H A M P I
The perfectly placed stones one on the other and the ruins silently shouting their stories from 13th century and the biased sun showering it’s love onto this ancient city is the ocean of Blissful time that will unfold in front of you as soon as you step in Hampi.
You can take a night bus from Bangalore (Private sleeper for around 800 or Govt. Seater for around 300) so save here and by 500 you could fund a night’s stay at Hampi or 3 Delicious breakfasts.
You get a bus till Hospet which is 12km from Hampi and from there you have to take an auto to Hampi.
I reached Hospet around 12:30 in the night as I took a Govt. bus from Gokarna at around 2PM. The bus driver of that bus “Kumar” was the most Humble person and nicest soul I met in this trip and now we are good friends and we are still in touch (Story about Kumar is in my scribbles section of the blog). I took the auto that kumar called up for me at around 4 in the morning and till 4AM the auto waited for me as Kumar asked him to.
I hadn’t slept whole night but I directly started the climb of Matanga Hill at 5AM when it was still dark because I didn’t want to miss a second of the Sunrise and Me and Nitin (A guy from Banglore whom I met during the climb) were the first Human soul to climb Matanga Hill that morning and It is not safe to climb the Hill when its dark because you might end up becoming delicious breakfast for a bear or some other Animal inside those big rock caves. This we came to know when a local guy came half an hour later to sell tea on the hill. The sky was partially filled with clouds but the rising glow of the sun tore apart some of the clouds and threw its first rays right on the hill we were sitting with hypnotized eyes. It was not a perfect sunrise that day as the chai wala told me but I was astonished to be on the top of the hill and look over Hampi while the beautiful sun came up fighting with the clouds and hence forming marvelous rays piercing through the clouds. On the same point were sitting Marcus and Heidi. We didn’t speak at that time as we were busy enjoying the sunrise but at the end of my Hampi trip we end up becoming good friends.
After climbing down the hill I found myself a guest house which had a very nice view from the common balcony. Next to my room were staying two German girls and we sat for some good music and stories for a while after lunch.
CYCLING THE STONES OF VIJAYANAGARA EMPIRE
It was past 4:30 and the sun was not that harsh anymore when I got out and Rented a bicycle for the evening and started pedaling towards outside Hampi and went to kamalapur to find a iphone charger but couldn’t find one and still I was happy to cycle those 4 kilometers as the route to kamalapur took me through the real local lifestyle of Hampi where people were filling a big truck with raw bananas , people working on their paddy fields, people buying vegetable from a local market in Kamalapur and people selling coconut water with great enthusiasm. When I was coming back to Hampi I took a break at “Underground shiva temple” and “Lotus Mahal” and the stones spoke of couple of hundred years of history right from the beginning of Vijayanagara Empire.
I heard an interesting story about Vijayanagara Empire from a local which I’m not sure is true.
King Alexander came to take over the Empire with his vicious army and when they reached Hampi the King then welcome the great Alexander and his army for a meal and said “We can fight later for the land but first you are our guest and let us welcome in our Royal rituals” and then they all had a great meal together and the king gifted every soldier a mango made of gold.
By experiencing the hospitality of Vijayanagara Empire Kind Alexander decided to take another kingdom and skip Vijayanagara Empire for now.
The Most blissful Sunset
I was riding back to Hampi after visiting “Lotus Mahal” and “Underground Shiva Temple” and I was using all my strength to pedal my Bicycle because It was Sunset time and I was nowhere near the sunset. Panting and out of breath I ran towards the sunset point and On Boy ! The world was orange the Ruins at the sunset point now had their own shade of orange, the rays directly hit my cheeks and I could feel it, It was like the touch of a small baby, Like the touch of a furry rabbit and the sky changed colors blue to orange to red to different shades of red and I was paying full attention to the sunset and at the same time I was trying to capture all the beautiful monuments bathed in orange sunlight.
The monkeys in the area turned playful with the sunset without disturbing the tourists.
A monkey sat on the farthest stone gracefully and would stare at the sun very carefully and would rarely make movements and If it did they would be perfectly measured steps on the very same stone. This monkey was different than others, Others were busy playing and jumping from one rock to another but this one was different.
I felt as if this one was waiting for someone or recently lost someone as his look towards the sun was deeper than most of the tourists in the area. When everyone else was busy taking pictures of the monkey, I was attracted to his deep thoughts as they way he measured those steps were different, the way he would look back to humans was different. His vibes were more of a song writer or a soulful singer than a monkey.
The sunset was perfectly made blissful by the chanting of mantras on the temple speakers, the instrumental melody would take you to another world. When all these things were happening around me I was soo curious about everything now, Curious about the history of the ruins, the day to day life of people now and of the people during the Vijayanagara Empire and It strikes in my mind How I thought a place with archeological Monuments and Ancient history wont interest me much as I am more of Nature and Adventure. Look at me know totally blown away by 13th century stories and Ruins.
After the sunset I went to explore the market and I find these markets at all tourist places the same Just the names of the places in the T-shirts are different, I do like to buy these T-shirts though.
After small exploration I headed to Café Mango Tree and had nice and heavy dinner as the rare cycling gave me appetite. And the café also had an iphone charger and I stayed there till the lights closed and the staff went to sleep and they let me charge my phone by then. When I came back to the guest house The two German girls ,we did not ask each other’s names even though we discussed the food menu of the cafes we went for dinner,They were playing nice music outside my room and we sat for a chat for a while and then went to sleep as I planned to start the day early.
