Hampi - a chance to connect with yourself...
Hampi Travel Blog› entry 1 of 3 › view all entries
A second trip to Hampi, where it was just meant to be a stop-over for the actual trip over to Dandeli... but just the evening and early morning spent left a lasting impression of the place. The original plan was to stop over at Badami, but the lack of confirmed lodging overnight there meant that Hampi it would be.
The moment we left Gangavati, the last major town enroute to Hampi, the landscape quickly changed and became numerous lush green paddy fields with rocky hills in the background, dotted with palms and village hutments. Soon the occasional vestiges of the Vijayanagara Empire started to appear in form of rock cut temples on the road side, and the glorious Tungabhadra came into view on the left.
As the sun set, we walked down to the river bank where the last of the ferries for the day made their way to the bank and tourists haggled with the boatmen to take them across in the fading daylight. The Virupaksha temple on the other side of the river seemed to blend as one into the entire scene as if the gods had sclupted it out of the rocks to be one with nature. We then found our way through the dark to the "Laughing Buddha", a shack right on the river bank with some funky artwork on the walls, cotton stuffed mattresses for seating and a few foriegners who were settled comfortably - reading or just enjoying the scene and listening to the river flow by gently. The place had some great music and some great food (excellent hummus)... and was just wonderful to sack out for a couple of hours before we head back to our hotel for the night.
Next morning, we set out for a stroll as the sun was just coming up, leaving the road and getting across right through the paddy field on a narrow walkway that left little room for error! That led us to the base of a small hillock and we could see a few folks perched atop. A short trek up got us a splendid view of the temple again, peeking above the green palm trees and basking in the light of the rising sun. On the hill top, a lone man sat on a rock, eyes closed, meditating, peaceful. Hampi is just the kind of place where you can find that peace I think :-). Sadly we had to move on ahead on our road trip - I could have stayed in that place forever!
Some info for those looking to drive from Hyderabad: The route was the same I had taken on my first trip: Hyderabad - Mahbubnagar - Raichur - Gangavati - Hampi. In my first trip, we were driving to the south side of the Tungabhadra (most people do that as most of the architectural sites are on the south side.). Getting from Gangavati to south of the river is a bit tricky. You either need to get to Hospet where you can cross the river or go via Kampli. The Gangavati - Kampli road is non-existent and a stretch of 30 kms can take over an hour. Highly recommended that you avoid it unless you know specifically that it has been done :-).
This time though, the overnight stay was planned on the north side of the river (Virupuragadde a.k.a Hampi Island), so didn't have to go to Kampli or Hospet. There's a somewhat narrow but smooth road from Gangavati to Virupuragadde via Anegondi... you need to watch out for the stone bridge/aqueduct and get on to the kaccha road on the left.
Place we stayed: We had called up a few guest houses and after getting a "we're full" responses, we finally got rooms at the Gouthami Guest House. Clean and cheap, it is built on an expansive piece of land housing a spacious cafeteria and a number of rooms. Take your own toiletries etc. :-). A short walk around and you'd think that most places look similar from outside.
Places we ate: Laughing Buddha (excellent hummus) and Goan Corner (great options for breakfast and an ideal place to stay if you want to do some bouldering. Nutella Banana pancake is recommended!).