. OnHiatus.com > Journal 1 > Day Index > Journal Entry: April 6, 2001

Friday, April 6, 2001
Bangalore to Hampi, India
India's FlagKarnataka's Flag

Map
Hampi, India:
Latitude: 15° 20' 9" North
Longitude: 76° 28' 35" East
Altitude: 1062 feet
From Seattle: 9804 miles
Lodging: Hotel - Shanti Guest Lodge

Map
Today's Travel:
Country: India
Region: Karnataka
Route: Train 6592: Hampi Express: Bangalore - Hospet; Bus: Hospet - Hampi
Path:Bangalore - Hampi, India
Linear:199 miles
Weather: Sunny

Available Photos:

Giant festival cart Hampi, India

Temple elephant procession Hampi, India

Temple elephant procession Hampi, India

Temple elephant procession Hampi, India

Temple elephant procession Hampi, India

Giant festival cart Hampi, India

Ruins Hemakuta Hill, Hampi, India

Ruins Hemakuta Hill, Hampi, India

Ruins Hemakuta Hill, Hampi, India

Temple flag Hemakuta Hill, Hampi, India

Temple flag Hemakuta Hill, Hampi, India

Ruins Hemakuta Hill, Hampi, India

Bats Ruins on Hemakuta Hill, Hampi, India

Bat Ruins on Hemakuta Hill, Hampi, India

Temple flag Hemakuta Hill, Hampi, India

Elephant frieze Hemakuta Hill, Hampi, India

Banana trees Hemakuta Hill, Hampi, India

Ruins in banana trees Hemakuta Hill, Hampi, India

Banana trees Hemakuta Hill, Hampi, India

Temple Hemakuta Hill, Hampi, India

Temple Hemakuta Hill, Hampi, India

Brightly decorated temple Hemakuta Hill, Hampi, India

Ruins Hemakuta Hill, Hampi, India

Ruins Hemakuta Hill, Hampi, India

Ruins Hemakuta Hill, Hampi, India

Ruins Hemakuta Hill, Hampi, India

Bull shrine Hemakuta Hill, Hampi, India

Ruins Hemakuta Hill, Hampi, India

Ruins Hemakuta Hill, Hampi, India

Ruins Hemakuta Hill, Hampi, India

Ruins Hemakuta Hill, Hampi, India

Ruins Hemakuta Hill, Hampi, India

Shrine with drainage Hemakuta Hill, Hampi, India

Ruins Hemakuta Hill, Hampi, India

Temple Hemakuta Hill, Hampi, India

Sasiveralu Ganesh Hemakuta Hill, Hampi, India

Sasiveralu Ganesh Hampi, India

Sasiveralu Ganesh Hampi, India

Sasiveralu Ganesh Hampi, India

Kids on Sasiveralu Ganesh Hampi, India

Ruins Krishna Temple, Hampi, India

Ruins Krishna Temple, Hampi, India

Columns Krishna Temple, Hampi, India

Ruins Krishna Temple, Hampi, India

Elephant steps Krishna Temple, Hampi, India

Ruins Krishna Temple, Hampi, India

Ruins Krishna Temple, Hampi, India

Eroded frieze Krishna Temple, Hampi, India

Ornate roof Krishna Temple, Hampi, India

Eroded frieze Krishna Temple, Hampi, India

Ruins Krishna Temple, Hampi, India

Ruins in banana trees Hampi, India

Banana Picker Hampi, India

Banana Picker Hampi, India

Village woman Hampi, India

Lakshmi Narosimha Statue Hampi, India

Lakshmi Narosimha Statue Hampi, India

Badavilinga Temple Hampi, India

Lakshmi Narosimha Statue Hampi, India

Lakshmi Narosimha Statue Hampi, India

Lakshmi Narosimha Statue Hampi, India

Lakshmi Narosimha Statue Hampi, India

Me Hampi, India

Temple Hampi, India

Shrine Hampi, India

Shrine Hampi, India

Column Hampi, India

Ruins Hampi, India

Ruins Hampi, India

Shrine Hampi, India

Ox with painted horns Hampi, India

Scarecrow Hampi, India

Shrine Hampi, India

Ruins Hampi, India

Frieze Hemakuta Hill, Hampi, India

All photo images © 1997-2000 Anthony Jones - Images may not be used without prior written approval.

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Map
Trip Stats to Date:
Day: 1457
Linear Dist: 275386
Countries Visited: 75
Regions Visited: 284
More stats...
Hotels: 584
Friends / Family: 338
Camping: 130
Hostels: 262
Transit: 99
Other Lodging: 13
Beers: 4563
Hide...

Journal Entry:
It was less than five hours, but it was a very good deep sleep - unusual for me on a train. In Hospet I caught a cycle rickshaw across town to the bus station where I only had to wait twenty minutes for the bus to leave. An interesting thirty minute ride and I was in Hampi. We passed a very strange cemetery on the way. Some of the tombs were made of cut rock with big gaps - not sealed at all. Other graves were shaped like a body as if there were only a couple inches of dirt. But weirdest was at one end where the bodies appeared to be sewn in white cloth and left on top of the ground!

