Hampi is a place like no other, be it the boulder strewn landscape, the architecture of the temples, hippie island or the mythological stories of Khishkinda Nagri, Hampi is sure to leave you spellbound and wanting for more. Declared as an Unesco heritage site the Group of Monuments at Hampi represent the ruins of Vijayanagara. Hampi is located around 350 kms from Bangalore and takes 8 to 9 hours to reach.
I went solo with Plantheunplanned group to Hampi this September. It was a spur of the moment decision to book this and suited well with the group I was gonna trek with. I did not know anyone on the trip but decided to go anyway!. We were 17 of us and to my surprise, 10 were girls. I was surprised to see how many had come Solo. We left to Hampi from Bangalore on Friday and it was a overnight ride. The trek leads introduced some icebreaker sessions to get to know each other well.
A rocky bus ride took us to Hampi – the land of boulders. It was wonderful walking up to the sunrise on the hills and paddy fields on the banks of river Thungabhadra. We landed in the hippie part of Hampi. We stayed at a home stay with tents. The caretaker Naresh was kind and helpful, made us Hampi special lemon tea, and some traditional kannada breakfast- Ugganni and Upma.
Hampi – The Hippie and Heritage side
Hampi has two parts , one being the hippie side where you have the fun adventurous stuff like bouldering, cliff jumping and coracle ride. The vibe of this place is similar to Goa with people in Hippie clothes- orange, blue shirts with sankrit inscriptions on it, weed sold on the streets, ‘Seeds’ as it is called here in Hampi, cafes to relax which serve continental food, bright stone clad jewellery sold on the streets. The heritage side has temples, monuments and is an architectural marvel in contrast to the hippie part of the town.
They are separated by the river and they can be crossed by a ferry.
The best way to get around Hampi is by a moped. They can be rented easily and suits well to cross the hilly terrain. They cost around 200-250 per day which is really cheap compared to taking autos.
We got on our mopeds and left to explore the hippie island.
Our first stop was ‘bouldering’. We did our warm up exercises and the trainer taught us some grips to use like, half crimp, pinch,stretch, mental. It seemed easy but as you get a meter or two above on the rock, it starts to get scary as you now put all your weight on your toe or your finger and the instructors’ instructions are a life saver.It was scary as hell when you are about to reach the top as the fall is going to be really steep and it was without a harness.
Laughing Buddha cafe
We left to the coolest cafe in town. It had a hippie atmosphere and it was facing the heritage side and the river. The view, the music, the decor made us mellow. We ordered lots of food and relaxed for a few hours.
We left in our mopeds to the dam where coracles were anchored. It was an interesting boat ride and the rider made swirls which made our heads spin. We were wary of the fact that there might be crocodiles on the river too. The ride was short but enjoyable. We spotted a rainbow which made the ride all the more special.
I learnt that day that I had Catapedaphobia -Fear of Jumping from heights. I couldnt bring myself to do this until the end. We jumped with life jackets from a cliff that was sort of a floor or two high. I was scared out of wits especially since a friend of a friend died cliff jumping in Hampi three years ago. 16 of them jumped except me. Guess I needed to get over the incident or of my phobia.
It was amazing to see how people just jumped off the cliff into water. They recollected the experience as scary and frightening and that it was a long time between the jump and reaching the water. Guess I need to really practice on “Taking the plunge”
We left to the campsite after sunset.
Night trek and Campfire
We decided to go on a short night trek. We took a detour after things dint span out well.
We were introduced to Mr. Gali Durgappa. With the slogan “I love Hampi. I eat Hampi. I sing Hampi,”, he entertained us with his songs around the campfire. He played guitar, sang a song on Hampi and south Indian breakfast.He also played instruments from Australia and Africa. We sang some songs around the fire.
I was totally exhausted from the days activities that I went to my tent and fell alseep.
I had the best sleep in ages, body pains combined with exhaustion, under the trees, in a tent, with a cosy sleeping bag; I fell sleep in an instant.
Heritage side of Hampi
We took a ferry ride across the river to the Heritage side of Hampi. We visited the Virupaksha temple and Vithalla temple.
Virupaksha temple was built in the 7th century. It did have a lot of langurs- A big monkey with a black coloured face. We paid our darshan inside the temple. We strolled our way around the temple discovering the merchandise sold- Old coins (1 pice, 1 annas, 10 paisas), which costed 20 rs per coin, which was 2000 times its actual price. We had some local treats like salted amla and goli soda. We left to the Vithalla temple.
This was what I had pictured Hampi to be like, the broken temple. Always wondered why they hadn’t rebuilt it. Realised it seemed just beautiful this way!
Vithalla temple is where the sculpted chariot is located. It has quirky pillars which make various noises when struck like a horses gallop and sounds from musical instruments. We found the famous Bison-Elephant carving and some interesting sculptures. We couldn’t see the Lotus Mahal, Too bad we were out of time.
It was sure a long road trip back home when we left at 2 PM. All of us fell asleep due to the exhaustion. We woke up at 4 PM and we had more than half of the journey ahead of us. We we struck on the highway with no place to eat. We kept stopping at places only to find it closed or unhygienic. We found one place which seemed okay and decided to eat our lunch cum dinner there around 5:30. After our stop we continued our journey. We danced for an hour and played an interesting game of mafia for another 2 hours, followed by feedback sessions. We danced to some party hits, the rest of the way back. We reached Bangalore around midnight with fond memories.
Hampi was a much awaited break. Thanks to the Plantheunplanned group for a wonderful weekend
Dont worry Be Hampi!!!
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