London-Trains are too expensive

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If there is one piece of news guaranteed to draw ire from embattled commuters, it is the annual hiking of season rail ticket fares. As anyone forced to endure the nightmarish vagaries of public transport can attest, whatever the cost of a seat (if you’re lucky enough to get a seat), commuting on trains that are often overcrowded and late rarely feels like value for money. With price hikes of 3.6% now expected for many – the biggest annual increase in five years, at a time when average wages aren’t going up – there are fresh calls for a freezing of rail fares and nationalisation.

Reasonable as this rage may feel, it masks a more important story about our transport system: it is an important driver of inequality. The government spends over £5bn on public transport subsidies, which is around double the amount spent on NHS A&E services across the country. But for decades, it’s been the most affluent who benefit the most. The richest 10% of households each receive on average nearly double the subsidy of the poorest 10% of households.

The root cause of this imbalance is the huge subsidy provided for rail travel in London and the south-east. As the thinktank IPPR North has shown, more than half of the UK’s total spending on transport networks is invested in London, and this gulf in investment is expected to get worse. An estimated £1,943 is being spent per person in London on current or planned projects, compared with just £427 in the north. A household in London benefits from almost four times as much rail subsidy as a household in Wales.

Bus subsidies are much more evenly distributed across households of different incomes because people on a lower income are more likely to use buses. Those who clean London’s offices can often be seen before daylight, starting their day’s work after a long bus ride into the centre a shorter journey made by rail is beyond their means. But the level of subsidy for Britain’s bus network is much lower than for rail.

Uneven transport subsidies may seem trivial, but they have profound consequences. They mean the poorest are often effectively locked out of access to good jobs, schools, health services and social or cultural activities.

What should we do about it? For many, the answer is simple: renationalisation. The arguments in support of this are appealing to those of us fed up and appalled by the high level of shareholder dividends and bloated executive pay often seen in train companies.

But when it comes to subsidies, the government should be prioritising transport infrastructure in poorer areas. It could invest more in the buses and trams used by people on lower incomes and less in the rail transport used by better-off people. Or it could even give the subsidy directly to people on low incomes for use on transport, for example by expanding the free bus travel that already applies to elderly people and the disabled to those who are unemployed or on very low incomes.

It is an inherent failure of public policy that these sorts of solutions haven’t been sufficiently considered. Our transport system is vital to just about all of us. It’s how we get to work, send our kids to school, how we shop and generally move around. It quite literally binds society together.

But despite this, it is still failing many of our poorest. We remain too likely to see investment that disproportionately benefits the most affluent households as a net positive, because there is no assessment of its impact on inequality. This is despite the large and growing evidence base of the harmful social and economic effects of inequality.

The Equality Trust is calling on the government to take into account the impacts of all of its decisions – from transport, to education to healthcare – on economic inequality. Until that happens, we’re on the road to greater inequality, and an even more fractured and divided nation.

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Don’t forget your pollution mask

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If you’re heading to Venice on holiday this summer, don’t forget to pack your pollution mask. Worrying about toxic air might seem strange in a city with few roads and cars, but Venice’s air carries hidden risks.

Every day five or six of the world’s largest cruise ships chug into the heart of the ancient city, which hosts the Mediterranean’s largest cruise terminal. These ships advertise luxurious restaurants, vast swimming pools and exotic entertainment – but keep quiet about the hidden fumes they pump into the city’s air.

It’s one reason locals are so enraged over the impact of tourism on their famous city. Protests against cruise ships are common place. In May nearly 20,000 Venetians voted in an unofficial referendum, with 99% backing a motion to keep cruise ships away. They are right to be angry.

Ship operators claim they use low-emission fuel when they are near big cities, but measurements I have taken near the port of Venice tell a different story. The fuel they burn while at berth contains more than 100 times as much sulphur as truck diesel.

As big ships sailed down the main canal, just a stone’s throw from the shore, my team recorded up to 500 ultra-fine particles per cubic centimetre – 500 times higher than clean sea air.

These particles linger in the air long after the ships have passed, and are carried hundreds of kilometres inland by the winds. Particulate matter is linked to severe health problems such as cardiovascular and respiratory diseases, including strokes and cancer.

The World Health Organization places diesel particles in the same carcinogenic category as smoking and asbestos.

