Who doesn’t love history! A strong dose of the legends of kings, the tales of their mighty kingdom, stories about their treasures and the massive monuments, the good and the bad that prevailed… We love it all…
This year when I landed up in Hampi in the southwest state of Karnataka, India, I was amazed. I spent 3 days in Hampi that too with just 3 thousand Indian rupees. Read about it in my previous post.
Hampi is a land of a kind, founded in 1336 AD; it is a whole city of ruins by itself. Here is a list of 10 amazing things about Hampi you gotta know, to satisfy that curious brain of yours and so that next time you plan to go there you know what you are dealing with.
1. The curse on the sister rocks
As the myth goes, these 2 huge boulders which still stand intact were once human sisters who came around to visit the land and commented saying there is nothing great about the place. On hearing this, an angered Rishi cursed and turned them into stones. (You will see them near Pataleshwara temple)
2. Badavalinga- Shivling of the poor
This is the biggest ‘linga’ in Hampi measuring 22ft. Myth goes that a poor woman found a shivling there while working and offered it up with utmost dedication, ever since it is called the poor’s ‘ling.’ Is the largest monolithic ‘shivlinga’ made of black stone. There is no ceiling for this monument. (The story I got to hear is that it is growing and hence the open ceiling. Don’t know how far that’s true though)
3. The name HAMPI
Traditionally known as Pampakshetra, Hampi has an interesting story to its name. According to Hindu mythology a girl called Pampadevi did penance for Shiva who later married her. Shiva remained here in the form of ‘linga’ hence the name Pampapathi hereby Pampakshetra or Hampi.
4. When the shadow upside down
It is a fact that Virupaksha temple is the oldest temple in Hampi. Just behind the temple, if you go downstairs, there is a dark chamber to your right. On the eastern wall there is a hole. It is said that when the light falls on the western wall through this hole the shadows of the virupaksha temple appear upside down on that wall. How??? That’s a mystery. Amazing isn’t it?
5. Kings balance
This is located in the southwest of the Vitalla temple and was used as a big weighing scale for the kings. But not just any weighing scale. It was especially used during special occasions like coronation day, New Year’s Day, eclipse the king used to weigh him against gems, jewels and gold. The jewels were then distributed to the priest of the temples. Special attention was given to see that the king was well fed and he wasn’t allowed to move much, Just to save the extra kilos- you know.
6. When the gods come calling
Hampi has deep association with the Hindu epic Ramayana. Many important Ramayana events are believed to have happened here. Hampi is thought be be the place of the monkey kingdom ‘kishkinda’, a place where lord Ram came looking for Sita. It was here that they met Hanuman an important character in the Ramayana, Sugriva and Valli were also associated with this place.
Hemmakuta hill has around 35 temples and most of them dedicated to lord Shiva. The name ‘Hema’ is derived from Sanskrit meaning ‘Gold’. Myth goes that it rained up on this mountain, but it wasn’t just any rain. It rained GOLD after lord shiva decided to marry Pampa after seeing her dedication towards him.
8. Ringing elephants-
Located near the very famous Mahanavami Dibba are normal sized statues of two elephants. Though there is nothing extraordinary about it at the first sight, but when stroked with a piece of stone they tend to produced sound like that of metal, even though they are made out entirely of stones.
9. Kamal Mahal/Lotus Mahal
Hampi can turn extremely hot. Trust me! to keep things cool, The Lotus Mahal had a cooling system of its own, designed in a special way so that it had continuous water flowing through it. How cool right!
10. Pampa sarovar.
Is a lake and is believed to be one among the 5 most sacred Hindu lakes in India- namely Bindu Sarovar, Narayan Sarovar, Pampa Sarovar and Pushkar Sarovar and the famous Mansarovar.
So that was it 10 amazing things about Hampi. Hampi will definitely have a lot of more mysteries, facts and myths to be unleashed.
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