Monday, 6 January 2014

..Back in time to the ancient temple town- Hampi

A beautiful pot pourri of history, culture, food and people, Hampi is indeed a backpacker’s paradise. 


Last year around this time I visited Hampi with the Blueberry trails. From Mumbai, a 15 hour bus ride to Hospet, followed by a quick auto rickshaw ride, you reach this ever-so-laid-back destination.

For me it was love at first sight. <3

The lazy river, the women on the ghats, the colourful boats bobbling up and down, big boulders and rocks scattered carelessly, I could feel a lazy smile steadily creep over my face.

Hampi is divided by the Tungabadhra river, and to reach the other side, Virupapur Gadde, you need to take a boat. We stayed at Shanti cafe, which was one of my highlight of the trip! Really, how many times have you woken up on a swing, with swaying green paddy field across and a flowing river beyond? Me, never! If chilling is your agenda, this place it is. Just walk down to the open cafe, order a continental breakfast and plonk your bottom on the gadda for as long as you want! *sigh

But chilling apart, I had to see Hampi. So all geared up, we pass through the Hampi bazaar to see the symbol of Karnataka tourism that resides in the Vitthala temple. The most important temple in Hampi, it encloses the iconic stone chariot right in the middle surrounded by other stone shrines. Ancient stone temples are a ubiquitous part of Hampi, so talking about each of them is impossible. But apart from temples, one thing you cannot miss here is a Coracle boat ride back to the main bazaar. Swishing around in the cool water, with beautiful rock structures (man-made and natural passing you by), the ride is unbelievably calming. 

Around the Hampi bazaar you can hire mopeds and then ride around wherever you want. And believe me, this is the fun part! After some more temple visits (Lotus Mahal, Elephant’ stable, underground Shiva temple, Queen’s bath etc.) and we reached the gigantic Monolithic Nandi. But more gigantic than that was the number of stairs that led to our next temple complex. It was a long trek uphill but once you reach the top comes into view the complete temple complex hidden amidst the banana and coconut plantations. *phew ...I felt like an explorer, straight out of a tomb raider movie, except I was still catching my breath! This walk and the heat literally took my breath away. (*Caution- Carry water all the time)

Perfect set for a Tomb Raider movie

On the other side of the Tungabadhra is Anegundi, the original capital that was said to be the erstwhile Kishkinda, the monkey kingdom from the epic Ramayana. Nearby is Anjanadri hill, the birthplace of the Monkey god, Hanuman. 

Anegundi, unlike Hampi, is less commercialised and hardly untouched. Huge boulder and open paddy fields comprise the landscape and provide a perfect opportunity for bouldering or climbing boulders without any equipment (*Caution- you need to be seriously flexible, fearless and crazy to do this!).

Well after my fellow travellers did some climbing, we sped off towards the water canal to cool off.

And Whoaaa....what a sight that was!

Blue water, blue sky with huge grey boulders...the perfect composition to the end of a perfect sojourn....


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