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Monday, December 17, 2012

WHY INDIA NEEDS TO PREPARE FOR THE DECLINE OF THE WEST-by Prof. R. Vaidyanathan · in First Post and my rejoinder at the bottom


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WHY INDIA NEEDS TO PREPARE FOR THE DECLINE OF THE WEST


December 15, 2012 · by  Prof.  R. Vaidyanathan · in First Post

Two reports released this week in the US will have significant and far-reaching implications for countries like India. These reports are: Global Trends 2030: Alternative Worlds, by the US National Intelligence Council, and US Strategy for a Post-Western World: Envisioning 2030, by the Atlantic Council.
These reports should be read and digested by countries like India as we need to prepare strategies to deal with the post-Anglo-Saxon era. The reports are available.
Firstpost is no stranger to these ideas. In an earlier article, Decline of the West, we had expected the decline to accelerate in the coming years. The decline stems not only from the shift in economic power, as the above two reports suggest, but from a fall in societal values.
pic1
People are comforted near Sandy Hook Elementary School on Friday after a man killed 26 people, including 20 children. AP
Friday’s massacre of school children in Connecticut is yet another indicator of the loss of sovereignty of the family. The gunman could have come from a dysfunctional family system and gun culture is destroying the US social fabric.
In the earlier article, we had recalled the pioneering study of Angus Maddison for the OECD, in which he demonstrated that till 1820 India and China had nearly 50 percent of the global GDP before their decline started. From that point of view, we are “re-emerging markets” and not emerging markets. Nearly 200 years of western dominance are coming to a close, and, as predicted by Sri Aurobindo, “India will rise from the ruins of the western civilisation.”
The above mentioned two reports tell us something we always hesitate to believe till someone from the west confirms it for us. The reports indicate how China and India will be more powerful than the US by 2030. One of the reports also suggests that Asian cultures will supersede America’s and Europe’s in 20 years as the global middle class grows. But it also predicts that competition for resources, including food, space and water, will be fierce.
Five trends which will have far-reaching implications for the west and us are the following:
*The west’s problems are related to the decline of the family as an institution and household savings.
*Demography is increasing the proportion of old people in the population.
*Rising longevity is leading to a social security crisis which will bankrupt governments.
*The decline of the church and belief systems – both in Europe and US – could have major implications
*The Westphalia consensus about the sovereignty of nations which are not western/white is over.
These trends have not been adequately dealt with in the main reports possibly because they are focused more on economics, energy, etc. But the building blocks of any civilization start with the family, and this has gone for a six in the western world without alternate institutions emerging.
During the early nineties, more than 50 percent of global GDP, adjusted for purchasing power parity, was with the G7 countries (predominantly white/western), with the major emerging markets like India and China accounting for 36 percent. But this has already reversed. It is expected that the original G7 countries will have less than 30 percent of global GDP by 2020. Also, the forecast for growth rates in the coming years is either negative or a very low number.
The unemployment rate in many European countries like Spain and Greece is more than 20 percent and among youth (aged 16 to 24 years) it is nearing 50 percent. Europe had nearly 25 percent of the world population during World War I and now it is around 11 percent and expected to be 3-4 percent in another 20 years.
Britain has fallen out of love with marriage. The 2011 Census shows that the number of married people has fallen to 20.4 million, nearly 200,000 less than a decade ago. A quarter of the people in England and Wales are single, while the number of those cohabiting has risen from 9.8 percent of the population to 11.9 percent. Growing numbers of people are also choosing to divorce.
The breaking up of the family has put tremendous pressure on the state to sustain single parent/single women families and also the elderly. This has put their social security schemes – if at all funded – under strain.
Europe has become secular, which is a euphemism for renouncing or ignoring the church. For instance, the recent census in the UK has revealed that there has been a decline of 12 percent in people belonging to Christianity and 25 percent of the population said they had no faith – an increase from 15 percent a decade earlier.
The UK is also exhibiting tendencies in societal behavior more typical of third world countries. For instance, urinating in the streets is becoming a major issue and the town of Chester is using innovative ways to punish offenders like asking them to maintain local heritage sites.
The French are grappling with the issues of illegitimacy and failure of the family system. An ex-French law minster had simultaneous relationships with eight men and it is becoming difficult to ascertain who is the father of her kid. In another decade, many French kids may be able to identify their fathers only through DNA tests.
The USA is facing similar issues.  In 2010, more than 50 percent of children were born out of wedlock and illegitimacy is the new norm. Among blacks, it is 75 percent and among Latinos more than 55 percent.
The US faces an unprecedented crisis since families have been nationalized and businesses privatized. Society has become dysfunctional. This year, more than half the births are of non- white children, giving rise to the possibility of the US becoming a non-white majority country in another 30 years when Spanish and Chinese could become major languages. This could have a tremendous impact among Mid-West and Southern Bible-thumpers like Rush Limbaugh. This could give rise to sharper social conflicts and open up the old civil war fault lines.
According to a report in The Wall Street Journal last year (10 October 2011), nearly half of US households received some form of government benefits like food stamps, subsidized housing, cash welfare or Medicare or Medicaid (the federal-state healthcare programme for the poor) or social security. The US is also a stock market economy where half the households have investments, and recent bank and corporate failures have hit them hard.
Under the circumstances India needs to strategize for the future.
We should recognize that for most of the Indian elite, their umbilical cords are linked to the west. Many of them are/were educated in the US or Europe, and most of them have their children studying or working there. Due to colonial genes, acceptance/recognition by the west is critical for average middle class Indians.
The danger is that we are going to buy their failed models when they are in decline. They will try to sell us everything they have, and we will buy because of our colonial genes. They will hire more Indians to head global companies as showpieces in order to penetrate our markets.
The reality, that the west is in decline and many of its institutions are failing, has still not struck us and we will continue to try and imitate them – including dysfunctional family systems. We should recognize that we are a civilization and not just a market. Today funds are in search of markets and not the other way round. Instead of heading global institutions, we should acquire them.
Civilisationally, we are nearer to the East than the West. We should take the lead along with others in the East to create alternative institutions to the World Bank, the IMF and the UN. The need is to recognize that the old debate about big business or big government is passé. Our ability to look beyond Marx and market into our thriving communities and bazaars will provide us answers to many issues.
Will India, as Aurobindo mentioned, rise from the ruins of the West?
My rejoinder 
US centric economic model, is it correct to solely pursue it at the expense of other options?

