Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Call of the stones

It was early this year when three of my friends heard the call of the stones of Hampi along with me and we decided to make a visit there. Hampi was the medieval capital of Hindu empire Vijayanagara and not very well known tourist place in India. Lots of people were interested to know where the place is and what is there. Today Hampi is listed as one of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

Bus from Mumbai to Hospet takes little more than 12 hours. There are good hotels in Hospet, but it takes time (also money) to go & come from Hospet to Hampi every time. Therefore, we decided to stay in Hampi. Though there’s no star-class hotel there, the available ones are the backpackers’ accommodation but suits good for those who really have the urge to see the place from inside. It was difficult for us to find a comfortable place, if not good, as we didn’t book our accommodation beforehand. Finally, by around 2 O’clock in the afternoon we were able to park ourselves.

‘Mango Tree’ – the restaurant you just can’t ignore when you are in Hampi. Authentic local food and in ethnic style makes ‘Mango Tree’ unparallel. But there are few other restaurants who serve English breakfast and Italian stuff, but unfortunately all vegetarian stuff. Hampi is considered to be a sacred place and therefore no non-veg food is allowed there. At the most, you can get egg curry at places officially.

First day of our trip was limited to Virupaksh temple and the great formation of stones at Hemakuta hills which is just beside Virupaksh temple. We watched the fantastic sunset from Hemakuta and found an Argentinean gentleman playing flute…it was splendid!

Next day we took an auto-rickshaw which took us to Vitthala temple, Tungabhadra River, Queen’s bath, stepped tank, etc. After visiting all these, we found roaming with rented two-wheeler would be much easier rather than hiring auto-rickshaws. The next day we took 2 two-wheelers which were cheap and we kept on traveling in our own terms. It was the last day in Hampi for us and we wanted to see the sunrise from the hilltop. We started early in the morning, almost dark and parked our vehicles at the base of the hill. Then it was a tiring trek to the top but surely it was worth it. We enjoyed the first rays of the sun on these historic stones which might have experienced this kind of morning for million years!

The stones were placed on each other in such precision that it feels like someone did a very complex trigonometry to fix these stones so that they don’t fall down. Natures creations make our jaw dropped in every turn in Hampi.

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