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A Ruin or Two

and a whole lot of boulders...

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Our next stop was Hospet, which apart from being renowned for it's sugar production is really just a junction town that people pass through. It took us ten and a half hours to get there and it was the first long haul bus trip we have done in India. There was a lady on the bus that we exchanged a few words with, she was dressed in very brightly coloured clothes and had more bangles, rings and necklaces on than I could count. We saw a few women dressed like her at the market in Anjuna, I am not totally sure what the significance is but there was a sort of gypsie quality to her. We arrived in Hospet late and after avoiding the many tuk tuk drivers offering their services we found a bed for the night. As you have probably gathered we did not travel all that way to visit a bus terminal, we came to visit Hampi, which was a further twelve kilometers away and the site of the capital city of the Vijayanagar Hindu empire that rose to conquer the entire south in the 14th century. It is a site of desolate temples, compounds, stables and pleasure baths, surrounded by a stunning boulder-strewn landscape.
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We walked up over a large area of flat rock in order to get a good look out over the surrounding countryside which is punctured by clusters of palm trees and of course more of these massive boulders.
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The statues at Hampi were carved out of single boulders, for example this one of Ganesh which sits in a temple on the site.
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Unfortunately the area has been "touristified" to some extent but in the midday heat it does provide a convinient way of seeing the extensive site, i.e. a tuk tuk tour. That said you do feel like you're being shepherded around as you disembark when you're told to and then wander around a bit and get back in. However there are some impressive ruins to explore, mainly lots of temples that despite there crumbled state do give you a good sense of the grandeur they once possessed, and how they imposed upon the landscape.
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The architectural feats that were achieved all those years ago was also highlighted in the water tanks that were constructed. Both practical and aesthetically pleasing.
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In order to see the first temple we had to remove our shoes, which was a little disconcerting given the general cleanliness of the area but we did get to see an elephant and lots of monkeys.
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After our time at Hampi we returned to Hospet, which really is a bustling little place. As I said there is nothing very notable about it but there are enough places to find some decent grub and we had an ok room. It was in a lodge rather than a hotel and we got the impression that people tended to stay for quite some time, and in effect lived there. Another feature was 24 hour checkout which meant you pay for a full 24 hours after arriving which provided good value for money. So we made full use of our time there before embarking on the next leg of our journey to Bangalore. Which is where we are now and so far so good.

More soon,

Laura and Adam

Posted by LauHot10 01:59 Archived in India Tagged round_the_world

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