The training is nothing! The will is everything! The will to act. -Henri Ducard in Batman Begins
Tick-tock, tick-tock as my office wall clock was ticking, every second giving me an indication that the time was up. I started running my fingers on the keyboard even faster; I was already late, late to catch the bus. I smashed the lid of my laptop, bid adieu to everyone, took my backpack, and ran to catch the BMTC bus.
To view my full trip video, click the link herehttps://youtu.be/ARiAQui1cus.
A lot of research is what was required to make this trip happen, and I really dint want to miss it. To top up on my already delayed start, Bangalore traffic did not step-back. It was a Friday evening and the traffic was at its peak. I was terrified.
After more than an hour of beating the traffic, I finally reached the boarding point. I took a breath and looked around trying to find my tour guides. Two beautiful young ladies came to me and introduced themselves as Pujitha and Nagashri. Pujitha had short hair, power glasses, and a beautiful smile. Nagashri had long hair, perfectly toned body, and a very cute voice. Both were approximately 22 years old. I was amazed to see them, at such young age they were going to be our tour guides. Wow was the only reaction I had. Raghav was also one of the guides. He was a mature, informative and very friendly guy. He belonged to Hampi. The bus was standing opposite to a restaurant. I quickly went inside and ordered myself a veg noodle. As I was very hungry, I just started eating as though this was going to be my last meal.
From left to right (Raghav, Nagashri,Pujitha and Arti).
We waited for our other fellow travelers to arrive. Soon the bus started and the journey of months of planning began. The bus started from HSR, crossed Koramangala, and took a turn towards Domlur. There were a few more travelers to be picked. Within two to three hours, the bus was full and when I looked back all I could see was new faces. Some of them knew each other and few were just unknown travelers.
To break down the unknown silence, there was an ice breaking session. Unknown people were made to sit next to each other, 10 minutes were given to know one another, and then we had to introduce the other person to everyone in the bus. It was so so fun, I personally enjoyed knowing so many people, their crazy things, their hobbies, and lot more. The best thing about such trips are that no one knows you, you can be real, no one would judge you.
Hampi is approximately 350 kms from Bangalore (~7 hours). The whole night I was looking outside the window, it was all dark. It seemed an endless path. The breeze was blowing, and the heavy transport trucks were crossing with an unusual honking. I don't know when I fell asleep and the night became silent for me.
How Hampi got its name
According to Hindu mythology, when goddess Parvati desire to marry the ascetic lord Shiva, everyone discouraged her saying Shiva was always lost in yogic meditation and was not a good fit for her. Goddess Parvati did not lose her hope and she started living like lord Shiva and engaged herself in the same activities-asceticism, yogin and tapasya-awakening him and attracting his interest.
Lord Shiva met goddess Parvati in a disguised form and tried to discourage her by pointing his weaknesses and personality problems. Goddess Parvati refused to listen and insisted in her resolve. Lord Shiva finally accepted her, and they got married. According to Sthala Purana, goddess Parvati (Pampa) pursued her ascetic, yogini lifestyle on Hemakuta Hill, now a part of Hampi, to win and bring ascetic lord Shiva back into householder life. The Sanskrit word Pampa morphed into the Kannada word Hampa and the place Parvati pursued Shiva became Hampe or Hampi.
Ruin monument inHampi
The Ancient Hampi
According to Wikipedia, between the 12th and 14th centuries, Hindu kings of the Hoysala Empire ruled South India and built temples to goddess Durga, goddess Hampadevi and lord Shiva. In the 14th century, the armies of the Delhi Sultanate, particularly Alauddin Khalji and Muhammad bin Tughlaq, invaded and pillaged South India. The Hoysala Empire and its capital Dvarasamudra in south Karnataka was plundered and destroyed.
The Vijayanagara Empire arose from the ruins of the Kampili kingdom and grew into one of the famed Hindu empires of South India that ruled for over 200 years. The Vijayanagara Empire built its capital around Hampi, calling it Vijayanagara. They expanded the infrastructure and temples. In 1565, during the Battle of Talikota, a coalition of Muslim sultanates entered a war with the Vijayanagara Empire. They captured and beheaded the king, followed by a massive destruction of the infrastructure fabric of Hampi and the metropolitan Vijayanagara. The city was pillaged, looted and burnt for six months after the war, then abandoned as ruins, which are now called the Group of Monuments at Hampi.
THE Bouldering Day
The chirruping of birds, the morning dew and the rays of sun all together forced me to open my eyes. The view was like never before. I think I was so busy in my city life that I forgot to see the sun, the birds, and to feel the cold air of the morning.
We got down of the bus and started walking towards home stay. The home stay was in middle of nowhere, all I could see was the big trees, the paddy fields, and huge rocks surrounding the village. After a walk of some 1 km, we reached our homestay. It wasn't a fancy one. It only had one room, one kitchen and two bathrooms. Some tents were put at one corner for the males to change and the females were given the room.
We had poha made from puffed rice, upma, and pakkoda (Indian snack) in our breakfast. Also, lemon and ginger teas were served. After the breakfast, it was time to conquer the massive boulders. Bouldering if a form of rock climbing which is performed on rock formations (boulders) without the use of ropes or harnesses.
