Sunday, 28 October 2012

" I fuckin' love this place"




Hampi is without doubt one of the most extraordinary, beautiful and wonderful places we have ever been too. As previously mentioned the place is strewn with these huge boulders amongst the lush vegetation. This makes it feel like a Disney film set. The only downside, and I only mention this because the evidence is still very apparent, is that the main town itself has been virtually destroyed by the government who want to preserve the monuments that had been incorporated into shops, houses, etc over the years. This was a vibrant area known as the bazaar which buzzed with life and made Hampi a wonderful hippy retreat where you could relax after taking in the extensive, surrounding monuments.  Rather than accept that the monuments that had been sequested form only a very small part of the overall architectural wonder and actually made for an interesting piece of living history (there has been a bazaar for hundreds of years). They have made a huge blot on the landscape consisting of rubble, rubbish and ruination. Apparently the site was cleared About 18 months ago and has been pretty much left. This is a world heritage site so they want to preserve the integrity of everything and limit the contact with all of buildings eventually so it all looks lovely. Trouble is there is a blindness in this country to rubbish and dereliction so this could be years before the debris is moved and the goal achieved.

So that little diatribe done with lets talk about the area of Hampi. There are something in excess of 2,000 temples plus the extensive remains of royal palaces and old settlements in the area which is about 7 sq kilometres in which there are some good restaurants and little communities. Ours is just across the river and means we have to get a ferry (carrying 20 people, backpacks and a man on a motorbike where 10 lightly luggage folk would be considered ample elsewhere) to the other side every day. There is also a coracle option operating for tardy travellers who miss the last ferry but we have not availed ourselves of its wobbly service. Our accommodation is a little circular bungalow/hut that’s dark and dingy and constantly having power cuts (although we believe it is the doing of the owner who is a tight arsed manager turning off the main switch to stop people using lecky). We have an outside seating area under a straw canopy and a swinging divan on which we can lie and see the river, sunset and a profusion of animals. We regularly see fabulous butterflys and birds – paraqueets, kingfishers and herons being highly notable; chipmunks and lizards are everywhere and often there is a chipmunk in our room running around above our mosquito net; we have seen grass snakes, huge ants, a millipede that was as thick as my thumb and 8 inches long; there are monkeys everywhere in hampi and frequently they are running over the road or clambering along walls and on temples (jungle book style).

The ruins of Hampi are magnificent, far reaching and virtually empty in comparison to other similar sights we have seen on our travels. Except we have never seen anything like this. Hindu, muslim, Jain temples all in various states of decay. And you can be part of it - walk on them, touch them and sense them. Both Rachel and I feel our hackles rise and a thrill pass through us on the high ridges where the Jain temples are and in the Kings palace. A bit spooky but more likely the thrill of the immenseness and being there to witness it. We are very lucky!

Being as it’s a bit remote we tend to head to bed early and start the days earlier than normal with a chai on the divan. Today however we were up and out just before 6am on a little moped we have hired for £2.00 a day (and none of that insurance, drivers license nonsense to worry about). The roads are empty save a few wandering cows, dogs and friendly waving children so as long as we mind the potholes and cow shit we are OK. We drive to two temples. The first the Monkey temple which is 600+ steps up the side of rocky outcrop. Atop this is granite plateau from which we watch the sunrise to the accompaniment of Hindu chanting which emanates from the temple 24hrs a day. It is again beautiful and serene. Our second temple is upon another lesser hill and the bike struggles to get us up their so Rachel has to walk part way to the little community of monks and villagers. All very twee and we are well received.

Pretty much everywhere we go we are the only westerners and are asked our names, where we are from and how long are we staying in india. So many people speak English because there are many dialects in India and English offers a unifying communication language. Even Hindi families drop in and out of English in their normal every day conversations. This makes it easier than it would be although the strong “goodness gracious me” tones, rapid fire delivery, mispronunciations and confusing yes, no, maybe, torra torra (little little) head wobbles add a little confusion. Still all better than our Hindi, Gujurati etc (3000 variants).

I could go on and on about Hampi. I have gone on and on. But this is a special place (Rachel just reminded me of the bat temple which we walked through to the accompaniment of bats swirling around us in the near dark – stop stop!). So. If near Hampi I say go there and see it. But also don’t go because the more that do the less it will be – Oh the dilemma of it all.

Oh one last thing – promise. Rachel keeps coming out with little nuggets of wisdom or spiritualesque bollocks anyway. Two I recall…

“It’s all very lovely being a hippy and spiritual and finding your self but you never see a happy hippy do you?”

And of my comment that everyone (with a camera) is out there looking for the perfect shot she says “Yes but they won’t find it in the places, its in the people”… Deep!

 

1 comment:

  1. I'm lost for words which you are obviously not, it sounds absolutely breathtaking, you are so lucky to be enjoying such an experience.
    UK H.O.

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