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The Sacred Site of Hampi-Vijayanagara: Learn with the experts

In a video launching this month on the DHF website, we find Dr George Michell, architectural historian and co-founder of the DHF, floating down the banks of the Tungabhadra River with historian Anirudh Kanisetti. Gliding past the monuments of UNESCO World Heritage site of Hampi-Vijayanagara, the pair discuss the questions that engaged Dr Michell and his research partner, the late Dr John Fritz, during their 25 years of research at the site.

 

This wide-ranging chat covers the once-bustling life of the city’s river banks, its temple quarters, the cult of the goddess Pampa, and some of the mysteries that remain despite decades of research and documentation.

An icon of Vishnu carved into a river-side rock
One of these enduring puzzles is the orientation of the temple streets in the sacred precinct of the city. As Dr Michell notes,


The Virupaksha Temple in the Sacred Center of Vijayangara

“The curious thing is that at least three of them are on a particular delineation from East to West. Three temples are laid out East to West, but the street is about 15 degrees off – it goes at an angle – and this is not properly explained by the geography of the rocks. It seems to be a deliberate 15-degree dislocation. And this is one of the mysteries we have yet to solve. We had thought that by inviting an archaeologist-astronomer we could learn if this has something to do with the solstice or the equinox or one of those celestial phenomena. We haven’t solved it yet. So that’s a future generational problem.

Want to learn more? Start your day with a complete history lesson in under 15 minutes–and stay tuned for upcoming videos to be broadcast on the DHF website and YouTube channel.

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