Any good economic policy should start with encouraging and funding education oriented towards creating skill sets and developing intelligentsia that will be useful in generating indigenous production manufacture and service sectors with global acceptance and reach and which will ensure the concomitant benefits of employment generation, export earning etc.

In addition, if the country is blessed with good amount of natural resources and raw materials, then there is nothing like that to turn such a country into a nation which can become the super power. Even if all the above mentioned factors are present in varying degrees, then it is good enough to become a commercial super power not necessarily a militarily one.

Fortunately India geographically as a country has most of the factors in good degree and some in abysmally low levels and they are the result of wrong priorities, perverted policy decisions and putrefied politics. I am not going into the specifics and details.

Even if any country cannot afford to do this, for any reason, at least it should ensure its intelligence in trade and economy in a globalized economic scenario like the present one by following a strategy of trade and commercial ties and operations with many nations based on purely economic exigencies and humanitarian ideologies.
If this strategy is followed then a nation’s economy need not suffer due to any sudden shift and change in the economic activities and status of one particular country, or a particular group of countries based on any regional, ideological or political identities.

All the TNCs [Trans National Corporations] or to use the modern terminology all the MNCs [ Multi National Corporations] know this fundamental fact of profitable survival in trade and economy.

It would be wise for all big democracies with a large number of globally acceptable intelligent and educated masses to understand and accept these facts and draft sensible policies based on these facts.

It is not any xenophobic idea but pure economic imperative and commercial pragmatism that no country can afford to have and opt to operate its economy on any specific or particular overseas country specific economic growth model; it is actually a euphemism for parasitical economic model.

In fact three decades ago the mantra of globalization was injected to mostly facilitate US based business interests. If anyone bothers to make an unbiased appraisal of globalization they would perceive that most MNCs were either US based or predominantly US sponsored and of course the benefits and new methods of operation that it brought to along enticed many business houses, investors, politicians, even academic economists to en mass pit for it. It was like a small tired boy falling asleep under the shade of a static elephant unawares that he would be kicked around or stamped heavily when it starts to move and crushed when it falls down.

This is what is happening or will surely and slowly happen to economies that followed only US centric economic policies. The black money of some economies, huge global financial manipulations etc have given a temporary relief to US economic recession. However, it is still not completely out of the woods. So, at least for the sake of senseless policy decisions of many countries which followed predominantly US centric economic policies let us hope that US economy springs back to its original strength or at least now these other countries should modify their economic policies.

Way back in the 90s itself I wrote for a magazine the dubious designs of so called Globalization and the likely eventuality of reciprocal sabotage.

You can find that article in the following link


  


Thursday, December 13, 2012

GENEROSITY AND SELFLESS SERVICE


The Tireless Tyrone??

 (Everybody can be great, because everybody can serve. You don't have to have a college degree to serve. You don't have to make your subject and your verb agree to serve...You only need a heart full of grace, a soul generated by love.) - Martin Luther King, Jr. -

Dear Young minds,

     Friday’s (7-12-12) massive earthquake in north Japan coincided with the announcement of de-recognition of Archery Association of India (AAI) and Indian Amateur Boxing Federation (IABF). The tremors in the corridors of Delhi’s Shastri Bhawan, where sports minister Jitendera Singh made the announcement, rattled the Chautala-Bhanot camp which had earlier defied the dictate of the International Olympic Committee (IOC). This came following suspension of the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) by the International Olympic Committee and provisional suspension of IABF.

     Suddenly we are out of Olympics; our great athletes and sports personnel sim(B)ly cannot participate under our 'Tricolour' (at least as of now) for no fault of theirs but thanks to 'some' mess up in the IOA election process by powers that be. Almost (suddenly again) my mind went back to last years NBC report (a contrasting one) about a millionaire janitor,Tyrone Curry, who single handedly appears to be doing wonderfully well to encourage and promote sports @ his home base Seattle. 

     This guy won over $3.4 million dollars in the Washington State lottery 6 years ago and still spends his dayssweeping the cafeteria floor at Evergreen High School. "I try to make sure it's spotless and it's ready for the kids,' he says, with a smile on his face. After cleaning, he goes off to his second job -- coaching the track and field team. "Ten years ago, I said if I win some money, I'm going to put a track here," Tyrone said, and that's exactly what he did when he gave his boss a check for $40,000.

Do visit for 'Dotson's show at:


शतॆषु जायतॆ शूर: सहस्रॆषु पण्डित:
वक्ता दशसहस्रॆषु दाता भवति वा वा


The quote I have referred above under the header, is an excerpt from Martin Luther King Jr's stirring speech, "The Drum Major Instinct" in which he urges all to find greatness through service and love.

"I would rather be able to appreciate things I can not have than to have things I am not able to appreciate".

 -Elbert Hubbard, author (1856-1915)


