Centuries ago, as today, travelers waited at crossing points to go across the Tundrabadri. Nearby are stone platforms no longer in use where the heat of the Indian summer was broken by leaves overhead as they rested in the shade waiting for their turn to cross the great river. Round boats called coracles would carry them to the island just across the way.
A few yards downhill was a small shrine to Ganesha where they could ask the God’s blessing for their trip.
From the fourteenth to the sixteenth century, Hampi was the great capital of the Vijanagara dynasty, which ruled all of south India. Many of the citizens had leisure time; they were well off, and their city, estimated to be three times the size of Paris at the time, may have been the largest and wealthiest city in the world.
The British economic historian, Angus Maddison, has described…
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