All posts by Richard Brown

Road to Hampi


Getting from Bengaluru to Hampi, the fabled capital of the Vijayanagara Empire that was overthrown in the middle of the sixteenth century, is no trivial undertaking. At one time there was a direct flight, but it was reportedly canceled due to the lack of passengers, so now you have to either use the rather irregular and heavily booked train service or a make a ten hour drive there. Continue reading Road to Hampi

Bumpy Roads and Rickety Ferries


We drove along the twisting and bumpy lane out of the hotel past farmers working in the rice fields, and after about ten minutes entered a village lined with lots of small hotels, restaurants, and travel agencies catering to budget travelers. Unlike at our hotel, Internet services were widely available, and a large variety of foreign cuisines were on offer. Must be a great place to hang out for a few days, I thought to myself, if only I was twenty again. We came to a stop by a restaurant at what was literally the end of the road, and after stepping out of the car got our first view of the Virupaksha Temple and the surrounding village of Hampi standing across the other side of the Tungabhadra River. This was an absolutely glorious sight, and the clichés started overloading my mind as I tried to find the right words to describe it. Continue reading Bumpy Roads and Rickety Ferries

Hampi Lakshmi Narasimha Monolithic Statue


After our visit to the Krishna Temple, we went to see the magnificent monolithic statue of Lakshmi Narasimha, the Man-Lion incarnation of the Lord Vishnu. Standing at a height of 6.7 meters, the colossal statue is carved in extremely fine detail and although much of it has been mutilated it is one of the most outstanding sculptures in Hampi. Narasimha is seated beneath a multi-headed naga in a yogic position on the giant coils of Adishesha, the sacred guardian snake of Vishnu. His shocking damaged face with protruding eyes and fangs is infused with a hint of melancholy, no doubt because all that remains of his consort Lakshmi, who was originally sat on his left lap, is the right arm she passed around his waist. The hands of the deity have also been hacked off, leaving him with four useless stumps. Continue reading Hampi Lakshmi Narasimha Monolithic Statue

Hampi Krishna Temple


The next stop on our tour was the Krishna Temple, a large and ornate complex built in 1515 by the Vijayanagara emperor Krishnadevaraya to commemorate his victory over the Gajapati rulers of Orissa and to accommodate a granite icon of the infant Krishna that his armies looted from their fort at Udayagari in modern-day Andhra Pradesh. (The icon is now the Government State Museum of Chennai.) Continue reading Hampi Krishna Temple