Thursday, September 24, 2009

Did someone say adventure? Hampi Day1 Episode1

I was totally unprepared for Hampi and boy how unprepared was I!

Alighting at the Hospet station, we had to take an auto rickshaw to get to the Tungabhadra river banks. Our idea was to cross the river and get an accommodation on the "other side" of the river. Sam had visited the place before and she was more or less the tour operator. As we were going, I was able to catch a glimpse of some of the ruins. Being a history buff myself, I was getting too excited to get up close and personal with the archeological sites.When we inquired the auto rickshaw driver as to the ferry timings for taking to the "other side "of the river, he said, they exist from 6 am to 6pm. Now when Sam had come before the ferry ran till 2000 hours. Having the services cut 2 hours prior would not be a bit tight in case we wanted to roam around a bit more. When we reached the river banks, Sam said, we would relax for the day come to this side to see the ruins the next day. I said, we could give the day to visit the sites on the "other side". Then she said, there was nothing much on the "other side", it just gives the laid back feel thanks to the cottages and huts. Whatever I had read about Hampi, never gave me the picture that there was nothing of importance on the other side of the river. Somehow all websites and blogs and travel portals I visited gave me a feel that the ruins were equally dispersed on both sides of the river. I felt a bit crestfallen, because I am a touring tourist :) Rest is not my idea when I come to a place like Hampi for sure. But when I learnt that on the "other side "of the river, rest was what was primarily done, I felt disappointed. But then I was a bit curious as to what lay on the "other side", so did not want to spoil the plan to cross the river either.

The ferry that came up was a motor boat to be precise and a pretty decrepit one at that. Once we reached the "other side", we were hounded by people advertising their cottages/hotels. We checked a few and then got into Hema cottages. They are small huts, cottages is a pretty fancy name I think for the amenities they have. You get the bare minimum, cots, fan and a bathroom and if you regard network for your cell phone and electricity as bare minimum - you do NOT get them. Yep, its a veritable village and many things we city breds take so much for granted are unknown there. There is a daily power cut from 8 in the morn till noon and again from 5 in the evening till 8. In between it has its whims and fancies and comes and goes at will. I was a bit taken aback by this wanton electricity supply. None the less we somehow refreshed and went ahead for breakfast to a nearby hotel.

The "other side" as this side of the river is called is a proper hippies getaway. Here lot of foreigner especially Israelis abound. And there is a slow pace with which things go on. The food here is divine and we did gorge on some awesome continental and Israeli cuisine. But all the while I was yearning for the history that I was missing :( So I said it might be a better idea if rather than staying till the next day in the guest house, if we checked out in the evening and crossed the river. That way we would be able to start early on the coming day and complete the share of sight seeing. Sam was more inclined to taking the lazy way out and being on this side of the river, generally relaxing, eating good food and spending the time doing nothing. K played the perfect devil's advocate and said, If we were going to check out of the guest house, rather than waiting very long, it would be better if we did so sooner, like 4-5 in the afternoon so that we would have time in hand to search for hotels. Else if we decided to stay on this side itself, it would be better to check out around 12 the next day so that we would do some sight seeing at least. He was like coming that far and not doing any sight seeing at all might not make much sense. After a lot of debating we decided, we would finish breakfast, go for a cycle ride and check the ruins that lay on this side, come back, refresh, finish a late lunch and cross the river.

Breakfast done, we started on the cycle trek. We had an awesome time! There was a gentle breeze flowing and we had the sun screaming down on us. We were sweating like proper rustic folks and we were getting one hellova tan too. The hand beyond the shirt sleeves were nearly turning black! But it was some feeling. At points when the road was a downward slope and we did not need to paddle, wow! When we were all drenched in sweat and suddenly there would be a waft of cool wind, bliss! On the way a bunch of school kids hi-fived us, suweeeet! We intermittently stopped under shaded parts to rejuvinate and gulp some water. K at one point got rid of his tshirt and used it as a turban - a la pukka rural tam ishytle, and Sam and I were sure jealous of him. But we urged him not to strip further cos he was not a proud possessor of the body like those Israeli hunks ;) He teased back saying, we were not any close to the damsels either else we too would have started shedding. The banter thus went on and we had no idea how far we had cycled. We had reached a village called Anegondi - which K insisted on calling Anaconda :D

At that point we decided to just turn back and head home. It was a 50 mins solid ride home. On the way, we just stopped at a point where the river was a bit shallow and went down. It was divine to soak our tired feet into the cold water.

This time we gave a ride to another group of school kiddos who were walking back home. In a nearby stall we all shared some soft drinks with the kids.

Once we returned to the guest house, we realised how very tired we were and how very tanned we were :) It was already 1500hours. By the time 3 of us freshened up and headed for the place for lunch it was 45 minutes past. Now as I had said, the "other side" of Hampi is for lazing around. We made it very clear to the waiter, that we had only an hour to spare since we did nt want to be late for the ferry. We ordered stuff which would get ready sooner. But inspite of our urging him to move things faster, inspite of our coaxing and threatening to cancel the order, by the time we got done it was 1730. Everyone else was sipping their beers, smoking their cigarettes, lolling on the mattresses as if they had alllll the time in the world. And we three were gulping our food as if we were having a heart attacwith K giving the time by the second. At a point I said "Stop it! The wall clock is right in front of me and I see the darn thing ticking and moreover I wear a wrist watch too which you dont and I am inclined to seeing that and getting more NERVOUS!"

We scrammed out of the place and ran towards the river bank. It was 1750 then. We saw the ferry being parked a bit further, not in the designated place. Dont know what sadistic pleasure the ferry drivers get by making their customer wade through ankle deep mud when they can very well park in drier places. One good old man showed us a narrow pathway to get to the ferry. It was very narrow, a bit unsafe and slippery(because of people having walked on it with wet feet) and steep downward incline. With Sam and I having 2 heavy backpacks and K a travel bag, we started climbing down.

We had climbed some paces only when we heard the engine of the ferry rev up. We got franctic. Sam and I started shouting Bhaiyya! Bhaiyya! and started flailing our arms to make the boatman stop....


Abhishek Khanna said...

This is really bad ending.. atleast complete the sentence na :(

ok come back and write the next part soon!

The ferry waited or it went?

It seems i am visiting this place just by reading your blog.. ekdum mast second by second description :)

Satish Nagasubramaniam said...

You can seriously try your hands on taking a mega serial, as you throw so many suspense in your writing :) You are tempting me to go to HAMPI.

Jack said...


Totally engrossing. It seemed as if I was there with you all. And what ending, suspence. OMG, what happened then?

Take care

PS : Posted last part of the series today.

Amrita said...

@abhi, Satish, Jack - Honestly it aint boring or getting too much into the details?

Jack said...


What did I say in my comment? " It seemed as if I was there with you all ". So how do you feel your account is boring? Please go ahead and tell the rest soon.

Take care

Abhishek Khanna said...

i feel the same as jack.. as if i am there by just reading ur blog..

episode 2 please

Ashma said...

awesome narration.. :) waiting eagerly for the next episode..

Featured Post

Business with acquaintances

I have always found it weird having to interact with people I know personally in an official setting. But I have had innumerable such scen...