Magical Hampi (Karnataka, India)
After 5 hours from Shimoga, I reach Hospet in a public bus that runs across the villages. I have not met any non-indians since days, on the bus I have once again many nice conversations and I was told detailed family stories. Apparently, tourists do not take these buses. During the trip, it became gradually drier, after over a month on the coast in the rainy season dry clothes would be simply dreamlike. Many Indians had told me to go to Hampi, I’m curious what awaits me. From Hospet it is only a short bus ride, still I am the only backpack traveler. After arriving there, some Rickshaw drivers are fighting for my attention. I take one of the quieter and let me get to a cheap hostel with roof restaurant, my room with basic bathroom costs 250R, without bath it would be only 150R, the low season has its advantages.
Hampi village was a large construction site in August 2012. I am told that illegal buildings near the big temple had to be demolished. It is hot and dry, finally I can dry all things. There are only a handful of tourists traveling, daily Indian tourist groups come to the temple.
Every day, I simply walk into another heavenly direction and follow some paths. There seem to be temples everywhere, often I run long without meeting someone. The temples are all breathtaking. I meet some monks and praying people and watch them fascinated. Sometimes I get a bit lonely but I am kindly approached by Indian families and spend a little time with them. The whole area is so incredibly quiet, again and again I make long breaks and just look around.
In the evening in the Guesthouse often the electricity is out, then all guests meet with candles on the roof and I get to know some people. In my room it is very lonely at night, my cell phone did not survive the rainy weeks and back then there was no wifi anyway. I read typical books from Hermann Hesse and write diary. Sometimes I do yoga in my dark little room.
Every morning the elephant of the temple is supposed to swim in the river at 8:15 am, I am there every day, but I always miss it. On the 4th day I am already there at 7 o’clock and wait until 9, then it finally comes. In the evenings, many people from the village meet at the river to wash and bathe together in the sunset, afterwards the long towels are laid on the warm stones to dry.
One day I cross the river and lend me a bicycle, I do not dare to drive alone with a scooter. On the other side there is a large lake on the dam and a great white temple on a mountain to which you have to climb 580 stairs. The monks make music above and the monkeys look into the wide landscape. On the road I drive with more goats and cows than with other vehicles.
I let myself be persuaded to a small boat trip in a round reed boat, the nice driver shows me abandoned temples on the river bank and tells me stories about the god images. Farther down the river I am invited by a family to have lunch at the edge of the field, I retaliate with sugar cane juice and beedis, the Indians laugh whenever a girl like me smokes these Indian cigarettes. Anyway, they do not understand why I travel around here alone. In the end, we even visit the great world heritage temple together, a pity that they do not speak English, otherwise they could have explained to me something about this beautiful place!
On a lonely walk a shepherdess gives me a flower and scrawls something into my notebook. We do not speak a common language, but still spend a few moments together. In such moments it is magical to be alone.
On the last evening, the electicity is gone for hours and I can not pack my things, so I go to sleep early. The next morning the power is still not back, or already gone again. I shower in the dark and press all my things in the backpack. When then also the buses strike I’m getting a bit annoyed.
Hampi is beautiful! I would love to hear what you think about it.