On day 2, we decided to discard the bike-like thing and rented actual bicycles to explore Hampi for the rest of our stay. But we made a rookie mistake – we rented bikes on the other side of the river, so we had to carry them across to the other side on the ferry (extra charges + frown from the boatman for ferrying the bike across) and then we had to lift our bikes across 5 flights of stairs from the river bank to the road. So basically we were dead even before we started out. The rationale behind renting the bike instead of the moped was that we now officially had no fear of being tanned – because (refer to Day1) we had been burnt black already, plus bikes were cheaper and more fun!
We bought little tourist maps for five bucks which roughly laid out all the must-see monuments and spots. Based on this map, we divided Hampi into three circuits to be covered on three separate days. We had finished the other side of the river on Day 1 (Anegundi, Pampa Sarovara and Anjadri hill). Now, we had two major circuits left, both with starting points at Hampi Bazaar.
We started our day riding through the Hampi Bazaar and I was really surprised to see how people have made ruins their home, quite literally.
At a certain point, while walking towards the Vittala Temple in pursuit of the famous stone chariot, we were convinced we had lost our way. We were also convinced that we were being followed by two murderers; two
black fat murders! But we weren’t too worried because a) they were fat, so we could outrun them [Yes, in life threatening situations, I can run] and b) because they looked just as lost and clueless as us.
Anyway, our pictorial map told us that King’s balance was on the way to Vittala temple so after a long walk, we were happy to spot it. This 5-meter or so tall ‘balance’ was apparently where the king used to weigh himself with gold, gems, silver and precious stones and have them distributed amongst the priests. You can spot three loops on top of the balance, into which the balance actually hung.
Anyway, after about an hour of walking in the hot sun we got to the very famous : Vittala Temple – the star attraction at Hampi.
This whole structure has been made out of stone. Really incredible! According to mythology, Lord Vittala is a form of Lord Vishnu. Garuda is the vehicle of Lord Vishnu. This Stone Chariot once contained the icon on Garuda, though the shrine is empty now.
We got back to the guesthouse at about 3:30 in the noon. We had until 7Pm to turn in our cycles for the day. So the plan was to have lunch, nap for a while (very necessary!) and then set out in the evening and explore the village side till sunset.
My friend was feeling a little unwell so at about 5:30 in the evening after chai, I set out on my own to explore Virupapur Gaddi village. I stopped for a while here (picture below) – Achyutshrama Water Duct. Known for its peculiarities, Vijayanagara architecture stands out even in its irrigation structures. This structure – Achyutshrama is the remains of a giant aqueduct (Bukka’s aqueduct) located in Anegondi (Virupapur Gadde area).
While getting back, there was an upward slope that I had to ride across and enter the path to my guest house. It had been a while since I’d cycled and was finding this patch particularly difficult. But I was being my adamant self and was trying to cover this patch without getting off the bike. While struggling with the paddles, I heard a little girl laughing and I looked up. It was this little kid in the picture below who found my cycling efforts very amusing. I found this tiny little thing so intriguing, that I quit my bike (well, I was looking for a reason to anyway) and went to meet her. Her name was Lakshmi and she was sitting with her grandfather outside her home. I sat with her and her grandfather for sometime and she was initially very suspicious of me. So she barely spoke and I kept chatting with her grandfather knowing well that she was taking her time to gauge me. Little kids are very perceptive that way. The Kannada they spoke was very different from my Kannada but we still managed. After a while, Lakshmi grabbed my hand and took me into her house. :). With a few shy gestures, she introduced me to her mother, brother, uncle and her cat. The funny thing and perhaps the cutest part is, that she didn’t ask me anything about who I was. She was just happy to bare her world to me. :) No expectations at all.
“The silence often of pure innocence persuades when speaking fails.” William Shakespeare.
So true. :)