|Back into Karnataka to Hampi, once a grand Hindu city, but now in ruins after Muslims attacked about 500 years ago. Friends who have been to India before, all recommended Hampi to me as one of the highlights of their travels, so I came with high expectations. Hampi did not disappoint though and my expectations have been met.
There is an almost surreal, magical atmosphere here and the landscape is stunning, big orange/brown boulders and crumbling buildings and temples set amongst the lush green of banana trees. Some of the temples and statues are still in tact and it make for an interesting morning to explore these as well as the more dilapidated ones (just be careful not to do too much ion one day and get temple fatigue as it is so hot walking around).
There are also some amazing sites, such as Hanuman temple set high on the hilltop, spectacular sunrise and sunset spots. Walks along the river offer more opportunities for explorations (and a few more temples just in case you haven't had enough). Also a massive fresh water lake to coll off and have a swim. The atmosphere here is great, very relaxed and we have been living by the principal of "shanti, shanti", meaning to take it easy and slowly.
Staying across the river from the main Hampi bazaar takes us away from the hassle of the shops and rickshaw touts. I am staying with a few new friends I made on the bus journey here. These journeys offer a real bonding opportunity and a great way to meet people.
My one problem during my time here was that I got constipated (this has never ever happened to me before and in India of all places!). Of course no-one has any medicine in their first aid kit for this, so I headed into town and obtained an ayurvedic remedy. I don't know much about ayurvedic medicine and I have always thought it to be quite tame, like a light herbal remedy. Well I was very wrong about this. This stuff is strong and it really really works. After you swallow the pills, that look like black peppercorns, you can feel an almost burning feeling as it works it way down through your body. Once it reached my intestines, the burning became the most painful cramps I have experienced. This went on for about six hours until I finally got my relief.
Very grateful to have people with me during this as it is moments like this that you don't want to suffer alone. My room mate Heidi was wonderful and stayed with me, massaging my back and bringing me water. Interestingly she is the same age as me and like me, is starting a nursing course when she gets back home, so I was in caring hands. I really do think that you meet the right people when you need them.
Moving on from Hampi later this evening. Would be easy to stay here and while away the days, but I have lots of ground to cover in what now seems like not a lot of time. Unavoidable, but will have to pass through Bangalore again on my way down south. Kerala next.