And it’s not just particulates we should worry about. The dieselgate scandal has reminded us that diesel engines produce a range of other pollutants that damage human health, the environment and the climate, including carcinogenic soot and sulphur and nitrogen oxides.

Figures by the European commission estimate that about 50,000 people die prematurely every year in Europe because of pollution from the shipping sector. This is a scandal because there are measures available to fix the problem cost-effectively, from using cleaner fuels to installing filters and using battery technology near the coast.

But the very profitable cruise industry has proven unwilling to engage with the problem. Nearly a million Britons take a cruise holiday every year, many paying up to £1,000 each for a week-long trip around the Mediterranean. With more than 6,000 passengers packing the larger ships, that’s a decent revenue.

Despite this, major shipping lines still refuse to spend money on proper exhaust gas technology, creating a massive threat to the health, not only of citizens and guests of the ports they visit, but of citizens along the coasts and even inland.

The fumes can also endanger the passengers: the German lung doctors association recently gave a warning to passengers with pre-existing conditions not to go on the deck of a cruise vessel. Even newer ships still pump out incredible levels of pollution.

The cruise industry is failing to meet basic public standards on the environment and human health. The good news for Venetians is that the Port Authority expects 10% fewer vessels this year, which may allow residents to breathe slightly easier.

But until ships are fitted with better filters and burn cleaner fuel, I’d advise you to pack a mask for when they sail by.

 

Dogs color is happening Blue in this area of ​​Mumbai

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People are worried about pollution worldwide. Either India is also not untouched by it. These days, there is a lot of discussion among the blue dogs roaming around the Taloja industrial area of ​​Navi Mumbai. Let us tell you that the colors of these dogs were not blue before. Then what happened that its color became blue.

About 5 blue dogs appeared in the Taloja Industrial Area last day. At first, people were surprised to see why the color of these dogs has suddenly become blue? But when the truth was detected, it was all astonished. In fact, there are about one thousand factories in this area. The dirt of all these factories is dropped in the Kasadi river located here. In the past, a blue-colored animal appeared near this river. On discovering, it became known that he was no stranger dog but a stray dog ​​roaming around the street. In search of food, this  landed in the cassady river. Due to pollution, the water of this river has become so dirty that after the exit, the dog’s color became blue. Understanding the seriousness of the matter, Navi Mumbai Animal Protection Cell has filed a case in which the problems related to animals due to this dirty river have been mentioned.

Anil Mohkar of the Pollution Control Board of Maharashtra said that leaving the dye in the river is illegal. Well there are many factories in this area, but perhaps the detergent factory is leaving dye in water. For this reason the dog’s color was blue. By the way, only a single dog color change has come to light. But Navi Mumbai Animal Protection Cell is worried about the interests of the rest of the animals and is trying to avoid it again.

100 years ago photo in India

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World Photography Day is considered on August 19th. Australian photographer Korske Ara introduced this to bring positive chances to the world. During this time, relatable photographs are shared with historical, geographical subjects in all newspapers, websites and magazines.

On this occasion, we are showing you a rare pictures of the time when British rule was in India. How was life and how were the views of cities and societies in India?

Crowds of people standing near a seller of sweets at a fair in Kolkata. Non-Bengali people are also seen in this.

Heat warnings issued in Europe

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Eleven southern and central European countries have issued extreme heat warnings amid a brutal heatwave nicknamed Lucifer, with residents and tourists urged to take precautions and scientists warning worse could be still to come.

Authorities in countries including Italy, Switzerland, Hungary, Poland, Romania, Bosnia, Croatia and Serbia are on red alert, the European forecasters’ network Meteoalarm said, and swaths of southern Spain and France are on amber.

As temperatures in many places hit or exceeded 40C (104F) in the region’s most sustained heatwave since 2003, emergency services are being put on standby and people have been asked to “remain vigilant”, stay indoors, avoid long journeys, drink enough fluids and listen for emergency advice from health officials.

A spokeswoman for Abta, the UK travel trade organisation, reinforced the advice for holidaymakers, saying they should take sensible precautions, keep hydrated by drinking plenty of water, stay out of the sun in the middle of the day, and follow any advice issued by health authorities in specific destinations.

