Saturday, April 3, 2010

Magical Hampi

We arrived in Hampi after dusk and woke up to the most beautiful surroundings. It feels a little bit like the ruined temples of Cambodia's Angkor Wat, but not as well preserved. This town is a World Heritage Site, but the people live in and amongst it all, which doesnt do much good for the preservation of the architecture but definately adds colour and flavour to things.

As it seems more often than not, I arrived on the eve of a festival (there is always someone celebrating something in India) and the place went off the next day. Pilgrims come from near and far and by the reaction of so many people here to us, it's not everyday they get to see white folk. The children mobbed us every step of the way and if we stopped for too long in one lace we would get swarmed by people around us just being nosy. On the main bazaar, where everyone was congregating for the parade, there was a small tent with a three-legged woman on a loudspeaker, assumably preching about religious antics. There was a steady stream of people coming out of the tent and when they came out, cameras posed, it seems we got more photos taken of us then the freak show inside. So bizarre!

So the first day here I just wandered around with the 3 Ozzie girls. The heat here is really intense, everything is done really slowly, and with lots of water. We saw as many of the ruins within walking distance as possible but just decided today was a chill day to enjoy the festival. There was a parade to leave at 4pm and as it got closer to the time it seemed there was a constant flow of people coming in and a frenzied feeling in the air. The crouds were insurmountable and with 4 girls, we got hassled so much trying to get around that we finally perched ourselves atop a hill to watch things with a little air to breathe. After ages in the hot sun we tried to get passed the crowd and it got a little scary so we had enough and went back to our sideof the river and chilled for the rest of the evening. It took everything out of you just getting around in the heat and the chaos.

Our second day was spent renting a rickshaw and getting driven about to a few further off temples, including Hanuman Temple (the Monkey Temple, cause Hanuman is the monkey god) which was an exhausting climb but paid off with incredible views of Hampi and the area. At sunset we went rock climbing up some boulders and had another amazing view of the place. It feels like Ive gone back in time being Hampi, there is a really magical and mystical sense around here....I think I could stay here for awhile, its seems separate from the craziness of India.

Marlee and I rented a bike the next day and got to see even more of the area and get a feel for how spread out it all is. We seemed to be on the same site seeing schedule as another family with a little boy who was obsessing over us. He'd wave like his arm was falling off everytime he saw us and was haing so much fun. The last temple we came out of he was itting mwith his whole extended family in the shade under a tree and they motioned an invite to come and join them. With no actual verbal communications we manged to sit and enjoy lunch wiith them miming and pointing and giggling. It was fantastic! The food was so lovely and basic and they took so much joy in sharing it with us that I was in heaven! The boy alone mustve posed for about 20 different pictures on our camera. Such lovely people.

I've hung around Hampi with the girls for as long as possible and now its time to move on, further east. I have another epic jouney planned to leave here:

15 minute walk by foot with pack in miday heat to the boat. cross river. hire rickshaw to Hospet, about 15 km. 2 hour train ride from Hospet to Guntakal. switch to overnight train to Chennai. rickshaw from train station to bus station. 4 hour bus from Chennai to Ponducherry, and then rickshaw to get to whatever accomodation i pick. That was exhausting to write nevermind do!!!!

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