Two instructors from the Sunny Bouldering School started giving us instructions about the bouldering activity. Do you know that Hampi is one of the best places in the world to do bouldering? People round the globe come to Hampi for bouldering. I was so thrilled to do this. It was time for my will to act. We started climbing to the rocky paths to reach the bouldering point.
As we reached the spot, Mr. Sunny (one of the trainers) told us to change our normal shoes to climbing shoes (designed specially to do bouldering and helps to secure footholds). It is tighter than the normal fitting of your shoes. We had a normal stretching exercise.
There are a total nine difficulty levels of rock climbing. We started doing one after another and trust me it was getting harder and harder to pull up the body weight on just the toes and hand fingers. Sunny also suggested us to apply chalk dust to keep our hands dry and to get a firmer grip.
Sunny in action
A lot of safety measures are taken while performing the activity. In case if you fall, thick bouldering mats are placed to protect from any injuries. Most of the people completed only up to level 4, but my will did not give up and I climbed the 6 th level also. The feeling was just amazing when I was at the top of the 6 th boulder and view was awesome.
After having a heavy lunch, we again rode our mopeds and headed towards the Sanapur Lake where we did Coracle ride. Sanapur Lake is a reservoir fed by Tungabhadra Dam canal. It is a beautiful lake with blue colored water. This lake is also famous for cliff jumping. The Coracle ride was so thrilling; the ups, the down, and round ride in a circular boat was awesome. We spent some time looking into lake, chilling beneath the huge rocks. Few of us jumped into the lake and displayed some swimming skills.
Then we headed to see the sunset at the Monkey temple. We rode at the highest speed to reach the temple before the sun would set.
After visiting the Monkey temple, we headed back to our homestay and by the time we reached, it was already too dark and we all were very tired. But the tiredness could not stop any of us from singing, dancing and cracking jokes near the bonfire which was planned by the tour guides. Till midnight we all were sitting around the bonfire enjoying every moment. But then we realized that all the activities and fun stored for tomorrow depends on the sleep and we all dispersed to sleep. There were two options given for sleeping. First to sleep inside a tent and the second one to sleep inside a sleeping bag, and of course I chose the second option to sleep under the sky watching the stars. I zipped myself inside a sleeping bag on a rock top and I fell asleep watching the stars.
Temples and the monuments day
The time when I opened my eyes, it was around 5 o'clock. There were few stars in the sky, cold breeze, the cock-a-doodle-doo of a rooster, and the first ray of the sun falls on my face. It was a feeling I could not describe in words.
I got up, quickly freshened myself, and had my breakfast. First thing in the schedule was to attend a musical meditation session. The session was organized in an open area surrounded by coconut trees and huge rocky stones. We all laid down on the mats, we were asked to close our eyes and follow the voice of the instructor. The next few minutes were just magical with almost twenty musical instruments being played. It was one unique and relaxing experience, and I was lost into the music. Humming of bees, crackling of dried leafs, flow of water, and ringing of bells from the nearby temple. That was the moment which I can say had my complete concentration on my life.
After the session was over, we walked back to the homestay, packed our belongings and headed to the famous Virupaksha Temple. It is said that this is the only active Hindu worship site amongst the entire ruins temple at Hampi. The temple is dedicated to lord Shiva and Devi Pampa. The temple is a collection of monasteries, water tank, community kitchen, and a ruined stone market complex. The sanctum of temple has a Shiva Linga with face embossed with brass.
After visiting the Virupaksha temple, we visited Lotus Mahal also known as Chitrangini Mahal. The Mahal is open for tourists from 8:00 am to 6:00 pm all the days. The entry fees for adult is Rs. 20 for Indian citizens and Rs. 600 for foreign tourists. The whole of Zenana enclosure takes around 2 to 3 hours to visit. The Mahal was used by the royal women of Vijayanagara. It is a great example of Hindu Islamic architecture. In the premises you will see the elephant stables, which were used to keep the royal elephants.
After Lotus Mahal, we visited the Vitthala temple. Vitthala, a form of lord Krishna. The main temple stands in the middle of the courtyard aligned to the east. One of major attraction of Vitthala temple is the Garuda shrine famously known as the Stone Chariot. The image of stone chariot is seen on the Indian fifty rupees note. The temple also comprises of Raga Mandapa, the fifty-six musical pillars. All the pillars with different diameters, shapes, and length produces musical sounds when struck. As per the belief, this hall was used for public celebrations of music and dancing. Outside the temple is see the ruin market street. This was the last place which we saw.
We started our return journey to Bangalore and stopped in between for lunch and dinner. During the travel, we played games, music, and had a lot of fun. Also, our tour guides gifted us badges as a token of thanks for joining the trip.
It is a must visit place. If you get a chance, please do visit it. This place will not fail to satisfy your hunch for both ancient and modern era.
I had booked this trip through Plan the Unplanned and I highly recommend them for such trips. Special thanks to our PTU guides Pujitha, Nagashri, and Raghav. I hope to visit more places with them and to see the other travelers again in Bangalore. ( https://youtu.be/ARiAQui1cus). See you in my next trip till then keep reading and keep travelling.