The highest temperature on Thursday was 42C in Cordoba, Spain, and Catania, Italy. Split in Croatia also hit 42.3C on Wednesday. The spell is forecast to peak at the weekend with temperatures of 46C or higher in Italy and parts of the Balkans.

Authorities in Italy, which is suffering its worst drought in 60 years, have placed 26 cities on the maximum extreme heat alert, including Venice and Rome. Many of Rome’s fountains have been turned off, and last week the city only narrowly averted drastic water rationing.

In Florence, the Uffizi art gallery was temporarily closed on Friday when the air-conditioning system broke down. In Hungary, keepers at Budapest zoo cooled down two overheating polar bears with huge ice blocks.

Temperatures along parts of Croatia’s Adriatic coast, including Dubrovnik, were expected to hit 42C during the day. In the Serbian capital of Belgrade there were reports of people fainting from heat exhaustion.

In the journal Environmental Research Letters, the scientists said if a similar “mega-heatwave” to that of 2003 were to occur at the end of the century, when average temperatures are widely expected to be noticeably higher after decades of global warming, temperatures could pass 50C.

The researchers noted that climate models suggest “human influence is expected to significantly increase the frequency, duration and intensity of heatwaves in Europe” and said their modelling suggested that by 2100, peak summer temperatures could rise by between 6C and 13C against historical records.

The country’s winemakers have started harvesting their grapes weeks earlier than usual due to the heat. The founder of the Slow Food movement, Carlo Petrini, said no harvest in living memory had begun before 15 August.

The heatwave is likely to cost Italy’s agricultural sector billions of euros, with as many as 11 regions facing critical water shortages. Olive yields in some areas are forecast to be down 50% and some milk production has fallen by up to 30%.

Bosnian officials said the heatwave and drought had nearly halved agricultural output, which represents 10% of the country’s economic output, and Serbia said its corn production could be cut a third.

Cities protect their citizens against vehicle attacks

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It is impossible to make cities 100% safe from attacks with vehicles, but authorities can do much to mitigate the threat at least to some obvious targets. With hindsight, officials will be regretting not moving faster to boost security measures on Las Ramblas boulevard, packed with tourists on a sunny August afternoon, after vehicle attacks elsewhere in Europe since last year.

The mayor of Nice has said he will convene European counterparts next month to see how they can improve security in their cities in the aftermath of Thursday’s van attack in Barcelona.

Christian Estrosi said €30m had been spent on protecting potential target areas in the city from possible vehicle attacks since last year, and that cities needed more money to cope with the new threats. The most obvious defences are barriers that prevent vehicles either gathering speed or continuing for long distances. These can be highly visible – such as the deliberately obvious metal-cased concrete blocks outside the Houses of Parliament in London or disguised, as with heavy flower pots and sculptures that are appearing on our streets. At Arsenal’s Emirates stadium in north London, giant ornate cannon, which feature on the football club’s logo, act as a barrier.

Less obviously, streets and access roads can be redesigned to prevent vehicles reaching targets or accelerating. This has been done throughout much of central London. But such measures can only provide partial protection, as the attacks on Westminster and Borough Market this year proved.

At Columbia Road flower market in the East End of London, traders have taken security into their own hands. Since the events in Borough Market, they have been parking their lorries diagonally across each entrance to the often densely packed street to guard against would be attackers. Discussions with the local council about installing retractable bollards are ongoing.

After a truck was driven into a crowd at a Christmas market in Berlin last year, the police chief, pointed out that with so many potential targets – 2,500 such markets in Germany and 60 in the city alone – it was impossible to reduce the risk to zero.

Then there are possible targets outside the centre: places of worship for example – there was a vehicle attack against worshippers outside Finsbury Park mosque in north London this year – or an almost infinite range of other sites.

So stopping terrorist attacks using vehicles differs little from stopping terrorists with other weapons, and depends on a complex and dynamic mix of intelligence, law enforcement, public awareness, community relations and other elements that have grown familiar over recent years.

 

Terrorists, whatever their ideology, have usually been quick to seize on the potential of new technology, from dynamite in the 1880s to television in the 1950s and passenger planes in the 70s. It is surprising that groups took so long to work out the potential of vehicles.

Some of this delay may have been due to strategic and theological concerns about indiscriminate targeting of civilians, even in the west, that now seem like anachronisms in the world of modern Islamist militancy. These have long since been swept away.