Monday, November 19, 2012

SRI SATYA SAI BABA


CHAPTER -7
                                       
                                   SRI SATYA SAI BABA



Bhagwan Sri Satya Sai Baba as he is reverentially called is a miracle man to many, just a magician to some, God incarnate to the very devoted followers, great social and economic developer to those who lived near to him, source of inspiration and guide to some, in short, a great and many splendored soul which helped a large number of human beings in many ways.
However viewed, reviewed, analyzed and criticized the fact remains that he has left his imprint in terms of real economic and social development not only through development of infrastructure but also through real empowerment of villagers especially women; he has left an everlasting impact in the lives of many across the globe who have either actively sought his help or who came into contact with him providentially; he has injected and imbued with  confidence and motivation in many who happened to have approached him when they have left all hopes and interest in life; he has cured many of their incurable diseases; he has released many from the prisons of emotional turmoil; he has transformed many from the clutches of psychological problems; he has inspired many to take to selfless service to society and sharing of  knowledge; he was  instrumental in making many to contribute to care for the poor in around the areas where he lived and moved about. So in terms of the sheer improvements, imprints, impact and inspiration he has effected he richly and rightly deserves all the praise and platitudes irrespective of all the tall claims of fanatic
followers who imagine miracles or the harsh criticisms of small group of  ordinary mortals who refuse to accept facts enlisted above.
He was preaching peace, harmony, happiness, honesty and humble humanitarianism based on care and compassion for other human beings beyond restraints of religions and the constraints communal divisions, of course with recognition and respect for the higher or superior or invisible divine power with the necessity to take care of the economic, material and environmental welfare of the society at large. These he did through various means and many of the institutions created by him stand testimony to these facts. Baba inspired His followers to reach out to the poorest of the poor and wipe every tear from every eye as idealised by Mahatma Gandhi. This concept has been described as "spiritual socialism" by critic-turned-believer RK Karanjia in his book "God Lives in India". Baba re-defined the psychology of human personality; chemistry of human rhythm; physics of gravitational force of love; sociology of inter-human contours and philosophy of life.
His greatest  contribution  to socio –economic development apart from many other works is bring clean water to the many in  the dry areas of Anatapur. In 1994, Baba made a moving reference to the difficulties experienced by the people of Rayalaseema region in getting safe drinking water and suggested that the century-old problem needed urgent attention. In 1995, he added a new dimension to his societal mission by the trust, undertaking work to provide good and safe drinking water to as many people of Anantapur district as possible in the shortest possible time, irrespective of the difficulties experienced and the cost.
Tapping ground water was considered as an option, but was ruled out because of the fluoride problem. It was decided to use rainwater by drawing water during the monsoon and storing in special reservoirs.
Most of the water sources were in the northern part of Anantapur district and the terrain to the south sloped upwards. Hence, bringing water to the southern region needed creation of large number of pumping stations to pump water against gravity. This called for extensive civil and engineering work. In spite of all the difficulties, the water was made available to Anantapur district in 18 months. After a year of regular operation, the entire water works was handed over to the people of the state as a gift. The scheme covers 750 villages and provides water to over one million people
His hospital was inaugurated on November 22, 1991. After its inauguration, the super specialty hospital has conducted many major heart surgeries and catheterisation procedures. Specialist surgeons from reputed hospitals, both from India and abroad, voluntarily take leave from their regular work and come to Puttaparthi and perform operations free of cost. Same is the case with nursing services.


Here are some of the gems of his wisdom and ways
“My objective is to establish unity in mankind, to reveal the aspect of the Divinity latent in man, and that God must be the only goal in life.”
 “It is also my duty to make you realize the kind of relationship that should exist between fellow human beings.”
“I have come not to disturb or destroy any faith, but to confirm each in his own faith, so that the Christian becomes a better Christian; the Muslim, a better Muslim; and the Hindu, a better Hindu.”
“Service to man is service to God” and to “Love All Serve All—Help Ever Hurt Never.”
"Hands that serve are holier than the lips that pray".
Baba was an inexhaustible reservoir of pure love who tried to kindle the "lamp of love" in every heart. Prof. Baranowski, a regression therapist and bio-magnetic specialist from Arizona University, who captured radiations of various hues, flowing from Baba's persona, with "Kirlin" camera, declared Him as "Love" walking on two feet.

J.KRISHNAMURTHY -THE GREAT PHIOLOSOPHER


                                                          CHAPTER -5




A wise soul of such immense spiritual enlightenment [ I would not like to use any of those labels like saint, seer, guru, messiah etc  towards all of which he had a healthy  and reasonable contempt] whose uniqueness was that through his lucid and logical communication he laid bare the simple process involved in having a communion with truth as a birthright of every soul irrespective of all external affiliations, identities and he explained  the complete irrelevance of all these affinities, identities, conditioning etc to self enquiry . He in fact exposed how all external identities and affinities were more of a hindrance to perceive truth.
Thus, he helped everyone to understand in their own terms through their own self enquiry the highest spiritual philosophy of grasping and being part of the ultimate truth.
There are four broad areas of important evolution for life,   namely physical, psychological, social and spiritual, not necessarily in that order.
In biological evolutionary systems human beings like other species have survived purely base on their adaptability to changing environments, situations, contexts etc and have ensured physical survival [Basic aspect of evolution survival].
In psychological evolution too human beings have toyed with many ideas and ideologies that have been passed on through some leading luminaries which of course guided humanity through the myriad wonderful paths that have helped in enhancing life psychologically along with their own individual and collective experience [Second aspect of evolution, psychological evolution, the special faculty over the rest of the species of psychologically making a living beyond mere survival to embellish life].
In sociological evolution human being have tried out and are still trying out various methods to co habit and live comfortably in a civilized manner .[ Third aspect of evolution, the social evolution, furthering the natural instinct of sharing and caring by attempting to live in groups]
In all these three evolutions there have been many foolish and failed attempts, fallibilities etc which in due course where changed to ensure appropriate adjustments to evolve positively, though there are still some who refuse to evolve in all these three spheres. But the majority of human beings have fortunately seen reason and adapted to the best among the systems known them.
Regarding the fourth area of evolution, namely Spiritual truth, because of its inherent nature of not being clearly and concretely measured   and demonstrated either empirically or as perceivable through many of the tools of normal human perception, has remained mostly vague and further complicated by an amazing maze of religions, religious rituals and restraints, scriptural diversions, traditional taboos, cultural constraints etc. So, even to know and then understand what spirituality is all about, is in itself very difficult, leave alone trying to evolve and study its evolutionary trend as in other three areas of life. It does not mean that it does not exist, in fact, all the three other major areas of life mentioned earlier are infused with life only because of some inexplicable power, factor or whatever you want to label it as, it could be even labelled as god or some divine spirit etc for the sake of convenience.
There were many enlightened souls who have had a communion with this universal spirit which injects life into everything and which manifests the oneness of everything, and the interrelatedness, interdependence and interaction of everything in the process of evolution and life. Unfortunately in enjoying the nectar of the ecstasy of the communion or being uneasy about the level of understanding or differing frequencies of the others or for fear of condemnation or criticism of the society they never somehow communicated these communions with the spiritual truth; the minority who communicated had to sandwich the truth within thick layers of religiously, culturally and  socially  accepted or acceptable ideas, theories, rituals etc that very few really could penetrate beyond these thick layers and grasp the essence.
Many of the great souls have even spelled the spiritual truths, but very few have philosophically, logically and lucidly explained the process of self enquiry leading to self realization of the spiritual truth which is beneath, beyond and being part of everything as J.Krishnamurthy has done. This is where his uniqueness is and he also ensured that there was no cult, hero worship, deification or even followers to whatever he contributed which was basically to rely on one’s own self enquiry.
He did this by making everyone realize the importance of observing and listening without conditioning; elucidated the necessity to go beyond the realms of thoughts, words, knowledge, memory etc to grasp the wisdom of actuality of spiritual enlightenment or truth that is uninfluenced by any religion; unhindered by any dogma, ideology or ism; unprompted by any Guru; unprogramed by any specific ritual and culture and which therefore enables the observer to permeate with the observed thereby enabling one not merely to become but in actuality to be part of truth. In short, philosophically he made everyone realize the importance of making their own journeys in self enquiry and exploration based on total attentive awareness with total intensity and intense totality.
Anyone who reads his works, the lucky ones who listened to his lectures in person, would be immensely impacted. If they are open minded they would shed their prejudices and conditioning and start on the path of self enquiry. As for the rest, they would at least start to have a relook if not a total rejection of all their existing belief systems. So, in terms of enabling many souls to tread a path of purely philosophically and logically based self enquiry he undoubtedly made a great impact.

