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VIJAYNAGAR, A KINGDOM OF WILD ANIMALS

Saga of Natural Resource Affluence of Glorious Past of Bellary District in Karnataka


Hampi the Vijaynagar capital of Hindu Maharaja the Narasa Nayakas and Devarayas in Bellary district of Karnataka during mid 13 to 15 century AD embodied Lions carved in their pillars as Narsimha, Tigers on stone columns as Vagha, entrance gate Elephants as Gajashikars, Wild boars, Crocodiles, Turtles on their mainstay posts, Hawks, Fish, Falcons, Pheasants in their paintings in Virupaksha and other temples. Four of them found to be Vishnu avatars ( wild boar, fish, tortoise and lion). Vintage of glorious past of Hampi reminds us of this seat of Hindu power symbolizing rich diversity of wild life in this part of India. Wild life relics of City of Victory the bisnaga of Domingo Paes and Ferno nuniz depicts the vivid images of rich wild life and diversity of forest resources in their works and legends in Bellary District of Karnataka. ...A K Singh

The very basic foundation of Vijaynagar at Hampi is a hare which was staring at a tiger while Harihara and Bukka were on their hunting expedition. Sage Vidyaranya on seeing the hare swooping over a predator asked them to establish their capital at side of Tungabhadra river at Hampi. Other side of the tungbhadra there was a wild habitat of great monkeys of Bali and Sugriva which in epic of Ramayana is called Kishkindha at Anegundi where Ram hunted monkey named Bali with the help of Hanuman monkey and stayed with Sita and Laxman near pampa tank at chintamani born here. Harihara and Bukka while on hunting expedition encounter Vidyaranya the Madhavacharya 1336 AD who opened his eyes and said, O king, this country, an abode of diverse creatures and medicines, a rich forests of big rocks and boulders, ingrained with ample caves and fissures, amid vast variety of prey and predators flanking Krishna and Tugabhadra

beleaguered-military-commanders of Harihara and Bukka who were long suffering from invasion of Turkish Shahs decided to domicile on this pristine-wilder-landscape which was most secure and protected near Hospet a land which was most suitable for Panch-maha-vrita which means satya the truth, ahimsa the nonviolence, asteya the non-theft, brihmcharya the celibacy aparigriha the non attachment and ashwa-yog-yagya a horse ritual with milk. City of Victory the Vijaynagar at Hampi, I paid a visit recently as wild life conservationist.

river will be a holy place for you which may serve as foundation for building a civilization and will be the most glorified habitat for performing mahavrita and pravargya. Sayana a sage and brother of Vidyaranya was busy interpreting chronicles of Aranyaka ( Book on Forestry, wild life and environment ) from Brahamnas and Brihad-AranyaUpanishad advised the Muslim-convert-and

The place seems like a Roman Empire built on colourful close fitting granite stones supporting columns of royal pillars and brick masonry roofs which flourished between 1336 and 1565. Hampi was absolutely a different metropolis than it seems to be today. In words of Domingo Paes who visited this seven fortress walled dominion of Devalraya Vijaynagar was almost like a Portuguese civilization where remnants of orchards of huge mango, jackfruit and tamarind trees could be seen even today within 20 km periphery of hampi which used to form resting places for moving huge cavalry of horses and armed forces of elephants, camels and bullocks. As I entered Achyutraya temple twp big fat langurhanuman monkeys encountered my way coming from the shores of purandardasa temple.

Hampi Vijayanagar does not have any forests now surrounding its 15 km of periphery which used to be a thick beautiful forests during 13 to 16 century AD. A nearby bilikal reserve forest is presently declared as Daroji Bear Wild Life Sanctuary is dry deciduous thorny scrub jungle of big boulders and granite rocky mountains. Sandur and Kudlgi are only rich forests available near Hampi. In Vijaynagar a wild boar named Varaha seems to be most hunted wild animal with dagger largely in the moon light used to be the flag-symbol of not only Chalukya but also Sangama dynasty. Hazara temple depicts on its wall beautifully carved out and well sculpted enormous cavalry of horses, incredible number of infantry of elephants and dancing girls moving in procession. An elephant named Shershikar belonged to the Adil Ali Shah of Bijapur used to be engaged for Tiger hunting. Firishtah relates an event which accounts for Bukkarayas faintheartedness when Muzahid son of Mohd Shah of Gulbarga was recalled by Bukkaraya to vacate the doab of Raichur and Mudkal. Muzahid in 1366 AD proceeding to Vijaynagar from Adoni while on march saw a tiger eating a man and shot it with a single arrow through its heart.

is shown in one of the inscription two ladies sitting on elephant along with mahut one hunting the tiger and another controlling the elephant with one more woman at the backside on the ground pushing the elephant with spear. There was a custom of courtesans and bayaderes women who were mostly dancing ladies kept at the temple. Eating betel leaves and wearing heavy loads of gold, rubies, pearls, diamonds as bracelets on their arms, girdles and anklets were quite in vogue. Outer side of the gate of temple upto the roof is covered with copper and gild and on each side of the roof on top are wild animals that look like tigers, panthers and lions. One can see the image of monkey, narsimha lion on almost most of the pillars and columns of the buildings apart from plenty of ducks, serpents,

On the walls of the Mahanavami Dibba stone inscriptions show the women with daggers, shields, arches and spears accompanying with barking dogs pouncing upon deers, antilopes and black bucks and assistant ladies carrying away hunted carcass on their shoulders. At the gate side temples on the door they used to kill every day many sheep, goats and buffalos by cutting head and jogi the priest used to horn bugle a sign of acceptance of the sacrifice. In this country there used to be many partridges with small spur and painted spur which used to be sold in the open market with quails, hares, wild fowls, doves, pigeons and geese. There were man to sell mutton, pork of pigs and variety of river wild fishes. Hunting on the back of the elephant was quite prevalent which

crocodiles, tortoises, peacocks, eagles, falcons and hanuman monkeys everywhere. Fernao nuniz states in one of his chronicle these Kings of Vijaynagar eat all sorts of things, but not the flesh of oxen or cows because they worship them. They eat mutton, pork, venison, partridges, hares, doves, quail and all kinds of birds wild and aquatic, even sparrows, rats, cats and lizards all of which are sold alive in the market of the city of Hampi. Yak tailwhisk used in the service of idols in the temples and in the palaces of nobles which was one of most graceful of ornaments. It was used for insignia as a symbol of accession to the throne and waved by an attendant to keep away flies.Visit of Hampi Vijaynagar will make you feel travel back in time in 12th century India where this large basin of river valleys of Krishna and Tungabhadra were so rich in forest, wild life and bio-diversity that these find place in Sayana sage interpreting Ayurveda, sudhanidhi and yagnatantra where importance of serene ambience of forests had been eulogised for attainment of nirvana.
A K Singh is the member of Indian Forest Service and presently working as Working Plan Officer at Bellary Karnataka. Contact: 9481180956 aksinghifs@gmail.com. Date 22.07.2012