Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Hampi - the bazaar

We were at Anegondi. The coracle was waiting. It took us along. It was like being inside a sculpture, a sculpture that flowed by the water. It was of course peaceful, no people, stone and its own ways. As we shored, it seemed like we were entering Hampi from its back door. A winding path through the overpowering stones and we were suddenly onto the street that led to the temple. This had also been the street where the main bazaar had once been. It was today also a bazaar, but a half bazaar. One end was deserted.

It should be possible to experience a historic place in its 'as is, where is' condition. We often crave to know the history before we reach there, or when we are there. Without the stories of the past reaching us, how much of the present of a place is still there for us to experience?

The Hampi of today has people who belong to an India that has changed. It has people who live here with their families and it has people who visit as tourists. The shops that line the bazaar of today sell T-shirts and Pepsi. There are internet booths. There are craft shops. As UNESCO brings in its Conservation experts, there is work also on the contemporarising of this beautiful old bazaar.