cairns

IMG_0984

Stacking stones, or building cairns, is a thing people have been doing for ages now. On hikes, cairns are used to mark a trail for people following you, to know which way you went. More recently, stacking pebbles has become a spiritual practice, sometimes called Upala Yoga. In the past, cairns have had ceremonial and decorative uses in different cultures. The word cairn itself means ‘heap of stones’ in Gaelic.

None of the above ever interested me, except to wonder how stacking pebbles could possibly be an absorbing endeavour.

We were at Hampi in the last week of 2019. If there is something spiritual about stacking stones this is where I felt it. The landscape is littered with cairns created by Nature!

IMG_0897.jpg

IMG_1154

IMG_1147.jpg

IMG_0899

IMG_1145.jpg

There is an extremely peaceful vibe around Hampi, the ancient ruins spread across 25 square km or so. The oldest structures are from 1st century CE, the newest are from 16th century CE! Sitting quietly inside one of the ancient stone structures on a hill, a cool, soothing breeze blowing through my hair, I could literally transport myself to the time when it was built.

IMG_0970

I loved the way the architecture blended with the surroundings, buildings never grabbing negative attention in the vulgar way some disproportionately large buildings on small plots of land do in Bangalore.

IMG_0985

IMG_0976

IMG_1180

IMG_0892

IMG_0930

It helped that I had come in that morning from the small town of Gangavathi nearby, a place where life is still simple. No malls, no high-rises, helpful people speaking a sweet version of Kannada, plenty of space on the road to drive, lots of homely idli-vada breakfast joints, crowing roosters and bleating goats, sunrise over lush green rice paddies . . . I drifted easily into the mood of Hampi from the peace of Gangavathi, after a good night’s sleep had done away with the more hurried pace I’m used to in Bangalore.

IMG_0907.jpg

IMG_0917

Our walk around Hampi fell on the morning of the solar eclipse on 26th December. The strange diffuse light created a soft-focus effect, enhancing the dreamscape quality of the place.

IMG_0967
Diffuse sunlight – solar eclipse
IMG_0969
Diffuse sunlight during solar eclipse
IMG_0977
The bright blue crescent in the picture – is it a reflection of the eclipse on the lens of my camera?!

 

 

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s