Each of these places is different from the other. Summer is quite felt all over but the liveliness of the country is all pervading.
Arab traveler Abdul Razaak (1442), Portuguese travelers Domingo Paes (1522), Fernao Nuniz (1535) and Italian traveler Nicolò Conti (1420) all have left glorious accounts of the rich princes and of the prosperity of this amazing kingdom. In the market places of Vijayanagara, it has been chronicled, precious metals and stones used to be traded with the casualness of other cheap merchandise reflecting the prosperity of this great empire. Founded in 1336, the empire reached its zenith during the reign of Krishnadevaraya (r.1509-29 who won many battles and extended the empire considerably. Its tragic end came in 1565 in the battle of Talikotta in which the combined armies of the Deccan sultans defeated and killed King Ramaraya. The city was plundered for six months and left abandoned bringing down the curtains on one of the most prosperous kingdoms the world had seen.
"While the governor was in the Red Sea, the King Crisnao Rao of Bisnaga covered the plains and hills and stopped the flow of the river with an army of thirty-five thousand horse, seven hundred and thirty-three thousand foot, and five hundred and eighty-six elephants carrying castles with four men in each, and twelve thousand watermen ... and baggage in such quantities that the courtesans alone numbered more than twenty thousand.”
What great army he might have had, I wonder!
I recommend the book, "A forgotten empire: Vijayanagar; a contribution to the history of India" (Includes a translation of "Chronica dos reis de Bisnaga," from Domingos Paes and Fernao Nuniz from 1520 and 1535 respectively) by Robert Sewell to anyone wanting to read the stunning rise and fall of Vijayanagara. It can be freely downloaded from the web.
While walking among the ruins of the great city, I told Mohan that I was not actually seeing the excavated sites. My mind had taken a trip in a time machine which took me back by 500 years. I was seeing Krishnadevaraya with his consort on a fine evening coming in royal procession to the Virupaksha temple premises. Caparisoned elephants, horses, chariots and the infantry were in the places allocated. The beautiful citizens of Vijayanagara in festive moods were walking around the market place appreciating the beauty of various merchandise displayed for sale. The musicians, dancers, courtesans and other artists were aplenty. Scholars, ambassadors from other countries and governors of provinces and other vassals were arriving in great numbers. The whole city smelled of silk, sandalwood and other perfumes......
River Tungabhadra behind Virupaksha Temple
Unfortunately, Sindhu my wife was not there with me to see all these in spite of the day being the 28th anniversary of our wedding.
Tripunithura, South India.
24th May 2011