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Friday, March 03, 2017

Medieval Wonder of Hampi seen through the Eyes of its People

Hampi owns cult status in South India. If you don’t believe me ask the people of Israel who have settled here for good! This magnificent 14th century capital of the Vijayangara Empire and a UNESCO world heritage site is extremely popular with both international and domestic visitors. To the first timer, Hampi is all about its rocks, history and ruins. But, as you spend some time in this glorious place, you will realize that these ruins of Hampi have a soul. No wonder people who visit Hampi keep returning to reconnect with this very soul.

Street Moment from Vittala Temple, Hampi, Karnataka

About the photo above: The Musical pillars of Vittala Temple are quite something. Unfortunately, you cannot hear them these days, but 10 years ago, you could hear everything from waves to waterfalls to musical instruments when you put your ears to these fantastic hollow wonders.

Hampi is not just a historical wonder, but it is also a photographer’s delight. It’s boulders and rocky landscape, its temples and ruins, its meandering Tungabhadra river and its people of course add so much drama, color and emotion into every single photo frame clicked at Hampi.

Horse Chariot of Vittala temple - a photographer's delight

About the photo above:  The Stone Chariot of Vittala Temple is a hot draw. Everyone can be seen taking selfies and photographs next to it. After all, there are only 3 such horse chariots in the entire country. The other two being at Sun Temple, Konark and at Shore Temple, Mahabalipuram.

Here is my photographic account of Hampi through the eyes of its people. These people could be locals, hippies, tourists, street vendors, artists out to eke out a living and even school kids. Whatever their connection, you will definitely feel the soul of Hampi in these pictures. Or at least that’s the idea. Hope you enjoy them!

School kids at Hampi, Karnataka, India

About the photo above: There is so much to learn amongst the ruins of Hampi. No wonder schools take their students on many excursions here.

Colorfully decked magicians from the streets of Hampi, Karnataka

About the photo above: The whole street of the ancient Hampi bazaar is full of street vendors and artists who are an integral part of the Hampi tourism draw. These two gentlemen dressed in colorful attire are magicians.

Photographing the Hemakuta and Virupaksha temple complex, Hampi

About the photo above: A trip to Hampi is not complete without climbing up to its view points that offer spectacular panoramic views of the ruins and the rocky landscape. Hemakuta hill is a great place to start your Hampi walk. A camera in hand is good to have.

Siblings ride a rock elephant at the ruins of Hampi, Karnataka, India

About the photo above: The invaders might have destroyed most of the city of Hampi, but local kids still find joy in riding a 600 year old stone elephant that is located next to the Mahanavami Dibba.

Tribal woman and her trinket shop on the streets of Hampi, Karnataka, India

About the photo above: In Hampi, you are never too far away from trinket shopping. Tribal women such as this elderly lady can be seen selling it wares next to the temples.

Magician from Hampi, Karnataka, India

About the photo above: I find street artists very photogenic. Love the vermilion smeared look on this gentleman.

Goli soda - perfect way to beat the heat in Hampi

About the photo above:  Hampi is famous for its hot days. And what better way to beat the heat than a refreshing glass of locally made cold drink – the iconic goli soda.

Smiling school kids on a picnic to the heritage site of Hampi, Karnataka, India

About the photo above: School kids have a jolly good time while exploring Hampi. In this photo, they are on their way to see the beautiful Lotus Mahal, which is known for its water based cooling system. It was the then air-conditioned chamber for the queens of Hampi.

Portrait of Tribal woman at Hampi, Karnataka, India

About the photo above: A portrait of a tribal woman who makes her living by selling trinkets and jewellery to tourists.

Posing at the Queen's Bath, Hampi, India

About the photo above: Visitors love to get their picture taken at various places in Hampi. In this case, an international visitor is getting her picture clicked at the Queen’s bath, where queens of the Vijayanagar empire used to bathe in rose water and other scented oils.

Local artist from Hampi and his ensemble

About the photo above: Another colorfully dressed street magician who was kind enough to show some of his tricks to me.

The macaque family of Virupaksha Temple, Hampi

About the photo above: These are not the people of Hampi, but these macaques are an important part of Hampi as they can be seen everywhere. Not only do people want to take their photo, but they lose their food and belongings to these rowdy primates.



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