Thursday, January 22, 2009
We're in India now, online hiding from the heat of the day as we await the departure of our train bound for Bangalore (from which we'll transfer to Udupi by bus).
Hampi, a small town smack in the middle of breathtaking ruins from the capital of Vijayanagara (c. 1500 AD, plus/minus a few hundred years in each direction), is a place I could take or leave. It's got all the amenities - internet, travel booking, money changing, guesthouses - everything a traveler needs. It's got some really friendly people; our guesthouse was run by a good, honest family who gave us a fair exchange rate to change money and gave us the low-down on fair prices. The three small restaurants where we chose to eat most of our meals are all run by lovely people. If you look beyond the backpacker cafes, it's got some good food.
But every other business exists to serve backpackers, and there are hordes of them. Fisherman's Pants Wearing Hordes. They wear inappropriate clothing (the men looking like poor farmers or worse, brahmin priests who really need to do a load of laundry, the women wearing shorts and tank tops). They eat crappy backpacker food in India - India, the land of absolutely delicious food - and they walk around at 21 or 22 pretending to be enlightened.
So, ahh, despite meeting some lovely locals, I could take or leave the town.
The place where we ate dinner most nights makes all food fresh and the owner put on the Inaugural address for us:
The ruins, however, are spectacular. Worth suffering the Om t-shirts and peasant pants, the muesli and banana pancakes.
Rather than rave about how amazing the ruins of Vijayanagara are, I'll show you some photos and let the images speak for themselves.
the Hanuman Temple
The Queen's Bath
Giant Nandi and other structures at the far end of Hampi Bazaar
The Underground Temple
Brahmins washing dhotis