Humble Hampi

Trip Start Aug 12, 2010
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133
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Trip End Sep 23, 2011


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Where I stayed

Flag of India  , Karnataka,
Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Hello all,

Before we made our way to Hampi we spent two nights in Mysore - which was a complete waste of time. The filthy, noisy town of Mysore has nothing on offer apart from the Maharaja’s Palace, evidence of its regal heritage. When we arrived in Mysore our accommodation was fully booked so the owner recommended an apartment. Online the rental holiday apartments looked great but as this is India we soon realised our standards were way, way too high. In reality the apartments were nothing like the online pictures and to make things so much better, they were located in the middle of nowhere. We were stuck one night in this grubby apartment block that was still under renovation - on hindsight not the best idea but once we were dropped off by the owner as we were far from town and no-one really understood that we had to eat at some point. But after venturing out we found a restaurant about 30 minute walk away and luckily we were being picked up the next day by the owner and we could move on to Hampi the following day.

Expectations were low about Hampi after mixed reviews from people we have met along the way. But to be honest it is one of the best places so far in India. The town itself is tiny and dusty, and has a grimy feel. At the time of our visit, the bazaar had all been knocked down, we heard a rumour of a bomb, which by appearances was believable. However, after some research we found out that the government had a court order for the demolition of the bazaar and the homes that have been there since the 1950s because they were encroaching illegally on the ruins themselves. People had turned the ruins and pillows into homes and shops, painting the ruins and damaging them. The Hampi bazaar now suddenly looks empty and a bit of a ghost town. With Hampi becoming one of the World Heritage Sites, an overall plan to revive the market was created with the intention of restoring it. But the entire clean-up drive has come in for criticism from archaeologists and historians from all over the world.

However across the river the landscape is the complete opposite; absolutely stunning. Our accommodation was simple, circular stone cottages (very bare and needs major renovation) but the view could not be beaten, and maybe even possibly the best view we’ve had on the entire world trip.

Our days in Hampi were spent bike riding through the giant boulders, ruins, palm groves, rice paddy fields and banana plantations. On our ride we also passed a school which was swarmed with monkeys, just imagine how the children would react to that in Chafford??? I tell you one thing, I don’t think they would be interested in playing football with Mr. Rudduck. We also visited the 16th century Vittala Temple, the highlight of the ruins.  As we walked through the ruins we passed a tree in the middle of nowhere where hundreds of bags of rocks were hung from the branches. This was very spooky but we believe it is because the tree is worshipped and sacred.
Hampi is a difficult destination to reach for those just visiting India for a couple of week’s holiday. There is no airport and is a 12 hour bus journey from Goa, and from Fort Cochin only possible if you go through Mysore, a journey we had to do in a couple of days. But if you can make Hampi a stop in your itinerary it is definitely worth it. A highlight so far in our India journey.

Lots of Love,

Hollie and Thomas x x x

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