In the morning I tried to sleep in but it is just to hot. I haven't been sleeping to well in the heat (last night at two AM it was still 90°F!) so I'm already exhausted when I get up. I had a chocolate banana cake for breakfast - good, but not as good as yesterday's banana cake. In a futile attempt to beat the heat I set off down the bazaar (which seems to have mostly recovered from yesterday's festivities - I expected to see mounds of rotting bananas). About half way down the bazaar (this must be the tenth time I've walked the bazaar) I realize that all the shops and houses on the street have been built into the row of stone ruins - it's just that the nicer ones have been plastered over and painted so you can't see any of the original stone work. I'm not sure how I felt about that. At the end of the bazaar I headed up the old main road - a large, steep, series of stairs up over a hill - passing the obligatory many shrines and ruins, and a small mountain with some kind of temple or Ashram at the top - it was too hot for me to climb up and explore (though there was a constant stream of Indians climbing to and from it). On the other side of the hill I got to the ruins of Achyutaraya Temple. Except for one security guard and an Indian family I had the temple complex to myself. I took a lot of photos and harassed the bats trying (unsuccessfully) to take photos of them. The central temple has a sunken hallway the runs along the outside of the central shrine's walls it looks as though originally there was a canal and fountains (or maybe they're just elaborate drains from the roof) that ran along the hallway floor). This is where the bats were - quite close, I got within a couple feet of them. It's amazing how ingrained it is that they're scary - every time one took flight my heart would race - even though I know they're harmless. I made friends with the Indian family with the digital camera - they were amazed by being able to see themselves. The only English they spoke was "thank you" and "bye-bye" so I have no idea where they were from. The guard showed me that the columns in one of the mandapas are the musical kind - each is carved with a bar which produces a different note when struck by your hand - neat, I'd like to see the temple played!
I followed the road of giant paving stones away from the temple complex towards the river. It was starting to get really hot, but I'm leaving tomorrow so this is my last chance to explore - at least I remembered to put sunscreen on today! I stopped at Sugriva's Cave, a temple in a cave where Sita's jewels were supposedly hidden by Suriva when she dropped them while being abducted by the demon Ravana (as chronicled in the in the Ramayana). My expectations weren't met, it was not very impressive - just a crack with some crude shrines - there are much better carvings in random rocks along the road (or sometimes on the road). I little ways beyond I went by an Indian man carving graffiti in on the other temple ruins - I went off on him. I don't think he understood a single word I said, but he was obviously proud of what he was doing until he figured out that I was mad about it - then he looked properly ashamed. I continued down the road which was running parallel to the river a couple hundred yards away. I walked past the King's Balance (supposedly where the king was weighed against jewels and gold at festival time) - now just a stone frame), lots of random temples and the remains of other stone structures, until I finally got to the Vittala Temple. It cost US$10 to get in (only 10 Rs for Indians), so I debated going in - on the one had it's only ten dollars and it's on UNESCO's world heritage list, on the other hand it's nearly six nights accommodation! I wander around some of the outlying ruins then decide that it's a world heritage site - it would be stupid not to go in. Inside it was very nice - pretty much the same as all the other temples, but more concentrated and perhaps a little finer work. The only drawback is all the guards, guides, and Indian tourist, the temple isn't crowded, but every time I lifted my camera there were at least three people running to get in the photo. It got to be very annoying. The main Mandapa here is famous for it's musical columns - even more elaborate than at the last temple. Each column had several bars carved in to it - each one producing a different note - so one person could actually play a simple tune. There is also a large carved chariot in the middle of the complex. The detail is amazing - originally the wheels even turned!
I walked back along the river bank . There were tons more temple ruins on both sides of the river, the ruins of a large stone bridge, and many riverside steps and platforms (ghats?) carved into the river boulders. The path ended and I had to scramble among and over large boulders. It was fantastic - there were shrines and lingas carved into random boulders in odd spots. So I'd climb over a large boulder or squeeze between two and find a surprise. Many of the carvings were really spectacular, others could barely be seen anymore.
Near town I came to a long gallery of temples and structures (maybe an old bazaar?) one of the temples was either newer, or just well maintained, but it was still being used and there were lots of people around. Including a lot of sadhus who I would have loved to take photos of, but I was out of change and I'd feel guilty if I didn't have something to put in their bowls. On the far side of the bazaar I followed the path through a cave in the boulders and ended up back on the riverside road which took me back to the Hampi Bazaar. In the bazaar I had another confrontation when I saw a guy throw a rock at a dog walking by and he and his friends laughed as the dog limped away obviously hurt - I picked up the rock and threw it at his feet and yelled at him, but they just looked confused. Right then I was pretty much over India and ready to leave. I settled down a little as I walked back through the busy post-festival market place - I must have had a scary expression on my face because no one approached me. On the far side of the bazaar I picked up my train ticket - which I was starting to worry about, and then was back at the guesthouse after almost five hours of hiking.
I was pretty well exhausted - very very hot, and have blisters on my feet. I sat and read, then went through the digital photos I'd taken - even after deleting more than half of them I'm going to end up with more than 60 photos for the day. In the evening light I set out with a pocket full of change to take photos by the river, but my feet hurt and I quickly lost my motivation, so I hit the internet cafe, and then had a long diner. I was going to go back to the Mango Tree restaurant but I really didn't want to walk that far so I ate at new place - the food was very weird, but good. I spent the evening reading in the courtyard, then took notes for my journal before crashing early.