Chapter 4 – Love in the time of Hampi

Chapter 1:  The Beginning

Chapter 2  : The Prequel

Chapter 3: The journey begins

Hampi and the group of moments at this place is an UNESCO World Heritage site. It is said to be holding a population of 5 lakhs during 15th century which made its second largest populated city recorded in the history at that time. Hampi is an anglicized name of the city which was earlier called as Pampa Kshetra , named after Pampa, the old name of river TungaBhadra, on whose banks this mighty city is built.

Hampi excavations revealed presence of mankind in this place from First century AD. Hampi was chosen as the city of Vijayanagara kingdom as it had torrential TungaBhadra river on the North and defensible hills on other three sides. The ruins of Hampi were discovered by Colonel Mackenzie in 1800 , an army officer in British East India Company and fought against Tipu Sultan . He then surveyed the entire Mysore region of then British India and later even became the first Surveyor General of India. He was an explorer and artifact collector. In fact, much of his collection has helped recreate Indian History and is stored in London’s British Library.

Coming to folklore , two local Chieftains, Hakka & Bukka,who are the founders of Vijayanagara Empire,  reported to their Guru an unusual sight they saw during a hunting expedition. A Hare chased by their Hound suddenly turns courageous and start chasing the Hound. Sri Vidyaranya, The Guru, tells them that the place is very special and asks them to establish their local Capital at this place. The seed of an Empire was sown with the guru’s blessings.
Vijayanagara Empire was founded by Hari Hara and his brother Bukka Raya in 13th century. Later on, kings from Sangama Dynasty ,Saluva Dynasty, Tuluva Dynasty and Aravidu Dynasty have ruled the empire with Hampi as its capital until the empire was razed by Sultanates of Bijapur and Golkonda. Hari Hara and Bukka Raya are said to be some officials in Kakatiya kingdom and then they joined Hoysalas and then created their own empire.

Krishna, the driver guide for the gang ended this long 5 min monologue in a highly proficient accent of English and all five students have been dumbstruck. They even didnt listen to their college lectures with so much attention . Everyone were silent for a minute and Asha wanted to break silence and said  ” Guys what are the plans for lunch ” and Krishna gave an option ” Madam, you can get lunch at Kamalapura town, which is like 10 mins  . I can take a detour and we can go to Hazara Rama temple later after lunch ” .
Everyone discussed for a bit and decided none of them are so hungry but can take a lunch break . Arjun waited until the conversation stopped and acted as if he suddenly remembered something and gave Asha another Diary milk chocolate from his backpack and gave mime expressions that she can have it while they get to the restaurant for lunch. Vardhaan and Sid had a good giggle on this sight.

The restaurant was more like a dhaba under the trees and they ordered the plate meals which is the only food item they served during lunch times.The food was not so great but since all were tired with the heat finished the meal and ended with a big glass of butter milk. All six started towards Hazari Rama temple complex and the nearby Royal Enclosure. Hazara Rama temple has strips of Ramayana etched over its walls . The temple ruins are well maintained and Krishna, their guide and auto driver informed that this was a private temple for royalty in those days and was most important temple for the kings. The nearby Royal enclosures were the buildings where the royalty used to stay.

The royal enclosure had some huge structural ruins which looked like the court of the king and a celebratory arena . There was a pool or well in between and one can see an elaborate water supply system to the other buildings.  Sid , Vardhaan and Arjun climbed the elevated arena or platform where the king used to watch the celebrations and were having a birds eye view of Hampi ruins. Asha and Aamukta initially decided to stay on ground but after the boys climbed and were having fun, they decided to climb and see what the deal is all about.

Aamukta asked Asha nonchalantly ” Why are you ignoring Arjun . If you dont like him, why cant you just say No to him ” . Asha smiled  ” Not sure Amy , i came to this trip hoping he comes and we can chat sometime and see what to do. Things seem like going good but very dead slow ” .  Arjun was looking at them even though he is just making some random noises from the top of the platform.  Aamukta signalled a thumbsup to Arjun while Asha was not looking and Arjun started screaming “wohooo”  but this noise was lost as other boys too started screaming “wohooo” .

They took some photos from the top of that platform and sun suddenly started coming out from the clouds. Meanwhile , Krishna, the charioteer for the group was describing to some foreigners about this place. Lot of foreigners hire bicycles and roam around the ruined city holding the maps in hand. As soon as our group came to the Auto , Krishna said goodbye to them and gave them his visiting card.  Sid saw this and asked ” Bhayya, i have not seen an Autowallah giving visiting card to someone. Do you have other businesses besides this”. Krishna ” I do own a couple of lodges here in Hampi. If you are asking about why i gave a visiting card, thats for one of the lodge i own. Those foreigners are getting some friends who will be in Hampi this week and their current Lodge is already full itseems. I asked them to go to my Lodge and show them this visiting card ” .
They started their Auto and started to their next destination , Underground Shiva temple. The temple is lower than ground level and there is water all year round in the temple premises. The group had to pull up their trousers and venture onto crossing the rock steps that are overlaid on water . Asha is not interested to venture into water and did a namaskar to God from temple outside.   Arjun who was ready to go into the temple didnt go seeing Asha is not interested.
Arjun started small talk with Asha ” Hey, so how is uncle doing now ? He had been operated last year right ! ”
Asha ” He is doing fine ” . Arjun ” So, what are your plans after Engineering”
Asha ” Didnt think a lot as of now . Probably will try for MS . My brother is doing MS in US and wants me to come to US as well “.Arjun “Then, marry an NRI , right ? ”
Asha got angry and gave an angry stare. Arjun wanted to divert the topic and said ” Just Kidding. I too want to go to US for MS. Will go for GRE coaching after this trip ” .
Then there was some awkward silence between the two and both started fiddling their mobile phones.  Asha looked a bit frustated that there is no signal in Hampi and exclaimed ” This Airtel doesnt have signal here” . Arjun ” Dont blame only Airtel , my Vodafone, Vardhaan’s Idea , none of them have signal here. I know there will not be mobile signal and brought my mom’s BSNL Sim . Let me try adding that SIM to my phone . I will switchon the hotspot for you “.
Asha was happy with this ” Achaa, let me know once you start preparing for GRE. We both can plan and move ahead” .Arjun smiled but he was literally dancing hearing this from Asha.

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