Hampi, We Meet Again

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.

A typically overloaded, slow-moving truck

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!

River crossing in Hampi, from Hippi Island to Hampi, you can see normal river levels on the rocks behind – Photo credit Reza

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.

Quitterie and I in the Bazaar, walking in to the temple – Photo credit Reza
The pool- dry
The walk in to the temple

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.

Ancient tree I was particularly intrigued by – Photo credit Reza
Temple
Underwater temple (not currently under water)
Detail on a pillar
The girls in this photo took a liking to Quitterie and I, and then the father wanted a family photo- he was SO PROUD of his girls 🙂 – Photo credit Reza

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!

Quitterie and I enjoying the comparative coolness of the baths – Photo credit Reza
Me in the Queen’s Bath house – Photo credit Reza

We then cruised to the elephant stables and the Lotus Mahal. Mahal means palace (Taj Mahal…) and so both of these are self explanatory!

Elephant stables
Lotus Palace- Photo credit Reza
A very photogenic wall at the elephant stables – Photo credit Reza
A school trip turned into a lot of excitement for these children who spotted white people…. all of them had to shake our hands- Photo credit Reza

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.

The photogenic 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.

The view from the top of Anjanadri Hill, overlooking Virupaksha Temple
Monkey Temple in the sunset
A monkey visitor

 

Anjanadri Hill
Anjanadri Hill sunset, 1 January 2017

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.

Reza and I with Hampi in the background, lush rice paddies and rocks – thanks Lauren for the pic

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