Friday, 12 August 2011

The Hampi Experience

As I awaited my eager anticipation of what Hampi would be, I began the journey boarding the morning train, the loud sounds of Indian life greeted me, the smells of spices that flavoured the stall foods ignited my senses and the crisp morning Goan breeze waved me goodbye. We sat in our A/C seats and quickly became involved in conversation with an Indian family from Kerala. Sabath welcomed us with great conversation and plenty of stories and questions, this led to four hours worth of conversation, a shared breakfast, group pictures and an invite to go and stay with the family once we reach Kochi. We even spent one hour learning the local language of Malayalam...second most difficult language in the world! We eventually reached Hampi to be greeted with a warm dry air that shadowed the sunshine around the place, then taking a tuk-tuk into the bazaar we searched for affordable (budget of course!) accommodation. Thankfully...we arrived at Thalik Home Stay, an amazing place to stay whilst in Hampi. Kishor greeted us and pleasantly 'sold the room to us', after many techniques applied in the art of bartering we settled and headed to his friends restaurant across the track...the chillout awaited us! Here, we settled on the cushioned floor seats, ate well and soaked up the sunset in Hampi with chilled sounds glazing the air, lanterns soothing the ambiance, all to ensure that I literally feel asleep laying on the floor of the restaurant...amazing! The next day entailed a foot trail around the bizaar and Virupaksha temple, greeting the monkeys and taking in the sights. The following day was a more unconventional approach to seeing the ruins...on a pink bicycle, accustomed with its on basket and all. We rode around all the temples and ruins, taking in some exquisite sights and gaining so many memories, one of which was the experience in the afternoon. After visiting the Vittala Temple, I was greeted by three young Indian girls asking for a photograph with me. Now it is not that I am a 'celebrity' or so I can is quite a common occurrence, that many Indian people have asked for pictures with me, a 'White Western Woman'. We then engaged in conversation to which we learned this meeting at the temple was a family gathering and they insisted that we joined them for lunch. So...we spent the afternoon by the river having an picnic with a family of 40, enjoying the traditional Indian foods and eating correctly with bare right hand and bare feet on the floor...what an enchanting experience this was for me. Hampi was so enchanting in a spiritual sense, that the way of life almost calmed my inner self to reflect and appreciate and indulge within the beauty that is around me, whether that be in Central India or Liverpool...this is something that will stay with me forever.

Me and the local 'Magic Men'

Temple Monkey enjoying a snack
Exploring Hampi on a bicycle

Enjoying lunch with our Indian friends at Vittala Temple

Eating the 'traditional' Indian food

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