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The City of Ruins – Hampi

“I rest here in the ruins, and realize the ruin this life has become, being lost in the crowd”

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“Madikeri it is, I have 3 days off, my bike is prepped up and the itinerary is ready”, I was ecstatic. My brother had his holidays and I had an itch to ride somewhere and 250kms wasn’t anything worth worrying. But I have this thing you see, when everything seems perfect, reality knocks and how. It so happened that there was a strike in Coorg the next day due to a political situation. Ah these politicians I tell you, don’t do their work, and do not let us escape ours. So my plan was down the drain and both of us didn’t want a half baked getaway. It so happened that Hampi Utsav was happening the same weekend and we readily agreed upon the destination.

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Now it being a famous UNESCO world heritage site coupled with the fact that it was Hampi Utsav, almost all the hotels and lodges were booked and we managed to book the last room available in a certain “Mowgli guest house“. I’d recommend that place to anyone, such a relaxing place that. The ferry rides to reach this part of Hampi is a small treat in itself. We decided to take the cheapest bus to get there vowing to spend as less as possible.

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Now you don’t go to Hampi to relax exactly, you go there to explore the splendid ruins of a rich kingdom, marvel at the architecture and wonder why on earth did they need so many damn temples in the first place. To truly appreciate the beauty of Hampi, you need to brush up on Hampis mythological significance, and I did mine here. I hate going on guided tours, there are time restrictions, no exploration rights and of course, there’s more money involved. One thing to learn from foreign tourists is that they go on their own, take their own sweet time to explore and nothing has made more sense to me, and following this in my trips have given me the most satisfying experience . There are cycles and mopeds available for rent at Hampi, so we either traveled on foot or took bicycles to pretty much all the places. There’s a certain charm in exploring than to sit in a bus along with a bunch of other families which simple put, is boring.

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I won’t go on explaining everything in excruciating detail, the fact that there were too many tourists because of the festival meant that there were people EVERYWHERE. It was frustrating to see locals climb atop these magnificent pieces of art, structures which are weak and some being held together by external support, just to get pictures of themselves with their cheap shades on. I see these people everywhere nowadays and it’s just plain sad and shameful. Shameful to think about the image we Indians are portraying to tourists from different countries.

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I remember going to Hampi a couple of years back during the hot summer months and it truly looked like a ghost city with only a handful of tourists here and there. I got a tan exploring the place but the experience was far better. The next time, I’d probably take my own cycle to this place and during non peak season. I’ve seen all there is to see here, but you can never get enough of some places. An opulent to ruins story though sad has much to offer, not everything is truly broken. Madikeri can wait for a couple of months, not complaining.

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