“Subhadra Sen Gupta can make history come alive like no one else. This page-turning adventure story is not only exciting, but is also filled with the wonder that was once the magnificent Vijayanagar Kingdom.”


This is the story of two children, Basava and Sivakka, who happen to live in the historic village of Hampi in Karnataka where their father farms. They grow up surrounded by tourists and the beautiful sculpted ruins of temples and palaces, Coincidentally, given the ambience they live in, one has ambitions to sculpt while the other sees herself as a dancer. One day, Basava stumbles upon a half buried hammer and chisel in the temple grounds, of the kind that the sculptors of Hampi must have used to craft their temples. Inspired by the mysterious tools, he uses them to finish the eye of Ganesha he is carving and finds himself and his sister teleported back in time to the days when Hampi was a citadel of power in the sixteenth century, under the rule of the great Krishnadeva Raya!

The children come to ground in a world populated by the rich multitudes that thronged the royal court, dancers, artisans and the like, bristling with colour and rivalries. Armed with his magic tools, Basava becomes an apprentice of the famed sculptor Kartik and catches the attention of the legendary Tenali Rama himself. He is commissioned not for any ordinary statue but for an artwork that will make the king’s court jester roar with laughter, no easy task for an apprentice – but perhaps children from the 21st century have an advantage in the matter, even though occasionally they say things that surprise their friends from a medieval world. Siva on the other hand discovers the dancer Padmalaya and is embroiled in the rivalries between dancers and priests. They are also aware that this glorious world will not last but cannot reveal what they know of the future.

Subhadra Sen Gupta has made history come alive for children unfamiliar with Hampi and Krishnadeva Raya’s empire. She also outlines the differences between the Hampi of the past and present and details the costumes of the time, a vanished lifestyle and throws in romance and richness.

Does Basava rise to the challenge? Will the children be able to return to the Hampi they know? Filled with adventure and information, this page turning book is bound to engross children and add marks to their school history papers.


Reviewed by:

Anjana Basu

Added 26th February 2021

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Anjana Basu