'SHANTI - SHANTI'
Unreal and bewitching, the forlorn ruins of Hampi lie scattered over a landscape that leaves you spell bound the moment you cast your eyes on it. It's giant boulders perch on top of each other, scattered over miles of undulated terrain, set against palm groves, banana plantations, paddy fields, roaming monkeys, temples and ancient sites, while the blues sky and shinning sun creates a magical atmosphere.
We arrived in Hampi after a very eventful journey from Goa, to Madegon where we caught the train to Hosput, 7KM from Hampi Bazaar, were we planned to stay. We met a family on the train, they were from Cochin, Kerala. They were great and for 5 hours they wanted to know everything about us and we learnt all about them. They were sending the youngest son, Sarath (who reminded me of Carlton-'Fresh Prince') to University. He was very funny and he was begging me to take him to England when he finishes university to meet all the girls (remember their culture only allows them to take a girl out when their married). His mum was a head mistress of a primary school and she invited us to stay in their house, cook us traditional food and take us to her school when we arrive in Cochin.
|The Elephant Temple|
We stayed in a place called Thilak, run by a family who have traveling close to their heart. The highlight of this place is having a coffee on the roof overlooking some of the most beautiful scenery I have ever seen; The Virupaksha Temple to the west, the Tungabhadra River to the North and scattered boulder formations all around; its awe inspiring.
We rented a bike a explore the ruins which is about 10Km Squared. We headed towards the queens bath, Vittal Temple, The Elephant Stable, The Royal Palace, and climbed to the highest temple on Matanger Hill (its high and you have to scramble up some very dodgy terrain). The best part of the day was meeting an Indian family from Bellary. Me and Laura had just finished some sight seeing, when a couple of young girls asked tentatively for a photograph, as is normally the case. I agreed, made a joke and was just about to take the picture when within seconds the whole family curiously came into shot. That's at least 40 people. Very funny. The family meet up every 6 months or so and invited us for lunch. What an experience. We ate traditional food with our hands sitting down besides an ancient temple. Indain people want to know everything about you, family, work friends, cricket.... I mean everything and they are so inquisitive. Picture me standing up on one side, with all the men surrounding me and Laura on the other side with all the women and girls surrounding her, each person listening intently to us. Every family has a man who is the head of the family. And at the end he welcomed us into his family and even asked us to stay at their home. They are very humble and beautiful people.
|Welcome to the family|
|Outside the Virupaksha Temple|
|Me & Laura|