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Chapter eleven - Hampi

sunny 33 °C

Day 61: Hampi, Karnataka 29/11/11

Up early in Benaulim (6:20ish) for our 7:40 train to Hospet and on to Hampi. First things first, I jump onto our neighbour’s bike to hurl down to Annie’s and pick up our tardy laundry. Gemma meanwhile visits the German bakery to pick up some breakfast and lunch. None of that train food for us it seems.

Quick shower and a painless taxi to Margao and we are waiting on Platform 2 with about half a million other European backpackers destined for Hospet. A spectacular train journey (even though I slept for some of it) sees us roll through tropical, densely forested hills, past magnificent waterfalls and eventually into the Flintstones-esque landscape of the boulder hills around the Hampi area.

Before alighting, the rickshaw touts are already somehow on the train (they must get on the stop before Hospet) and giving it the hard sell. Do one! So annoying.

Hospet, after the bliss and relaxed vibe of Goa, is a shithole. However, a 100 rupee tuk-tuk into Hampi reveals a beautiful ancient city full of history and surrounded by mountains and banana plantations. We manage to find a room at a hotel highly recommended by the Rough Guide (Mowgli Guesthouse), have tea (a thali for me, lasagne for Gemma) and watch a film at a joint next door.

Back to Mowgli and the non-recessive Evans destructive gene kicks in. Gemma and myself are sat on the swing outside our room and the rope at my end miraculously snaps, sending the two of us tumbling to the floor. How proud my dad will be!

Day 62: Hampi, Karnataka 30/11/11

Up earlyish and we head out for Hampi to check out the temples and the nearby monuments. We catch the boat across the river to Hampi, which with this being India is packed to the rafters. Take a walk around the temples and the monuments, which are about 500 years old, some of them being incredible works of art. Some of the slopes to climb are pretty steep to say the least and at one point an old lady asks us to help her up to the shrine she is visiting. We help her up and she performs puja before blessing us. And then asking for money. Her shrine has a psychedelic coloured monkey on the wall and a giant millipede the size of a hosepipe.

Absolutely gagging for a drink and the we stop for one, where the waiter asks if we would like a special marijuana lassi. No thanks. Meet a little boy selling postcards as we wait for the boat back across the river and he is both charming and heartbreaking in equal measure. Back to our hotel where we eat (pizza and bbq chicken – have realised that it seems we do not eat Indian food in our commentary here – this is not the case, we have had lots and lots of incredible Indian food) before we go to watch a film on the big screen next door.

Day 63: Hampi, Karnataka 1/12/11

We have now done two whole calendar months in India (October and November)! Here’s to the next two…

I have my second bout of the sub-continental stomach, which sees me confined to the bathroom and the hammock outside our room (which has been fixed). Gemma, meanwhile, ventures into Hampi alone to run some errands and sees some sights – monkeys in the post office apparently – and is told off for showing too much flesh in her shorts near the temple.

My time recuperating leads me to some conclusions. The travellers in Hampi seem to be of a stoner/pothead disposition and the French are falling further and further down the league table of life. Gemma returns errands complete and we discuss where are going to go next. Gemma goes off to book the overnight bus to Bangalore. Back she comes, checks my temperature and sends me to bed. Do not feel too good.

Go to watch tonight’s film, Red with Bruce Willis as a CIA agent. Pretty good. Very uncomfortable night, shivering, feverish and diarrhoea. Nice.

Day 64: Hampi, Karnataka 02/12/11

Sleep in until about ten after a rough night and the oh so rare of luxuries, a steaming hot shower, makes me feel a lot better. Join Gemma for a cup of tea (not for her obviously) and we talk, type, read and I eventually decide to eat. Something safe like boiled eggs on toast should make me feel better. Mistake – back to shitting myself.

Discover in Hampi another drink to bring back with the fresh lime soda – ginger, honey and lemon tea. Healing. We do very little for the rest of the day – visit internet café and laze about. Tonight’s movie is Due Date with Robert Downey Jr. and the weird bloke from the Hangover. Good one.

Day 65: Somewhere between Hampi and Bangalore 03/12/11

Wake up and feel a lot better – because we have not seen as much as we would have liked whilst in Hampi due to illness, we hire a bike and go to visit the surrounding country. Head into some pretty rural areas, with Steve McQueen a little unsteady to start with, slightly heavy on the throttle, we take in some outstanding scenery. Farmland, mountains, monkeys, people as well as goats, cows, buffalo and tractors with road wide bales of hay block the road surface.

We visit a dam and skim stones in the lake, delve further into the mountains and have a drink at a ‘hotel’ called ‘Whispering Rocks’. Would absolutely recommend this place to anyone in the area – a secluded spot in the middle of the mountains, with bamboo huts, at rock bottom prices and also a room carved into the rock face as well as livestock including peacocks.

On the way back we visit a temple frequented by lots of monkeys. Shoo them away with a pathetic leafy stick to have teeth bared at us. Come on then. Not scared.

Head back to Hospet, where we spend time at a highly recommended hotel, where we are told we absolutely cannot use the internet facilities even if we pay. However, a huge wedding eats up some time and makes for an interesting spectacle. Catch our overnight bus to Bangalore and prepare for the night ahead.

Posted by tevs 02:39 Archived in India Tagged temples india karnataka hampi Comments (0)

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