Tuesday 16 August 2016

Hampi - the bouldering capital

Travelling - it leaves you speechless and then turns you into a story teller. - Ibn Battuta.

The quote holds good for me, and this could be one reason why it's easy to strike conversation with anyone at any given point of time.  Having travelled for an year across India and then retiring to the normal job didn't seem so strange at the beginning. After a while when the real self awakens - especially after the long hours of zazen (the zen meditation practice)  - the travel itch started appearing time and again. We did manage to travel a bit in between, but there hasn't been any post in the recent times.

As the quote from Walt Whitman goes - " Not I nor anyone else can travel the road for you. You must travel it for yourself". Pondering on this thought, and deciding not to postpone my desired trip to Hampi any longer, made up my mind to travel solo. Travel solo, but not alone - reflecting on these words I signed up with a group - Get Beyond Limits - for a  two day "Hampi Bouldering and Heritage Trek". Though a bit apprehensive at the beginning  it didn't take long to be optimistic about meeting interesting people and making new friends! During the fun filled bus journey from Bangalore to Hampi , with the positive  vibe and  seasoned travellers, the journey seemed short and new friends were already added on my list.

It was a two day expedition, and the most fascinating part was the bouldering session.  Bouldering session with Tom and Jerry Climbing was priceless,  my rock climbing experience did help me but this is more raw - you don’t have harness on you - and it's only the rock and you. Being a little discomposed, climbing at the first attempt was not easy. Thud! On the crash pad !! It took some time to give it a second attempt which was better, thanks to the reassurance from the crowd and the trainer who kept suggesting the alternate ways to help me get to the top.  Though it was just a rock, the feeling  was that of conquering a hill -  in fact the fear of not being able to climb the rock was conquered .  We further tried our skill of bouldering on other rocks. 

There aren't many restaurants in Hampi that serve local food. Most of them cater to the taste buds of Europeans and Americans. Mango Tree Restaurant serves delicious food, close to Virupaksha Temple. With adequate time to explore the heritage side of Hampi, we started walking without wasting much time. A place so terrific in ruins must have been enchanting in its prime. The visit to Sanapur lake was the prized moment in the whole trip , the reservoir was full and the wind blowing made us drench in the water. This was unexpected and made the surprise invaluable.  Leaving  the lake and reservoir adventure behind us, we climbed on a hill to watch sunset. Exploring further, a beautiful cave  was found- I am indebted to Jatin for showing me to the cave - from where the view of sunset was par spectacular.  The sumptuous dinner from Laughing Buddha was appetizing  and a good way to end the eventful day.

Next morning waking up at 4a.m. saddling on our hired mopeds, we set out to Anjaneya hill to catch a glimpse of sunrise. It was fun riding the TVS XL  Heavy Duty on the empty roads and 18 of us riding together was amazing.  Next destination - Vittala Temple  -was made a tad more interesting by doing a quick hike around the small hills to reach the temple instead of going on the road by the electric vehicles. I would like to thank Shaswath for being such a good company in crazy things we did in the trip and for sharing the moped. We then went on to the waterfalls where few of them tried their diving skills and enjoyed swimming. Here I took sometime to be with myself and sat next to a small waterfall close by. The sound of the flowing water took me back in time when Romin and I sat by a waterfall in Kemmanagundi on one of our first treks together.

Locals are very happy when we talk to them in Kannada and are generally  helpful . We stayed in The Gopi Island Guest House, at Virupapuragaddi . Sharing room with Neha was like sharing it with a friend I knew for long time - Thanks Neha for making it so easy and simple. It's always better to be a little cautious, as we ran in to a small trouble in terms of  money with one of the boatmen. It has been a very different experience travelling solo -here a quote from  Jacqueline Boone " Travelling solo doesn't mean you are alone, sometimes you meet marvellous people along the way and make connections that last for a lifetime". Indeed I made many friends and have added many good memories.I feel more confident to travel solo again… Don't worry, Be Hampi !!!