The trip to Hampi via the Indian railway would prove to be as interesting as expected! We booked into the sleeper carriage which effectively was after 3rd class and only normally used for people staying over night on the train. It also wasn't a carriage that had air conditioning! We luckily found our seats pretty quickly (on route to the train we passed a control room which literally looked like something out of a museum, really interesting!).
Once on board the train, to say it looked a little 'weathered' would be an understatement... We actually asked ourselves if we thought it was the same train from the British Empire days! Our section was meant for 6 but had about double that, plus baggage! It was a fun experience though. We passed amazing scenery, chatted to locals and got into the thick of it. The journey was fine in the end and we arrived in the adjacent town to Hampi that afternoon.
Hampi was once one of the richest cities in India and a formal capital. It is now nothing more than a village but is surrounded by hundreds of temples, sculptures and carvings. Some in big pyramid type structures, some built into rock and boulders that scatter the landscape and some stand alone temples. Many are not fully excavated but many are amazing.
Our rickshaw driver from the train station offered to take us around for the whole day, to all the sites, including a sunrise from one of the hills for £12! The day was great, fully taking in all the sites and sounds. As with all of India at the moment, it is out of the main western tourist season so therefore we were some of very few western tourists around. It made walking around all the historical sites much more interesting with Indian tourists and locals around as oppose to lots of foreigners (like us!). As in Goa, requests for photos were in abundance!
The temples range in age, many from the 12th century. The thing that sets off Indian temples from many of the others we'd seen, is the intricate carvings in the rock, temples and structures. Also interesting to see were all of the different carvings of the Indian gods that are worshiped.
We continued in Hampi to eat only Indian food, we also tried our first bit of street food, 8 portions of fried food. We still were dubious about venturing into the world of meat in the curries due to very mixed recommendations but the vegetarian food was great still.
One full day around the temples was enough. We also spent time down by the river which locals use for bathing and washing clothes etc... All interesting sights to see.
After a short stop in Hampi we would be moving onto Mumbai. Such a big city would be carnage and would need ages to see it all so we just plan to pop in for a night, visit some famous sites and the night market. The next trip would be taken on an overnight sleeper bus, we've not had a full lay down sleeper since Cambodia!
The heat will begin to increase as we head north, the city confines of Mumbai will increase the heat but the north is said to be near 50oC in some places! Shade and air con definitely needed!