Started on may 17th from ASE Amritapuri at around 3.00pm after a discussion on hampi, belur and halebeedu (places of karnataka). Two of the members from our team explained about hampi. The presentation was very informative.
We reached ettimadai campus at 11.30pm.After having dinner, we boarded the bus nearly at 1.00am. Overcoming many hurdles, we students and faculties reached Bangalore campus by 9.00am – the next day.
We had an oppurtunity to attend a meeting with ASI(Archeological Survey of India) at kendriya Sadan,Bangalore. Mr.Narasimha rao and Mr vishweshvaraiyya were the members of ASI who participated in the meeting. We came to know more about the places , especially Hampi. Discussions were mainly based on the early empires, their victories and tragedies, distroyal of monuments, reconstruction by ASI and also regarding each stake holder at that place. We took nearly 3hrs of their precious time. They explained us how vijayanagara empire’s capital city Hampi was attacked by foreign invaders( muslim federacy) and how they made sparkling city into ruins.
In the evening we boarded the bus to hampi at 5.00pm. We had to wait for 11hours to watch the World Heritage Centre-Hampi. i.e, we landed at 4.00am on 19th.
All students were busy in buying caps and hats as the temperature in hampi is very high. We have read the pamphlet given to us by ASI and we were ready to watch and explore the history.
The first place of visit was Virupaksha temple. The main diety worshipped is lord Shiva(virupaksheshwara). The temple is entered through a stately gateway 50m high that is richly carved. The front hall i.e, the Rangamandapa,is heavily pillared and richly carved displaying the episodes of mahabharatha and shiva puranas. The most amazing fact of the temple is the inverted gopura image that is formed in the wall when light enters through a small hole. The idea of pin-hole camera at that time!!!
Another marvelous beauty in hemakuta hill is the Kadalekalu ganesha. This Ganesha statue is made out of one stone. It is 4.5m high.
Near to this statue there is another Ganesha statue i.e, Sasivekalu(mustard seed) Ganesha. Here Ganesha has tied a snake around his tummy so as to save his tummy from bursting. This statue is 2.4m high. An open pavilion is build around the statue.
We then moved to watch lakshmi narasimha and badavi linga. The idol of lakshmi narasimha is 6.7m tall. It is the fierce form of Vishnu with the eyes bulging outwards with anger. The sculptor has beautifully carved it. The granite strap between the knees is the recent addition by ASI to stabilize.
Badavi linga is located next to narasimha statue. The sanctum, that the linga is always 3feet under water. So, a water channel is made to flow through it. This linga is said to be made by a poor woman. ‘Badavi’ in kannada means poor lady.
In the noon, we went to watch the ruins of the royal palace of vijayanagara empire. The style and design of architecture is quite amazing! There is a basement of the ruined palace of Viraharihara II, who ruled during the last part of the 14th century. This plan now left to the visitors’ imagination.
There is an elevated structure sticking to the corner of the compound wall with many steps leading to the top. The king used this platform to board on the royal elephant. Rooms in the royal palace had attached bathrooms at that time itself.
After having our lunch from kamalapura , we went to see the museum. Museum contained some remains of the sculptures, old coins and also a model of site view of hampi. We then again moved to see the royal ruins.
Queen’s mahal or the lotus mahal(resembles an open lotus from top) is built for the socializing purpose for the queen. The architecture is quite different as it has indo-islamic touch. It is a symbol of hindu – muslim unity.
The carvings inside the stable is marvelous and the sculptor has done his duty wholeheartedly. I remember Biju swami asking several questions to few of us, as why did the sculptor done the beautiful carvings , that too for stable? What made him beautify that? Is it because king promised to give any prize for the work? Is it because he loved the king or king liked him?
The answer is simple, Love for Work. Their dedication towards the work and their perfection in duty without expecting the results(karma yoga).
Pushkarini or stepped tank is considered as holy as the water is used for temple purpose only. Most of the temples in southIndia have the water tank with temple. This tank in Hampi is a major tourist spot. The king’s canal , wonderful water supply system in ancientIndia.
Mahanavami Dibba , the platform is nearly 12m high. During mahanavami, King used to honour his ministers here. He used to invite his enemy’s too. There are two entrances, one for the entrance for people and the other is the royal entrance for the king. King krishnadevaraya constructed this in commemoration on the victory over udaygiri. He used this platform to watch marchpasts , sports , games etc.
Watching the ruins in the noon broke our hearts. But we learned a lot! Especially the idea of perfection.
There are 56 musical pillar. I was really taken aback when I heard the sound ‘sa re ga ma pa da ni sa’ when the person hit the pillar.
