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HAMPI: The Ancient Capital of the Greatest Hindu Empire Vijayanagara

The great monuments and the rich heritage tell us allot about the grandeur and fabulous wealth of the bygone era and the infinite talent and creativity of its people

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The Hampi Chariot Image Source: Wikipedia Commons
  • The World Heritage site of Hampi is filled with lavish Dravidian temples and was the capital of the kingdom of Vijayanagara
  • The great monuments and the rich heritage tells us so much about the grandeur and fabulous wealth of the bygone era
  • A superb blend of styles from various schools of architecture created  awe-inspiring structures

The ravishing beauty of Hampi, the capital of the most famed Hindu kingdom of the past does not only lie in the majestic architectural structures but also in the landscapes, the trees and the scenic Tungabhadra river on its side. This World Heritage site filled with lavish Dravidian temples was the capital of the kingdom of Vijayanagara, the largest empire in post-Mughal India, covering the present-day Indian states of Karnataka, Andhra, and Maharashtra. Under the rule of king Krishnadevaraya, the empire succeeded in reviving the Indian culture with a flourish for music, art, sculpture, and literature.

Though in ruins, tourists still flock in large numbers to Hampi which is located near Hospet, in Bellary district in the southern Indian state of Karnataka. The great monuments and the rich heritage tells us so much about the grandeur and fabulous wealth of the bygone era and the infinite talent and creativity of its people. Amidst the giant boulders and plantations, and protected by the turbulent river Tungabhadra in the north, these ruins stand tall, reminding us of a beautiful era of the past. The Hampi World Heritage Area Management Authority was constituted in 2002 for the overall development and conservation of Hampi after the government made it an international destination.

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The dilapidated main mantapa at the Vitthala templein Hampi Image Source: Wikipedia Commons
The dilapidated main mandapa at the Vitthala temple in Hampi Image Source: Wikipedia Commons

Established in 1336 A.D. by two brothers, Hakka and Bukka , the Vijayanagara empire held its ground for centuries restoring Hinduism and keeping the Turks at bay. Vijayanagara is also known as Vidyanagara because Hakka and Bukka built the empire under the guidance of their patron saint Madhava Vidyaranya. However, it is believed that the kingdom dates back to the period of the epic, Ramayana when it was the site of Kishkinda, a monkey kingdom.

After successfully driving away the Khilji Dynasty of Delhi which had invaded South India and destroyed the Kakathiya Empire, Hoysalas and the Pandian Kingdom, the kings of Hampi restored peace to the land and revived their great culture. Hindu religion, art and architecture saw a tremendous growth and many institutions were set up to strengthen their common culture. The famous Tenali Ramakrishna, known as Tenali Raman to the people of today was one of the several poets and ministers in the court of by Krishnadeva Raya, the greatest ruler of the dynasty. The economy of Southern India grew to new heights under his leadership. Trade with the Portuguese and Dutch were established.

Travelling chroniclers from Arabia, Italy, Portugal and Russia came to this blessed land to visit the monuments of the city. Most of the monuments were built between 1336 and 1570 A.D. from the times of Harihara-I to Sadasivaraya.

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Over the years, a unique style of architecture came into form. A superb blend of styles from various schools of architecture created awe-inspiring structures like the majestic Hindu temples, the royal hall, the magnificent throne platform used to witness festivals and other events, and the king’s balance or scale. The ornamentation, delicate carvings, stately pillars, magnificent pavilions and a great wealth of iconographic and traditional depictions from the epics of Ramayana and Mahabharata, make the temples of Hampi a marvelous spectacle, says the About Religion article. Worship is still carried out at the largest extant temple at Pampapati after it was renovated.

A large number of palatial complexes, stone images, household utensils, beautiful terracotta objects, inscribed Buddhist sculptures of the 2nd-3rd century, and stucco figures that once embellished the palaces have been discovered in the recent excavations.

– prepared by Ajay Krishna of NewsGram. Twitter: @ajkrish14

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  • Akanksha Sharma

    The architectural structures at Humpi are beautiful.

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Forks in the Road : 10 places to eat in Delhi

Delhi has so many diverse cuisines to offer. Here is the list of 10 places to eat in delhi which you can not miss

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Foodie Delhi
10 places to eat in Delhi (pexels)

Delhi, the present day cultural hub of India, which was once under the rule of The Parthians, The Turks, The Afghans, The Mughals and The Britishers which left an impact on the city and gave it its own  unique status. Tourists from all over the world come down to Delhi and lose their hearts to it scrumptious cuisines.

