Friday, January 18, 2013

The Hamlets of Hampi

We arrive in Hampi, a village in the state of Karnataka in the early hours of the morning having arrived on the night train and 2013 01 17 Hampi (6 of 254)then taken tuk tuks or rickshaws to get here from the train station.  We have a river crossing and a walk before we get to our tribal huts where we will spend two relaxing days.  The rural, relaxed feel of this place is already taking effect.  There is a distinct hippy feel to this village and some of the foreign travellers appear to have been here awhile and made this place home.

The temple elephant is having its ritual bath as we arrive.  I am not sure the pampering and scrub quite compensate for a life lived away from its natural habitat but such is life in India.

We spend a relaxing morning enjoying an English brekkie and the hammocks on our porch before wandering down to the local shops that line the walk to our huts.  I notice the German bakery and 2013 01 17 Hampi (20 of 254)make a mental note to visit tomorrow….the chocolate croissants and other baked goods are tempting after the many Indian breakfasts we’ve had. 

In the afternoon we set out to explore the surrounding countryside which is stunning.  The area is strewn with boulders which contrast with the bright green paddy fields that dot the landscape.  Some of us choose the option of exploring in a rickshaw while others choose to bike.  It i turns out to be one of the 2013 01 17 Hampi (23 of 254)most enjoyable days on this trip. 

We arrive at the lake and are disappointed we were not told to bring bathers.  But Chand, our guide is cautious and not prepared to run the risk of any accidents or upset the sensibilities of the locals. 

A man in a little tub woven from the coconut leaves tries to entice us for a ride but once again Chand says no….he is nervous the little contraption could brake apart!  I’m disappointed we can’t experience the water.  I’ve been in these tubs in Vietnam and know it is a fun experience. 

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We have fun scrambling around the surrounding boulders and enjoy the cool afternoon and spectacular views.  We head off to the nearby Monkey temple a little apprehensive 2013 01 17 Hampi (68 of 254)about what we might find.  It is a steep hike up the mountain and the views get more spectacular as we wind our way up to the top. 

I had imagined a temple teeming with monkeys but there aren’t that many and they are harmless.  This is the birthplace of Hanuman, the Monkey god and a special place for Hindu devotees.

It is quiet and peaceful at the top and we enjoy the views and the atmosphere.  There are just a handful of people and it is the kind of place that invites you to stay awhile, take it all in and reflect on life. 

The setting sun casts a beautiful glow and we feel relaxed and happy.  What a beautiful spot in Southern India, Hampi has turned out to be.

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We spend day two visiting the monuments around town.  It appears it is not just scenically beautiful but also a historically & architecturally significant place.  We have had a wonderful time here.  We have spent our free time enjoying some of the local bakeries and restaurants and had time to take in the beauty of Hampi.  I wish we could stay a little longer but after spending two nights here it is time to move on to the last leg of this Intrepid journey.

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Chaos is a name for any order that produces confusion in our minds. ~George Santayana

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