The other side of the River
I woke up at 6AM checked out of my room and stored my Rucksack at Mango tree café when they were still cleaning to open and I headed to the river to go to the other side of Hampi and I saw a crowd desperately bowing in front of an Elephant so that the Elephant would shower water on their head. The elephant seem trained to do all those stuff and the visitors took that as blessing.
I crossed the river on a boat with six more travelers and before we reached the other side some guys from other end started shouting. Sir ROOM.? Sir BIKE? And I rented a Scooter/Navi as planned and I had a cup of tea at a café and rode to Anjana Parvata also known as Monkey Temple also known as Hanuman Temple . I parked my vehicle and when I was about to start I saw somewhere on the board it said 575 steps of the stairs to the temple. I took two steps back and Asked for some coconut water and after that I was psychologically ready for the climb.
Even though It was sunny afternoon It was a comfortable climb because of the perfect overhead shade. I got so scared of the monkeys on the way as I was the only one climbing at that time of the day and I had heard that monkeys slap pretty bad.
I reached the top of the temple without any actual break (of course I had coconut power). I took a holy round of the temple and got myself a tilak on my forehead by the priest’s hands and then took a walk on the big stones of sunset point. Because it was the middle of the day, It was no great feeling to be standing on the hot sunlight but the view Hampi from the top was gorgeous and I support Hampi on having so many sunset points because the sunset at Hampi could have you daydreaming staring at the drowning sun.
I had paid of the scooter for the whole day and before visiting the lake I took a detour to explore the village nearby and went a little off roading it was a beautiful village with nice paddy fields and Banana farms like everywhere in Karnataka and people were carving structures out of the stones to be used to build houses.
After a small detour and some soulful music time under a tree I went to Jungle tree resort and had my breakfast around 11:30 and I thought it was already noon two hours back.
After that I headed to the lake and enjoyed boating at the famous bowel shaped boat from kerala and this guy did try to sell me Magic Mushrooms.
After riding around for some more time when It was around 3PM I came down to the boat again and I saw the same couple from yesterday at Matanga Hill were sitting on a store under a tree. The boat guy was waiting for 10 passengers to cross the river and I was only the third and we started chatting.
Marcos and Heidi were waiting for the boat to cross for past 20 minutes and we discussed what all places we loved in Hampi and for all of us the sunset point was the best that Hampi showered on us. And they planned to go Chennai next and I was surprised why.? And Surprisingly Heidi turned out to be half Indian and that explained the Indian vibe in her and Marcos and Heidi were in love with India as It was not their first trip and Heidi’s mother was from India and they planned to visit Heidi’s uncle in Chennai. Marcos had a event management company and he worked for 8 months and rest of year he traveled with Heidi when she had vacations in her university and rest of the times he traveled with his brother.
We came back to Mango tree had some lunch and I buried myself in my book when Marcos and Heidi went back to her room to rest.
Vittalya Temple/ Lotus Mahal
At around 5PM when my phone was fully charged at the restro desk I kept my rucksack back at the café and started my walk for the last evening in Hampi.
Travel is a lucky affair I must say when the auto rickshaw drivers were asking for 500 bucks for the tour and I met a Rajasthani guy who was exploring Hampi with his wife in a motorcycle escorted by his local friend in another motorcycle and I got the back seat of that one and Luckily I got a good explained tour of Hampi that evening.
Lotus Mahal as the name suggests is a beautiful monument from 13th century and the sequenced Elephant stable is a site to witness. I guess 13th century had a better traffic management with perfect parking spots. :p
After finishing the generous Hampi tour I rushed back to the sunset point where Marcos and Heidi were supposed to meet me.
I climbed the steps up the monument and I was blown away once again. It was just yesterday I witnessed the most beautiful sunset from there and yet again It all felt new the orange rays hit my face again but in a new way the monuments felt new and the people were new.
At my yesterday’s stone sat Marcos and Heidi I took a nearby stone, quietly we stare at the sun go down slowly bit by bit.
We came back with three other German girls and enjoyed some street food and came back to Mango tree. I told them how I felt German vibes when I was the sixth Indian guy among five Germans who happened to meet in Hampi themselves.
As usual Marcos and Heidi ordered a south Indian thali for their love of Indian food and Isabele and her friends had Parathas cursing the tasteless food back in Germany.
And on that sitting I came to know that the black forest cake that we so frequently rub on faces during birthdays was actually originated from Germany and there was a place called Black forest and Marcos said that’s the only thing I would love from Germany to eat.
Heidi and I made plans to hike in Mont blanc if I happened to visit France someday and I promised her to find a Yoga teacher for her next trip in March and Marcos wanted to explore the non-chaotic part of Delhi which I told him doesn’t exist.
Goodbye H A M P I
And between the chitchats I forgot that a Badshah an auto rickshaw driver waited for me to finish my Ginger Honey tea to drop me to Hospet. And out of patience he waved at me and I took my rucksack and we said our goodbyes and I sat on that rickshaw.
Why do these days pass by so fast? I hadn’t got enough of that sunset and I couldn’t swim on that lake and I wanted to stay few more days but I had my flight next day from Banglore and I was broke to leave that flight and book another one so I had to go back with a heavy heart and self promise to come back again .