It’s winter in Delhi, a perfect weather for sampling Delhi’s most famous attractions- its incredible street food. It’s not just the street food that Delhi is famous for but a lot of history and culture that is mixed up with the food. Everything from Asoka era to Mughals to the invaders who held sway over Delhi to Purana Qila, have left the taste of the food behind.

To the variety of chats that will take you on tour of tangy, sweet and spicy flavours to the non-vegetarian food which will remind of the rich flavours to the food never tasted anywhere, Delhi has it all.

Here are 10 places to visit for indulging into the flavors of Delhi.

  1. Paranthe Wali Gali
IndianGyaan

 

Paranthe Wali Gali since 1870s is the name of a narrow street in the Chandni Chowk area of Delhi known for its series of shops selling parantha, an Indian flatbread. The food is old fashioned, strictly vegetarian and the cooked dishes do not include onion or garlic. Stuffed aloo (potato), Gobi (cauliflower) and matar (peas) paranthas are the most popular ones. Lentil paranthas are also available. The cost could come up to 150 rupees for 2 people. This street is lit from 9 a.m. to 11 p.m.

  1. Dilli Haat
India Opines

Dilli Haat does not only showcase the rich Indian culture and diverse Indian Heritage, but is also one of the best place to enjoy regional food from all over the country. Dilli Haat provides various food stalls having food from various Indian States that gives you a variety of choice at low cost prices. Its timings are from 10:30 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. Bijoli Grill- a West Bengal food stall offering Fish curry and Kosha Mangsho; Momo Mia, an Arunanchal Pradesh food stall offering Momos and Fruit Beer; Nagaland Kitchen, a Nagaland food stall offering Raja Mircha and Momos; Manipur Foods, a Manipuri Food Stall offering Fried Rice, Tarai Tong ad Fruit Beer; Rajasthani Food Stall offering Pyaaz Kachori, Desi Ghee Jalebi and Rajasthani Thali; Maharashtra Food Stall offering Vada Pav, Puran Poli, Shrikhand; Dawath-E-Awadh, a UP Food Stall offering Kebabs, Biryani and Phirni and other food stalls from states such as Andhra Pradesh, Assam and Kerala.

  1. Khan Market
The Urban Escapades

Khan Market is not only a place for die hard shoppers, it is also Delhi’s incredible food districts. A neighborhood that never sleeps, whose streets are filled with the scent of mutton kebab and fried rice. Khan Market has restaurants such as Town Hall Restaurant, The Big Chili Café, Yellow Brick Road Restaurant, Wok in Clouds, The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf, Soda bottle opner wala, Azam’s Mughlai, Café Turtle, Omazoni and Market Café.

  1. Spice Aangan
EazyDiner

Tucked away in Safdarjung Development Area’s main market is a hole-in-the-wall tandoor-and-takeaway restaurant known as Spice Aangan. Spice Aangan has been a staple of the SDA market food scene for a while now. The hole-in-the-wall is bang opposite the small, grassless park located at the centre of the market. While there are a couple of steel benches at edge of the park to sit and enjoy their food, it is otherwise a purely takeaway and home delivery outlet. Restaurant serves tandoori snacks–chicken tikka, malai tikka, seekh kebab–as well as mutton dishes, curries, biryani and shawarma rolls. Despite so many options, though, you’d be hard pressed to find the regulars ordering anything other than the chicken shawarma.

  1. Karim’s
Musafir

Karim’s is a historic restaurant located near Jama Masjid Gali Kababian, Old Delhi, Delhi. It is know that this is the best restaurant in Delhi, serving non-vegetarian food since 1913. The original Karim’s is bang opposite Jama Masjid in the walled city area of Delhi. It is close to a market known as Darya Ganj. Those visiting Karim’s for the first time will be surprised at the location. Getting there is not easy, you will need to ask locals for help. Mutton Burra, Mutton Raan-this starter is huge, and is meant for four or five people. There is a wide range of kebabs including Seekh Kebabs, Shammi Kebabs and Mutton Tikka. Chicken Seekh Kebab, Tandoori Chicken or Chicken Tikka for those who love chicken. Mutton Korma, Mutton Stew and Badam Pasanda Chicken Noor Jehan and Chicken Jahangiri are the main courses to be tried once you get there. As for the bread Khamiri Roti is something not to be missed. Karim’s serves two main desserts Kheer Benazir and Shahi Tukda.