In 2010, the online magazine Inspire, produced by al-Qaida in the Arabian peninsula, urged jihadis to target pedestrian-only locations and ram vehicles into crowds to “achieve maximum carnage”. A 2014 propaganda video produced by Islamic State encouraged the group’s French sympathisers to use cars to run down civilians.

Almost all Islamist militant terrorist attacks over the past 20 years have been executed with locally obtained materials, within an hour or so of the attackers’ home. Dramatic “long-distance” strikes such as the 9/11 attacks have always been an anomaly. This goes for Afghanistan and Iraq as much as for Spain, the UK and the US.

The means used by terrorists are often determined by availability. So in the US, powerful firearms are often employed. Elsewhere, other weapons are used. In China, knives have featured in mass-casualty attacks. But vehicles are ubiquitous, of course.

So too are cities, where attackers and victims live side by side. This has been the case since modern terrorism emerged – in cities – 150 years ago. It will not change in the near future.

Bars and clubs fight for survival in face of curfews

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In the Bangkok it’s barely midnight on Saturday, but the lights are already on, the DJ is packing up and stragglers are making their way towards the door. Since it opened in 2014, Dark Bar has been a key part of Bangkok’s underground electronic music scene. Despite its limited capacity and minimal decoration, it built up a loyal word-of-mouth following – until the start of this year, when police stormed in and imposed a curfew on the bar.

It felt like the whole police station came in – more than 20 of them,” said owner Nod Tatong. Although police initially said the ban was temporary, after several months Tatong felt there was no end in sight and no way to make ends meet: “I kept asking, ‘When will this finish? I can’t survive.’ They kept saying, ‘Wait a bit.’ Finally, I gave up.”

After one last party, on 3 June, the closet-size club will shut for good. Nightlife venues in any city come and go but Bangkok’s have been hit hard since the military coup in 2014. The current midnight curfew applies only to the Khao San Road backpacker bar area and the more upscale Thonglor, and in the past few months the authorities have ordered some bars to close early with very little notice.

Between crackdowns and soaring rents, a number of small, independent clubs have gone. Last year saw the demise of Moose Bangkok, a stalwart of the local indie scene, and Overground Bar & Cafe, a low-key live music spot.

“I opened Overground to support live performance, be it electronic, acoustic, spoken word or comedy,” owner Grahame Lynch wrote on Facebook. “Costs keep rising and income isn’t rising to match. The powers that be are actively hostile to the nightlife scene.”

On 31 March, approximately 10 bars and restaurants on Sukhumvit Soi 11, long one of the city’s nocturnal hubs, closed to make way for new apartments. Among these were Cheap Charlie’s, a dive bar that had been running for 35 years, and The Alchemist, run by former radio DJs Saloni Jirathaneswongse and Tapanee Manaves, and hosting local bands and open-mic nights.

“I guess my reaction was acceptance,” said Manaves. “We knew they were being approached to sell the land – it was the last big strip on Soi 11.”

The character of the street had been changing for several years, especially after Bed Supperclub (where acts ranged from performance artists to jazz musicians and big-name DJs) closed in 2013 to make way for a development that has yet to fully materialise.

For now, rents and relocation costs are prohibitively high, although Tapanee would not rule out trying to start something in the future. She points out that the changes are not all bad. The quality of the cocktails around town has never been higher, nor the diversity of offerings greater. “There are definitely more speakeasy-type bars, which is great, and also a lot of craft beer places popping up.”

Tatong also doubts whether she will keep trying in Bangkok: “I’ve lived here my whole life and it used to be different. I feel like they’re trying to make this city so clean, so boring. We can’t really do anything about it.”

These days, with many street food vendors evicted by the authorities, and bars closing early, even in popular areas such as Thonglor weekends are subdued. With a weary smile, Tatong adds: “I should just move to Berlin.”

Omelet made from 10 thousand eggs

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Volunteers and some cooks have made such omelet that not only tastes a city but tastes the whole world. Omelet was prepared here with 10 thousand eggs.

Overseas omelets have been prepared in wooden pots made in the city of Belmium, Malmody, present in Europe. To make the dishes delicious, green onions and bacon were also added. Interestingly, the news of the infection of eggs in the European market these days is on the edge. So, organizers of this event easily got eggs in such a large number.