Philosophies of the orient, to my knowledge mostly Indian and Chinese are always not about throwing out multiple theories or logic. They were more about exploring and seeking meaning of life of the inner self as it lives and life in its totality beyond and besides the individual and the visible external world. It is in the enquiry of these two realms that the Vedic scriptures and many of the Chinese philosophies have come up with varying and various levels of understanding and interpretations of the micro as well the macro aspects of life and its many manifestations starting from the micro level explanation of matter to macro views and explanations about the universe. So in the process of these enquiries about life there emerged many processes of these enquiries about life, there also emerged many methods of socio morals which were tried and tested as per the contextual requirements of the period but the inherent philosophy of life was held as an unchanged and unchallenged value system .
In the occidental, initially  the great souls like Socrates, Plato , Aristotle etc too manifested similar wisdom, but then, later on social consciousness and  socio morals, as prescribed by or as preferred by the Monarchies, Empires , Religious institutions etc , alone were  allowed to be practised by these power groups [ what we call in modern terms as vested interest groups] with their domination over human race as whole interfering and influencing every activity , so much so, that even many scientific discoveries struggled to show their head for a long time for fear of antagonizing the whims and fancies of those manning these institutions. They were reborn only when these scientific discoveries were found to be useful for commerce and trade which turned out to be the new found tool of dominance as established by the history of colonialism and slave trade. This new found tool of dominance pushed the dominance of religious institutions to the background.
In contrast, in the Orient, the spirit of enquiry was always about all aspects of life in its many faceted splendour without the necessity to create institutions of dominance to make human race flock together. It was the value systems, which spontaneously made human beings here [in the Orient] to flock together voluntarily without any external force. So there was neither any institutionalized religion nor complicated philosophical theories which were to be discussed only by the scholarly and established as axiomatic certainty against which everything else has to be evaluated.
On the contrary a very philosophical attitude, scientific enquiry and freedom of expression to experiment and enquire into the nature of soul, spirit, body, psyche, space etc thrived side by side without any institutional authority either rewarding or punishing. So every individual had the liberty to practice these virtues. The capable ones came up with their discoveries and the rest valued them [discoveries] and made of use of them without publicity or promotion of any single institution and this is one of the reasons for lack of documentation or records of many discoveries by the Oriental giants as there was no dominating institution to decide what is to be accepted and what not and what is to be publicized and what is to be suppressed on behalf of whole of humanity. So there were less conflicts more spontaneous co operations and co habitations sticking on to certain value systems, not code of conduct prescribed and enforced by any institutional authority and this value system had in- built important components of freedom, tolerance, compassion, care, love, learning, exploring and questioning everything and the liberty to accept, adopt and assimilate more preferable and suitable aspects of life that came from outside sources.
 Many of our great seers and saints, shared and not preached their experiments, experiences, expertise and explanations about and into the meaning of life and spirituality and therefore they did not , or to be more precise were not bothered to establish any religious institution to promote any single god/goddess . Even in worship the individual had the freedom to choose any form or name of worship if its appeals to and tunes in with his spiritual vibration or frequency at that moment. That’s why, in the Indian value system, otherwise called, Sanathana Dharma, we have not only millions of Gods and Goddesses but we also worship trees, reptiles, animals, birds etc and we have scriptures which extol the greatness of atheism. This orientation of free spirit to enquire has led to unraveling of many spiritual truths, unfettered by any institutional authority or edict. J.Krishnamurthy is the pinnacle of this healthy tradition of free enquiring spiritual souls in which he has explained the art of the process of self enquiry and the science of self realization both for their own sake and helped everyone emancipate and get enlightened beyond the circumscription by the limited boundaries of our mind and intellect.

KUCHIPUDI DANCE


                                                              CHAPTER -4
                                                        KUCHIPUDI DANCE
             
                       Kuchipudi [pronounced as ‘koochipoodi] origin of the name
It derives its name from the village of Kuchelapuram, in Andhra Pradesh, India. As a classical form of dance, drama and music, Kuchipudi enjoys a unique place among the Indian classical idioms. Kuchipudi grew largely as a product of the Bhakti movement beginning in the seventh century A.D. It was in the 14th century, however, that the ascetic Siddhendra Yogi appeared on the scene and gave Kuchipudi a new definition and direction.


KUCHIPUDI SPECIAL CHRACTERISTICS
Compared to the other Indian classical dance styles, kuchipudi is closest to Bharthanatyam in terms of technique, but it has its own unique characteristic, both styles feature a half-sitting posture as the basic position and strong rhythmical foot work. But kuchipudi has a certain light- footedness and many graceful hops and leaps that distinguish it from Bhrathanatyam. It is less angular, with ‘rounded’ arm movements and characteristic bobbing,bending and swaying movements which are unique to kuchipudi
Kuchipudi is characterized by fast rhythms and fluid movements, creating a unique blend of control and abandon, strength and delicacy. This is the reason why it is calssicla,creative and communicative with a distinctive feel and flavour. It is imbued with sensuous Satvikaabhinayam and succulent vachikabhinayam. Being a narrative art form teh emphasis is on abhinaya and natya. Due to its affinity with teh yakshagana style, the kuchipudi technique has in it some basic elements of folk art, especially its primeval vigour, its unsophisticated directness and its exquisitely earthly sensuousness all manifesting the impact of folk form with its concomitant high energy levels along with classical touch
Kuchipudi dance dramas represent a happy synthesis of this classical and folk repertoire with less rigid postures, more emotions with free and fluid gestures and movements.

