Touring Hampi: Day 1 at the Temple side
Travel clears the clutter in our minds. We always look up at people having something up their sleeves. The world may not be the same for everyone but everyone has their own ways approaching it, making it more beautiful and meaningful. At the end of every trip, there are some experiences that cease to escape us. Sometimes it looks so juvenile but that keeps pushing us, snowballing into more awesome experiences in the future. When I had my first solo trip to Mumbai, I was so proud that I could actually survive on my own anywhere. My recent solo trip for 2 days to Hampi gives me a sense of pride and satisfaction to love myself more which I will keep doing for the rest of my life.
It all started out of nowhere, if I had thought too much, I would not have done so many things in my life. This is one such thing. I wanted to GO, I just booked the tickets for the next weekend, not even caring to check the CNF probability. My to and fro tickets were on the Waitlist until the chart preparation. The universe kind of keeps me in tenterhooks always.
"The man who goes alone can start today but he who travels with another must wait till the other is ready" -Henry David
Somehow overcoming all the last minute hiccups I present myself, I was able to board the Hampi express on time at Bengaluru Junction. The train had its halt in more number of stops than that qualifies it to be an Express in my opinion. I even tried reading a Kindle book on Hampi on my journey, but that did not go well. After nearly 2 hour delay, I was finally there in Hosapete, gearing myself for the trip of my life. One last thing I did before leaving Bangalore was to book a hotel in Hosapete, to which I navigated once I reached. The hotel staff was courteous to not let me wait till the assigned check-in time and handed my keys immediately.
Day 1: Temple side of Hampi
I enquired the hotel staff on how to reach Hampi and they guided me to take a local bus from the nearest KSRTC bus station. I checked with the conductor and boarded a bus believing I am en route to Hampi. The bus went for a really long time against the actual 13km distance between Hosapete and Hampi. But I was enjoying the village scenery not giving too much thought about my destination. The bus finally landed somewhere in a remote village not having any resemblance of a tourist destination. I enquired the fellow passengers and they told its 'Kampli' and not 'Hampi'. Thanks to my accent that confused everyone I enquired. I again asked them how to reach Hampi and they pointed a bus in the opposite direction that will take me to another village called Kamalapur from where I have to take another bus to Hampi. I boarded the bus and realized I was traveling 36 km totally in the wrong direction. Nevertheless, the local bus and the atmosphere kept me engaged baring the scorching sun and empty stomach. I did not want to risk losing much time again and asked my co-passenger to tell me at Kamalapur. Once the stop arrived, I was the only passenger getting down making way for myself from the extreme front to the only exit at the extreme rear. I had food in a local hotel since a single morsel of food has not touched my soul since morning and it was already past lunch. I had a quick lunch and asked the auto rickshaw walas for tuk-tuk ride for the day around Hampi. I bargained hard and was lucky to have got a good driver who was thoughtful to pick me up and drop from the doorstep of every monument. Otherwise, it would have been too difficult given the level of walking and climbing required sightseeing Hampi.
He had a map and promised to take me to all the places. The first one on the list was Vittala Temple, they operate battery cars to take you to the temple from the road. To my happiness, all the battery cars were run by women drivers. It is always good to see women occupying spaces assigned for men hitherto. The temple was a magnificent one housing the most iconic Stone chariot in its premises. The temple gives a scene of how good an empire could have been once to still remain at least as ruins after being invaded and deteriorated so much. On my way back I skipped the battery car and walked the distance to see the small monuments and a beautiful Pushkarani on the way.
I then went to other places such as Lotus Mahal, Queen's bath, Elephants stable, Ganesha Temple, Narasimha Temple, Underground Shiva temple, Hazara Rama Temple, Sister stone, Narasimha Temple, Royal enclosure,etc., No amount of words can do justice to the architectural elegance the place holds. It is better to see it through my mediocre behind the lens skills.
Things people need to keep in mind visiting Hampi is to retain the entry ticket (only at very few places. Most are free) which can be used in other places. I missed the ticket and paid for it 2 times. And to keep oneself hydrated all the time. I recharged myself with Water, Lime, Tender coconut and Ice creams throughout the day. Also, it is good to rest enough without straining too much. I found shady places and laid down in almost all the monuments, giving myself the energy to visit the next one.
Virupaksha Temple was the last one in my list and it felt good to finish it there admiring the beauty of the temple adjoining a rocky hill and river. I tipped the temple elephant for a blessing. It reminded me of some anonymous writer who wrote the elephants are actually cursing us for exploiting them. But I think it's better to ignore such woke thoughts for small pleasures in life. Following which I climbed the Hemakunta hill and basked in the breathtaking view of what could have been a majestic empire once.
My tuk-tuk tour came to an end around 5.30 P.M. Meanwhile I used the time to converse with the driver in my broken Hindi on the places to visit in Hosapete and how to cross the river for the next day. The driver helped me board a bus to Hosapete and from there as guided by him I took the city bus to visit Tungabhadra Dam. It breaks me to see scarce water in the Dam. The people were very friendly asking if I came alone and also offered a free ride to the top which I politely refused. There was a connecting bridge from the dam side to the garden, The Garden is a well-maintained spot with Musical fountains, Boat rides, etc. I rested in the lawns for some time and left to Hosapete. I got a shared ride in an auto that was assigned to drop market loads on the way. He dropped me at the bus stand and I walked to my hotel, feeding myself a good meal on the way.
I hit the bed late at night after updating my social media with the pics of the day and drifted to sleep preparing myself for the next day I honestly had no clue about.