Time stands still
HERITAGE The rocks of Hampi seem to bear testimony to ancient battles between warring kings.
KISHKINDA: The towering gopuram at Hazara Rama temple.
Hampi is a magical place, closely linked with the Ramayana. This land is believed to be Kishkinda, the kingdom of the monkey kings, Vali and Sugriva. Rama and Lakshmana were travelling southwards, in their search for the abducted Sita. It was here in Rishyamukha that they first met Hanuman and Sugriva, who sought Rama's help to defeat Vali. The royal princes took shelter here in Hampi, in Malyavanta, during the rainy season. It was here that Hanuman arrived with the news of Sita being in Lanka, with the Choodamani.
The places mentioned in the Kishkindakaandam of the Ramayana like Malyavanta, Hemakuta, Matanga are all to be found here, lending Hampi a definite timelessness, steeped in the grace of the supreme Rama. Everywhere are littered rocks of all sizes, easily bringing to mind the battle that must have taken place between the warring monkey kings.
Rama must have stood behind one of these rocks, waiting to kill Vali. Near the Vitthala temple is a group of huge boulders one of the deep clefts here is where Sugriva is said to have kept Sita's jewels safe. Nearby is another cleft, created by Lakshmana'a arrow, carved with many tiny lingas. The Kodandarama temple, on a small hill on the banks of the Tungabhadra is a very haloed site here are large standing figures of Rama, Sita and Lakshmana carved into the rock-face. Around this was built the sanctum later. It is believed that it was here that Rama crowned Sugriva king of Kishkinda.
EPICS ON STONE: Ravana's abduction of Sita
A lovely view of the river is to be had from here, across the gentle slope that is studded with many small lingas. This spot is the most sacred bathing ghat in Hampi, called the Chakratirtha.
The Hazara Rama temple within the ruins is a fabulous piece of ancient architecture, built around the 15th century, by one of the Raya kings. Every surface of the outer rock walls is carved beautifully here, depicting scenes from the Ramayana.
EPICS ON STONE: The three wives of Dasaratha
Ravana as a mighty king, as taking alms from Sita, the royal prince's birth, Sita swayamvara and wedding, rishyasringa and so on are all living highlights of a timeless epic.
Inside the temple are four huge granite pillars, polished long ago to a sheen undimmed by time. These are heavily carved with images of all gods, especially Vishnu in various avatars. Watching the daily heavenly sunsets from the vantage hilltops is a very illuminating experience the entire landscape, practically prehistoric in looks, is spread far below. It is easy to imagine Rama resting awhile in a cool spot, with ardent devotees just waiting to abide by His every command.
Here is the divine Ramayana easily felt.
Send this article to Friends by
Chennai and Tamil Nadu