Bad Monkey & Late is Late
Trip Start Nov 20, 2012
8Trip End Dec 19, 2012
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Where I stayed
Shanthi Guesthouse Hampi
Read my review - 4/5 stars
Read my review - 4/5 stars
Words cannot express how much this amazing woman has done for me the past couple of days during the Dalai Lama's teachings. Tsering opened her home to me and treated me, a total stranger, as her own child. When we parted she put a Khata (white Tibetan scarf that symbolizes
the pure heart of the giver) around my neck and we touched our foreheads together, with this she said "your family now Micaela"
My new destination was Hampi. Magical, dreamy and very Shanthi. Once, the epic capital Vijayanagar of one of the largest Hindu empires in Indian history with over 500.000 inhabitants. A UNESCO World heritage site with majestic temples, magnificent carvings, ruby red ruins and world class climbing- all set to the beautiful back drop of emerald green rice paddy fields and banana tree groves. Needless to say, it is a must stop while vagabonding in India.
I was here five years ago and some things have changed. The once buzzeling Hampi Bazaar with it's markets and shops has now been abandoned by the locals who took the freedom to move in and build their own constructional creations ontop of the original ruins. The Indian government stepped in and decided that they want to preserve the original structures and made the locals move out. Now, things happen on India time here, which means the restorations will happen. Eventually. In the meantime, the demolished house-on-temple structures are homes to Hampi’s large Monkey population as well as to a few wild pigs that roams freely around the area. Other than that Hampi is still the gem it was back then.
I score a room at the Shanthi Guesthouse across the river where I indulge in a little bungalow with my own bathroomRoots" by Alex Haley (incredible book that everyone that is interested in American history should read) and started on "Unbroken" by Laura Hillenbrand I get massages and shiradora (oil that is pored over your third eye) and I do yoga. My teacher, a slender 30-something Indian man, guides us trough our asana practice with extreme seriousness. I try to concentrate as he almost yells out the postures in a very thick Indian accent. –"Rrrrrrrrroll your bodeeeeeeeeeyyy down to di rrrrrabbit pose and back to di esssssssnake pose", - “A supreeeeeeem meind and a supreeeeeeem bodeeeeeeeyyyy is essential for di practice, now bend down and touch your etoes and the grrrrrrround”, “little by little (accompanied with the famous Indian head roll) you practice day by day, then you touch floor”. I love every second of this class.
After a few rejuvenating days across the river, I take the little boat across to Hampi. There once was a bridge and it mysteriously disappeared and nobody cared to build a new one, to the boat mans delight that is (now the riches man in Hampi) as it is the only way to cross the river. I get a guide and explore the area and it’s temples. We swoosh trough lush palm groves and trough rice fields, butterflies and green parrots are everywhere as well as monkeys and of course, many Holy Cows cross our path
Hampi draws a lot of Indian tourists and I feel like a rockstar as they rather snap pictures of me (yes they want me to be in their family picture) than pictures of the temples. I believe I will end up in at least two-dozen Indian family vacation travel albums he he. Sunset is spent at a lookout spot high over the town along with some chillum smoking Sadhus (holy men). The day ends with a fabulous mushroom kofta, garlic chapatti and a coconut lassi at my favorite restaurant- the Mango Tree where everything is very shanthi and relaxing until I hear banging on loud metal pots and gunshots! I almost choke on my kofta and ask what is going on the waiter simply roll his head and say –“Ahhh madam, very bad monkey in kitchen”. Right, monkeys in the kitchen, not your typical western restaurant problem. I’m glad this place only serves vegetarian foods!
As my departure morning arrives, I get picked up well before sunrise to make it to my 6.30am train.
Peace, Love and Patience