I had a quick trip away with Vivek and George last weekend. George was already in Hampi, so after work on Friday, I headed to the station to catch an overnight bus to Hampi. Cyclone Nada was over Kerala, so Bangalore was wet. Wet, as in tropical cyclone wet. Sheets of rain which sluiced off shop front awnings, and quickly drenched you. It was the first time I’ve experienced ‘real’ rain in Bangalore. I need to buy an umbrella, or alternatively, as the locals do, create newspaper hats for myself.
Vivek and I met at the bus station (Majestic) and found where our bus was departing from. Once the bus arrived, we boarded. We had booked a sleeper bus, and we shared a berth. Basically, it’s like an enclosed double bed. Solid at the head and foot, and curtains on the window and along the aisle. We found our space and sat down and had a beer as we left Bangalore. This seemed like a good idea at the time, surely it would help us sleep along India’s bumpy roads… It did not take into consideration that bus drivers don’t want to stop to let people go to the toilet. We will skim over that part of the story and just say that aside from that, the rest of the journey was pleasant enough- we got some sleep. It was good to travel with a friend and be able to share the ‘experience’. I love traveling alone but I do miss being to able to share things with someone.
We arrived at the Hospet bus station at 7am. After some negotiations (it really does help to travel with an Indian, I would have agreed to the most expensive option straight away) Vivek obtained us an auto, which took us to the river. From there we punted over to the other side, and then hired a motorbike. We cruised 4km or so to our destination, a guesthouse called Woodstock 69. A quick aside for any travelers trying to get to Hampi- The train goes to Hospet. You can bus to Gangavarthi, which is closer than Hospet. Either way, once there, you’ll need to auto/ local bus/ motorbike to your destination. It’s a bit of a mission but well worth it. Woodstock 69 is close to the town Sanapur. Sanapur itself has a couple of food places, a tiny booze shop (which is expensive), and that’s about it.
In due course we arrived, George was somewhat pleased to see us and have his peace and quiet destroyed. Vivek and I were tired… Breakfast at the guesthouse and then we both needed sleep. The accommodation was rustic, to say the least. A thatched roof, shared bathroom facilities complete with cold showers, but the toilets were flush and clean (and for $8NZD a night, between the three of us… not bad value for money). We both crashed, and emerged a few hours later somewhat refreshed. We headed up to the shared lounge area, where we proceeded to do pretty much nothing for the rest of the day. Reading books, talking, napping… all the best things in life!
We did get on our motorbikes and go for a cruise, photographs as below. I don’t have many words to describe this area- I was blown away by the beauty of the geography- the rocks, towering, crumbling, standing in huge mountains or solitary outcasts. The farms, where the workers are gypsy-like, setting up temporary homes where they live in the paddocks they tend. Palm trees in rows, providing shade, shelter, and a gentle flickering soundtrack as the breeze wefts through. The ancient monuments of a former life, while modern life gently exists, ebbs and flows, around it.
Hampi is an incredible UNESCO world heritage site. It has some amazing rock formations, great for bouldering, if you’re into that kind of thing. The rocks used to be huge rock mountains, and over millions of years they have been worn away, leaving the piles of rocks that exist now. Hindu mythology (I’m paraphrasing here) says that there were two giant monkeys who got so annoyed at each other, they threw rocks around. Or, George insisted that the rocks were put there by aliens. That seems as plausible as any science- based evidence…
Hampi is dotted with numerous ruined temples and monuments from the Vijayanagara Empire, 1500AD. I did not see any temples because I really did not do anything at all. I will have to go back and do-over, because I feel like I missed out on some cool stuff.
Beers on Saturday night, an early night as my eyes were losing the ability to stay open. Sunday was very similar to Saturday. Nothing. It was lovely.
I was transported to Gangavarthi on Sunday night on the back of a motorbike, where I had an overnight bus back to B-town. Vivek and George both stayed in Hampi so I traveled alone, and booked a single berth which was more expensive but private. I slept well, considering the bumpy roads. Woke up as we hit town, dropped off at the bus station, an auto-ride home, a shower, and then was at work by 7.30am! I’m not sure it was my most productive day ever, but I was there and did get some work done.
Hampi… we will meet again… and I will move further than the lounge floor.