Story of the village
Almost every corner of the Kuchipudi village, reverberates with swaras and the jingle of ankle bells, one discovers.
This village is perhaps the only place in India, which has given its name to a classical dance-form.The history of this village and its inhabitants is interwoven with the evolution of the exquisite dance form of Kuchipudi.
This Andhra Pradesh village was originally known variously as ‘Kuchelapuram,' ‘Kuchelapuri' (one legend holds that Krishna's devotee Kuchela was from this place ), ‘Kuchennapoodi' (after Kuchenna, a famous disciple of Siddhendra Yogi) and ‘Kuchipundi.' It was populated by Bhagavathulu and their families.
The propagation of bhakti through artists called Bhagavathulu, who sang the stories of God (Bhagavatam) and danced too, was common in south India through the centuries. In this region, the dance was known as Kuchipudi Bharatham. The village has produced some of the greatest classical dancers and teachers of the country.
FOR THE LEGIONS OF KUCHIPUDI PRACTITIONERS, THE VILLAGE REMAINS A HALLOWED SPOT many call it as   “PILGRIMAGE CENTRE.” many others refer a visit to THIS VILLAGE as TO A “WONDERFUL TEMPLE” AND “CULTURAL TREASURE.”
History  of the village

The village of Kuchipudi is six miles away from Srikakulam, the ancient capital of Satavahana Empire and benefited from their patronage towards classical and performance arts. After the fall of Mauryan Empire, the Satavahanas extended their domain in the North West and South, until Andhra embraced a great portion of the Indian Peninsula. Satavahanas ruled from the middle of the 3rd century B.C. to the first quarter of 3rd century A.D.
Geo-political staus of India from 200 BC to 200 AD:satavahanas’ expansions toward North East and North West.

Perhaps is the name Andra  from the raga Andri

Natya Shastra refers to Andhra region in connection with a particular style of dance in the context of representation of different modes of Vrittis, especially Kaishika Vritti, delicate and graceful dance movements. A particular raga by the name, Andhri, was a contribution of this region to the music of India. Mention of these specific techniques, various ancient folk dances and Yakshagana tradition of this region played an important origin for evolution of the most comprehensive classical dance form in India. Yakshagana is the musical play sharing the characteristics of opera and ballet combined in one presentation. It originated in Andhra and received patronage in Karnataka and Tamilnadu. More than 800 works were produced by 465 authors. Of which 542 works are available, some in print and others mostly in manuscript.
Natya Shastra is the oldest surviving text on stagecraft in the world and it precedes one of the oldest and greatest epics of history, Valmiki’s “Ramayana”. It is believed to be a creation of Lord Brahma, who issued it to all classes of people to study and practice as the “5th Veda”. Though it was written about 2000-2500 years ago, it is believed that Natya Shastra is based upon much older Natya Sutras widely in practice throughout the country at the time. Unfortunately, there are no surviving copies of the Natya Sutras. Natya Shastra is incredibly wide in its scope and included many practices from various geographical regions and discussed their appropriate placement in the proposed classification. It covers as many and diverse aspects such as, music (raga, tala, sruti, and instrumental knowledge), stage-design (mandapa), dance (rules & classification of dances, acting, expression of bhava, eight kinds of rasas, choreography, and direction), makeup, and virtually every aspect of the stagecraft. Therefore Natya Shastra is studied and researched by scholars in dance as well as musicians because it is the only text that gives such detail about music and instruments of the period.


Founder of Kuchipudi as a systemized and unique style with distinct features
The earliest-known maestro from this village was saint Siddhendra Yogi (who lived some time between 11th and 13th century). Based on Bharata's Natya Shastra, Nandikeshwar's Bharatarnava and Abhinaya Darpanam, Siddhendra systematised and streamlined Kuchipudi.
His sterling contribution was ‘Bhama Kalapam,' a Telugu dance-drama, where the lyrics, tunes and script (trouryartrikam) were by him. To have this enacted, Siddhendra Yogi, also a great choreographer, selected a group of boys from Kuchipudi and trained them. This was a milestone in the history of the dance-form and village.
“Later, Kuchipudi village was granted as a gift to the Bhagavathulu by an impressed Abul Hasan Tanisha of the Golconda Nawab dynasty in the 17th century,”



Sri Siddhendra Yogi
We now come to the his greatest offering:- Bhama Kalapam. Even in the case of Bhama Kalapam’s authorship, the portions written by Sri Siddhendra Yogi have not been clearly identified. Centuries of additions and improvisations have rendered the original text unrecognizable. While all extant versions of Bhama Kalapam acquiesce to his primary authorship, scholars are never sure which are the exact parts which he has written. Infact, the most famous Sathyabhama daruvu itself has changed so much from Sri Siddhendra Yogi’s rendition:

Sri Siddhendra Yogi's version:
Bhaamane!! Sathyabhamane!!
Bhamaro, srungaara jagadabhiraamane, mukhavijitha
Hema!! Bhamane, Dwarakapuraadhuni raamane, vayyari Sathyabhamane!!
The current version of Bhama Kalapam is attributed to a Mangu Jagannatha Kavi of Aakiveedu in West Godavari district.
Sri Jagannadha Kavi's version:
Bhaamane!! Sathyabhaamane!!
Vayyaari muddula, Sathyabhaamane!!
Bhaamane, padiyaruvela komaloolandarilona, Sathyabhamane!!
Of Siddhendra Yogi’s version, we know for sure that Vighneswara Stuti, Saraswathi Sthavam, Vennela Padam (Bhama’s Pravesa daruvu), the questioning by “mandayaana” about who Bhama is, and then Bhama’s song “Bhaamane Sathyabhaamane” existed.
It is a great loss, that no concrete records of Sri Siddhendra Yogi’s life or activities exists. This, in itself has been the reason for several severe disagreements in the academia on everything from his birth to death to Bhama Kalapam. We hope ardently that present day and future researchers will take up this matter and solve the existing riddles.
However unclear Sri Siddhendra Yogi’s life may remain, the dance form he has systematized is present today onthe world stage in sparkling glory. Its vivaciousness has touched the shores of every country from America to Australia to Kenya to South Africa to France to Hong Kong to Argentina to South Africa. Its practitioners are swelling, and every week around the world at least one Bhama enters the stage proudly proclaiming her royal lineage.
Sri Sidhendra Kala Peetham in Kuchipudi village

However for centuries, the dance-form was confined to Brahmin families and males. They were forbidden to teach the art to their daughters. All female roles were performed by men, in a tradition called stree-vesham or bhrukumsa (female impersonation). Groups of men traveled from village to village enacting stories from the Hindu mythology. As in Elizabethan theatre men portrayed the roles of women.
“The dancers were part of itinerant troupes and often performed throughout the night. That is why women were kept out, for practical reasons and not because of male chauvinism,” says stree-vesham icon Vedantam Sathyaranarayana Sarma, a Kuchipudi-resident.
 The real fact is no one can clearly put a specific date on how this art has emerged as a field; however there are records that date back to 4000-5000 years from present day. As these traditions emerged and more material documentation methods were developed, additional evidence began to accumulate and helped us understand more about Indian cultural roots and various socio-political circumstances that influenced our culture.




