Last time I went to Hampi, I didn’t actually get out and explore the temples and ruins. I felt like I still had unfinished business there, so when Reza suggested a road trip for our holidays, I added Hampi to the itinerary.
We drove up on Saturday the 31st of December. Traffic was heavy, comprised of lumbering trucks overloaded with precarious cargo, and the usual smattering of motorbikes and cars. Luckily, Reza is a highly skilled driver and more loopy than most other Indian drivers, so we made good time.
Arrived, freshened up, caught up with George, and by then it was time for New Year celebrations to start. Beer, laughter, the normal, we mostly made it to see the new year in, then bed. Despite some terrible music choices by George, we survived.
January 1, we got up bright and early (11am-ish) and after breakfast we headed out to do some exploring. The river was the lowest it’s ever been. Normally the only way to cross it is a fisherman’s boat, or a ferry (it sounds grander than it is), but we decided to walk across to save to 20 rupees each. We were feeling pleased with our decision until we got to the bit where we had to rock- rock-rock jump and actually be co-ordinated. We both survived and were dry thanks to locals helping us across, it’s a bit of amusement for them!
We met our French friend Quitterie on the mainland and despite having seen it all two days before, she decided to hang out with us for the day, which was great.
We grabbed an auto driver and headed to Virupaksha Temple. It’s a longish drive from Hampi, and then a long walk in the hot, unadulterated sun. On the walk in there’s a pool and the old Virupaksha Bazaar, where they would have traded livestock, products, and slaves.
The temple itself is not as large as some of the others I’ve been to. I was most interested in the underwater temple- dry at this time- and we had fun exploring the area. Most of architecture here is Hindu.
We then headed to the Queen’s Bath. The architecture here is Islamic, I think it was totally beautiful, much cleaner and simpler than the details carved in the Hindu temples. One of the great things about travelling with other people is that I get my photo taken sometimes! So this trip I have photos actually of me, which you may or may not be thankful for!
We then cruised to the elephant stables and the Lotus Mahal. Mahal means palace (Taj Mahal…) and so both of these are self explanatory!
Then headed back to Hampi, got our surly auto driver to do an extra stop, much against his will, where we saw the most terrifyingly ugly Hindu God I’ve seen yet, Narasimha Swamy.
Then back to Hampi and we wandered up to the Monkey Temple, located on Anjanadri Hill, just behind the main temple. We found many monkeys- one stopped for a visit- and we watched the sunset for the first day of the 2017 from our perch on the rocks, flanked by monkey guardians and ancient ruins.
Dinner in Hampi, a good couple of curries, and then we got Quitterie to hold a torch on the rocks so we could cross back. No-one to hold my hand this time, still didn’t fall in. A major achievement as I’m not known for my grace and co-ordination.
We headed off the next day to Gokarna. But this time, I left Hampi feeling like I’d seen what I needed to see. Ruins, monkeys, and a new year.