Hampi in 3 Days

Day 1:
We took the Rajhamsa overnighter from Bangalore to Hampi. This is a direct bus but a better choice would have been a Volvo to Hospet and local transport to Hampi which is 12 km from Hospet.

Haggle it >>>>
As soon as we set foot in Hampi, guides and rickshaw drivers stalked us like any typical tourist spot. We walked past them to figure our way to Padma Guest house (try this number if you want to book 08394 241331) which is just around the corner of the street, haggled with the landlady Padma (as Chetan had hinted me to bargain prices), checked in for Rs.350. But I feel the price was not a bad option considering I am not the foreigner who would take a room for Rs.50 and soak in the culture.
Lazed around for a while, freshened up and went to a local restaurant for poori and meals for brunch. These local restaurants cook outside facing the street and serve inside. Maybe it s a Hampi thing!

Virupaksha Darshana, prayer begins the trip
Then we walked to Virupaksha temple which is at the end of the same street. This is also a temple of the Vijaynagar empire from the 7 th century AD but is a very live temple, in the sense that there is still prayers and worship in action.
After 20 mins, we decided to rent a kinetic honda and ride to Vittala temple, also a 7th century temple which has the grand Stone Chariot. Btw you can rent bicycles or mopeds and roam around Hampi rather than pay Rs.100 to auto drivers. Kinetic Honda would as expensive or more but then it is fun.

Walk the temple trail >>>>>
We rode along the path following the sign boards to Vittala temple but the road ended soon and we had to walk the rocky path along the river. Crossed Kodanda rama temple on the way. It is about 1-2 kms walk but enjoyable as you walk along the river. There are even boats to give you a ride till the Vittala temple where again you get stalked with super high prices like a tourist.
Vittala temple was very impressive. The stone chariot is really grand. The best thing about Hampi is that its a civilization where people like us lived. Its not a washed out culture like Maya or Inca. Actually if you have visited Tajmahal or Golden temple, you can relate better. I personally felt Tajmahal was beautiful but I couldn't feel the soul like I felt in Golden temple. It is the vibe you feel in the place about the soul of the place. For all the years of textbooks which spoke of the Grandeur of Hampi, I felt the taste of its legacy and it was amazing!

We got back around evening in a richshaw. We were totally exhausted in the sun to walk back 2kms so took the rickshaw ride for Rs.100 which is 7kms route. I would have loved the boat ride had the boatman not put up his price.
In the evening we rode to Mango Tree restaurant for dinner. You sit on a mattresses on the floor and eat on a low table. I loved this relaxing thingy and the rest of the evening too.

Day 2:
Had breakfast at a local restaurant but couldnt enjoy the idlis and mirchi bajji.
We checked out of Padma aunty's guest house and took the boat ride costing Rs.5 to the other side of the river. This is called Hampi island and is mostly the hangout of foreigners who just relax or go climbing rocks. Here again we got stalked by a guy who offered to guide, offered rickshaw ride etc etc. Even as we talked among ourselves that the place might not be far to walk this kid commented "you walk and you will know how far it is". I just wanted to kick his extra smart butt and push him into the river.

Virupapura, breathe in the paddy fields >>>>
We ate at Umashankar Guest house. Again a good place with the mattress seating and concrete rooms. Then we hired moped and rode to Goan Corner (as friends from Bangalore had suggested it to be a good place). This ride was so bumpy, I felt like we were destined to fall off. But somehow rode in a weird zigzag all the way to Goan Corner amidst the fields on one side and rocks on the other. A beautiful yet struggly ride. Goan Corner was under construction and we quickly went back to check out Mowgli and a bunch of other Guest houses before we decided to haggle and settle down at Umashankar guest house for Rs.300.
Relaxed till evening and rode the moped to the lake for sunset. Was a good ride and a nice lake. A good bet if you are staying on the Hampi island.

We met 2 Spanish guys at Umashankar when we came back. Had a good chat as we shared a drink with them. One guy was a Biologist who had travelled across Europe and to Morocco. He said the food is twice as expensive and stay the same price in Morocco as compared to India. Now this is a trip I can think of, for some day when I can afford a ticket.

We went to Mowgli for dinner, where we met a group of bikers from Bangalore.
It even rained at night and Hampi was a lot cooler as compared to the first days scorching sun.

Day 3:
Sasivekalu Ganesh
Had a relaxed morning, some good brunch, some more lazing on the jhoola outside out room.
Had a bath checked out finally. Took the boat to the other side of the river. Had lunch at New Shanti Restaurant and Italian bakery. This is on the road behind the Virupaksha temple. The ambience is psychedelic. Some good lasagne and lemon tea for a late lunch and then we dumped our backpacks at Padma aunty's and walked up Hemakuta from the Virupaksha temple side. Also saw Sasvekalu Ganesha on the way (which means Ganesha in a mustard seed, but the masive structure was nowhere similar). Hemakuta sunset was very pretty. But the sun seemed to set a lot higher than the horizon. Just left me wondering.
Came back and went to the psychedelic restaurant again for a snack then took a bus to Hospet.

What a fun theme!
Dine 5 Star in Hospet, Pay 1 star >>>>
We had 2 hours in Hospet. It is a neat town which is fighting for District status. We went to a Krishna Palace, which seemed like the best hotel in town, to kill some time. The prices was alarmingly low. Rs.90 for a Diaquiri! The bus ride to Bangalore was on the worst VRL bus I have ever been on. The road from Hampi to Chitraduga is very bad and bumpy and Chitradurga to Bangalore is smoother. In any case, Volvo is a better bet to Hampi.

But I still feel I can comfortably go back to Hampi for many more weekends have a lot more places to visit like Hazara Rama temple, Elephants Stables, Lotus Mahal, Queen's bath etc etc and maybe do some climbing and relax on the Hampi Island.


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