Hampi

Wow !!! Just amazing :-)

I had last been to Hampi around 17 years back as part of a trip with my granny. Just remembered the broken monuments and small dusty roads. So, when fellow Intuitian called for a trip, I said sure.  This was my first trip with Intuit friends and I hardly knew 2 out of the total 14 people. 8 were from Intuit and the rest friends of Intuitians.

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Fri-Night/ Saturday: 

Left Bangalore at 10:30 via Hampi Express: Reached Hospet at around 6:45. Took an auto (100rs) to reach Hampi - TungaBhadra river bed at around 7:30. Took a boat to cross the river and walked a km to reach Shanthi Guest House. The boat boy was an instant hit with his "6 O' Clock boat close" style statement (said in a real stylish way). Guest house was very well furnished. The cottage looked excellent and was cheap too (600rs for double bedroom). Only issue was the frequent power cuts and No Vodafone/Airtel signals :-(. Had nice breakfast (Bread Sandwiches + Aloo Parotas) and headed out in our bikes to Hampi. To help other travelers - the rates per day are TVS Champ/Excel - 100rs, Kinetic Honda - 150rs and Bikes - 200rs (excluding petrol).

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We first visited the Virupaksha temple - the only temple where puja is still going on. Then we went to kadalekaalu Ganesha, Sasuvekaalu Ganesha, Ugra narasimha temple. It was quite hot and the bikes were not in the best condition. So it was fun visiting all the places. Visited lots of broken monuments and palaces and temples. Too bad that the later kings destroyed such a wonderful architecture. Anyway history is always filled with bad experiences. 

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As the last stopping point, we headed to Vittala temple and took a guide. Vittala statue is removed but the building contains the Musical Mandapam where the 64 pillars were supposed to be giving 64 different music. 8 of them are intact now and we were able to listen to one of them. Then we went around the moat surrounding the temple where the kings used to do the pradarshana (round of the temple). The stone chariot which is a replica of the one in the Orissa Sun Temple is also present here but the horses guiding the chariot was broken. This is replaced by the elephant statues got from  excavation in nearby place dating to the same time. After the generous tip of 300rs, he also showed us the "Quickly" :-)..

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My friend was so astonished with so many stone carvings he said how could they do it "Day in and Day out"... Wouldn't it be so boring to do the same "Ganesha" and "linga" so many times... My only answer was : Isn't it boring to punch type the same 26 characters on the keyboard day in and out dishing out the same crap "soft wares" :-(

"6:00 clock boat close" was still ringing in our brains. But the guide said, it will be available till 6:30. We all zipped in our bikes and reached the river bed around 6:20. Drive back was good. We took the boat and headed to the guest house and freshened up.

7:30 we went to have our dinner. There were chain of drinkers and smokers. It was the first time I was see'ing the girls booze so openly :-). And smoke.. Not that it's bad. .. it was just a different "Shock" feeling :-). After my 2 glasses of sprite and chicken pakodas got bored.. but still managed to stay awake and sent few "SMS"es. We did play an interesting game (thanks to jeetu).. Movie name following "Gandhi ki dhothi mein" or something. Then there were some "fights" going on for Marlboro Cigarettes. Finally did get to have some dinner and head for the room to sleep like a log. Didn't even get up to allow NPR into the room .. paapa. .he slept outside on the swing.. Sorry NPR, but I think u were happy with the AC effect :-)

Sunday:

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I believe everyone was bored with the broken monuments (I wasn't) and we decided to do something different. First choice was Daruji Bear Sanctuary, but it was quite far and we had to let go off that option. Morning, we hired 7 bikes (all splendors), and drove to TungaBhadra Dam, which was around 30km from the place we were in. Roamed around the dam though we were not able to walk right on top of the dam {closed for public :-( }.. Had a leisurely lunch after returning to our guest house and then headed to the Sanapur lake and waterfalls. We did jump around and did some "Swimming" but after few scares in bharachukki and Kaali river, I didn't want to take any risk and settled for - "beside the rock, cycling" in water. Then we headed to the Anjanadri - Hanuman temple. It was 560 steps and very tiring to go to the top. After reaching the top, we headed straight to the Sunset point but since it was cloudy, didn't get a very good view of the Sunset. But the view of the neighboring green fields and the hilly region was worth the climb. We trekked down quickly and headed to the guesthouse. Since we took the return bus from "Gangawati", we had to hurry up our dinner and head to the bus stand in the jeep. Reached Bangalore at around 6:45 the next day.

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Overall the trip was very good. Some of the existing temples and the architecture looks simply stunning. The place around the temples were/are also so well planned. There are few travelers who spend weeks together looking at each monument. We didn't have that luxury, but the few hours we spent looking at them made us realize how great the Indian sculptors were and how innovative/creative they were.

Useful Links:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hampi

http://www.karnataka.com/tourism/hampi/

http://www.hampi.in/