Noi6 means "the 6 of us" in Romanian.

We are five, you are the sixth one.

We thank you for joining us in our trip around the world...

Thursday, January 12, 2012


Man was inspired by nature!
In this case termite mounds and in the background Virupaksha  Temple

I like old things.
That require a lot of work.
It takes vision, and rules, and concentration to do a good job, one that stands the trial of time. I think we all want that what we do to live longer than us and the Vijayanagar achieved this. Maybe archeologists know more about this place than what is written on wikitravel, but the bottom line is they were here, built, and because they wanted to conquer other kingdoms, they were destroyed. The dynasty survived, they moved to a different part of India, but they never regained the power and wealth to build again. What makes people think that THEY have the right answers and the right to rule other people lives?
Detail at Hazara-rama Temple

In two hundred years a succession of kings from three dynasties built lots of things in this bend of the Tungaphadra river. It is a feisty one, unfordable here, that worked this landscape with its waters. It doesn’t seem possible now, the water is low, but I am told in the monsoon time, it rises10-20 yds. Wow, that is a lot of water! It would fill the valley and move those granite boulders like they were mere ping-pong balls. 
Tungaphadra river from the Mango Tree restaurant.

In the upper right corner there are white dots people.
The monuments are spread around over granite hills and in between banana orchards. People lived here continuously, they built their houses in the ruins. It makes sense to live in the bazaar if this is your job. But now the Archeological Society of India is moving them away and dismantles any new construction. That doesn’t deter people, who are still doing business on the main street, but the offices are somewhere else.
Bazaar with the gopura (gate) of the Virupaksha Temple.

The temples are variations of the same plan: an outside wall, a courtyard, a kitchen, a central main building for the worshipped god and a small one on the side for his spouse. The main building has three parts: a hall, called mandapa, an antechamber and the holy of holies. The mandapa is open and has lots of columns, with three or four images on one side, four sides to the column, each column having it’s own place and role in the story.

Mandapa to a Ganesh Temple.

Detail on the base of a column, Ganesh Temple.

Detail at mandapa, Underground Shiva Temple.

Detail in the portal, Krishna Temple.
Sometimes the story is from Ramayana, or from Bhagvadgita, or from another holy Hindu scripture, but they all prepare the pilgrim to enter the antechamber. This one has walls and four doors and in the middle four columns, elaborately carved, that hold in between them a slightly raised floor circle, the dans floor. From here one can enter the holy of holies, completely walled in, with a stone table that holds the statue of the god. If it would be an active temple, just the priest would enter it and wash the god with water and other liquids (milk, coconut milk that would be drained through a special spout on the outside), put flowers and light candles. 

Mandapa, Virupaksha Temple.

The antechamber, Hazara-rama Temple, Royal Enclosure.

Shiva representation, sanctuary.

Spout on the outside for the liquids from the sanctuary, Virupaksha Temple.
So this is how they are build, with platforms, columns, walls and roofs made of granite. They didn’t have to transport it, just to quarry it, or choose the place where to have the statue, carve it and build. You can still see in some places the holes made for breaking a big slab. 
Bull carved in situ.

Different tips of temples,  Jaina (the columns), Saiva (the two pyramidal roofs on the left)  and Hindu (Virupaksha Temple, middle and background) 

Temple and the landscape from which it is taken.
In just few of them the sikhara, a kind of tiered roof over the sanctuary, is integral. The rest are showing the brick structure and the plaster, but even in these you can see details and stories.
Virupaksha Temple, mandapa on the left and sikhara to the right.
In front of the temple is the bazaar, long granite corridors, the length of a football field. Here people would have brought incense, food, jewelry, animals, clothes. Now it serves for shade during the hot hours of the afternoon.
View from a temple, through the bazaar, toward Virupaksha Temple.

Bazaar and the Sitting Bull Temple.
Beside temples are the ruins of the royal enclosure. The foundation for a palace, the platform for the annual Darsala festival, with lots of elephants on it, another one called the Elephants Stable, because those openings could very well accommodate one, but they don’t really know for what they were, a pool with lots of carvings and waterspouts, and another temple, a watch tower. Alongside a water channel we saw stone plates.
Watch tower, Zanana Enclosure.

Lotus Mahal, Zanana Enclosure.

Elephant Stables, Zanana Enclosure

Stepped water tank, Royal Enclosure.

Mahanavammi-dibba, the platform for religious festivals, Royal Enclosure.

Queen's Bath, Royal Enclosure.

Detail of a water-spout, with two elephants and a god.

Stone plates and water channel.
To cover all this ground we hired two tuk-tuks and I couldn’t explore the way that I wanted (sometimes is a good thing). After Vittala temple we went looking for a stone image, a lingam surrounded by twelve pairs of feet. We didn’t know where it was, just next to the river, close to a temple who’s name I forgot. I had a picture of it from the book, and I wanted to put it in the context.  Eventually I had my part of adventure and exploring, walking on slippery granite, looking for monkeys and sloth bears (who supposedly come out after dark, but maybe they were early that day) and found what I was looking for.  And after a long day we were suddenly done and had the time to walk barefoot in the water, and enjoy the reflection of the sunset in the river.

Note the three stone hearts pierced by one arrow in the right upper corner...

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