Hampi... Kind of reminded me of the Flintstones. I say this because the scenery, stunning as it was, was lots of bolders-mountains that had broken into hundreds of huge rocks, at times I really felt like I could walk into a dinosaw at any minute!! Well I geuss that's a bit of an exageration but you get the picture! :D
But before I tell you anymore about Hampi, I have to tell you about the bus ride there. There were moments were I actually feared for my life... Sleeper bus+top bunk (that it cut in 2 so you can lift it up to open the door!) +only one bar to hold you in-not good when you are short! and me was not a great combo!! I don't often get travel sick, but I really didn't feel too great after/during this journey and honestly of all my travels this was the worst nights sleep i've had- even more so than the night in Goa with the rat!! We rolled about and it was super hot. Also it did not help that I was wearing a skirt!!! Not great when you have to climb a ladder with a load of Indian men starring up at you! We arrived in Hospet- a town about half an hour from Hampi and some guys were shouting "toliet break" excellent Elly and I thought as the bus had no loo and we'd been driving for the whole night without a break!! So off we got and as we came out the guys were shouting run, run, your bus is leaving!!" What he should have said is "your bus has left!!!" Thankfully Liv had stopped it further down the street. We hopped in a rickshaw and got back on the bus safely! :D
After all the events of the bus ride we made it Hampi. As we got off the bus onto the main bizzare (a really, really wide street lined with shops and the like) about 20m in front of us was what I can only describe as a wall...of people. They were a mix of rickshaw drivers, agents, hotel sellers, map/postcard vendors. You name it they were probably there. Not one of them moved towards us though as our bags were unloaded off the bus. The police gaurd kept them at bay for at least that long.
It was then as the last bag was unloaded, I'm sure there must have been somesort of signal because the wall charged!! It ran towards us at full speed, each individual racing to the tourists who had got off the bus. Honestly it was one of the funniest things I have seen!!
"Come stay here, I give you good price" "Rickshaw madame" "Where want to go?" These were just a few of the things shouted at us a billion times! Hampi wasn't big enough to need a rickshaw to get to any accomodation, we finally gave in to one of the hotel guys after walking most of the way down the street-after all we did need somewhere to stay! The room was nice, good fan, extra matress, working shower.
We collapsed on the bed and slept for a few hours-made up for the previous nights lack of sleep. Rested and hungry we went for food and then hired a rickshaw for an afternoon of exploring. We visited hundreds of ruins-old palaces, temples, forts. It was all very cool and the detail in the carvings was incredible.
The next day we decided to spend the morning exploring Hampi town centre, lots of fun little shops and we walked past some indian ladies having a domestic! The afternoon and evening we spent on a really cool walking tour. We tried green coconut juice...don't- it wasn't a great taste to be honest! We walked though the hills passing loads of ruins on the way and our lovely guide told us all about the history. The sunset was beautiful and as we headed back over the hill towards town it started to thunder and lighting so we were all glad to be back 'in civilisation'!
In the evening we were walking around the main temple and got invited to a wedding of sorts. It was to celebrate the wedding of Shiva and Privati- two Hindu gods. The ceromany was so colourful with amazing music and lots of sari donnations.It was awesome to watch as everybody there was so happy and excited. It was the start of the festival.
The next day we were due to leave mid afternoon but we changed our tickets to a later train because this way we got to stay for Hampi's biggest festival of the year.
A town of ussually 3000-4000 people became a centre of pilgrimage for 30,000 locals from the surrounding villages. People had travelled for days by cow and cart to get here, whole families arrived and slept under the stars in the main bizzare as it turned from a quite, relaxed place to crowded and full of excitment. Seeing people from tribal areas was very cool and as ussual we were the centre of attention with our photos taken here, there and everywhere.
Our day began super early-5.30am!!! We got up and I imagined all the streets to be empty and quiet. They were not. Even for so early everyone was waking up and starting their days. Women were cooking, children we playing and the weather wasn't too hot yet. We walked the length of the bizzare to the end and in front of us was a giant hill. We began our climb with our mission in mind. Get to the top for sunrise!
And we did, considering how high up we went it didn't take that long at all. Glad we didn't do it in the middle of the day though-it was so hot climbing just in the early morning!! At the top there was a temple and we climbed onto the roof and picked our seat. It was pretty foggy but it didn't really matter. We did some yoga and took heaps of pictures, a few hours later we headed down to the main temple. It was huge and pretty amazing! We qued for a while to get in and buying tickets was chaos-it was like being at some crazy market trying to buy the last thing left or something... I don't but it was really really squishy and busy! Inside the crowds were much more spread out and Liv and spent most of our time watching the temple elephant-she was very spoilt! Hand fed bananas all morning. It was funny watching her because if you put a donnation into her trunk she would give it to her owner and then pat you on the head!! It was really funny watching everyones' reactions. She also was given a coconut with she put under her foot and cracked!
After some breakfast we spent the morning looking around the festival. There were huge sweet stalls and shop after shop after shop of bangle stores. It was fun, there was a great kurta (long top) stall, where ever we looked we were soon followed by a huge crowd of people watching our every move!
Lunch came and went and then we headed out to find somewhere to stand for the parade...
There were people everywhere. Everyone was excited and cheering. Two huge chariots stood at either end of the bizzare (one for Shiva and the other for Privati). A temple elephant marched up and down and then these huge chariots which were taller then the trees were pulled with ropes as thick as tree trunks by at least 50 people were pulled towards each other. If that wasn't enough whilst this was happening, everywhere you looked instead of people throwing confetti to celebrate the wedding everyone was throwing BANANAS!!! Honestly I've never seen anything so bizzare and random in my life!! The steets turned from a kind of yellowy sandy colour to black and brown banana mush! It was alot of fun but a huge waste of bananas I couldn't help thinking.
After all the madness we retreated to our room and got ready to leave. It came to time to leave and then it passed and our rickshaw still hadn't arrived. All the streets were blocked because of the festival so we ended up having to leg it through town to get a rickshaw from the other side. After a long, squished but never the less enjoyable journey we arrived at the train station, ready for our next adventure to Bangalore to begin...