Diwali is generally when everyone around the country spends a week of quality time with family. Luckily for me, I stay with my parents, and I spend quality time with them everyday of the year. Which means, they couldn’t stop me from travelling during the festive season!(And thank God they didn’t!)Putting this argument to full use, a quick short escape to the great outdoors was long overdue. However,reality hit with this small checklist .
Low on money?Check
Low on leaves?Check
The constant need to explore this world?CHECK CHECK CHECK!!
Planning a vacation can be difficult, especially if you are a corporate slave at the start of your career. With permission from the parents, a budget of INR 12000, and sheer will power, I began my research. The sole responsibility of choosing a destination can be frustrating. The constant debate between visiting the mountains or beaches can never be resolved now can it? What if I found a place that had the best of both?Does such a place even exist?
After searching north and south, and simultaneously realizing my budget could only cover flight expenses, I found heaven 515 km away from my doorstep in a state called Karnataka.
With (almost)private beaches, lush mountains and gushing waterfalls,I never in my wildest dreams expected Karnataka to outlive my expectations. So if you’re from Maharashtra, or can afford to spend on flight tickets, don’t think twice. This beautiful state has amazing landscapes , as well as warm people. Backpacking has been the only way of travel for me for years, because this allows me to really experience a place and its people in its whole. This is exactly how I envisioned my travel to Karnataka-raw, rugged, with its own ups and downs, and fun!
My budget was INR 12,000 for 8 days-including travel from Pune to Pune. After trying my very best to put together the most unconventional destinations- my itinerary was finally on paper. Pune-Hampi-Agumbe-Udupi-Gokarna-Pune, a great mix of beaches (those that surpass the beauty of the ones in Goa, trust me!), mountains, and rain-forests that could put the Amazon to shame. I booked the cheapest bus ticket I could find to Hospet(the gateway to Hampi) for roughly INR 1200 and waited patiently for Diwali to arrive. However, closer to the date, there was a red alert in Karnataka due to heavy rainfalls. I decided to carry on with my travels, being the stubborn person I am. All for the love of travelling now, isn’t it?
Finally, it was time to catch my bus on the 24th of October. Me, my 80L backpack,and not to forget my 6 inch Sub, fell asleep while being squished in a rattling bus, dreaming about every possible detail that was about to occur in the upcoming week. Next morning, I reached Hospet(Hosapete) which is a good half an hours distance from Hampi. Because I reached later than expected, I rushed into taking a rickshaw to Hampi for INR 150. Tip of century- don’t be hasty and end up getting fooled by Rickshawalas. Talk to the locals about state transport. The bus from Hospet to Hampi was INR 16, and was frequent as well. Lesson learned the hard way!
Now the fun begins..or not.