Every year since 1973, there is a tradition of making huge omelets in this city. But this time due to the ‘rumor’ the omelete size and the advent of it has been more than ever.

Every year this event is organized by ‘The World Fraternity of Nights of the Giant Omelete’. Organizer Benidict F. Matthi said that eating any omelet did not cause any disease to any person. Eggs used to make omelet were fresh and healthy.

A Beautiful chariot made of stone

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Vittala Temple is the most extravagant example of architectural brilliance located at Hampi, in Karnataka India. It is considered to be one of the largest and the most famous structure in Hampi. The temple is located in the north eastern part of Hampi, near the banks of the Tungabhadra River. The iconic temple has amazing stone structures such as the incomparable stone chariot and the fascinating musical pillars. This predominant monument of Hampi is a major attraction of the ruined town and is a must-see for visitors and tourists.

The renowned Vittala Temple dates back to the 15th century. It was built during the reign of King Devaraya II (1422 – 1446 A.D.), one of the rulers of the Vijayanagara Empire. Several portions of the temple were expanded and enhanced during the reign of Krishnadevaraya (1509 – 1529 A.D.), the most famous ruler of the Vijayanagara dynasty. He played a significant role in giving the monument its present look.

The Vittala Temple is also known as Shri Vijaya Vitthala Temple. It is dedicated to Lord Vitthala, an incarnation of Lord Vishnu. An idol of Vitthala-Vishnu was enshrined in the temple. Legend has it that the temple was built as an abode for Lord Vishnu in his Vitthala form. However, the Lord had found the temple to be too grand for his use and had returned to live in his own humble home.

The Vittala Temple is presumed to be the grandest of all temples and monuments in Hampi. The temple exemplifies the immense creativity and architectural excellence possessed by the sculptors and artisans of the Vijayanagara era.

The Vittala temple is built in the Dravidian style of architecture. It has traits and features that are characteristic of typical south Indian temple architecture. It’s elaborate and artistic carvings and magnificent architecture is unmatched by any other structure found in Hampi.

It is believed that the main shrine of the temple originally had one enclosed Mantapa. An open Mantapa was added to it in the year 1554 A.D.

The temple complex is a sprawling area that is surrounded by high compound walls and three towering gateways. The temple complex has many halls, shrines and pavilions located inside it. Each of these structures is made of stone and each structure is a beauty in itself.

Notable among these structures are the shrine of the Goddess (also known as Devi shrine), Maha Mantapa or main hall (also known as Sabha Mantapa or congregation hall), Ranga Mantapa, Kalyana Mantapa (marriage hall), Utsava Mantapa (festival hall), and the famous Stone Chariot.

The Vittala Temple is regarded as the most ornate of the Vijayanagara temples. The temple comprises of several attractions that makes it a must-visit structure for tourists. In fact it is the most visited monument in Hampi and as such, it is also the most photographed monument in Hampi.

The main attractions of the Vittala Temple are:

Maha Mantapa: The Maha Mantapa or main hall of the Vittala Temple is situated in the inner courtyard of the temple complex. It is a structure of immense beauty and is situated on a highly ornate base. The base is decorated with carvings of warriors, horses, swans and several other ornamental designs.

The Maha Mantapa comprises of four smaller halls. The steps on the eastern side of the Maha Mantapa are decorated with elephant balustrade. There are forty pillars lining the facade of the temple. Each of these pillars has a height of 10 feet.

The central part of the Maha Mantapa has sixteen intricately decorated pillars having beautiful sculptures of Narasimha and Yali. These set of sixteen pillars forms a rectangular court. The ceiling of the Maha Mantapa is a richly designed structure. The beautifully sculpted ornate pillars of the Maha Mantapa exemplify the splendour of this magnificent temple.

Stone Chariot: The Vittala Temple Complex has the richly sculpted Stone Chariot, which is considered to be the most stunning architecture of the Vijayanagara kingdom. The Stone Chariot or Ratha stands in the courtyard of temple. It is one of the three famous stone chariots in India. The other two chariots are situated in Konark (Odissa) and Mahabalipuram (Tamil Nadu).

The Stone Chariot of Vittala Temple is actually a shrine that has been designed in the shape of an ornamental chariot. The shrine is dedicated to Garuda and had an image of Garuda enshrined into the sanctum. As per Hindu mythology, Garuda is the carrier of Lord Vishnu.

