Aug 9, 2022

Happy in Hampi

 A proper vacation after almost 3 years. Our last holiday was a 5-day trip to Yercaud back in Nov 2019. Although we did a couple of 3-day trips to Chikmagalur (Mar 2020) and Mysore (Dec 2021), they were too short to be called a "vacation"!

While K and I were planning for a vacation, I was pretty sure that I wanted to go to a new place - one that we have never visited before.

Hampi had been on my wish list for a long time. We confirmed our homestay bookings, made a list of places to visit (and eat), packed our bags, and boarded our pets in a pet boarding center. Life has changed so much in the last 3 years, that I did feel a pang of hesitation to step out of our comfort zone (home, routine, home food, pets, and other arrangements). But I do miss the value of experiences that travel brings in. So glad we proceeded with our trip, even with a little trepidation in the back of our minds.

Day 1

We left our home around 5:30 AM, took the NICE road, and stopped for a quick breakfast at Pavithra Idli. Decent place, loved the thatte idli smeared with butter. We then headed to Chitradurga Fort. All of us were awestruck during the little trek inside the fort, climbing steps, admiring the magnificent stone walls, getting a little drenched when rain clouds started to open up, along with gusty winds, and stopping at multiple breathtaking viewpoints. D loved the climb so much that she didn't want to come down.

The route was super scenic, with huge sunflower fields adorning either side of the road. The windmills on top of various hills were an awesome sight. We reached Hampi around noon and checked into our homestay. We then headed for lunch at Mango Tree restaurant, the ONLY good place to eat in our experience. South Indian thali was sumptuous, accompanied by a glass of yum Mango lassi. We went back to our homestay and took a short nap.

In the evening, we proceeded to watch the sunset on top of Hemakuta hill. What an amazing view from the top! No words to describe the feeling. Dark clouds, greenery around, view of Tungabhadra river and the majestic Gopuram of Virupaksha temple - treat for the eyes. We spent around an hour, exploring the hill and admiring the monkeys. After a light dinner at Mango tree, we retired for the day.

Day 2

After a good breakfast at our homestay, we headed towards Vijaya Vittala temple. We took the electric vehicle to reach the temple entrance. The whole structure and layout felt so surreal. Though many structures got damaged over many centuries, one cannot help but wonder at the marvel of construction, the vast empty spaces, and the various carvings. Weather Gods were kind to us and we roamed around, exploring the various temples inside the complex.

We then stopped at Queen's Bath for a short time and headed towards Hampi zoo. We took the safari and spotted a few lions, tigers, deer, and peacocks. The walk inside the zoo was also very good. There was hardly any crowd and we had the place all to ourselves. A lot of walking and we were super hungry. We went to Old Chill Out for lunch, average quality, both in terms of food and service. We went back to our homestay and took a short nap.

In the evening, we visited the Virupaksha temple. We got a good darshan of Lord Shiva and the Goddess. The highlight for D was the temple elephant and getting blessings from him. After dinner at Mango tree (again), we called it a day. K and D loved the egg biryani here.

Day 3

It was the day to visit Anjanadri hill, the birthplace of Lord Hanuman. After fueling up, we were ready to take the challenge of climbing 575 steps. It was a steep climb. The stunning views from the top provided a much-needed breather, along with chanting "Jai Shree Ram" all the way. It was a divine experience to visit the temple on top and climb the rocky terrain around. We sat there for 40 minutes, eating our laddu prasad and watching the family of monkeys. Again, a magnificent view from the top!

We then headed to Sanapur Lake and walked around. D was super excited to take the coracle ride. It was a short, peaceful ride with beautiful views all around.

For lunch, we stopped at Rock and Chill cafe on the way, but it was a disaster. The food wasn't good, moreover, there were no other customers in this place.

We went back to our homestay and played a board game for the rest of the evening. Dinner was at Mango tree again. This time, I tried the veg biryani and loved it.

Day 4

We covered as many places as we can on our last day at Hampi - Royal enclosure, Hazara Rama temple, Lotus Mahal, Elephant stables, Underground Shiva temple, Lakshmi Narasimha temple, Badavi Linga temple, and Krishna temple. All of these places were close by and can be covered in half a day.

D didn't want to go to Mango tree yet again and so we stopped at Gopi Rooftop for lunch. Empty place and I was hesitant to eat anything there. D ate her noodles, while I decided to go back to Mango Tree and eat my South Indian thali.

We went back to our homestay and played a board game for some time. In the evening, we again drove down to Virupaksha temple and got a good darshan. We drove to Hospet (a nearby town) and had dinner at Neivedyam restaurant. Masala chai was just too good here.

Day 5

We left Hampi early in the morning and stopped for breakfast in Upadhya Veg, Chitradurga. Decent, South Indian breakfast.

We returned home, feeling refreshed with loads of memories.

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