Pushkarini (three stills from video)  for video, click here

Pushkarini is a South Indian water tank located in Hampi – the centre of the Vijayanagaran Empire from 1336.   Although the town was conquered in 1565 and razed to the ground by the invading Deccan Muslim Confederacy, Pushkarini survived almost intact.

Tanks are part of an ancient tradition of harvesting and preserving local rainfall primarily for agriculture and drinking water, but also for sacred bathing and ritual.  They are vital to survival in South India where water supply replenishment is dependent on a cycle of dry seasons alternating with monsoons.

Tank building is an art form that reached its zenith in the Pushkarini - a geometrically complex, but perfect, Stepped Tank lined with green diorite (which looks black) and filled by an aqueduct.  Bathing in the sacred waters of Pushkarini was believed to cure worshippers of afflictions such as leprosy and blindness.  The steps enabled the water to be reached when it was low in periods of drought and high during monsoons.

It is the ‘chiaroscuro’ of fierce sunlight on Pushkarini’s severe geometry that has a mesmerising impact on observers. The elaborate system of steps leading down to water can suddenly, in a remarkable twist of scale, take on the appearance of a modern cityscape reminiscent, maybe, of New York. 

This is the visual paradox revealed in the video; a seemingly futuristic city rises upwards from a past city’s ancient tank that delves deeply downwards. 

The musical accompaniment to the video is from Raga Puriya Kalyan played by Amjad Ali Khan on Sarod