How to understand any dance tradition  in India

In order to understand any classical dance tradition, one must study different facts of that art form such as its origin, history, and theoretical background in addition to considering socio-political and cultural contexts including language, music, customs and traditions. Most art forms in India are directly or indirectly dependent on the Hindu mythology, philosophy, sculpture, painting, human psychology and yoga. India, with its vastness and magnitude of her culture, several classical dance forms emerged with common theoretical background. Each of these classical dance forms can be traced to different parts of the country owing to their place of origin.

Kuchipudi in 20 th century
In the 20th century, teacher-performer Vedantam Lakshminarayana Sastry of this village became another trailblazer like Siddhendra. He broke the convention by taking the dance form to non-Brahmins, women and devadasis. This was taken forward by Bhagavathula Vissaiah. Many established dancers, such as Bharatanatyam legend Mylapore Gowriamma, went to Vissaiah to enhance their knowledge of abhinaya nuances.

In-1941-Vedantam-Lakshminarayana-Sastry-with-Uday-Shankar-left-and-Thandava-Krishna-righ



 Popularization of kuchipudi
Another famous son of this village is the legendary Vempati Chinna Sathyam who relocated to Chennai. With his outstanding creativity and brilliant choreography, he spread the art form across India and abroad. His brother Vempati Pedda Sathyam, Pasumarthi Krishnamurthy and Vedantam Jagannatha Sarma, followed another pioneer, Vedantam Raghavaiah, to Chennai and took this sensuous art to the film industry. They choreographed Kuchipudi-based dance sequences for many Telugu movies. He brought to life and liveliness this dance forms complete poetic expression of life’s variegated moods, and expressed them through systematized manifold rhythmic patterns, melodic gestures and subtle facila expressions, creating a new world of ecstasy and ethereal existence.

Kuchipudi dancers set a Guinness World Record

Over 2800 kuchipudi dancers , including 200 plus natyagurus created a  Guinness World Records on December 26th 2010 performing Hindolum Tillana at GMC BALAYOGI Stadium in HYDERABAD

Kuchipudi performers from around the world.

The spectacular show performed by dancers from 15 countries and every state was staged in praise of Kuchipudi choreographer Siddhendhra Yogi. The 11-minutes programme was part of the concluding ceremony of the three-day second International Kuchipudi Dance Convention



Tadepalli Satyanarayana Sarma




Tadepalli Satyanarayana Sarma in Stree vesham











KRISHNADEVARAYA-THE GREATEST EMPEROR OF INDIA


CHAPTER -3
                       THE GREATEST  EMPEROR OF INDIA
When it comes to writing anything about history I cannot but think of two great historians and their approach to the subject namely Voltaire and Will Durant, I am an ardent fan of both of them. They were both really great as per the statement of Oscar Wilde , “Anybody can make history. Only a great man can write it”.
Based on their methodology I select only some events and some rulers who have made a overall contribution to the welfare and happiness of the people, created things which have set a positive and prosperous trend and acted as symbols and systems which are pride of that land for posterity and utility to humanity if not at large at least to some specific geographical area. So, going by this criteria emphasis is more on welfare than, of course, the inevitable warfare.
I am tempted to quote and share two passages which tells volumes about of Will Durant’s approach to history from http://www.willdurant.com/bio.htm
Our Oriental Heritage (1935), he circled the globe twice and wrote and rewrote its 1,049 pages in longhand, through six years, giving the history of Asiatic civilization from the beginnings to Gandhi and Chiang Kai-shek. In the preface he explained his purpose and method:
“I have tried in this book to accomplish the first part of a pleasant assignment which I rashly laid upon myself some 20 years ago, to write a history of civilization. I wish to tell as much as I can, in as little space as I can, of the contributions that genius and labor have made to the cultural heritage of mankind - to chronicle and contemplate, in their causes, character and effects, the advances of invention, the varieties of economic organization, the experiments in government, the aspirations of religion, the mutations of morals and manners, the masterpieces of literature, the development of science, the wisdom of philosophy and the achievements of art. I do not need to be told how absurd this enterprise is, or how immodest is its very conception, for many years of effort have brought it to but a fifth of its completion and have made it clear that no one mind, and no single lifetime, can adequately compass this task. Nevertheless I have dreamed that, despite the many errors inevitable in this undertaking, it may be of some use to those upon whom the passion for philosophy has laid the compulsion to try and see things whole, to pursue perspective, unity and understanding through history in time, as well as to seek them through science in space.
I have long felt that our usual method of writing history in separate longitudinal sections -- economic history, political history, religious history, the history of philosophy, the history of literature, the history of science, the history of music, the history of art -- does injustice to the unity of human life; that history should be written collaterally as well as lineally, synthetically as well as analytically; and that the ideal historiography would seek to portray in each period the total complex of a nation's culture, institutions, adventures and ways. But the accumulation of knowledge has divided history, like science, into a thousand isolated specialties, and prudent scholars have refrained from attempting any view of the whole -- whether of the material or of the living past of our race. For the probability of error increases with the scope of the undertaking, and any man who sells his soul to synthesis will be a tragic target for a myriad merry darts of specialist critique. "Consider," said Ptah-hotep 5,000 years ago, "how thou mayest be opposed by an expert in council. It is foolish to speak on every kind of work." A history of civilization shares the presumptuousness of every philosophical enterprise: It offers the ridiculous spectacle of a fragment expounding the whole. Like philosophy, such a venture has no rational excuse and is at best but a brave stupidity, but let us hope that, like philosophy, it will always lure some rash spirits into its fatal depths.”

