Friday, January 6, 2012

Living Ruins

Blogger and FB friend, Aarti Krishnakumar of Chennai, posted this photograph from Hampi, Karnataka, on her blog, Wandering Soul.   A place declared as a Unesco Heritage Site, Hampi was the capital of the Vijayanagram Kingdom in the medeival ages. Ruins of an entire vibrant city , spread over 25 square kilometres (10 square miles), indicate all the facets of city living then.

On the periphery of the Vithalla Temple ruins, there is what appears to be, Tula Bhara ,  a decorative pillar set-up, used for installing giant balances that hung from its 12 ft wide pillar, at a height of 15 feet. The decorations included the likenesses of the king and consorts.

Back in the old days, "giving" , by the exalted to the ordinary was part of the lifestyle, and on special occasions the king was weighed here against gold, precious metals, gems and grains, and the contents donated to the general public.

Centuries later,  one looks at these ruins and customs, and wonders  how things have changed....

(photograph by Aarti Krishnakumar)

There are Ruins,
and then
there are
more ruins...

A Tula Bhara
or King's Balance,
in Lord Vitthala's presence
in ancient Hampi.
and Precious metal
weighed against the King,
distributed to the
ordinary folks
of the kingdom.

a different Tula Bhara
so called
developed cities.
Away from a heavenly presence,
Bribes ,
matched by
the equivalent
of an ordinary man's
several years' earnings,
are collected
and directed
to the
rulers pockets.

And I wonder
which are living ruins
which are dead....

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