Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Hampi Then and Now

There was one place in all of India that I knew I absolutely had to go to on this trip: Hampi. I had gone there with my dearest friend Amanda while on Semester At Sea in the spring of 2006 and it was one of my favorite places of the whole semester. The setting was beautiful, the ruins were ancient, and we saw only a few other tourists. It was exploring heaven.

Hampi back in 2006
My, how things have changed!! The place is crawling with tourists, both Indian and foreigners. The town has changed dramatically. Somewhere along the line from then to now, the secret of Hampi had been unleashed. Every traveler in southern India goes to Hampi now.

Somehow Hampi has managed to retain much of its charm. The town is a quiet respite from the noise of the rest of India. In Hampi you could spend an entire morning just gazing at the green rice fields, the palm trees swaying, and the rock strewn mountains in the not too far distance. There is peace in Hampi.  

We rented some very crappy motorbikes and visited some ruins. The first bikes we got broke down and we had to wait another day and rent from someone else. Make sure you check the tires and look at the bikes to make sure they at least look acceptable to be riding around on dirt roads.

We dealt with the broken bikes all afternoon (bummer) and then went to climb some rocks to watch the sunset. It was beautiful. The view from the top of the rocks was phenomenal. The sunset was gorgeous. It made the whole day better.

We finally got some half way decent motorbikes and saw the ruins the next day. We didn't pay the exuberant tourist price to get in to see some of the best ones but we were still happy with what we saw.

We also went to see the sunset at the Monkey Temple. It was a popular place to go and there were lots of people, tourists and locals alike. And of course, monkeys were everywhere.

On our last morning in Hampi, we ate our breakfast while watching the local elephant take its bath in the river. It was very cool.

And then we went to Mumbai.

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