Hampi in Ruins
On Saturday we took the day to cross the river and explore the ruins of Hampi. Like I mentioned previously, there are over 1200 temples spread across over 10 square miles of land. There are a few ways to see the land: rent a bicycle, rent a motorbike, or take a rickshaw. Our initial plan was to rent motorbikes for the day. Rachel and Emily were eager to learn and Anna and I were eager to be the passengers. Upon actually test driving the bikes, the ladies did very well. Anna and I laughed as the Indian man ran behind the bike saying “slow, slow, brake.” However, it got tricky when they tried driving with another passenger. They found it difficult to steer and keep balance at the same time. In the end we decided to ditch the bikes out of safety. We walked down to the river and took the boat over to the other side where we were bombarded with rickshaw drivers trying to give us a tour. At first, we decided to simply explore by foot…and later picked up a rickshaw for the day to hit all the spots were wanted to see. Here were some highlights:
Virupaksha Temple, a place where locals still come to give offerings to the gods on a daily basis. Monkeys climb up and down the mighty structure carved with Hindu gods.
Vitalla Temple is considered to be at the epicenter of Hampi’s attractions. Vittala is a form of Lord Vishnu. The halls are impressively carved with tall pillars and intricate details in the ceiling. But my favorite part was the tree outside. Look at this beauty!
Queen’s Bath is literally where the Queen used to bath all day long. It is said that the king loved two things; his queens and his elephants! Can you imagine having this huge pool to yourself all day long to bask in the sunlight and fresh water!?
Lotus Mahal is actually one of the nonreligious structures and was used as a socializing area for women in the royal family. This structure was left virtually undamaged after the siege.
Elephant Stables is just like it sounds. 11 domed chambers where the elephants were kept! Wow! I love how beautiful the domes are. It was amazing to stand within them and image gorgeously decorated elephants standing in the same place. Instead, I decided to be an elephant!
Satisfied with our tour of temples we finally took a break for a late lunch at the most well-known restaurant in Hampi, the Mango Tree.
Walking down a small dirt pathway lined in banana trees, the excitement grows. And upon arriving, you can tell that this place is not just a tourist spot. Locals, families, internationals…peoples of every race and age were waiting to get into this place. But these were advanced businessmen; they got us in with in ten minutes, changing over tables like crazy. Walking into the restaurant you immediately see the river ahead lined by boulders. The seating is tiered and shaded by flowered trees, creating a perfect view for everyone.
We ordered a hummus platter with roti, fresh vegetables. The hummus was deliciously garlicky! We also got two curries, coconut curry and cashew curry. Both were chalk full of vegetables and delicious spices, but I loved the crunchy cashews the best. To end the meal, we relaxed against the cement back wall drinking lassis. My lemon-ginger lassi was a perfect refresher for the afternoon.
I loved watching the families eat. There was a large Indian family in the nook in front of us. It made me yearn for a large meal with my extended family too. Fortunately, I traveled with three of the most amazing ladies and sharing meals with them make me feel at home. Rejuvenated for the afternoon we walked to the bazaar to do some shopping. The prices are much higher her but we were still able to barter for prices. Needless to say, we all walked away with purchases.