Happy Times in Hampi
Hampi Travel Blog› entry 21 of 36 › view all entries
After a fairly incident free journey, despite Michael not making the (delayed) train in time, Myself and Andrew arrived in Hampi and headed for the Shanti guest house where we had pre-arranged to hook up with Sean and Nat.
Hampi is a magical place some 8 hrs inland from Goa. It is an ancient Hindu Religous centre, and has not been crucified by builders due to its status as a World Heritage Site. It is also meat free and dry (although this could be circumnavigated with help from one or two locals). On the first evening we met up with Sean & Nat, and also Tom & Ian from Mumbai, along with three Aussies - Eve, Soph & Jesse, of whom more will emerge.
Tom, Ian & the Aussies had a guide booked for the next day that would necessitate an early start, but it sounded good so up we got. The buildings around Hampi are stunning, largely built in the 15th and 16th century. The area is also strewn, to Andrew's delight, with massive boulders - he like big rocks!
The Virupaksha Temple stands at the centre of the town (more village really), and it is to that you come to be blessed by an elephant. We strolled large tracts of the area, with various temples, some more complete than others, dotted around, along with the ruins of the ancient city. In the afternoon we headed up to the Hanuman Temple, also known as the monkey temple, and took offerrings of bananas up with us. Andrew had ours stolen by a wise old fella on the 400-odd step climb up to the temple, but others maintained their grip and were able to feed the cheeky fellas remaining at the top. The views were fantastic, if it were a little windy, and we certainly built up a good appetite for the evening.
Unfortunately the food and the service in Hampi's restaurants was generally rubbish, having to wait anything up to 3 hrs for a meal, with curry and rice generally arriving up to an hour apart. The one notable exception was the Mango Tree, a brilliant spot for breakfast turning into lunch with lovely views over the river, interrupted occaisionally by the crazy human scarecrow screeching and banging her pans. Many hours were spent here, playing cards, using the swing and generally chilling out.
However, Hampi was not large and only needed a few days to explore reasonably thoroughly, and although I could have happily stayed longer, it was to be back to Mumbai for a few days before heading further north to keep ahead of the rains.
Book Review - Ian Banks: Complicity
A really good thriller based in Scotland in which a journalist gets implicated in various murders. A tale of violence and murder, drink and drugs, sex and infidelity that rattles along at a fair lick, highly recommended.
Roddy Doyle: A Star Called Henry
This is by far the best book that I have read to date which marries the fictional biography with real life events. Following the life of an Irishman born around the turn of the 20th century, it follows his struggle through the loyalist cause, linking in with the Easter Uprising, Collins, de Valera and all. A fantastic read and an education in Irish history.