In Hampi I walked to the guest house I wanted to stay at. I'd chosen the Shanti Lodge - more because of the name (it's the same as my favorite place in Bangkok) then the good write-up. On the way I passed a large number of people working on a giant cart - the wooden wheels were being rimmed in steel and must have been 12 - 15 feet in diameter! The cart itself must be greater than fifty feet high. The guest house is great - primitive, but clean and a very nice atmosphere. I hung out and had a delicious banana apple cake for breakfast and talked to people - there is a big celebration coming up on Sunday - hence the giant cart (to be pulled by elephants) - and I'm going to miss it by hours.

It was starting to get very hot and I've only got two days here so I set out to explore some of the ruins. On my way passed the temple I just happened to pass a small procession - a painted elephant, and elephant shrine, several deities, and many drummers and horn players - fun! I'd set out for a couple hour walk figuring I'd come back and rest for the hottest hours. A good plan, but I got lost and ended up being out for more than four hours. Hampi is fantastic - it's in a mostly flat desert with a great topography of giant, out of place boulders and striking rocky hills. There's a river which is surrounded by shockingly bright green banana plantations. Best of all there are ruins everywhere. There are the big important ruins, with their constant stream of tourists, but pick a direction and walk a hundred yards and here are deserted ruins that are almost as nice, or maybe even better you can have all to yourself. It's like the other great ruins I've been to - a Capadocia, Palmyra, Petra, or Angkor.

From the nearby temple (Virupaksha Temple) I headed up Hemakuta Hill. A rocky hill just to the south of the temple. The hill is very striking - a large rock, scattered with giant boulders and many dozens of ruins - mostly comumned madapams, but several buildings, and at least one multi storied stone structure. In several of the building I found bats roosting and would invariably scare them away while trying to take a photo. There were also stunning views down at the Virupaksha Temple and it's flags, and of the shocking green of the banana trees. There is also a brightly colored garish new temple - complete with aluminum foil decorations.

As I headed down the other side of the hill. I passed the so called Sasiveralu Ganesh - a beautifully carved, large, monolithic statue of the elephant god Ganesh. There were a couple of kids trying to be annoying but they were too cute and good natured to be effective. I took a picture of them with the digital camera and both them and their mother were fascinated with being able to see their picture on the LCD. A little further and I got to the Krishna Temple - a large ruined temple and courtyard with some great carvings and gates - I especially liked the organic decaying feel of some of the friezes. From the Krishna Temple I followed a road through dense banana trees. After a short walk a giant head dramatically appeared above the trees. The giant four armed, lion headed Lakshmi Narosimha Statue. This was one of the busier places I went to but even with a fairly consistent stream of people (all Indian) it was still easy to find time to have it to myself. There's also an unusual, very large linga (the phallic emblem of Shiva) in a water filled temple next to it. From there I just wandered along some of the many canals, exploring small ruins and active shrines that I had to myself.

When I got out the map I realized that I had gone in the exact opposite direction than I had planned so I wandered back to Hemakuta Hill and headed the other direction. After a delightful (though very hot) walk through some banana trees, and through several small villages (where I saw a man standing in a canal washing an Ox - a strange sight, I don't think I've ever seen anyone washing a cow before) I ended up back at the Krishna Temple! No idea how I got completely turned around again. At this point I was tired, sunburned, and completely out of water, film, and memory (for the digital camera) - it was time to go back to the guesthouse.

Back in the room I tried to rest in the stifling heat that the fan just seems to emphasize. I ended up going through the digital photos until dusk. Between my real camera and my digital camera - I'd taken over one hundred photos today - even after discarding most of the digitals I still have seventy-five! At sunset it cooled off just a little and I went for a walk through the nearby Virupaksha Temple. It was interesting as the preparations for the festival were still going full speed - lots of strings of lights, decorations of woven palm fronds and banana leaves, and temporary structures being built and painted. My timing was interesting and no matter how I tried to escape I seemed to be followed around by this little torch procession with an ungodly loud horn - they were going to each shrine and in my haste to escape I just happened to turn the way they were going - every time. After the sunset I tried an Internet cafe but it was so slow that I gave up. I had an Ok diner at a recommended place down by the river - the highlight was watching an elephant getting bathed. I hung out in the guesthouses courtyard and talk, read, and ordered a cake for breakfast (Trying banana apple tomorrow). I considered getting up to watch the sunrise tomorrow, but decided I couldn't hack it - and I'll almost certainly see the next days since I have a 5:15 train.

I really like Hampi. The people are very friendly, the streets are attractive and ancient looking - paved in giant stones - there are the usual hassles, but even they seem friendlier and more good natured. Even the kid are easily distracted from their demands for "One school pen". I'm thinking about staying an extra day to see the festival. This is the India I came to India to find. Or as another traveler said it's "Fairy tale" India. The beauty, spirituality, friendliness, value, and even the heat (which is the major drawback) were all what I expected to find in India before I came.


Related Sites:
US State Department Consular Information Sheets: India
CIA - The World Factbook: India

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