Sunday, April 29

The Elephants at Hampi

R and I decided to drive 400kms to visit Hampi in Bellary district which was the capital of the Vijayanagara Empire and is a place of religious, mythological and cultural importance as well as being listed as a Unesco World Heritage site.Its the height of summer and temperatures are close to 40C but we like to visit places when its off season and there are less people around.  
I'm going to do a couple of posts on our trip to Hampi but I'm going to start with the elephants which were accorded great importance then as they are now and are depicted on so many of the monuments.   
At the Virupaksha Temple we bought bananas to feed the temple elephant but we ended up feeding the cows instead because the elephant had gone down to the river to bathe.
The plinth of the Mahanavami Dibba has depictions of elephants in various moods. The sculptors were keen observers of the form of the elephants and their moods. I wonder how they recorded their observations.No 16th century sketch books lying around. 
A procession of elephants in the Hazara Rama temple.
The Elephant Stables.
Elephants were mainly used for battle but there were eleven special elephants which were used during the Dussehra festival and had their own stable and keepers who had their quarters close at hand near the Zenana Enclosure.I haven't heard of this much importance accorded to elephants in any of the other dynasties which flourished in India.  
Must go back to Hampi to record the elephant in all its various moods which are depicted on all the monuments. That would probably require a life time or more because the excavations continue in Hampi.  


Numinosity said...

We loved our visit to Hampi in January. There certainly were plenty of people there then and we wished we had given ourselves even more time to explore. The geography reminded me so much of the Dragoons and Chiricahuas in Southern Arizona and the history is a whole other matter which you have illustrated so well here.
xoxo Kim

ArtPropelled said...

The elephant stables! How wonderful!