Archives for the Month of March, 2005

Rangolis – human procedural art


Outside each doorway or courtyard in Hampi, as well as much of Southern India, you will find a Rangoli – A chalk drawn geometric pattern. These complex symmetrical patterns are constructed by connecting a matrix of dots in a procedural way.

‘Petals of various flowers, such as oleanders, cosmos, zenia, chrysanthemums, and green leaves provide the artist the ability to work out various patterns and colors. In the evenings of festive occasions, when oil lamps are lit, and the atmosphere is cool and pleasant, such floral designs create the atmosphere of a well-planned divine garden. This Rangoli garden surrounds the sacred spot where pooja (prayer) is performed or a child is seated for his or her birthday, naming ceremony or thread ceremony. Newly-weds also receive guests in such decorated surroundings when the wedding celebrations are ongoing.

Most of the Rangoli designs are motifs of plants, flowers, leaves such as coconut, lotus, mango, and ashwath (peepal leaf), the animals such as cows, elephants, and horses, and the birds like eagles and swans. There are geometrical designs as well. When drawn with fingers, these acquire different dimensions on their own.’

Ghost temples


Tonight I depart on an overnight bus from Mapusa in Goa to Hampi in the state of Karnataka – as you may have noticed dataisnature is taking an extended exotic break in India.

Hampi, otherwise know as the ruined City of Vijayanagar harbors the remains of palaces, temples and bizaars from the 15th and 16th century scattered over an otherworldly backdrop of huge golden granite boulders like a ghost town. This will be my 2nd visit to Hampi, the first having been about 7 years ago.

At night looking from a high vantage point, the main thoroughfare lit by small fires and chai stools is transformed into an alien runway, a grid-work of light connecting the geography of the ancient city with a much more recent settlement.

From what I’ve learned, Vijayanagar was a center for silk and precious gems, travelers tell stories of bejeweled courtesans and ornate palaces. Hampi is a bit like all of the fantastic cities in Italo Calvinos ‘Invisible Cities’

In the 2nd half of the 16th Century this dazzling city was invaded and destroyed by a Muslim army over the period of a 6months and for hundreds of years the ruined city remained deserted – only in recent decades has a new settlement organically began to be built on top of the old one.

I’m often experiencing connection rates of less than 1k/sec here in India so I have no real bandwidth to research interesting links, however here are a few pictures and extra information

Expect some more frequent postings as I begin some new explorations of this amazing place in the next few days.