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Hampi... aka the hottest city yet

Written on: Thursday April 30th, 2009

A journal entry from: In the spiced Indian air....

Hampi was both beautiful and disgusting. Disgusting only because it was 43 degrees and we both could not stop sweating all day. That kind of heat really gets to you, especially since we are now 12 hours away from the ocean and no other way to cool off.

BEAUTIFUL because there are 5000 residents living among epic 16th century Hindu and Muslim ruins...surrounded by massive boulders (think Flinstones or Joshua Tree National Park). There are hundreds of structures which are left to their gorgeous crumbling state without any obvious restoration. Here you can see some of the remnants of the historical battles between the Hindus and Muslims.  The actual town of Hampi is interesting because down the main streets there are bits of ruins that locals have made into homes.

One thing that sticks out about Hampi is the men... and boys.  Jennelle and I developed a little following at the sites closer to the town centre. We'd be walking along and all of the sudden realize there were 10 or more boys and young men just following us along! They loved posing for pictures and trying to chat us up, calling us "hey seeester!".

We've also been part of an estimated 15 family portraits since we arrived in India. They are so curious... The women and girls will either start waving wildly from afar yelling "Hello!!!" or come up to us and just stare while giggling until one of them gets up the nerve to say something.  In every case this situation has ended up with us being in massive family portraits. Quite fun!  This also happens with groups of men sans the giggling, but x10 for staring.

Jennelle and I also went up to the top of one of the boulder hills to a very serene Hindu temple complete with monkies and monkey babies! Just outside the temple and a little further up the mountain was a small cave built into a large boulder. Inside there was a very slight, hunched man with a long beard who turned out to be a guru. He invited us inside, and I would guess he has grown up in this cave, as the hunch in his lower back was perfectly curved to the height of the cave ceiling (about 3 feet). We crawled inside and he did a short blessing to Ganesh (elephant god) with insence. He gave us a nice red dot on our foreheads and sent us on our way to watch the sunset over the boulder valley and ruins. It was one of the coolest random experiences I have EVER had in my life. He was such a sweetheart. I wonder his history and expect he was deemed to be enlighted in some way at a very young age and sent to the cave to bless visitors.

Next up... overnight train to Bangalore, 12 hours in the city, the another overnight train to Kerela (Cochi). Should be cooler weather!!!!!


From Dad on May 7th, 2009

That guru could have helped the Flames!