  1. Pandara Road
ScoopWhoop

Delhi serves delectable food in almost every nook and corner of the city. Whether it is crowded streets of Chandni Chowk or the sophisticated eateries of Khan Market. One such stop is Pandara Road Market, located near India Gate, the place serves best non-vegetarian food of the city, so all the meat lovers out there fill your wallets. Havemore offering the best Butter chicken and garlic naan and Gulati which is best known for its Dum Biryani and kebabs with the cost price of 1500 rupees for two, and many other restaurants like Chicken Inn, Pindi and Ichiban.

  1. Amar Colony
TripAdvisor

Amar Colony is generally known to be the hub of garments but it is also the hidden street food hub. Home to a diverse population from India, Africa and Afghanistan, there is no doubt, diversity in food here too. A number of small joints for street food in Amar Colony exist which serve the most delicious dishes for you. Most of the shops are situated in the main market and are close to each other. Nagpal Chole Bhature, Hunger Strike, Tibb’s Frankie, Biryani Corner, 34 Chowringhee Lane, Sharma Chaat Bhandar, Deepaul’s Café, Dolma Aunty Momos, Muttu South Indian Anna, High On Burger are the best places to visit when on Pandara Road.

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  1. Hudson Lane, GTB Nagar
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Hudson Lane, very close to the main North Campus area, is one place where you will find one of the finest cafés and best restaurants in Delhi. Mostly serving Italian, Café, and Fast Food Cuisine, these quirky joints offer an amazing culinary experience at an extremely pocket-friendly price. Woodbox Café, Mad Monkey, Indus Flavors, QD’s, Ricos and Big yellow Door are the most recommended places to munch at.

  1. Jung Bahadur Kachori Wala
Delhipedia

Situated near Paranthe Wali Gal, Jung Bahadur Kachori Wala is a small but popular street stall that’s been serving sought- after Kachoris since the early 1970s. Kachori stuffed with urad dal and served with special spicy chutney is a must try ther.

  1. Connaught Place
India Today – India Today Group

From fancy revolving restaurants to the delicious local rajma chawal, Connaught place does not discriminate when it comes to food. Home to some of the best restaurants in Delhii and also ironic dahbas, one can relish all kinds of cuisines here be it local, regional or international. Kake Da Hotel, Parikrama, Jain Chawal Wale, Minar and much more are the places to step up with.

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Thanksgiving Day Across the World

Thanksgiving Day is celebrated across the world and for each country, it has its own tale and tradition around food and days.

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Thanksgiving Day celebrations
Happy Thanksgiving Day, Wikimedia Commons

Thanksgiving Day. The name stands for itself as the day to give thanks and is celebrated as a national holiday in many countries like United States of America, Canada, Netherlands, Philippines, Grenada, Liberia while similarly named festival exists in Germany, Japan, and United Kingdom.
Thanksgiving holiday remains a day to give thanks at the close of the harvest season.

America
The official date for the American Thanksgiving that exists today was set by President Roosevelt to be on the fourth Thursday in November instead of the last Thursday in November as decided by President Lincoln as thanksgiving date.
But their thanksgiving is surrounded by a debate over the nation’s first celebrations and the two places embroiled in this debate are New England and Virginia as both the places provide certain proofs of being the spot for nation’s first celebrations for Thanksgiving.

Canada
Canadian Thanksgiving tradition is celebrated in the true spirit of giving thanks at the close of the harvest season. It is believed that due to the geographical differences from the USA, Canada’s Thanksgiving arrives on the second Monday in October as that is the close of their harvest season.

But in countries like Liberia, Netherlands, and Grenada, it is not just a day to give thanks at the close of the harvest season.

Liberia
In Liberia, Thanksgiving holiday is celebrated to mark the freedom from black slavery by the U.S.A. The Thanksgiving day’s date remains on the first Thursday of November and has been a tradition since 1820.

