Hospet and Hampi
Hampi Travel Blog› entry 2 of 37 › view all entries
We took an impromptu decision on our penultimate day in Goa, and headed to Hampi, via Hospet. Whilst our route through China had been pretty much chosen before we left home, we'd turned up with around two months to spend in India, and no plan what to do beyond the first 10 days; the only commitment we had was to eventually fly out of Dhaka in Bangladesh.
Two days before leaving Goa we had a quick scan through the Lonely Planet, and decided to spend some time in Karnataka. The starting point for this was the often-visited backpacker favourite of Hampi.
We bought train tickets via a travel agent in Colva; we found out when they turned up that we'd been charged twice the face value, and so made sure we always bought tickets from the station ourselves in future.
The train to Hampi was a pleasant, if long, trip. There were many westerners on the train, and we chatted to those we sat with. We were supposed to have allocated seats, but no-one was sitting in the right place, so we ended up with four people in the space where there should be three. An Indian lady on the end of the line complained to the conductor, and eventually someone was moved!
The train took us to Hospet, where we walked into town and tried to find somewhere to stay. We got a bit confused at first by the Indian use of the word "Hotel" to mean restaurant. Eventually we found somewhere to stay, quite near the bus station. We headed out two find food in the evening, and got our first experience of small Indian towns, complete with open sewers with pigs wallowing in them! That was a bit of a shock to the system.
The following day we got an auto-rickshaw to Hampi, where we did some exploring of the temple and the ruins. Before the exploring I managed to smack my head on a concrete road sign, which really hurt! It would become a bit of a theme in India, where things are not designed for a person of my height.
The temple in town has a holy elephant, who will bless you for a small sum. The ruins in Hampi are set in a beautiful riverside location, and are quite extensive. Many of them are intricately carved. We took a coracle ride on the river to get us part of the way back into Hampi from one of the temples.
Lunch in Hampi was disappointing and slow, which meant that we didn't have time in the afternoon to see the rest of the site (we didn't want to be out after dark, because we'd heard stories of tourists being robbed).
One amusing experience in Hampi, which I didn't mention, was concerning the public toilets. It's the only place I've been asked on the way in what I was planning to do; apparently it's a different price depending on what you answer!
The following day, back in Hospet, we headed to the bus station to get the bus to Badami. We had a fun time at the bus station, trying to locate our bus. There were two buses marked on the big timetable on the wall, strangely going only half an hour apart around lunchtime. None of the buses had destinations written on them in English, so we resorted to asking either the driver or conductor of every bus where they were going.
The style of the driving and the bus conducting in India was something new to us. The conductor was very flamboyant, and seemed to love his job. At frequent intervals he would hit the top of the bus with his ticket clippers. The roof of the bus was consequently full of small dents. The driver was an introduction to the general style of driving in India, in particular: the rules on overtaking, stating that you should overtake if you want to, regardless of what's coming the other way, even if it's a large truck which is then forced to use the grass verge to avoid you; the rules on use of the headlights at night, which state that you should drive with dipped headlights until you see something coming the other way, at which point you should switch to full beam to tell them that you're coming, and make sure they can't see a thing!