Hampi Bahala Chennagide: Hampi 5 Dec, 2015

Just in time for daybreak, we arrived at Hampi and toured this temple that stood right next to the Tungabhadra river.

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Oh sorry, too many people and a loon! See this.

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We had to cross the river and I hoped it would be in the basket boat but we boarded a motor one. With 10 bucks per passenger and 10 for each luggage, the other side awaited us.

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Nariyal Pani and other fruit juices gave way to a flight of dusty stairs, taking us up to boulder land. With directions, we reached The Goan corner spread right next to a freshly sown field. Mirco, Claudio, and Abdul from the Social Rehab had arrived a day before. We met them at the open dining area. After completing the necessary identification requirements, we went looking for our beds. I say beds and not rooms because the “season” was upon us. All rooms were occupied and we were left with mattresses, sheets and mosquito nets. Not that we were complaining.

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***

Scrub, scrub, scrub… I scrubbed myself through a nice and cool bath by the end of which I was damn hungry. Masala omelette, toast and freshly squeezed lemonade felt like heaven in my tummy. I took all the time on earth to finish my breakfast. Back in the city, I hardly remember having a proper breakfast. The food is usually swallowed whole or packed and rushed along with.

Today was not going to be such a day. I sliced into the omelette like Hannibal would have into human flesh and enjoyed every chew while looking on to the vast landscape. It was all earth and green till my eyes could stretch. Green on the field, green on the grass, green on the trees and a very magnificently calm blue above all.

Just sitting there with fellow travellers, I realized that I have made it – I have made it to one of those “most memorable moments” of my life. I have made it to one of the most fleeting experiences of fulfilment – a scenic breakfast it was indeed!

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***

Four hired bikes rode the dusty streets of Hampi to the various archaeological wonders it housed. The roads were wide with mountains of boulders and green fields on either side. You could just keep riding your scooter across town admiring the boulders and wonder where they came from. Ramayana says that Hampi was a part of the Kishkindha empire which was under a power struggle between rulers Sugriv and Bali. This was also the place where Ram first met Hanuman. Due to a pact to save Sita, Ram kills Bali and installs Sugriv as the sole ruler of Kishkindha. Bali’s wife, however, accuses Ram of unjustly killing him, as a result of which Ram’s another avatar ‘Krishna’ is killed by Bali’s reincarnation as a hunter. Phew! Mythology can be really confusing but it’s very interesting!

Among the many caves we visited, one was where Valmiki sat in meditation and wrote Ramayana. I have visited Rourkela and it also has a similar “Valmiki-writing-Ramayana spot”. I guess Valmiki was a vagabond writer. Inspiring dude!

From inspiring dude to a charming dudette – Our very own Swag Baba on the rocks!

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We left the monkey temple for another day and went in search for lunch. The menu was disappointing. It was all the globalisation influence. The menu was ridden by chicken butter masala and tandoori stuff. What about people who are out to discover a new place? I felt the menu could have been a bit more local – Hampi cuisine.

But the very pleasant thing about Hampi is that the people treat you like their own. At the “Chill out cafe”, we were received as guests and not customers. Ismail and his friend played the drums for us as we ate and lay listening to live music and slowly drifting off to laziness.

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***

The evening dawned upon us and we headed for the Pride Rock. If and when you visit Hampi, this is the place you need to be every evening. It’s hard to miss. Just in time for sunset, the town would gather in the mountains to watch the sun go down and sing songs. Amidst all of it, a perfect picture stood in front of me waiting to be captured in frame.

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Slowly, everyone went quiet and a silence covered us all. The blazing sun had left warmth on the rocks and specks of orange in the sky. And a road from the mountain twisted towards the other side, maybe to the hills, maybe to the sky or maybe to what you would call home.

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Love Sehar

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