“In each volume Durant takes a comprehensive approach, covering, for each nation and in each period of its history, all the major aspects of civilization: politics, economics, philosophy, religion, literature, art, and science. He called his approach the “integral” or “synthetic” method, and regarded it as an original contribution to historiography. Elaborating on the origin of his method, he writes:
I had expounded the idea in 1917 in a paper . . . “On the Writing of History.” . . . Its thesis: whereas economic life, politics, religion, morals and manners, science, philosophy, literature, and art had all moved contemporaneously, and in mutual influence, in each epoch of each civilization, historians had recorded each aspect in almost complete separation from the rest. . . . So I cried, “Hold, enough!” to what I later termed “shredded history,” and called for an “integral history” in which all the phases of human activity would be presented in one complex narrative, in one developing, moving, picture. I did not, of course, propose a cloture on lineal and vertical history (tracing the course of one element in civilization), nor on brochure history (reporting original research on some limited subject or event), but I thought that these had been overdone, and that the education of mankind required a new type of historian—not quite like Gibbon, or Macaulay, or Ranke, who had given nearly all their attention to politics, religion, and war, but rather like Voltaire, who, in his Siècle de Louis XIV and his Essai sur les moeurs, had occasionally left the court, the church, and the camp to consider and record morals, literature, philosophy, and art.
Durant’s integral history does not only occasionally consider these latter areas (which he calls “cultural history” or “the history of the mind,”) it emphasizes them. “While recognizing the importance of government and statesmanship, we have given the political history of each period and state as the oft-told background, rather than the substance or essence of the tale; our chief interest was in the history of the mind” (vol. 10, p. vii). (Nevertheless, the Story contains ample and excellent material on politics.)”
  
Now, based on this criteria of overall welfare rather than mere real estate garnering warfare, among the many rulers who have ruled India one emperor stands tall and who has contributed to many great and good things in the entire South India  which was his kingdom then and so starting off any detailed discussion on any state of south India without reference to his rule would be dong injustice , he has made some extraordinary contributions to Telugu language and the present day Andra Pradesh in many ways.  It is none other than the great Vijayanagara emperor Krishnadevaraya. 
It is no wonder that though the Indian Historians and History books have failed to extol his role that God ordained a few lakh people  from all over the world every day walk past his statue with folded arms in reverence as the images of Krishnadevaraya along with his two queens standing with folded hands are inside  the Tirupati temple. The images have their names written in Kannada.
Krishnadevaraya is believed to have been born in 1487 AD either on Krishna Janmastami or closer to that day and hence he was given the name Krishnadevaraya. His coronation took place on 8th Aug. 1509 on Krishna Janmastami (Gokulastami) day
Now let us see what he has done other than warfare in which too he was a great and victories king.
The empire's patronage enabled fine arts and literature to reach new heights in the languages of KANNADA, TELUGU, TAMIL AND SANSKRIT, WHILE CARANATIC  MUSIC evolved into its current form. The Vijayanagara Empire created an epoch in South Indian history that transcended regionalism by promoting HINDUISM as a unifying factor.
There was no one like him who combined so many admirable qualities needed in a great monarch- matchless warrior who led his armies personally and cared for them, statesman who surrounded himself with wise ministers, supporter of literature and fine arts-himself a great poet, romantic and witty  but also a stern law enforcer, promoter                    of trade and trade related relationship with others, treated foreign dignitaries with great respect and hospitality, truly secular though himself An ardent practicing Vaishnavite.
The foreign ambassadors who visited during Krishnadevaraya’s reign have vividly mentioned and described in their books that “THE EYES OF THE PUPILS WERE NOT SUFFICIENT TO SEE THE GLORY OF VIJAYNAGAR EMPIRE AND THE EARS HAVE NEVER HEARD OF SUCH A PLACE THAT EXISTED ON EARTH” So many precious stones DIAMONDS, RUBYS, GOLD SILVER SAPPHIRES, CORAL, ALL KINDS OF PRECIOUS STONES were traded in the open market. No other civilization in the world can match or not even equal to Vijaynagar Empire
Vallabhacharya and Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, the renowned saints of the bhakti movement visited his court. Krishnadevaraya honoured the former by performing Kanakabhisheka (showering gold coins on him). Krishnadevaraya held the Madhwa saint Vyasatirtha in much reverence and had left his throne vacant for the saint to occupy for some time.

Krishna DevaRaya’s reign was the golden age of TELUGU LITERATURE.

Lord's Instruction to commence work in Telugu

Lord Śrī Āndhra Vihu told him to compose the story of his wedding with Andal at Srirangam("rangamandayina penDili seppumu.."). From 14th poem of this work we can see that the, Lord also ordered the emperor to tell the story in Telugu and referred himself as King of Telugus (Telugu Vallabhuna) and refers Sri Krishnadevaraya as Kannada King (Kannaa Rāya). (...nEnu delugu raayanDa, kannaDa raaya!, yakkodunangappu....). The Lord reasoned "telugadElayanna, dESambu telugu. yEnu telugu vallaBhunDa. telugo kanDa.…. yerugavE bAsADi, dESa BhAShalandu telugu lessa!" The emperor obliged and composed Amuktamalyada which is one of the most famous poetic works in the entire  Telugu literature.
 “
తెలుఁగ దేల నన్న దేశంబు దెలుఁగేను
తెలుఁగు వల్లభుండఁ దెలుఁ గొకండ
యెల్ల నృపులగొలువ నెరుఁగ వే బాసాడి
దేశభాషలందుఁ తెలుఁగు లెస్స
శ్రీ ఆంధ్ర విష్ణు

telugadElayanna, dESambu telugEnu
telugu vallaBhunDa telugokanDa
yella nRpulu golva nerugavE bAsADi
dESa BhAShalandu telugu lessa
—Śrī Āndhra Vihu's reason on why Āmuktamālyada should be written in telugu by Sri Krishnadevaraya
Meaning of Quote :"If you ask why a work in Telugu; I am Telugu (i.e., belong to Teluguland) and King of Telugus. Telugu is language which got stuff (TelugO kanDa). So, with all kings serving under you, by speaking you will know that of all regional languages Telugu is superior. "


Eight poets known as  Astakavidiggajalu (eight elephants in the eight cardinal points such as North, South etc.) were part of his court known as  Bhuvana-vijayamu. These include Allasani Peddana, Nandi Timmanna, Madavyagiri Mallanna, Dhurjati, Ayyalaraju Ramabhadrudu, Pingali Suranna, Battumurty alias Rama-raja-bhushanudu and Tenali Ramakrishna.

Telugu poet Peddanna was personally honoured by him for his proficiency in Telugu and Sanskrit and taken in a palanquin borne by Krishnadevaraya himself.

Among these eight poets

1] Allasani Peddana is considered to be the greatest and is given the title of  Andhra Kavita Pitamaha (the father of Telugu poetry). Manu-charitramu
is his popular Prabhanda work.

