“Architecture is the only functional art,” said an erudite friend of mine recently. “And if you want to live it to the fullest, visit Hampi,” I quipped.
I grew up in a village close to Hampi and have made countless trips to this architectural spectacle. Life changed, and I moved away from my village. But if there is one thing that charmed me as a child and leaves me awestruck even now, it’s this marvellous little spot on earth. I remember how I used to relish my walks by the River Tunga flowing across Anegundi before reaching Hampi. Each time I entered Vijaya Vittala Raya temple, I used to run restlessly from one musical pilaster to another in the Maha Mantapa studded with giant monolithic pillars. I wondered then, wonder even now, how on earth music of such clarity could emanate from a stone column! And, that was the closest I have ever come to believing in god!
Recently, I came across an essay written by a senior colleague of mine, a well-known water expert, that with half a million residents Hampi had achieved water security way back in the 16th century itself.
“They had no borewells or electrical energy. They built multi-storeys without steel and cement. They made ice, and homes that beat heat and cold. They had fountains without pumps.”
I wonder if Hampi will ever cease to amaze me!