Hampj Vijayanagar

 

 

 Hampi now reminds me of a mixture of Goa and Kathmandu in its heyday ... in the "village" there is a succession of shops of all kinds, restaurants and guesthouses ... there are barriers everywhere ( like the one surrounding the lake at Badami ) the most interesting sites have to be paid for ( 5 to 600 rupees like in Ellora & Ajanta ) but fortunately the rest is free ... the "main avenue" has been demolished and paved over, a large portico marks the entrance and the small square that used to mark it with a beautiful tree and the small post office has disappeared !!! 
... we returned from our first stroll at sunset and I continued towards the main temple, crowded with multicoloured lighting and to top it all off, a firework display! ...
... Hampi has entered the tourist fray and is the delight of organised tour groups ... many of them French ...
... in short, there's been a lot of change and it's extremely interesting ...

 

 

A very long walk to the temple of Vitala, with its musical pillars and stone chariot...

 

 

 To leave, we took an electric shuttle that took us to the road that passes under the gantry that I had photographed a long time ago and which was then just a dusty track...

 

 

... yes, it really is a paved road, and we walked along it for a while before boarding a tuk tuk for the queen's baths, then the elephant stables and the watchtowers... the festival that is getting ready has invaded the main sites, rehearsals have begun and the grandstands are about to be set up, with hundreds of chairs waiting, sets, sound systems and technicians working or having a siesta...

 

 

... ballets of helicopters, we thought police or army ... in fact they are tours for tourists: 4000 rupees for 7 minutes over the site !!!


... kingfishers, swallows, egrets, squirrels and, of course, monkeys either alone or in organised groups (bandar log) ... banana plantations, sugar cane and coconut plantations to complete the "landscape" ...

 


... the Virupaksha temple, the highest (nearly 50 m) and still active, broadcasts new age-style music punctuated by OMs almost all day long ...

Behind the main temple (Virupaksha) ... escape onto a huge granite slab dotted with small temples and ruins ... when there is soil, a few stunted trees and many old frangipani trees ... and always full of striped-backed squirrels, curiously no monkeys on this side !...

 

 

Heading up the main street where preparations for the festival are winding down, I bypass the rows of chairs and the stage to tackle a flight of steps that leads to a path, through the rocky heaps, leading to the Achyutaraya temple, one of the last monuments dating from before the fall of Vijayanar (1565) ... back along a path that joins the river where the crowds and bands of monkeys are back ...

... sunset ... ...

 

The Vijaya Ustav is presented as a festival of arts and culture, but it is above all a huge popular festival, half commercial, half religious, which attracts an impressive crowd...
... when I got there, I decided to see what was inside the large barnums set up on a huge area covered with long strips of canvas to avoid the clouds of dust from the mass movements ...


... and so I discover a hybrid of market, exhibition and 'organic fair' ... stand after stand I pass from ayurvedic pharmacopoeia to kitchen gadgets, passing by NGOs for the defence of women and the protection of children ... ecology is also present. ... there's also a place for ecology, but nothing about rubbish! ... there's even a barnum/aquarium where dozens of aquariums containing all sorts of small fish are lined up, just like the ones you find in pet shops back home ...

 

 ... to close this page, a piece of reading advice: Salman Rushdie - The City of Victory - 2023 Random  House

In 14th-century South India, following a battle between two kingdoms now forgotten, a nine-year-old girl has a divine encounter that changes the course of history. After witnessing the death of her mother, the grief-stricken little Pampa Kampana becomes the vehicle of a goddess who begins to speak through the orphan's mouth. Granting her powers beyond Pampa Kampana's comprehension, the goddess tells her that she will contribute to the development of a great city called Bisnaga - literally "city of victory" - the wonder of the world.
Over the next two hundred and fifty years, Pampa Kampana's life merges with that of Bisnaga, from its creation from a bag of magic seeds to its tragic downfall in the most human of ways: the hubris of those in power. By bringing Bisnaga and its inhabitants to life through her whispers, Pampa Kampana attempts to fulfil the mission entrusted to her by the goddess: to make women the equals of men in a patriarchal world. But all stories escape their creator, and Bisnaga is no exception. As the years pass, rulers come and go, battles are won and lost, and allegiances change, the very fabric of Bisnaga becomes an increasingly complex tapestry, with Pampa Kampana at its heart.

Brilliantly presented as a translation of an ancient epic, this saga of love, adventure and myth is a testament to the infinite power of words