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The greatest city you've never heard of

12 April 2017 | Hampi, INDIA

Its name is Vijayanagar, and it was the capital of the largest and most powerful empire in the history of South India. Portuguese and Persian visitors alike agreed: the metropolis had no equal anywhere in the world. In the 1400s and 1500s, it was one of Planet Earth's biggest, too.

But in 1565, it was destroyed--and systematically plundered, burned, and defaced for up to twelve whole months. Today it is mostly ruins in the middle of boulder country, but its continued importance to millions of Hindu nationalists would be hard to overstate. Of course, nationalists here like nationalists everywhere may be up to their usual tricks: comic-book-izing otherwise complicated history in order to buoy up their political narrative. In this case, that means peddling a possibly superficial Hindu-versus-Muslim scenario.

Even after the travesty of its utter destruction, Vijayanagar's remains in and around the modern-day village of Hampi in Karnataka are out of this world incredible. NP mini-lecture forthcoming.

BELOW, from top to bottom: (1) Vijayanagar country; (2) the famous and absolutely unique "stone chariot" shrine; (3) local boys synchronize their jump into the Tungabhadra River; (4) the most unlikely tree on earth?; and (5) monkeys are a common sight among the ruins.

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Contact the Nomadic Professor
The Nomadic Professor holds a Bachelor’s in Asian Studies (Brigham Young University), a Master’s in Humanities (Penn State), and a Ph.D. in History from Syracuse University, where his research focused on a major religio-political schism within South Asian revivalist Islam and its impact on the making of modern India and Pakistan.

He has since been employed at several colleges and universities, teaching U.S. history, Western civilization, the history of the Middle East, Asian history, international relations, world history, South Asian religion-and-politics, historical methods, and European imperialism. Before his graduate studies, he worked as a South Asia analyst in the Washington, D.C. area.

The author of multiple books and articles, he is currently working on two monographs: a history of the Deobandi-Barelvi rivalry in Pakistan and a history of the weeks leading up to the U.S. war in Afghanistan.

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