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Written on: Thursday February 14th, 2008

A journal entry from: ASIA PART II

Hampi, Karnataka

Shambhu Guesthouse

In India, you never know where you may find inspiration and in a country that is as vast as it is varied; those moments that take your breath away can be found just about every corner. From extraordinary sunsets to star gazing on rooftops and sipping on bhang lassies to sampling morning street cuisine, I found myself moved again and again.

When overlooking the riverbanks and the outstretched jungle in front of me, the scene feels Jurassic, almost dreamlike and the ruins of Vijaynagar and the massive boulder-strewn landscape amplify this effect. The religious fervor of Hampi is absorbing and easily one can find themselves spending a fair amount of time in this sacred town trying to take it all in and that's exactly what happened to Jonathon and I, along with Asli, Maud and Nicolas, who happened to arrived several days before we did.

We spent a little over a week at Shambhu Guesthouse in the Hampi Bazaar, one of the several guesthouses amid the charming village of colorful painted stonehouses and the soaring Virupaksha temple. Immediately, after settling into the guesthouse, we easily fell into chai mode joining the many sadhus, swamis, gurus and other holy men that also frequent the chai stalls for hours on end.

Initially, we had decided to camp out deep within the temple ruins, although our plans were deterred by stormy weather and doubtful thinking as to our actual safety upon hearing rumors of bandits, snakes and other poisonous creatures that creep in the night. Our time preparing for the trip beforehand turned out to be quite the memorable endeavor and instead the night was spent watching Wes Anderson?s The Darjeeling Ltd. consuming everything we had purchased including our half-dozen bottles of Old Monk - a potent spiced rum popular with the locals.

Maud and I had a blast and quite the workout pedaling around the ruins today, it was the perfect place for cycling about to visit the many temples and various sights in and around Hampi. I leave tomorrow and my plan is to visit the town of Badami before heading back to the coast for some more beach, sand and sun.