Day 3 at Hampi
We had planned to explore the ruins of the Vijaynagar Empire today and were already firm about hiring a cycle for the same. Considering the advice of our homestay owner, I booked two cycles before 8 am (Alternatively, you can also book an auto or take your car to explore these ruins, but the best experience is indeed cycling). We started our cycling adventure by around 10 am asking the tour guides for the way.
I guess it was knowingly (seeing the crowd) that I ignored the main turn towards the Lakshmi Narasima temple, our first halt, and moved ahead. After cycling for almost a kilometre on that meandering, smooth road leading to Hospet and surrounded by lush full green fields, we realized that we have lost our way. We asked few people for the direction and took a U-turn. But despite of being lost, there was a smile on both Megha’s and my face. Probably we both were thinking the same thing – the fun of getting lost in order to explore not only the place but the new you.
The entire day went exploring the majestic place and beautiful carvings. We explore various temples but according to me the best places to explore are – The band tower and the palace ruins around, the Hazara Rama temple, the Elephant stable, Queens Bath and the stepped pushkarni near it.
We had cycled for almost 16 kms when we reached Vitthal temple (our last destination for the day), the temple known for its musical pillars and the stone car. Unfortunately, since the main interiors of the main temple were under renovation, we could not explore the pillars. The temple itself is magnificent yet serene. Probably, on any other day when we had fewer people around, Megha and I would have preferred sitting at one of the secluded corners talking and discussing life, but indeed not today.
On our way back, completely exhausted, we asked people for the closest route to Hampi Bazaar. Since it was already 5, we decided not to go for the sunset at Malayavanta hill but rather go back to the homestay and rest. The policemen guided us to take the route from behind Vitthal temple which was just a 2 kms stretch. It was ideally a walking route but they informed us that there are just few steps where we will have to lift our cycles. When they assured us that route was ok for cycling. We agreed to take it .
It was an experience I cannot forget. The narrow trail from behind the temple which was some half a km stretch lead us to one of a huge boulder at the river side. Moving further on this boulder we cae across a temple at the banks of the river. There was a food stall outside this temple. People told us that from here on, there is no way to rider the cycle but there were few steps ahead that would take us near the Hampi Police chowki near Matanga Hill. We moved towards the steps. For a moment we both were clueless, stuck as to what do next. Then we decided, there is no going back but further. We lifted our cycles and climbed down those 5-6 steps stairs that lead us to a pathway, while the people were busy staring at us. The pathway then took a turn and hidden behind those two huge boulders, were some 10-12 steep steps leading us up to near Matanga Hill.
Two police men and a villager, who noticed our dilemma, came forward to help us. While not completely relying on them to carry our cycles, we just asked them to help us lift it if required.
We managed to climb those steps with some help by them and then we rode to this open wide landscape leading us to the bazaar. With a sense of achievement of not giving up, we cycled back, now with pride and enthusiasm.
While my day ended with a good body message at an Ayurvedic massage centre right inside our Home stay (Hamsa Guest House), Megha went to view the sunset at the Hemakuta Hill again.
Our morning started early that day. Manideep, one of a fellow travellers whom we met a day before, had strongly advised us to view the sunrise at the Matanga Hill. Thus, we headed to the hill at 5 am in the morning. Local people suggested us to wait and leave after 30 mins as there was still time for sun rise, but Megha and I took the risk of going there in the dark. When we reached at the foothills, luckily we met a family from Bangalore waiting for the police man who had agreed to guide them up to the sunrise point. It took us roughly some 30 mins of climbing those gigantic boulders to finally reach a point form where sunrise would be visible. We decided to wait at this boulder which just a few meters below the actual point, as we wanted some solitude. This proved to be a good decision as later more and more people came climbing up the hill and we guided them towards the point above.
We settled at the boulder. The wind now was fierce and cold, hitting us on our face. It was still dark so I sat at a rock almost near the edge of the hill but at a safe distance while Megha decided to chat. That moment while I was sitting there alone, I was shivering and unable to speak. Then something within me made me look up and face those strong winds. I then closed my eyes and sat feeling the breeze on my face, my hand were now out of my jacket and slowly I started loving the coldness around as it touched my skin making it feel so fresh.
I sat there with my eyes closed, lost for some time and then I when I opened them, the darkness was gone. Though the sun was yet hiding behind the clouds, I could see the ruins of the majestic empire below. The tint of green around the brownish ruins, as if giving an outline to the entire view, and the river flowing by added to the beauty of the landscape.
We sat there for another 30 minutes when we finally saw the yellowish orange tint rising from behind a cloud. In some 5 minutes, the sun revealed itself, round and orange, neither too bright nor too dark. While I tried clicking a panorama via my phone, a thin cloud came in front of the sun, dividing it almost from the middle. The cloud was dark while the sun was pure orange. It was indeed a beautiful sun rise.
Later while I played some music, Megha felt like dancing on one of the rocks. We had our own fun time sitting there as if we were the only two in this world around us – we and the beautiful sun rise. (I had taken a conscious decision not to take my DSLR with me. Though I regretted it for some time, but later just thought of enjoying the moment rather than capturing it. I hope my words did some justice)
The Last supper
Every place that you travel, you take a part of it with you and leave a part of you behind.
I had many wonderful experiences, met new people, made new friends, explored my own self and got an anklet that I was searching for since long. So the question that hovered on my mind while we were waiting for our lunch at the Tibetan Kitchen was – what is it that I am leaving behind here in Hampi?
After having our lunch, while Megha was waiting for her desert, I was clicking some candid pictures of the restaurant owner’s daughter. She noticed it and came running and sat next to me. She then very smartly covered the lens with the lens cover which was kept on the table. While doing so she observed my diary kept on my camera bag and asked if she can draw something in it. I gave it to her and for next 15 minutes we were busy drawing.
When I finally told her that I need to leave, she gave me the diary back and noticed my waist pouch. Her instant response was, “Tum mujhe ye doge, mein tumhein paise deti hun” (will you give this to me, I’ll pay for it) and she showed me a 10 rupees note. I smiled and started to empty pouch. There was a smile on her face when she realised that I am willing to sell it to her and hence she put the money in my pocket. I gave her the pouch along with the money. Surprisingly she refused to take it back. I smiled and said, “Rakh lo, the bag is a gift from me” (Keep it, the bag is a gift from me).
She was very happy and said “Aap Kal Bhi aaoge na?” (Will you come again tomorrow?)
I was leaving from Hampi in another hour or so but I told her yes, kal milte hai (Yes, we will meet tomorrow).
When I left the place, I smiled, I left a memory behind.