You know what paradise feels like? Paradise feels like a breath of fresh air with a faint scent of lavender that you breath in while lounging on a swing in the middle of a secluded town, surrounded by temple ruins and streams of water, gushing through lush foliage. When the only music to your ears is the sound of children giggling and playing by the river and the shuffling and ruffling of palm trees on a step farm land. Where all you see in the horizon is the Tungabadhra river flowing like the golden locks of goldilocks, the palm trees that form geometrical patterns of carefully designed triangles AND you have a copy of Shantaram to read with all the time in the world to read it. So, go to Hampi.
My friends and I boarded the SRE travels sleeper bus near Koramangla at 10:30 pm and reached Hospet at around 8:30 am. The buses are so comfortable I can't complain; although, I'd like to take the train the next time around. I woke up at 6 am and sat on the engine at the front of the bus, as my heart skipped a beat every time the bus swerved, narrowly avoiding a near hit. I met some french people who were also headed to Hampi for the weekend. We talked about India, medicine, France and croissants as we cruised to the breeze from the overhead ventilator.
We took auto rickshaws that brought us to the entrance of the big temple next to the river - where we hopped on a boat that crossed over to the other side and looked for a place to stay. Hampi is incredibly hot during the day, but the evenings cool down just nice.
If you plan to go to Hampi, make sure to go to the Virupaksha temple and the Vithala temple. You can enjoy the silence and marvel at the mono-lithic architectural man-made wonder that can be dated back to the Vijayanagara Empire in the 1300s.
The temples are extremely beautiful. The heat however, a bit unbearable. So in-between discovering the ruins of Hampi and taking pictures with all the little kids, we drank a lot of coconut water to manage the heat.
Here is Hampi in a few pictures.
I know I'll go back someday. Back to the endless fields, to listen to the whispering voices between the temple walls, to the farm we lived on, to hear the occasional bark of the neighbors dog and remember the good times by the river. Because we always want to crawl back to the moment when we felt complete joy, felt immense satisfaction; and believe you me, Hampi does that to you.