is a platform, where .....the commoners, used to be seated to watch the Dasara celebrations conducted before them.

Seated, on that platform ............ what one can see now ...... is just a celebration of man's greed ........ and the fruits of it, which has rendered marvels as rubbles ......! The contrast couldn't have been any more stark ....!

Indeed ........it was an U ......F......W!

Legend : UFW, UnForgettable Weekends, initiative of Karnataka Tourism.

Let's Rock Hampi - Part II

An early morning drive to Vidhana Soudha.........
The seat of power in the state's capital, could not have been any more, majestic. The towering stucture, indeed looks splendid against the sun rays, early morning. It was an apt location to begin our journey to the ancient ruins. Arun Pai of BangaloreWalks, neatly summarised the journey, as a visit to the then seat of power of Vijayanagar Empire, Hampi, from today's seat of power. I couldn't agree more. The band's rendition of "Apara Keerthiye ......" was splendid. It was backed up with the theme song .... "Let's Rock Hampi ....." . Cameras, media, the who-is-who of culture and tourism of Karnataka, were in to make the event a grand success. We even got tips to visit certain individuals .......ah ..... :-). We were flagged off by the minister for culture and tourism.

The pride of Bengalooru

Suresh, our driver seemed more of a test driver for Chevrolet. Yeah, they may not be a big team in motorsports, but fear not, Suresh is around to prove how good their test drivers are....! As he floored the accelerator pedal we were transported from Zero to Fun in no time. The roads to ruins were definitely not in ruins ... which made the entire experience awesome!! The next stop was Dabbaspet, near Tumkur, where a sumptous breakfast was awaiting us. The officials did a damn neat job of organising the entire event. Their eye for detail and the shots at perfection did not go unnoticed. The roads from Tumkur, was a pleasure to drive on.

Windmill Farm, along the way.

It was a spectacular sight. The windmill farm extended for kilometres ... together. If one was amazed at how, the power of wind was harnessed, to divert it to other purposes......... i had a far more intriguing concept to digest. There were folks around, who tried to convince me that a windmill had to be pictured from the front ..... :O. (;-)) Yes, this is stuff straight out of Jay's believe it or not! ;-).

A peak ... Let's call it Jay Rayara Betta ..... :-)

What, you say, that it resembles my name? Huh? It's all in the eyes of the mouse holder .. i tell ya .... :-).

Chitradurga, was our next pit stop. We had small briefings by the Commissoner of Chitradurga, and a performance by the Bangalore Walks, which explained the legend of Obavva, the woman who had stood fort and beat the invaders to pulp, with her Onake. ( A cylindrical household tool, used to gnash chillies) .

We were then escorted to the fort by the police in our caravan. The welcome, that Chitradurga citizens gave had us all, spellbound to say the least. Garlands, media, crowd ..... oh! It was all happenning and faster than what one could take it in. The Chitradurga fort, stood majestic. It was apparently self sufficient in its days of yore and had withstood many attacks. We were also visually treated, to the acts of a dare devil, who went by the nick, Kothiraja. His exploits on embarking tall pillars and rocks, without any rig or support were commendable!!

Chitradurga Mint. On a rainy day, it is said even now people find gold here. Ah ... is this called, raining gold? ;-)

Ouch, The Obavva Kindi! The modern Obavva's manage pretty much with water bottles!!

A lunch, served by the townsfolk, dressed ethnically, by the lake side at Chandravali, was a welcome surprise. Rajasthani and Gujurati food ..... Awesome .....!

Our (test?) driver, continued his mindless assault on the roads, as we were sprinting way ahead of our convoy. Suddenly, the vehicle switched off ... on the move ....! It was the vehicle's way of resisiting any assault on it!! Neverthless, we were stranded and with us we brought the whole convoy to halt. The organisers had other plans already. We were split and asked to board vehicles which had vacant seats and we were resuming our journey towards ...... ThungaBadra dam. The plan was to witness sunset at that Vaykunta, the guesthouse that overlooks the TB dam. Fate, had other plans in mind and we were denied the same.

