Thursday, April 15, 2010

The Ruins of Hampi

This is post #100 of our blog, and as we said in our previous announcement of our return to the US on June 10th, we're having fun in Hampi. Hampi has been a nice surprise. It's touristy, yes, but given that it's somewhat of the off-season it's not overrun with tourists. I think the temperatures in the low 100s are part of the reason for it being the off-season, but despite the heat it's been a fun couple of days here.

Hampi is a World Heritage Site encompassing ruins from the 14th to the 16th centuries when one of the largest Hindu empires in Indian history lived here. Together with piles of huge boulders it has a very "other worldly" vibe to it. In fact, the landscape reminded us a lot of Joshua Tree National Park in California (minus the 500 year old temples). There are also rice paddies and banana plantations along the river around the small village of a few thousand people.
From Hampi
From Hampi
We payed a rickshaw driver to take us on a three hour tour which was a pretty good deal as it allowed us to see a lot of the ruins that are outside the main town. Renting bicycles is popular here, but in the 100 degree heat we decided to pass. Also, even though there isn't a ton of traffic we were still nervous to rent a motorcycle or scooter as the roads aren't in very good shape and there are a lot of hills and curves.

A cool part of the tour was at one temple where we got to feed the numerous monkeys that were climbing all over the relics:
From Hampi
We also climbed a hill on the outskirts of Hampi to catch a beautiful sunset from the hilltop temple. It felt nice to go for a little hike, the views from the top were outstanding:
From Hampi
In other news, we used an Internet Cafe to file an extension of our taxes which gives us until October 15th to file our returns. And we did a lot of research and planning for the last two months of our trip. We also booked our next two train journeys within India. Tonight we leave for Goa on an overnight train (we'll see how that works out for us) and then next Thursday we take a 12 hour train ride from Goa to Mumbai. Then we fly out to Cairo on the following Sunday. It will be nice to hit the beaches of Goa for a few days. Hopefully we can find some relief from this heat. We encourage you to look at all our photos from Hampi.

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