The Musical Pillars of the Ranga Mantapa: The Ranga Mantapa is one of the main attractions of the Vittala Temple. The large mantapa is renowned for its 56 musical pillars. These musical pillars are also known as SAREGAMA pillars, indicating the musical notes emitted by them. The musical notes and emanated when the pillars are tapped gently.

There are a set of main pillars and several sets of minor pillars inside the Mantapa. Each main pillar provides support to the ceiling of the Ranga Mantapa. The main pillars are designed as musical instruments.

Every main pillar is surrounded by 7 minor pillars. These 7 pillars emit 7 differentmusical notes from the representative musical instruments. The notes emanating from these pillars vary in sound quality depending on whether the instrument is a percussion, string or wind instrument.

Interesting Facts about the Musical Pillars of Vittala Temple, Hampi

The cluster of musical pillars inside the Vittala Temple complex was carved out of huge single pieces of resonant stone.

The emission of musical notes from stone pillars was a mystery that fascinated many people down the centuries.

Even the British rulers of India were wonderstruck and wanted to discover the secret behind the musical pillars. To satisfy their curiosity and to unravel the mystery behind the amazing pillars they cut two of the musical pillars of Vittala Temple to check whether anything existed inside the stone pillars that resulted in the emission of musical notes. However, they found nothing inside the pillars.

The two pillars cut by the British rulers still exist inside the temple complex and can be seen by visitors even today.

Present Condition of Vittala Temple, Hampi

The Vittala Temple is in a partially ruined. The sanctum sanctorum of the temple once contained an idol of Lord Vittala. However, now the sanctum is devoid of any idol. The central western hall of the temple was ruined long ago during the attack of the Mughals that led to the downfall of the Vijayanagara Empire in 1565 A.D.

The wheels of the chariot were once functional and could be rotated by the people. But some years ago the government cemented the wheels in order to avoid causing damage to them any further. Even tapping the musical pillars to emit musical notes is prohibited, as tapping over the years have caused some damage to the musical pillars of the Ranga Mantapa.

Even the road leading to the temple is in a completely ruined state. The road was once the location of a thriving market place. The market was known as the Vittala Bazaar and was famous for horse trading. The ruins of the market can be seen on both sides of the road. There are carvings inside the temple that represent images of foreigners trading horses.

Today the temple has floodlights installed inside the temple complex. The lights illuminate the Vittala Temple Complex at night and offer a majestic view of the beautiful structure against the dark night sky. The annual Purandaradasa festival is held at the temple complex.

The melt gold was filled in the pit, and the diamond market was in the open area

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The Hampi tourist destination of Karnataka is included in the World Heritage Site. About 500,000 people lived in this city 500 years ago. At that time, this city was even more beautiful than Italy Rome. There was no dare to attack here for 300 years. It is said that there was molten gold filled in pits here. Since the RBI has issued notices of Rs 50 for new notes. The stone chariot made in Hampi is printed on the back of this note.

Hampi is built on the banks of Tungabhadra river. The name of this river was made from ‘Pampa’ (which was the daughter of Brahma). Which means ‘hampe’ in Kannada. Hampi also used to speak Virepakshapura first. The history and beautiful architecture makes it a good tourist place.

It was also considered as Asia’s largest monument city. 1 C.E. It is made of 1336-1565 and spreads in 25 sq km. This city was built on one side for religious reasons and was also wasted due to religious reasons. In the war in 1565, the Vijayanagara rulers were defeated by the Muslim rulers and they had entered the city to take revenge and ruined its beauty. Especially Hindus idols and temples of the Gods destroyed.

Hampi is an ancient city, which is described in the name of Kishkindha during the Ramayana period. In the 14th century, Hampi became the capital of the Vijayanagar empire, which was the most powerful empire of South India. Between 1509 to 1529, Krishna Deva Raya ruled here, whose court was Tenaliram. Like Akbar-Birbal, the pair of Krishnadev Rai-Tenali Ram was also a fame for his spot reply.

Travelers from Italy, Iran and Portugal, in the magnificent time of the Vijayanagara Empire, described it as the world’s most prosperous city. In front of the temple of Hepi, Diamond Market was open in front of the temple, where people from the world used to buy diamonds.