It's amazing how one word can describe exactly how you feel. That excitement about the vague destinations and fear of the unknown flooded my mind all at once right before I started planning for the trip.
This trip was a much needed one for me, especially when I'm at the crossroads not knowing where to go or where life would take me next. So I booked tickets to what I call "my journey to self-discovery". I knew then there was no looking back. But the pre-journey phase wasn't all roses and sunshine. It took me more than a week to check out every article about Hampi, to see how safe it is if I'm travelling alone. Convincing friends that it's okay to travel alone, preparing myself for all queer stares that would follow me throughout, giving sane replies to insane questions, smiling silently at all those concerned faces who showered love and nothing else, looking at the images of picturesque ruins of Hampi and not to forget, those jitters when I boarded the plane.
I think it summarizes well.
HAMPI: Backpacker's paradise
There are some places in life where you should go only alone. Hampi is definitely on that list.My train journey went smooth unlike what my friends told me. A small advice here, if you are a female solo traveler or otherwise too - book an upper berth if you don't want to get disturbed. I had to change trains in Goa to go to Hospet. I booked tickets for a sleeper berth and there were more than 10 people hovering around my compartment, so I placed my bags and slept on the upper berth without anyone disturbing me. I reached Hospet around 2 in the afternoon. The moment I got off the station, there were dozens of autowalas. I got a ride to the boat point for 200Rs. On the way, the auto guy didn't stop talking about Hampi and he knew more than 10 languages and spoke to me in Telugu all that while. The homestay I booked was on the Hippie island (It's on the other side of the river). Hippie it is because you can drink, smoke or smoke up while the same isn't possible on the other side of the river where most of the temples reside. It costs 20Rs( with luggage) for the boat ride.I rented a bicycle for two days(70Rs per day). Freshened up and without wasting a minute I took my cycle and went to the Sanapur lake. Cycling after I don't know how many years. I cycled for around 3km or so and my legs started hurting. Blame the lazy me! I took a break on the way(which was again the lake side). I asked myself, "I need peace and I have it here. Why do I have to hurt myself to get somewhere where everybody is busy clicking pictures?". I parked my cycle and sat on the bridge. I wished to take pictures but my phone's battery was blinking red. Maybe that was for the best, I didn't have any distraction. It is the cold breeze, moving water, beautiful sunlit sky and me singing random songs that still lingers in my mind. Everything was just perfect. Time is clicking and I was so resistant to move from that place. Many bikers crossed me, some of them giving me a genuine smile. I finally had to leave since it was getting pitch dark. The ride back home was very scary, the village had no power and there was no soul outside to guide. No signals. No streetlights. By god's grace, I reached home safely. The home-stay I stayed had a lot of Israelis and Russians as their guests and we all dined together. They were super excited about the Diwali, especially firing crackers. They looked ultra cute when they were showing off the boxes they just bought :D.
The next morning I woke up to a big thud on my door. It was 4.30 a.m. already. Stupid alarm, I could have missed the sunrise. My host gave me a ride to the Hanuman temple. I started climbing the endless steps and later I was accompanied by a couple from France. I found one isolated corner where I could see the sunrise and sat there for an hour. I had no idea how time flew. So many thoughts crossed my mind at that time, the good and the bad but still I was happy, smiling at everyone who by then were a lot of them. I went to "Laughing Buddha" for breakfast and the place itself gets a 10 on 10.
Next few hours were spent visiting a lot of temples and ruins. Climbed up the Mathunga Hill and built my dream house. Met two travelers during this journey who eventually changed their itinerary to spend time with me. I think the places need no mention here. I missed visiting Virupaksha Temple, yes! You read it right. It was the last item in my itinerary and I basically didn't want to run around so took my own little time at each place that I didn't get enough time to visit the magnificent temple. There is always a next time.
The offbeat GOA
Homemade Goan Food. *Yummy*. Check
Reading my favorite book sitting beside the Mandovi Backwaters, watching the sunset. Check
Riding a paddle boat with kids (And they hate girls :P). Check
Having lunch with a bunch of teenagers and listening to their crush tales. Check
Been to Goa twice before but never had such an amazing time. I've walked for more than 10 kilometers and traveled only by bus. It's so convenient instead of paying hundreds and hundreds of bucks to the dreadful rickshaw-walas.
Though it's been more than a month, I'm still hungover.
Keep Travelling. Keep Living :)