2 best friends, not much of research and no planning at all, hop on a bus to Hospet and that’s how this epic trip began. Yeah, it may a sound a lil filmy but that’s what we Indians love doing
We got down at Hospet early morning around 7ish and that’s how I started demonstrating my genetic bargaining skills with an auto guy to drop us near the river crossing at a rate just a lil above ST buses. As usual, the fellow didn’t give up and as usual we started walking (expecting him to call us from behind). To not my surprise, he agreed at the rate I quoted and the day started with glowing smiles on our faces for saving some travel cost.
We reached the much talked and heard about a place- the ruins of Hampi. The first look itself appeared like a set of some mythological series. We decided to stay on the other side of the river (“Hippie Island”). As the name suggests, this island is flocked by hippies (mostly foreigners) who stay for months at a time! The main part of the island has this long road – one side of which has all the guest houses and the other side has scenic rice fields.
We were searching for good places to stay (obviously cheap too ) on the basis of bed and washroom benchmarks. We finally found one (Bobby guest house) and again I demonstrated my bargaining skills by convincing the uncle about our cashless situation due to demonization. We had to wait for an Israeli group to check out who stayed there for 3 weeks.
We had some amazing breakfast in the German bakery and checked into our room to freshen up. We then hired a moped instead of bike/scooty ( both for saving cost and experience) and started our day towards exploring the hippie side of the island. We took local help in knowing what’s worth seeing and also took directions from them to reach the places. Started with Anekundi, Chintamani temple, Durga temple, Bali Caves, beautiful Sanapur lake, Nava Vrindavan, Pampasarovar and the most important Anjanadri Parvat (where Lord Hanuman is supposedly born)
The day ended with a foggy sunset and not a great view for photography (for which we were excited). We met many interesting people on the way both the locals as well as the foreigners. And yes, we had an amazing lunch in White Elephant guest house on the way. The night was like lazy and slow here. People were just chilling in cafes having the beer , enjoying music and food. We decided to visit the much talked about The Goan Corner cafe to have dinner. As heard, the place was really good and the food was great too. We spent around 2 hours there enjoying dinner, the place and the free Wi-Fi ( BTW, there is no network coverage in the entire area except for BSNL). Hence, WiFi was like a blessing to inform about our well being and uploading few mandatory pictures
The second day we crossed the river to explore the architecture masterpieces of Hampi. We hopped on the boats, crossed the river and witnessed elephant bathing on the river banks. Few rickshaw vendors flocked around convincing us to hire it for sightseeing. We spoke to one of them ( who seemed genuine) and bargained our deal for entire Hampi sightseeing. We started from the musical temple (Vitthal temple) and the temple was extremely beautiful. We took few photos, understood the history behind it and moved on to all other places. The day was extremely hot and we were happy about the fact that we hired an auto instead of hiring a moped.
We ended our day on Hemkuta hills witnessing the beautiful sunset. We then headed to the market in search of some good cafe we had heard of. Mango tree it was and we spent some time there eating our dinner and knowing other travellers. Crossing the river after sunset was a task as the boat guys charge a bomb and there’s not anything you can do about it. It was 9 pm and our rickshaw driver (most hospitable guy I have ever seen) came to drop us and do some jugaad with his local friends to drop us on the other side of the river quoting a decent price.
The next day we decided to check out and stay in Hampi itself to avoid the late commutes. We had covered everything on hippie island and hence moving to Hampi made sense. We found a cheaper guest house in Hampi and felt extremely happy about it. Our rickshaw fellow once again helped us by taking us to the places which we could not see a day before. He then also arranged a coracle ride ( must experience) for us in unbelievable rates and we enjoyed it thoroughly. We got down on the other side and had a short walk to reach Achyutaraya temple. We explored the temple, clicked few photographs and started our hike to reach Matanga hill. We reached atop Matanga in around 40 mins and were stunned to see the new view of Hampi. Matanga was one of the best places one can experience in Hampi. The panoramic landscapes, clear sky and the horizon it was a perfect Wow moment. We met a Belgium solo traveller there and told her to click a few pics of us as selfie was too mainstream. We then returned the favor by clicking few pics of her as well.
We sat peacefully for about 90 minutes enjoying every color of dawn and seeing the sun set. That could have been the best place to shoot a romantic moment if it was for a Bollywood movie or if you go there as a lovy dovy couple.
We then came down and walked towards the market. We made a new local friend (our rickshaw fellow) who took us to his friends cafe Ravi Rose owned by Mr. Prem. We had food there and he also allowed us to lit our Hooka (best part ) and all of us sat together exchanging cultures. We observed that he wasn’t listed online and hence we helped him to get his cafe listed explaining him the benefits of online presence. He was very happy about it and thanked us for the same. We ended our day early as we were supposed to leave for Badami early next morning.
Early morning we left for Pattadakal and Badami Caves. The drive was awesome and so were these architectural masterpieces. These were UNESCO heritage sites maintained very well and attracted a lot of tourists.
We returned Hampi at around 9.30pm and were very tired traveling the whole day. We got up a little late next morning as it was a leisure day for us and we had finished all the sightseeing (of course, few things were left for next time ). We had checked out from the guest house keeping our luggage at the reception and headed out to the market for some shopping. Our local friend coincidentally turned out to be the owner of the touristy shop in Hampi and hence obviously we got some amazing deals on shopping.
We left Hampi with all the beautiful memories, a lot of learnings from their culture, and a fresh outlook towards earning a livelihood. Those huge boulders, those sacred temples, mesmerizing sunsets, the history and mythology, classic architecture, amazing foreigners we met and the hospitable locals we made friends with were few of many things we could never forget about Hampi.