The Bijapur – Vijayanagar Trail

If one takes the history of the Deccan, one cannot miss out a key chapter. A period of 200 odd years spanning the 15th and the 16th century when the Deccan peninsula was the theatre of action involving two main groups – the Deccan sultanates of Bijapur, Bidar, Golconda, Berar and Ahmadnagar on one side and the Vijayanagar empire on the other side. The historical narrative of the power struggles between these two entities is quite controversial and the fact that the extant chronicles of the period are largely hagiographic in nature does not really help in understanding the matters.

However, it is not difficult to discern the prosperity of the region. Whether it is Firishta’s 17th century history of the Deccan or letters written by Portuguese travelers Domingo Pais and Nunes or the various temple inscriptions, this whole area was rich. Robert Sewell’s A Forgotten Empire integrates all these varied texts into one cohesive narrative. The legacy of these 200 years is a unique culture in the Deccan – there is a juxtaposition of two sophisticated cultures – the Islamic Persian – Turkish and the Hindu Sanskrit. In everything – the architecture (of the past), the cuisine (still actively consumed today), the language, the names of people, etc., all reflect that.

For travelers, there is an entire world of experiences sitting here. But, there is a vast area to cover.

I did a five day trip to two of these spots – Bijapur and Hampi. In the next few posts, I will take up some of these experiences.

In the meantime, photographs from the trip are on my flickr photostream.


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