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Published: August 20th 2013
Geology Rocks! - Ross Gellar, NY
Stepping off yet another overnight sleeper train with the standard array of snorers, starers and people that think it’s acceptable to hock the nastiest sounding loogies from way up in their sinuses and flob them out the window, we arrived in Hospet.
From Hospet, we would need to take a 30 minute or so Tuk tuk to Hampi for which we were already dreading the obligatory haggling with the local drivers. ‘Fortunately’ for us, there was a guy on our train who had a tuk tuk parked outside (how this was possible, I don’t know) who followed us down the platform asking if we needed a ride into town. Having had this kind of hassle many times before, we decided to sit on the platform with a cup of unbelievably sweet tea and wait him out. Not realising this was probably the only driver we had come across in Asia with a tiny bit of patience, he played us at our own game, dug in his heels and called our bluff. After about 20 minutes of this, he appeared to finally cave, and came over quoting us a good price…we were
shocked. Looks like this actually worked? We would be testing this theory again for sure.
Sure enough, half an hour passed and we were whizzing around the skinny dirt streets of Hampi Bazaar dodging everything from people, bikes, other Tuk tuks, cows and of course cowpat before arriving safely outside our hotel of choice, Rocky’s.
Straight away, we knew this was more our scene. Chilled and relaxed, plenty of fellow travellers around (it had been sometime since we had seen other ‘travellers’) and more Ali Baba pants than you can shake a monkey stick at…. Finally a place we felt we could get on board with.
After registering our arrival with the police (everyone has to do this, we are not known criminals or anything) we took a walk around Hampi.
This place has been described as beautiful, magical, and even otherworldly, and on first glimpses of the terrain and landscape here, we could easily see why. Hampi hosts some of the most incredible ruins either of us have ever seen, all of which are surrounded and sometimes embedded in a mass of giant boulders and rocks that stretch as far as the eye can see.
It really is one of them places that needs to be seen to be believed, and also one that is on a huge scale.
The first set of ruins we went to visit seemed to go on for miles, with amazing architecture everywhere you looked. Not wanting to see too much of the area to quickly, we stopped after a good few hours to ‘save’ some temples for another day. After coming back to the bazaar however, we were shocked to find that we had only covered a tiny piece of what this place had to offer, and if you wanted to, you could probably spend weeks here exploring.
We quickly decided that this was a place we would like to hang out in for a few more days, and spent plenty of that time flitting between temples and walks among the landscape, with relaxing and reading on the floor cushions of the local restaurants and cafes.
The closest temple to the bazaar has a resident elephant, Lakshmi who will ‘bless’ you for 1 rupee. This consists of putting a coin in Lakshmi’s trunk who then passes the coin to the handler. She then blesses you by
raising her trunk and patting you on the head with it…. Quite amazing I must admit. Not usually one for gimmicks like this, I couldn’t resist a blessing from an elephant guru and decided to part with my rupee. I was shocked when Lakshmi refused the coin and my blessing was snubbed. Knowing that I was a tourist, she wanted 10 rupees from me! Obviously this was either from an invisible signal from the handler, or this elephant really was a guru or something , but either way, I was strangely impressed and so parted with 10 rupees (about 10p). Again realising I was a tourist, Lakshmi’s trunk was resting on my head for longer than the locals so we could get the photo….amazing stuff!
The next day, we were able to see Lakshmi get her daily wash down by the river, and having watched this and seeing her thoroughly enjoying it, we were reassured that she was being treated well which pleased us both.
Hampi really was exactly what we were looking for after such a rollercoaster ride in India so far, and sitting here writing this on our roof terrace as the day draws to a
close, we will both be sad to leave this little slice of heaven. However, it’s time to motivate, and we are now off to Goa. Being the rainiest month to visit Goa (July), we are certainly not expecting much in the way of sun, however we hope to enjoy the little capital of Panaji for a few days.
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