And here I finally managed to find some time to start the story of our wonderful holiday in Hampi. Until now the scenarios around me seem to be always new and completely different from each other. We went from Bollywood to the colonial villages, to the sea and Hampi turned out to be another surprise. The images in my mind flow faster than words, to the point that I find it almost difficult to describe it all together, this place.
After a few days of relaxation in Gokarna, it was time to get going again. So we boarded the semi-sleeper bus to Hampi without really knowing what we would find, apart from old stones. The road that leads from Bijapur to Hospet is partly new, partly under construction and, therefore, with various detours. Despite all the journey this time it was more than satisfying and comfortable.
I looked for hotels, even those with 4 stars, near the bus terminal, but strangely (from what I understood there was a great wedding the following day) they were all full. For the third time in my life, I found myself, for the same reason, to sleep on the street. However, once again I did not panic, and given that in these areas the evening is not cold and that India seems to be a particularly safe country from the point of view of delinquency, I found a secluded corner near the bus station. I took the sleeping bag and fell asleep for about three hours in front of a lodge entrance.
At six o'clock I then took the first bus to Hampi. After the dusty Hospet, we enter fully into the tropical atmosphere of southern India. A small asphalt road crosses fields of banana trees and coconut trees, against the backdrop of huge colored granite boulders rust that seems carved in the sky, in the background of that natural landscape that gives this trip something magical.
Hampi is one of those places that are not usually found in travel itineraries to India, as is the sacred city of Varanasi or the emblematic Taj Mahal. But unlike these, Hampi leads the Lonely Planet guide list at number one. Hampi was the capital of the Vijayanagara empire from 1336 to 1565, one of the strongest and richest empires in the history of India.
We arrived in Hampi confident. It's been a long time since that happened to us. And the truth is that past the initial barrier of the rickshaw drivers, waiting for the tourist like hungry hyenas at the bus stop, the place had a special charm. The Israeli community planted the flag here and one at a time I had the feeling of being walking through Tel Aviv. Westerners walk in shorts and the rule of covering the shoulders here has no place.
Hampi is small. One walks a little and gets lost from the masses. The town is surrounded by a river and just by following the course one can find fantastic scenery. And loners, there are no cold beer kiosks everywhere, thankfully. And just a few meters away, Hampi appears to us as magnificent. Yes, "magnificent" is a big word, but we cannot think of another one.
We arrived with a piece of paper in our pocket with the address of a guest house. It was the only thing we knew about the place. The address was not in the center or in the tourist area. We had to combine two groups and walk a bit with backpacks. Once in Hampi, we had to take a boat to cross the bridge and reach our Guest House.
Our Guest House was like a fairy tale house. It was composed of a set of bungalows surrounded by greenery and in the middle of the rice fields and each had a hammock on the porch! Obviously being in the middle of nature I made friends with countless geckos, frogs, and many kittens! Finally, we felt at home, once again. Between dunks and sunsets, we asked ourselves several times what geographical feature gave rise to such beauty. And when science does not provide answers, myth takes place.
After a short moment of relaxation, we decided to cross the river again and make the first cultural visit of the holiday. Hampi is a village located on the banks of the Tungabhadra River. On our first walk to Hampi, we decide to climb the Hemakuta Hill, the temple hill overlooking the Virupaksha Temple and the surrounding area. What is immediately striking is the particularity of the territory, sown with hills and gray granite boulders.
We wander through the small temples on the hill and then descend to visit, finally, the Virupaksha Temple. At the entrance of the temple, a beautiful elephant named Lakshmi collects the coins with the trunk and then lavishes a tender blessing by placing the proboscis on the head. Lakshmi was so tender that she immediately conquered my heart. I like walking through the courtyards, crossing the stone halls, watching the devotees enjoying the shade or the women strolling with their multi-colored saris.
After a full day of treks, we decided to take a moment to relax in a room that overlooked the river surrounded by mango and banana trees! At 6.00 pm there was the last boat that allowed us to reach the opposite side of the river to our guest house. As soon as we arrive, we are welcomed by the imposing view of the Virupaksha Temple.
I cannot forget the beautiful view of the gopura illuminated in the evening light from the roof of our guesthouse. This view and that of the river have always accompanied us during the snacks and during the excellent strictly vegetarian dinners cooked by the very good cook of the guesthouse. The day ended with a dinner among the frogs. A couple of rums helped us sleep very well.