Happy in Hampi

Trip Start Mar 29, 2007
Trip End Sep 30, 2009

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Flag of India  , Karnataka,
Monday, March 30, 2009

Another weekend in Hyderabad = Another chance to do something outside of Hyderabad.  Don't get me wrong, I'm very happy in Hyderabad, but given that I don't have much time left in India, I need to take advantage of every free weekend I have and try to see some more sites before I run out of time.  So...I made the decision this weekend to visit Hampi which has been recommended countless times by my friends who have been.  You can read more about Hampi here if you wish.  Coming along with me on this trip was a friend from Monster.com, George and his family.

For this trip I had to take an overnight train from Hyderabad to a small town called Hospet.  Our train left around 9PM and arrived into Hospet the following morning at 7AM.  We managed to polish off a few beers on the train which made sleep a easy chore.  Up early the next morning we were picked up at the Hospet station by a waiting car that George had booked to take us all to the hotel.  Our Hotel was called Hampi Boudlers and it was definitely the nicest place in the area.  It had amazing grounds and basic accommodations, but it's location was perfect and food amazing.  After cleaning up we arranged for the hotel to take us to the main Hampi area for some site seeing.  I decided to hang out with George and family for this first day, but the remaining days I was going to do my own thing.  The hotel SUV took us to the main River that bisects the older part of Hampi from the more new part where a lot of the guest houses and hotels are.  Why are they bisected you may ask?  Because the old historic part of Hampi is a dry (no alcohol) area given it's religious significance.  The other side of the river however is not dry and thus the main choice for most of the guest houses and hostels for the backpacker scene.  Because we were on the "wet" side, we had to pay a boat operator 10 rupees each (about 20 cents) for the the 30 second journey across the river.  Once on the other side we were dropped smack dab in the middle of the ruins and did some touring around the main sites.  I'll let the pictures speak for themselves, but the highlights were getting blessed by an elephant, tormenting the monkeys, having lunch at Mango Tree (awesome place) and climbing to the top of a nearby hill with George for some amazing views.  Back across the river to catch a ride back to the hotel where a nice cool pool was waiting for us.  Dinner was uneventful but good.  Another couple from England is also staying at the same hotel so new friends were made.

The next t morning we were off again to visit more ruins in Hampi.  I guess I should mention that the ruins are quite spread out so getting around the area outside the main strip is a bit difficult unless you have a bike or rent a auto rickshaw and driver for the day.  Because I wanted to do my own thing today and explore some of the more remote ruins, I said adios to George and family, rented a motorcycle and headed out for the site seeing.  It's bloody hot in Hampi this time of year so the breeze generated by driving around on the bike was welcome relief.  I saw quite a few sites today and met some other expats from Bangalore while having lunch at the Mango Tree again.  On the way back across the river I saw George and family hanging out and getting ready to head back.  I stopped to get a shave at the local "barber" who gave me the closest shave I've had since puberty for $2.  We stopped on the other side of the river for a couple beers at a local pub before heading back to the hotel.

Our last full day we decided to check out  of the Mango Tree as they wanted to charge us another full day accommodations to keep our rooms for a quick shower that evening before heading back to the train station.  Rubbish we said after some heated discussions and we ended up checking into a cheaper guest house in the main part of town just to store our bags and have a shower before departing that evening.  During the day we went our separate ways again and I saw the remaining places on my list I wanted to check off.  We met up again after lunch and decided to do a coracle boat tour together.  You can read more about coracle's here, but basically is a round raft with slopping sides and a center portion that sits in the water.  At one time they were the only way to get across the river, but now they're mainly used for tourist purposes.  So we all climbed aboard a good size coracle and headed off with our captain (a 17 year old kid) paddling away.  He showed us some cools sites along the river including an area called "1001 lingams" that really did have over 1000 lingams.  After the tour, we headed back across the river to our "new" guest house for showers and cleaning up before catching our 12 hour overnight train ride back to Hyderabad.

Hampi was amazing for many reasons...the incredible scenery, the ability to get lost and feel good about it, meeting other travelers and the food at the Mango Tree.  I would also say the Hampi Boulders hotel is a great find...but the fact that they got a little cheap on us the last day was a bit of a turnoff.

Enjoy the pics!
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