Hampi- Remnants of an ancient era (Part 2)

Our enthusiasm and curiosity to explore Hampi had resulted in sore foot and tardiness the next day, hence we woke up late and started off at noon. If we were aware of the sights that awaited us on the other side of the river, we wouldn’t have slept the previous night out of sheer excitement.

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Patches of paddy fields on one side and large boulders and lakes on the other. If this isn’t heaven, I don’t know what is!

On the banks of Tungabhadra river, a ferry service is available that can carry 20-30 people (along with a scooter or two) at a time, across the river at a minimal price. Upon reaching the other side, we rented a scooter and rode west, in the search of Sanapur lake. Unsure of the route (Absent-minded too, since we’d forgotten that we lived in the 21st century and Google maps were a thing!), we asked an elderly man walking by the road for directions but he pointed us in the opposite direction. Taking a U-turn, we rode back, hoping to confirm our direction with another local. A cozy looking café caught our eye and all the neurons in my brain screamed “Fooood”. It was a shack, with a board in front that read “Good Music and Home-made Food”. So, we entered the café, forgetting all about Sanapur Lake.

Now, let me tell you something. All that civilization, architecture and fine art that the Vijayanagara dynasty had built and let go? You won’t catch a whiff of it, once you’ve crossed the river. Which is why, Hippies and foreigners from all over the world prefer to rent huts and shacks on the other side of Hampi.

The tiny café had a few musical instruments (mostly broken) lying around. To my surprise, there was a finely tuned guitar with all its six strings in place. I picked it up and strummed a few chords that I knew. The aunty who owned the café had busied herself in the kitchen and within 10 minutes, an uncle (who, I presumed was the co-owner of the café) popped inside and sat in our opposite table. He patiently waited a few minutes until I stopped playing the notes and inquired our whereabouts. Once upon a time, he worked in the music industry and played with several groups, for several music directors. He was proud enough to proclaim his love for music but was humble enough to accept that it didn’t end well for him. It reminded me that,

Talent, is not genius”- a quote from one of my favorite books- Little women.

On our request he played a few songs, while aunty served us delicious, warm food.

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Dum dum da rum da dum…

The day got interesting when a man named ‘Gaali’, dressed in a loose cotton kurta and jeans, having shoulder length hair and a dark complexion (mercy of the hot sun), entered the café. Gaali runs a musical instrument shop by the river bank, and jams with the locals and foreigners at sunset point. He mentioned that he had a sliver of opportunity to perform at the Hampi Utsava (I hope he did. It must have been wonderful). He sung a composition of his own, written in the honor of Kannadambe (Mother Karnataka).

If you ever visit Hampi, spare your evening to watch the sunset jam, where locals and foreigners gather to play music and sing along.

We bid goodbye to the wonderful trio and made our way to the Anjaneya temple, Anegundi- the birth place of lord Hanuman. A flight of steep stairs (approx 570 steps) takes you to the top of the hill that offers a panoramic view of the landscape. From afar, large boulders appear like tiny pebbles strewn across and acres of paddy fields resemble pieces in a jigsaws puzzle. Later that evening, we took a diversion from the highway and headed to Pampa sarovar (Lakshmi temple)-a world of its own. It’s believed that Shabari, a devotee of Rama had waited for his arrival there. An abundance of Gray Langurs can be found in its vicinity. Unlike its mischievous cousins, these docile-intelligent beings kept to themselves and studied the visitors from a safe distance with a pair of eyes that could probably see through you. In front of the temple is the Pampa sarovar, protected by tall boulders on all three sides.

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Spend a few peaceful moments here and I promise you, you can feel the cracks in your heart mend. (PC: Madhu)

After spending a few calm, refreshing moments there, we embarked on our journey towards the final destination of the day- The Durga temple which is built on top of a hill, surrounded by giant boulders (I was paranoid the whole time that one of them may collapse downhill and would crush me like a grape). Near the entrance of the temple, is a small cave that remains cool throughout the day. It is believed that Lord Rama once took shelter here. A large tree, whose branches were laden with colorful bundles bearing coconuts (as a token of the devotee’s wish), stood magnificently in front of the temple. Paying our respects to the deity, we headed back, as the ferry service to take us across the river would cease at 5.30.

Hastily, we returned the rented scooter just in time to catch the last ferry (which was extended to 6 p.m, thanks to the visiting season) and witnessed a spectacular sunset by the river. That same evening, we moved out to Hospet, collected our Luggage and boarded the bus back to Bangalore.

Until next time,
The Hippie Soul

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