A Road Trip around Hampi

“If dreams were made out of stone, it would be Hampi”

April 6th — 7th 2013: After a long thread of email conversations, Vivek, Kunal, and I, were all set for a crazy weekend trip to Hampi, a world renowned UNESCO heritage site. According to the plan, Kunal left from Hyderabad for Hospet a bit earlier than us. While Vivek and I, were still waiting to board the bus from Bangalore. Vivek, in lieu of having the last puff of a cigarette went far away from the bus stand, and we missed our bus. The true adventure of this trip then began. I was getting mad at him for being irresponsible but all went in vain. We took an auto, but as we caught in the traffic jam due to heavy rain, we were not sure if we will manage to catch the bus even from the next stop. We also thought of calling Kunal to get down from the train and detour to Hyderabad. Luckily, we got in the bus from Majestic Bus stop. It was a great sigh of relief for me.

Day 1 Hampi

Next morning, after stepping down from the bus in Hospet, I felt as if I landed in my hometown Bikaner. Cattle farms spread across the city, set up of local shops, narrow lanes, ladies carrying water in mud pots revived my hometown memories. Hospet or Hosapete, is a city in Bellary District in central Karnataka. It is on the Tungabhadra River, 12 km from Hampi consisting of the ruins of the medieval city of Vijayanagara, a former capital of the Vijayanagara Empire. Three of us reunited at the Hospet Railway junction, and took an auto-rickshaw from to Hampi. It was around 25 minutes long drive. On the way, we came across rice, banana and sugar plantations. We got down a bit early a few miles before the city. On our left, we saw a scenic Hampi Island (Virupapur Gadde) from where we boarded a motor boat to reach the other side. While on the boat, was this realization that there are so many exotic, untouched and unexplored heavens of adventure in India. There were a bunch of guesthouses and resorts on the other side of the Tungabhadra river. We stayed in Shanthi guest house, an ideal place to relax and rejuvenate. The cool serene green scenery around the guest house, stunning view of the rice paddies, thatch-roof huts, hammocks suspended out the front of each room, rocks and sunset view makes it a perfect setting to chill out.

After having a sumptuous breakfast, we rented three bikes and began to explore fantastic art and architecture in and around Hampi. We frequently stopped on our way to gaze at randomly placed balanced stone boulders on both sides of the road and capture them via our giant cameras.

Our first destination was Anegundi, the monkey kingdom of Kishkindha in the epic of Ramayana. It is known for one of the oldest plateaus on the planet, estimated to be 3,000 million years old. We visited Chintamani temple and the cave where Rama met Sugreeva for the first time. An old person on the site showed us Rama’s foot impression where he stood and shot an arrow to kill Vali.

We then loaded our bikes in a motor boat to cross the river and headed towards the Vittala temple. Every rock, every path and every monument at Hampi speak the same language, a language of glory and beauty.

It was an out of the world experience crossing the river in a coracle (bowl shaped boats). We paid 500 bucks (in INR) for the ferry ride. Initially, we had to ensure that our seating order does not disturb the balance of the coracle. We literally squatted in the boat with our hands immersed in deep water. On the midway, we steered our boat under a big rock to take pictures.

We had two options to return back to Hampi, via motor boat or road trip of more than 50 km. We happily chose the latter. With this decision, the trip became my first longest continuous road trip ever. Our ride through the historic villages of Karnataka via Kampli, Gangavati and Anegundi supplemented the scorching heat and sunburn effect. Back in our inn, midnight chit chats continued for a while, and all through this I was lying in the hammock and enjoying swinging at the leisure time.

Day 2 Hampi

Early morning Kunal and I, went to the paddy fields to click some nature shots.

After the photo shoot, we proceeded towards Sanapur lake on our bikes. We met so many cyclists on our way to the lake. I met an interesting girl from Mexico who was carrying violin on her back while riding the bicycle, and enjoying the tranquility of nature along with some music. The calmness around the lake was addictive and flora and the fauna around added bonanza. To beat the heat, we got down off our bikes, click some pictures and swam in the lake. And for the last leg of the journey, we proceeded towards our guest house to spend the rest of our evening time. Young couples were lying in a hammock, some were reading books, other watching the sunset, doing photography and rest of them were busy in conversation with people around. Our trip came to an end, and it was time to take different routes for our respective destinations. All of us felt that it would have been much more fun if we would have stayed for longer.

Originally published at srishakatux.tumblr.com.