Leave UR Mark Interns go to Hampi

Coming to Bangalore through Leave UR Mark isn’t the easiest thing you’ll ever do with busy work weeks taking up a good portion of your time.  Weekends are the perfect opportunity to take in more of what India has to offer and Bangalore’s central southern location makes it a brilliant base for exploration.

Hampi was one names that sprang up and we arranged a trip by taking advantage of night buses. We are big night bus fans. It’s a convenient way to travel, if you have a long journey you might as well do it at night so you can sleep through it, but just be weary of the slams. By this I mean that when the bus goes over the many bumps and pot holes which dot the roads your likely to find yourself rise almost completely from your bed and the inevitable crash which follows can range from painful to hilarious! A little tip, watch your head and stay on the bed.

Once we arrived in Hospet, with sleepy eyes adjusting to the early morning sun, we were greeted with the usual crowd of rickshaw drivers eager to get our custom. After some quick negotiations we were on the 10-15 minute auto ride out of Hospet towards the small town ofHampi. We squeezed the 4 of us into one auto and for Rs.200 we made our way to Goan Corner Guest House.  Even before reaching Hampi I was snapping away with my camera at the incredible scenery. This is probably why my camera battery didn’t even last to finish that first day. We soon found that everywhere you look in Hampi there’s a photo opportunity.  We arrived at Sunny Guest House just in time for breakfast.  And what a breakfast! We were continually delighted with the food coming from the kitchens at the Goan Corner. In fact no one ever wanted to eat anywhere else!
Sunny Guest House in Hampi

After our belly’s were full, off we went back across the river to explore. We decided to take up the offer of Rs400 for the day of sightseeing with an auto driver. The gamble paid off and he took us to all the major sites. Although you could have maybe walked, in that heat and with all the walking you do around these sites, we really appreciated the sit down in between. For the entire trip we were in awe of our surroundings. Gigantic boulders littered the hills and were covered in small temple structures dotted here and there even in the highest and most difficult to reach peaks. But whilst you take in the scenery, you’re distracted time and again by another temple site coming into view. There’s a new one round every corner and we would have struggled to be selective without the guidance of our driver.

It’s difficult to describe each one or to generalise but with each one you’ll get to experience some of the Vijayanagara, Chola, Deccani Islamic and Dravidian architecture displaying the civil, military and religious usage of these buildings. This UNESCO World Heritage site is a must see. From a distance these buildings bring to mind images of ancient Athens, the tall columns and majestic grandeur harking back to a civilization with much to be proud of. You can only wonder how these architectural wonders would have looked throughout the various stages of this area’s history from its earliest settlements to its time as major centre and once capital of the Vijayanagar Kingdom from 1336 to 1565. From then it was ransacked by the Deccan Muslim confederacy, history staring out at you through the varying architecture and destruction, the missing roofs and the staircases that lead to nowhere. 

Continuing our sightseeing on the way back to the guest house, we took a coracle boat ride around the river. The very nice man heaved us against the tide up the river, taking the time to take us right up to riverside temples we would have otherwise no doubt missed. From there it was a mini adventure making it back to the guest house with smiles on our faces.

The next day we rented motor bikes and stayed on our side of the river venturing off to the waterfall and lake. Some people clearly taking relief from the heat, were swimming in the lake waters and there was even a friendly local with a box of crisps and drinks selling out there to the remote pockets of tourists.  The second day was far more laid back.  Tip: Spend at least two days in Hampi. Yes, you could squeeze a lot of it into one day but I’d say get out of the city and take the time to breathe in the Hampi air. By the time you leave you can only ever hope to be half as chilled as the locals!

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