Monday, November 06, 2006

Not so Bumpi ride back from Hampi: Part 2

On our visit to the rest of Hampi the next day, we went to the amazing Vithala Temple complex which had musical pillars. These are clusters of small pillars around a central pillar on which is a carving denoting the type of sound they make, for example, bells or stringed instruments. If you then tap the smaller pillars with a stick or knuckle they make different notes. Listening with your ear pressed against the stone made the sound incredibly loud.

Now we can see where Alexander gets his musical talent from:

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We also went to see Krishna Deva's stables. For his elephants! I can imagine that if Dad had elephants he'd build stables like this. They were in a row, made of granite with, obviously, huge entrances and each one was separated by walls, but there was a small doorway through which the mahout, but not the elephant, could pass. However, she could stick her trunk through and chat to her neighbour, or perhaps, for a couple of rupees, bless her. Each stable had a domed roof in alternating Hindu and Moghul styles, domes and triangular, with a central tower above the stable in which the prize of the collection, an albino elephant, lived. I have taken millions of pictures of Hampi, but as my pictures of monuments are identical to everyone elses, here is a link on the left to loads of them on one site, which saves me masses of photo uploading.

I forgot to mention that the downfall of the Vijayanagaras was at the hands of the invading moslems and Shiva, our guide, related it to three causes. Firstly, the Hindu emperors had a moslem army and as the moslem invasion grew in force, they changed sides, which is always a bad idea. Secondly, apparently the Emperors had made life with their concubines - women with impossibly pert breasts - so comfortable that they were at it all night and knackered during the day, so when the moslems galloped along they lay there, waving their hands feebly, saying, "Oh you go ahead, I can't be bothered". The final reason, which I think had some serious historical point, had nothing ridiculous about it so I've forgotten it.

Later in the day, we met up with some more of my relations as Alexander, Eliza and Mary joined us in Hotel Malligi. It is a very long time since I have seen any of them, but I resisted the urge to say to my 12 year old cousin "My, haven't you grown". As a child, really, that is all one does, so having adults commenting on it is phenomenally irritating.

The next day Teresa, Richard and myself left everyone else and went to Chitradurga which is a dusty town with a hilly fort apparently on the oldest rock formations in the country. The fort was ruled by more Viyanagars one of whom was entertainingly called Chikkana Nayaka, which sounds like something on a Japanese menu. Their rule here lasted longer than at Hampi - right up to the 18th century. Having experienced climbing up and down the hill (twice) and seeing the size of the walls, with no visible places for concubines to sap the strength of warriors, I can see why it lasted longer.

We spent a lovely few hours clambering around the temples and tanks on the hill, it was quite stunning. One of the most amazing sights was that of a local boy climbing up and down the wall like spider man. Below is a photo that you won't believe.

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This is the view almost from the top of the hill overlooking the temple tank. It was beautiful, but the water was pea-green and when you got close, stink smell is coming.

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