On Thursday morning last week, my Macbook malfunctioned, so I gave it for service, and I was told it will take upto 3-4 days to get it ready. Without a laptop or internet connection, I have got nothing to do. I was thinking how to spend the next 3-4 days, and was thinking about volunteering, visiting some place, or going for some treks… My mind soon turned to Hampi. I have heard good things about Hampi from my friends. In my mind, Hampi was the captial of Vijayanagara Kingdom, so a beautiful historical place, worth spending a few days – to see how beautifully the structures have been carved out, to enjoy the place where the rajahs and queens spent their days, and to learn further history about the place, and how many of the structures got destroyed. I booked my tickets in the evening, packed my bags and boarded the 11.00 PM bus from Bangalore.
Next morning, the bus reached Hampi at 6.30 AM, and while nearing Hampi, I could see fertile, green plains already, and farmers starting their daily jobs. As I sat down in a tea shop looking at the beautiful hillock, my mind still ran with what Hampi has to offer to this history lover. I enquired a few places to stay and I was recommended to stay at a village on the other side of the Tungabadra river by one of my good friends. There were two boat services to cross the river – a motor boat, that can carry many people for 10Rs per person, and a coracle – a hand driven boat, for Rs. 50 per person. I chose to wait for the motor boat, and so were several people – most of them foreigners. I could see a large crowd of foreign people already, and a lot of Indian devotees who had come to visit the famous Virupaksha temple near by the river.
After crossing the other side of the river, I was surprised to see that there were less Indian tourists than foreign tourists. I have heard that foreign tourists travel here, but I did not know the magnitude until I visited the place. Almost 70-80% of tourists were foreigners. I found a lot of European tourists here – I met people from Germany, Croatia, UK, Spain, and some from North America – US and Canada. I was also surprised to see a lot of Israeli tourists, I met almost 15-20 Israelis. Tourists is a wrong word, they are all backpackers, 20 somethings traveling the world. I also met some older people/couples, but their numbers are very less.
Anyways, I rented a bicycle for Rs. 70 per day, there were also scooters and bikes you could rent for between Rs. 300-400 per day, and started roaming around the Hampi region. As I started riding my bicycle, I began to understand why lot of people are flocking together to Hampi, forget history or that the city was built and destroyed in the 14th and 15th centuries, people visit Hampi for what it is now – it was quite a serene place, beautiful, fertile, green, I don’t really have words to describe it. One must go and enjoy the abundant natural beauty that is Hampi. I spent 3 days there, and was spending most of my day riding my cycle along the paddy fields watered through pump-sets on the one side and small hills on the other side, the hills were very old eroded through the winds as one can see from the huge number of boulders in the area. I was mesmerized by the natural beauty, and completely forgot why I came here – to checkout the proud history 🙂
Not just the greenery, for adventure junkies – there is rock climbing, you go on a night trek, camp at a hillock to see beautiful sunrise, and sunsets. If you are looking to meet new people and make new friends, well, you can meet people from any part of the world here – it is cosmopolitan, just that you make friends near the paddy fields rather than brick structures. It is interesting to see how people from other countries socialize and how poor we Indians are at socializing with unknown people. I am not saying we do not socialize, we do not get started easily was my observation. If you are into Yoga, again, there are a lot of hotels and resorts offering free yoga classes. Or, if you want some quiet time, go up the hill and start meditating, or read a book.
So overall, if I think of going to Heaven, I will think about going to Hampi, a cheap, heavenly, cosmopolitan village in India. 3 days surely is not sufficient for this beautiful place, if you are planning on visiting here, have a minimum of a week or more – you will not regret your decision.
While I have described everything good, there are still some bads – like every Indian city/village, the ‘Indian side’ of the village was not clean, with trash thrown everywhere in the busy bus stand area. Again, I as an Indian cannot complain and totally understand it is our/my responsibility to make it clean. But, all I could now do is observe and write about it.
Further more, young Indian guys, native of Hampi – working at hotels, resorts, and even small eateries, were confident speaking to people, and they speak good, fluent English. I am sure they would have a good learning by meeting a variety of people here than what they learn at school.
To wind up, Hampi is a must visit place for everyone. Hopefully, I will make it to the heaven again sometime.
Now, even after 5 days… I am still waiting for my laptop from the service center, wish I had spent these time at Hampi instead 🙂
In the meanwhile, some pictures from the trip.
Virupaksha Temple from the side
View from a small hill, adjoint to the temple.
A view of Hampi atop a hill
Now… you can see why I say Hampi is a heaven.. boulders, paddy fields, banana plantations, hills, river, temples, ruins, and much more…. do you want anything else? Sure, Hampi can answer your question!
Are you a rock climber? Hampi greets you with warmth.
Bye bye Hampi