Published: June 16th 2008June 16th 2008
Friday night to Hospet - Hampi
Weekend 30/05 - 02/06
350km North-West of Bangalore is an amazingly friendly, hot and culturally different town called Hampi. I would recommend for any traveller in India to visit this wonderful small historic town. Filled with some of the friendliest Indians I have meet in my time in India so far. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The name is derived from Pampa, which is the old name of the Tungabhadra River on whose banks the city is built. Hampi is located within the ruins of Vijayanagara, the former capital of the Vijayanagara empire.
Catching the sleeper class train on Friday night out of Bangalore was a mission in itself...making sure you are on the right platform in the right carriage (there are at least 30 to choose from!) and in the right seats. I was told two weeks out to take wipes and disinfectant spray to wipe the bed down - wow lets say I am SO glad I listened to this piece of advice. They were so filthy. Apart from this, the trip was enjoyable, and we arrived in Hospet - the gateway to Hampi at 8am.
Saturday morning breakfast in Hampi was possibly the
Across the river, through the bathing and then UP the ramp on the stairs which you can see in the background. Crazyness!
best I've had in India. Pancakes with banana, coconut and golden syrup plus stove top espresso coffee - I was in love with Hampi already. Asking the waiter where we can hire 2 scooter for the 4 of us, he organised, and within 2 minutes we had two scooters outside the restaurant waiting for us. Service! I love Hampi.
First mission - getting the scooters across the Western Ghats river to get to Hampi Island...what a joke plus a lot of stress and tension! No way we thought were the scooters going to get down all those stairs and across on that
small boat! But hey, we are in India - anything and everything is possible!! Check out the photo.
We booked into Shanthi Guesthouse, on Hampi Island - 150 INR's each for the night (under $5) which had swing beds, a view overlooking the paddy fields where the buffalo grazed, and the women worked. We had the most amazing Italian Pizza (with beer of course!) I've ever eaten. Sure it took 1.5hours to make, but OMG! the wait was worth every second. There is a large European influence including French, German, Italy plus Arabian, Nepalese and Thai.
very relaxing and amazing view
It is such a culturally diverse town. I love it.
We missioned up to the Hanuman temple (bodyguard/protector god) - about 700-800 steps in the midday heat. A spectacular view of Hampi in all its glory - I would never have thought a place like this would exist in India. Boulders and rocks for as far as the eye could see on the horizon - both Yuri and I wondered if the rocks had been placed by men like they were or if it was all natural. We checked out another temple and old palace castle which also was destroyed in the 14th and 15th century wars. After enough zooming around on scooters all afternoon, it was time to go back to the guest house and relax for the remainder of the evening.
Back into Hampi main bazaar for Sunday (after pancakes again), we left our bags at the restaurant with good espresso coffee and zoomed off on our scooters looking at all the old ruins and destroyed temples, but not without a visit to the Virupaksha Temple in the main centre. Lakshmi the Virupaksha Temple elephant was waiting and ready to great us, and I got to
From the paddy fields looking back
stroke it's trunk! he he. Lakshmi gave blessings by accepting the food and then tapping the heads of the Indians.
We zoomed around all the old ruins, including Queens bath, Lotus Mahal, Elephant Stables, Mahanavami Dibba, Underground Siva Temple (with bats!) plus so many more!! Vithala Temple Complex which is famous for its musical pillars - they were under construction from people hitting them, so unfortunately we didn't get to hear them. The Stone Chariot was also in this complex. I got sunburnt for the first time since being in India! Wahoo!
"Photo, photo" almost everywhere we went! They love us white people! By the end of the day I was asking for payment which made them laugh and walk away. I'm a tourist, not a tourist attraction....
After a long hot day we headed to the infamous restaurant 'Mango Tree Restaurant' and had Thai coconut curry and pasta dish. Very relaxing place! Sitting under a big mango tree, overlooking the Western Ghats plus bumping into other travelers we had seen the previous day - topped the weekend off very well.
Dropping off the scooters, after doing some last minute shopping we made our way by
auto back to Hospet to catch the train. The train was late. Brought some beer and passed the time sitting on the platform talking to kids with too much energy and a limited vocab on English - very cute, but we were so tired!
I love Hampi, and want to go back.
Finally arrived back in Bangalore 7am Monday morning to rush home, shower and then go to work! What a wicked weekend. Enjoy the photos.
There are more photos below