Hampi, Gokarna and Goa

Trip Start Apr 16, 2013
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Trip End Dec 20, 2013


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Flag of India  , Goa,
Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Last time we wrote we were in cosmopolitan Bangalore and after one night there, we cracked on through the state of Karnataka to Hampi. Our overnight train journey was great. We had the best seats on the train in our 2 berth first class air conditioned coupe. 
In the morning we arrived in Hampi.
An incredible place, scattered huge boulders and rolling hills.  The whole area steeped in history with massive hand built temples in amongst even more ancient ruins, carvings and undiscovered or forgotten secrets. Our accommodation across the river ferry was a haven from the pounding heat of 43 degrees in the afternoon. We had a little shack with swing chair outside and the place did great food too. On our first day, before realising the heat we foolishly climbed 500 steps to the monkey temple, which although not that impressive in itself gave us stunning views of the unique landscape we found ourselves in.  However, the heat took its toll and soon enough we needed shade as Laura felt a bit funny but there was little in amongst the monkeys and interested Indian holiday makers. We found a little bit and cooled off best we could before the descent.

One morning we explored the temples and ruins, which are so numerous that a lot are not recognised, left for ruin or used as a stable/ dumping ground/ garage. Even the jetty for the river ferry was an ancient ruin and the boulders in the river had amazing carvings on. Unfortunately as we are always finding, there is litter everywhere, tainting the beauty.

Another day we hired a little scooter. We had great fun finding our own bits of history, like carvings or paintings on the massive boulders. We also got caught in amongst a goat herd, played games with the kids in Agunde and admired the towns massive chariot which we discovered more about in Gokarna (the next stop). The afternoons here were mainly spent trying to keep cool, relaxing and reflecting. Hampi was a great place and we enjoyed the peacefulness in this more rural quieter location.

The journey to Gokarna:
We got a tough-haggling tuk tuk to hospett for our train. About 20 minutes drive, which became 40 as he pushed another broken down tuk tuk with his foot for about 10km along roads. So dangerous and we cringed on more than one occasion but as he pointed out, he was just helping a friend! We caught an AC train to Hubli which was 3 hours of paradise in a mad travelling day. We are starting to like the trains now.  

 However, the next leg of the journey was another blundering government bus for 4 hours.  When we got on we realised it was full of cockroaches! Jim wished he had never spoonerised cockroach to rockcoach jovially earlier in the trip!  We dodged the little critters best we could but it was truly minging. The usual mad driving continued, overtaking trucks on blind corners and nearly crashinng several times.

 Throughout the day we also got followed in circles by an eager begger, talked madness at by a nutter with crazy eyes and a massive beard and grabbed at by others, moaning. All in all a pretty tough day. But we eventually made it to Gokarna.
 
We were welcomed to Gokarna by a monk whilst trying to find our dinner. He took us in a temple, blessed us, prayed, chanted, spread incense, stood bare foot on a cockroach (probably from the rock coach) and put a dot on our heads before asking for money for the ashram.  We should have known that there was money involved really although it was worth it in the end.

 Gokarna is a great sleepy little town with more cows than anywhere else we have been. A very spiritual place with many temples and monks, many of whom have scooters and mobile phones. We ate some great local food, veg thali and masala dosa and also found a place that did peanut butter on toast and pasta! 

We walked to Kudle Beach one day, following the sign we were taken the wrong way (classic India), Laura cut her toe, we got lost and it was super hot. We had high hopes for the beach......
.... But Kudle Beach was deserted, dirty, littered and had a washed up Whale and eels on. Oh dear. We made the best of it though and had a little swim in the sea and ate at the only restaurant open before finding the correct path home.
 
That evening, we saw our friend the cockroach killing monk who told us the huge chariot in the street was to be pulled at 9pm and we shouldn't miss it. So later we watched as people climbed inside and the huge, rickety, medieval looking chariot was hauled up the street with drummers playing and much joy.  It is something done once every 4 months on the black moon, so we had been lucky. It seemed pretty dangerous, we thought it may topple and it nearly hit numerous power lines. It was a fine example of India's community spirit, can do attitude and laugh inducing madness. 
On the whole Gokarna had been quite fun and charming but it was time to Go(a). :-)
We had been told the train to Palolem was always at least an hour late but, being British, we arrived early to ensure we didn't miss it. The train was an hour and a half late and had apparently never run on time but the journey was an easy couple of hours ride - nothing compared to our earlier trials!
 
Arriving in Palolem we had been recommended a beach hut place and spent ages trying to find it in the sand and heat carrying our huge rucksacks. Annoyingly it had been taken down for the end of the season. We had a look at a few beach shacks (the thing to do in Goa) but we weren't that impressed. So we got lunch turned to our guide book and got a lovely air conditioned room in a place called Wavelet.  Palolem is a lovely place, the beach isn't littered and there are many food places, bars and plenty of paradise beach.  We really like it here and have enjoyed sun bathing, eating, drinking and relaxing. We've decided we are on holiday in India for the week before heading to North India on Friday and then Thailand! Happy days! 
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Comments

Mum on

Another lovely blog ... You're both great story tellers! Take care loves xx

lauraandjim
lauraandjim on

Thanks mum :) this one was Jim's masterpiece xx

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