We can see the 5 in 1 structures i.e, each carved image can be interpreted in 5 ways. We saw a 5 in 1 structure that is very small but explained whole hampi in short. Lord vishnu’s 10 avathaaras is also sculpted here.
Words cannot explain the beauty of this temple. There is a bazaar on the way to temple. People used to sell gold and precious stones at that time ‘ with no theft’ complaints. This shows how wealthy and civilized India was!
The guide who guided us was a Muslim . Yet he came along with us to the temple and explained everything in much clearer way. He worships other cultures without ignoring his own religion. I learned a lot from this experience.
I understood that the temples and monuments speak a lot of our vibrant culture. Each monument hides something more than what they actually reveal. It shows us how people were wealthy, civilized, educated, skilled and more importantly peaceful at that time.
We had our dinner from Hospet and stayed at Amrita Vidyalayam, Davankere. 20th morning at around 7.30 we started our journey to belur and halebeedu in hassan district.
We went through chikmangalore across the coffee and tea estates. We reached Belur at around 2.30pm. Belur is a vaishnava temple( devoted to Lord Vishnu). Lord Vishnu’s mohini avathaara is depicted in this temple. The main diety is Vishnu with female decorations. I was really attracted to the beauty of the idol that I could hardly take my eyes from it.The guide in Belur was very lively. I think nobody can forget this man. At the entrance , we can see the royal emblem of Hoysala kingdom. The temple was build by king vishnuvardhana and was completed by his grandson veera ballala II.
The main attraction of the temple is the gravity pillar. The gravity pillar is a wonder as the centre of mass and centre of gravity acts at one point. It is 42ft high , single stone and is standing at it’s own weight!
The architecture of the temple is magnificent. Storys from the puranas, Upanishads and other storys have been carved in most authenthic way. The sculptors explain more about the history. Each sculptor has got different story to tell.
There were many sculptors that explained the beauty of the ladies. I remember the guide comparing the ancient times to the modern world i.e, the hair style, dresses , makeup and much more. The old age dresses have become nowadays fashion. Each statue is made up of single stone.
The guide said, GOD means generator, operator, destroyer i.e, brahma, Vishnu and shiva. That means God is one. Creator and creation are not separate. I remembered our college prayer “purnamada purnamidam…” .
We then went to halebeedu. Halebeedu is the oldest capital of hoysala empire. When the city was made into ruins by mallik kafur, the empire changed the capital to belur. Halebeedu means ruined city. The temple is left incomplete. Halebeedu is a shiva temple. There are 2 lingas, one for the king and other for the queen. So 2 bulls can be seen in this temple. There is a big lake near to the temple known as Dwarasamudra.
In both Belur and Halebeedu we can see the layers of carvings. From the bottom, the elephants, lion, horse and decoration. Which explains the qualities that a king must have such as speed, courage and strength. And the most interesting fact is that no two elephants are same.
Idea of telescope and aeroplane were there at ancient time itself. The achievements in modern era are there in the vastoceanofIndianhistory. We can definitely learn a lot from our history than from our technical books.
At Halebeedu we had a laughter yoga session by samarpananda swamiji. We all enjoyed a lot. An old man who enjoyed watching our yoga, came to us and blessed us all. I really felt sad because he is old and he is all alone with no one to look after. We prayed for him.
We then moved to Bangalore. On 21st we had a meeting. Each student and faculty got a chance to deliver his/her own experience.
At 6.30pm we all boarded amritapuri bus and said goodbye to Bangalore. All students boarded the bus with a smile in face and tears in eyes.
Smile for gaining knowledge and enjoyment,
Tears for the present state ofIndiaand tragedies of past.
This tour has enabled us students to understand the greatness of the country.
I feel unhappy for the current state of our country- where there is hostility but no hospitality, where there is crime but no courage, where there are belongings but no beloveds , where there is fear but no feelings , where there is selfishness but no sacrifice and where there is money but no mind.
WE NEED PEACE AND NOT PIECES.
I remember – on the eve of 60th independence day, Prime minister Dr.Manmohan singh, from the ramparts of Red Fort urged the Indian citizens to build a new India- An India that is united in thought,not divided by religion and language; An India that is united in an Indianness, not divided by caste and religion ;And India that is united in seeking new opportunities for growth, not divided by disparities; An India that is caring and inclusive.
We can build such anIndiaif we all unite together. If we move with the modern world with the qualities of the past. The government can only create a conducive environment but it is the individual who play a major in it.
I express my deep felt gratitude to Biju swami, Chandrasekhar sir, shiva swami, smarpananda swami, indira mam, menu mam , bus conductors and also my friends who helped me a lot and made this tour a memorable one .