Sunset Point. Ah you fell for it? This is no sunset point and all ... ;-).

The next landmark in our landscape was Vittala Temple. The place was a marvel. The Archeological Survey of India, is doing a brilliant job of restoring the remains of the once marvellous empire. The illuminated pathway, was a brilliant contrast to the darkness that engulfed us. This temple, was very famous for its musical pillars. The pillars carved in stones, emnate the building blocks of Carnatic music, the jhal tarang, the ghattam , the bell and et all ........ The same material was used in all the pillars and it just goes about to show, the brilliance of the architects. The only difference was the space between pillars, the way they were cut and the distance to the main pillar .......! Brilliance ...... pillarified ...!

The Stone Chariot, Vitthala

The temple was being illuminated, specially! It was a sight to watch! Watch this ........

The Vitthala .. in its glory .....

Are you all done with admiring the picture above? No? Okie ... I ' ll give you some more time .....! :-)

The temple, in its days of yore had diamond stalls on the outside!! Also, outside there is a King's Balance. These folks always, traded in the name of the King and God. All the measurements were done in the King's balance, with God as witness, thereby ensuring no one cheated! Wow ........! In short they believed, " In god we trust, for all the rest, we use the King's Balance".

One more .. visual treat ....

You could get more about Hampi, from our prinicpal correspondant! Right ,, sush ......? ;-)

It was a wonderful experience. As we headed back, to Kamalapur, we already had a cultural programme awaiting us. This was followed by some rip roaring mimicry. Dinner was served and that was doubled with music for us as well .....! What more can we have asked for? The songs were just getting better. Before, Na .. could go on with her debut, "pehla nasha..." ,We were informed that the 11 30 curfew did not exist and just before we could savour it ... we had to leave........ as our accomodation was at a different location!! It was a pretty eventful day and every ounce (there are lots ...) of me could do with even some more .......:-) Oh .. what a day it was ..... :-)

Monday, November 06, 2006

Let's Rock Hampi - Part I

It was a dull Tuesday morning, when I heard the question popped in the air. (Quite literally) . On any other day i would have switched channels and moved on .....! There was something about this contest...... that appealed to me. Something, that prompted me to go for it.

Was it because, i wanted a *break*? Was it because i knew i would make it? Was it because i had nothing much to do on a Tuesday morning? Huh? I guess ....... it was a combination of all these. Anyway, i gave it a shot.

Lo, in just a few minutes, i was on air and i won myself a pass for the 'Let's Rock Hampi' campaign. Little did i realize what was in store for me ..... then. I was just excited about this entire ...... trip!

Friday, November 03, 2006

Let’s crawl on Hosur road ......

Leaving Ecity, a place we almost call home,
We head to Hosur road, ours to fume,
Steeped in jams, water clogs and time,
A cursed road ….. in its PRIME!!!

We’re crawling on the Highway,
We’re the IT caravan,
Mundhe nuggi saar,
We’re the IT caravan,
From aaga to eega,

Like a never ending saga,
Let’s crawl on Hosur road,
We’re the IT caravan,
We’re ……. The………….. IT……… caravan,

Silkboardu, the flyover stands tall,
Watch buses try in vain to scale and fall,
Jams wind like a snake,
And in its days of yore,
It has seen some sakkath,
Water clogging, jam and BORE!!!

“Comone everybody ……..*

We’re crawling on the Highway,
We’re the IT caravan,
Mundhe nuggi saar,
We’re the IT caravan,
From aaga to eega,
Like a never ending saga,
Let’s crawl on Hosur road,
We’re the IT caravan,
We’re ……. The………….. IT……… caravan

Hey, guys, on my trip to Hampi, i heard a song called, ‘Let’s Rock Hampi. On the same style and beat, I ve made this song. Apologies to Bangalore Walks band, Kini, Mani and Roopa /Arun Pai. I ve just shared the turmoil of a software Engineer on Hosur Road.