2] Nandi Timmana wrote
 Pari-jata-apaharan-amu
.Madayya-gari

3] Mallana wrote
 Raja-sekhara Charitramu

4] Dhurjati wrote
 KalahastiMahatyamu

5] Ayyal-raju Rama-bhadrudu wrote
 Rama-abhyuday-amu

6] PingaliSurana wrote the still remarkable
 Raghava-pandaveey-amu,
a dual work withdouble meaning built into the text, describing both the Ramayana and the Mahabharatha.


7] Battumurty alias Rama-raja-bhushanudu wrote
 Kavya-lankara- sangrahamu, 
Vasu-charitramu,
and
 Haris-chandrana-lopakhyanamu.
Amongthese works the last one is a dual work which tells simultaneously the story of King Harischandra and Nala Damayanthi.

8] Tenali Ramakrishna first wrote
Udbhataradhya Charitramu,
a Saivite work and later wrote Vaishnava devotional texts
 Pandu-ranga Mahatmyamu,
And Ghati-kachala Mahatmyamu.

 Tenali Rama Krishna was also the court jester of whom there are innumerable stories for the children

He patronised Kannada poets

1]  Mallanarya who wrote
Veera-saivamrita

 Bhava-chinta-ratna
and
Satyendra Chola-kathe

 2] Chatu Vittal-anatha who wrote
 Bhaga-vatha

3] Timmanna Kavi who wrote a eulogy of his king in
 Krishna Raya Bharata
He asked the Kannada poet Timmanna to complete the Kannada Mahabharatha started by Kumara Vyasa.

4] Vyasatheertha, the great saint from Mysore belonging to the Madhwaorder.
 Krishna Deva Rayana Dinachari in Kannada, a recently discovered highlights the contemporary society during Krishna Deva Raya's time in his personal diary.



Krishna Deva Raya patronised Tamil poet Haridasa.

In Sanskrit Krishna Deva Raya himself an accomplished scholar wrote
MadalasaCharita, Satyavadu Parinaya, Rasamanjari and Jambavati Kalyana

He held Vyasaraya, one of the greatest exponents of Madhvacharya’s Dvaita philosophy, in great esteem, and made him the Raja Guru (official guru of the King).

It was Vyasaraya who propagated the Haridasa movement in a far-reaching manner. Vyasaraya was the Guru of the celebrated Purandaradasa, the father of Carnatic classical music, and Kanakadasa, another Haridasa poet, singer, and saint.

The reign of Krishnadevaraya was also remarkable for the encouragement and development of arts and letters.

Krishnadevaraya expanded the temple of Ramaswamy at Vijayanagara and added a kalyanamantapa and tower to the temple of Virupaksha. He also constructed the Krishnaswamy and Vittalaswamy temples in the imperial capital.




The Raja Gopuram or the entrance tower of 172 feet to the Ekambareswarar temple at kanchipuram was built by krishnadevaraya.


He restored many shrines throughout South India.
Kalahasti temple gopuram was built by him
Krishnadevaraya patronized all religious sects and was a devotee of Lord Venkateshwara of Tirupati. He lavished the Tirumala Venkateswara Temple with diamond studded crowns and swords.
A number of towns, dams and public buildings were also constructed.
Many festivals and ceremonies were held during the period of Krishnadevaraya.


As an Administrator: Krishnadevaraya toured the remote corners of his empire and heard the grievances of the people and redressed them then and there. He set up an excellent administrative system. The empire was divided into Mandalas, Nadus and Seeme. For the purpose of assessment and fixation of revenue, Krishnadevaraya had the whole of his empire surveyed. The unit of land for assessment was known as Rayarekhe or the royal line and which measured roughly about seven feet and nine inches. Twenty of these units made a bigha and 36 bigha’s, a mar or plot of 16 to 18 acres. Land revenue was fixed based on the yield, normally 1/3rd of the produce. Krishnadevaraya provided irrigation facilities to the dry regions around Vijayanagara with the help of a Portuguese engineer. The friendly relations with the Portuguese helped him obtain the highbred Arabian horses and the expansion of the overseas trade of the empire. He helped the Portuguese to conquer Goa from the Bijapur rulers in 1510. Krishnadevaraya built two new suburbs in the capital and called it Nagalapura and Tirumala Deviyarapattana in honour of his mother, Nagala Devi and queen Tirumalamba. Portuguese travelers Domingo Paes and Durate Barbosa visted his court and have left accounts of their experience there. According to the former Vijayanagar was very prosperous with abundance of foodstuffs, vegetables, fruits and animals being sold in profusion in the markets of the city at cheap rates. Barbosa speaks of the trade in jewels, diamonds, pearls and silk brocades, which were in plenty on its streets. “The city of Vijayanagar is constantly filled with an innumerable crowd of all nations and creeds”, he adds.
Krishna Devaraya constructed many tanks and encouraged trade with foreign countries. In the words of foreign visitor Paes, there was no dearth of food , fruits or water. The king constructed a huge tank at the mouth of two hills so that all the water which comes from either one side or the other collects there; and, besides this water comes to it from more than 15 kilometers by pipes. There were also irrigation facilities. There were  huge markets trading in spices, textiles and precious stones the empire had such a wealthy population that there was huge demand and sale of Gold and precious gems.
The following extract from Amuktamalyada will clarify how much important trade is in the view of Sri Krishnadevaraya -"A king should improve the harbours of his country and so encourage its commerce that horses, elephants, precious gems, sandalwood, pearls and other articles are freely imported … He should arrange that the foreign sailors who land in his country on account of storms, illness and exhaustion are looked after in a suitable manner … Make the merchants of distant foreign countries who import elephants and good horses be attached to yourself by providing them with daily audience, presents and allowing decent profits. Then those articles will never go to your enemies." 
This is how he could import lots of persian , portugese horses which formed a solid deterrent in Kingdoms' defense. Many travelers wrote in length about the abundance of fruits, meat , pearls , rubies etc. in Markets of Vijayanagara. A small excerpt from Paes travelogue which tells about the prosperity of the City
 -
" Going forward, you have a broad and beautiful street … In this street live many merchants, and there you will find all sorts of rubies, and diamonds, and emeralds, and pearls, and seed-pearls, and cloths, and every other sort of thing there is on earth and that you may wish to buy. Then you have there every evening a fair where they sell many common horses and nags, and also many citrons, and limes, and oranges, and grapes, and every other kind of garden stuff, and wood; you have all in this street."

 

Elephant stables

A set of large stables, to house the ceremonial elephants of the royal household. Care for animals. The area in front of them was a parade ground for the elephants, and for troops. This is another structure that shows Islamic influence in its domes and arched gateways. The guards' barracks are located right next to the elephant stables