Netherlands
Netherlands celebrate thanksgiving to mark to commemorate the Pilgrims who had migrated and became residents of the city of Leiden and died at Pieterskerk. To commemorate the hospitality, the thanksgiving, a non-denominational Thanksgiving Day is celebrated as the same as American Thanksgiving Day’s morning.

But there are some countries like the Philippines where the tradition of Thanksgiving only arrived with the Americans due to it being an American colony in the early 20th century but the tradition of Thanksgiving there had seemed to die down.

Food:
The American Thanksgiving seems to dominate the Thanksgiving menu when it comes to this holiday. Their famous turkey, stuffing, cranberry sauce, gravy, pies, mashed potatoes, and yams are signature dishes related to this day.

Black Friday:
Not only food, American Thanksgiving has also made Black Friday, an informal day following the Thanksgiving Day to mark the beginning of their country’s Christmas season sales and it has been in the history books since 1952 such that it has become a tradition of its own now.

Thanksgiving Day remains an occasion for many families to get back together and celebrate this holiday in the spirit of one while giving the rise to the excitement of upcoming Christmas also which remains barely a month away from Thanksgiving day.

Samridhi Nain is a student of Philosophy (Hons.) from University of Delhi.

 

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7 Most Beautiful Goddess Lakshmi Temples of India

On this Diwali Day, aware yourself of the most beautiful Goddess Laxmi Temples ensembled in India and keep up your beliefs on the almighty

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Sripuram Golden Temple.
Sripuram Golden Temple. Wikimedia

Goddess Laxmi is one of the principal deities of Hindu religion. She is the goddess of destiny, wealth, and prosperity. The goddess is also worshipped by Jains and Buddhists.

On the eve of Diwali, we bring you the most beautiful Goddess Lakshmi Temples situated all over the India.

Sripuram Golden Temple, Vellore

Goddess Lakshmi
Sripuram Golden Temple, Vellore. Wikimedia.

Sripuram Golden Temple is one of the biggest temples in India, this Lakshmi temple is dedicated to the worship of the goddess. It is situated on a hill called Malaikodi, located in Vellore of Tamil Nadu.

Lakshmi Narayan Temple (Birla Mandir), Delhi

Goddess Lakshmi
Lakshmi Narayan Temple (Birla Mandir), Delhi. Wikimedia.

Birla Mandir situated in New Delhi is dedicated to Goddess Lakshmi and Vishnu. One popular fact about this temple is that it was inaugurated by Mahatma Gandhi. Hundreds of devotees visit Birla Mandir during festive occasions including Diwali.

Mahalakshmi Temple, Mumbai

Goddess Lakshmi
Mahalakshmi Temple, Mumbai. Wikimedia.

Mahalakshmi Temple is an ancient temple of the goddess Lakshmi. It is situated in Mumbai. and has an interesting story behind it. After the wall of Hornby Vellard collapsed twice, the engineer dreamed of the goddess of wealth. On this very, location a statue of the goddess Lakshmi was found. Hence, the statue was put up and a temple was built.

ALSO READ: Hinduism: The Nine Basic Beliefs that you need to know

Lakshmi Devi Temple, Hassan

Goddess Lakshmi
Lakshmi Devi Temple at Hassan. Wikimedia.

Goddess Lakshmi temple in Doddagaddavalli relates the period of Hoysalas in Karnataka. It is one of the earliest architectural temples of Hoysala style.

Ashtalakshmi Temple, Chennai

 

Goddess Lakshmi
Ashtalakshmi Temple Chennai. Wikimedia.

Ashtalakshmi Temple is famous for various shrines of goddess Laksmi which depict all 8  forms of Lakshmi Devi. The temple is located near Elliot’s beach of Chennai.

Kaila Devi Temple, Karauli, Rajasthan

Wikimedia
Kailadevi Temple Rajasthan. Wikimedia.

Kaila Devi is regarded as an incarnation of Mahalakshmi or the Wealth Goddess. This temple situated in Karauli District of Rajasthan.

Goravanahalli Mahalakshmi Temple

Goddess Lakshmi
Goravanahalli Mahalakshmi Temple.Wikimedia.

Goravanahalli Mahalakshmi Temple is an extremely popular Mahalakshmi temple built up in Tumkur District, Karnataka. The worshipped idol of Mahalakshmi is believed to have originated on its own.

-Prepared by Bhavana Rathi of NewGram. Twitter @tweet_bhavana