ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel
  • »
  • Books, Literature, and Writing»
  • Books & Novels»
  • Fiction

Researching Historical Fiction: a Novella that Grew from a Short Story

Updated on December 23, 2014
Historical fiction requires thorough research
Historical fiction requires thorough research | Source

Darkness in Hampi

Hampi - once known as Vijayanagar - 'City of Victory' was India's richest empire and lasted just 200 years before destroying itself through greed. Although the Moslem hordes ransacked it for its unparalleled treasures (precious gems were sold like vegetables in the markets!), Vijayanagar destroyed itself because of differences in the ruling family itself.

To complete my research for my novella 'City of Victory' published by chillifreeze.com, and take some photographs for the book (each chapter begins with a photograph), I visited Hampi for the third time in 2007. I began my exploration of Hampi with the place where the city took root - the Virupaksha Temple. I wanted to find the tomb of the great sage Virendra Swamy/Mahadesha who started it all. Without him, the Vijayanagar empire would not exist.

When we arrived in Hampi, it was evening and darkness soon set in especially since the power cuts were long and frequent. Hampi is the most romantic place I have encountered. Everything happens by candlelight because of the power cuts.

The Virupaksha Temple

Since the Virupaksha Temple was the closest monument to the lodge where we checked in, we headed for the temple in the dark. We were made to take off our shoes. We could see the flames of oil lamps flickering in the light breeze. Some foreign tourists hovered about with torches. I saw a woman with a very young little daughter, blonde and sweet. I was to see her all over Hampi after that. It was a touching sight - this young woman on her own with her daughter who seemed to be the mother's entire world.

Inside, I walked down a little corridor flanked with oil lamps. Beneath my feet, the stones were sticky with oil. We were just in time. The 'Puja' was about to commence in the inner shrine where in the flame-lit darkness shone the silver mask of the god Narasimha. Many priests milled about, preparing the offerings of flowers, fruit and delicious rice dishes that they would distribute afterwards. It is in this temple that my novella 'City of Victory' begins.

An excerpt:

It is night. In the doorway of the Virupaksha Temple in what is to become Vijayanagar, City of Victory sits an oldish, wiry man. He sits as if waiting, holding a staff. Out of the darkness emerge two soldiers, pointing their sabres at him. He stands, quick as a mongoose, and with a single sweep of his staff, they are disarmed.

The Virupaksha Temple in Hampi is an important setting in my Novella 'City of Victory'
The Virupaksha Temple in Hampi is an important setting in my Novella 'City of Victory' | Source

Musical Pillars in the Virupaksha Temple

The 18-year-old elephant, Lakshmi, lurked about in the shadows, with a 'mahout' by her side. A bit of chanting and ringing of little bells by the priests, and a small group of musicians with drums and something like a trumpet rolled out a short burst of melody. As though cued by the music, the elephant, instructed by the mahout, moved forward and knelt. Raising her trunk, the animal saluted Narasimha. The little girl laughed delightedly.

The Temple Elephant's Blessing

Before the close of the ceremony, the elephant knelt in homage again to the music and accepted with her trunk the 'prasad' of sweet rice from the priest. It was a lovely little meal really - dinner for me. I offered the elephant coins which she took with her trunk. Handing them to the mahout, she then blessed me with her trunk on my head. I was a little nervous at first, but that feeling soon vanished, for she was gentle.

The Tomb had to wait for another day.

Lamps At The Virupaksha Temple, Hampi. Notice The Temple Elephant Near The Entrance.
Lamps At The Virupaksha Temple, Hampi. Notice The Temple Elephant Near The Entrance. | Source
Sage Mahadeva's Tomb In Virupaksha Temple, Hampi
Sage Mahadeva's Tomb In Virupaksha Temple, Hampi | Source

The Sage Who Helped Found Hampi

Next day at the Virupaksha Temple, we asked a local man about the tomb of the sage Mahadeva. The sage had ordered the princes Hakka and Bukka to begin building Vijayanagar where the temple now stands. The man showed us to a tiny room along the side corridor of the Temple. Inside there was a little black statue of the sage draped in cloth. Beneath the stone floor, he said, lay the tomb itself.

Next, join me on my quest for the burial place of the empire's greatest ruler, King Krishnadeva Raya. My novella, 'City of Victory' ends with the death of the king, and I wanted to know whether the funeral and the ensuing sati took place on top of a hill as many believe.


Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: "https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr"

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)