We arrived in nearby Hopset, again awaking in a rather dazed and confused state. A sunrise backdrop provided a picturesque entry to Hampi via rickshaw. The landscape was breathtaking, temple after temple visible against cluster after cluster of rocks. The town itself was small, nothing over three floors which prevented anything spoiling the views. We had a breakfast dosa and chai teas from the roof of Rocky’s Guesthouse looking out over the main temple whilst the elephant kept there was being washed in the nearby river. Tom seemed more excited by the monkeys being back rather than our new surroundings! A whole gang seemed to have claimed the temple as their own home and seemed very possessive (we also later found out that they got very hungry and trying to walk through them with watermelon was impossible!). We spent the day taking in the beauty of the place, wandering to a nearby temple that should have been used for King Louis’ quarters in the new jungle book! Again we were fascinated by the chipmunks, monkeys and birds surrounding the place. It’s incredible to think that monkeys, dogs, cats, chickens, goats, pigs, lizards, birds and most importantly cows all live together! The day finished with a cracking sunset visible just beyond the temple accompanied by fellow tourists and monkeys in equal measure.
The rush over the past week was worth it – Holi was incredible! The night before there was a pre-Holi gathering, with drummers and dancing starting the celebrations in the central space near the temple, before taking those dancing on a tour around the town. On Holi we awoke to the sounds of drums and children screaming and laughing. Holi had started and paint was being flung everywhere. We were soon covered head to toe in powdered and liquid mixed paint, the local kids running around instigating the more cheeky behaviour – one such kid decided to empty a pack of paint into Tom’s hair whilst on his shoulders, making sure the pink paint was rubbed into his scalp for easy washing! Neither of us had witnessed anything like this, paint, drumming and local kids demanding the shoulders of the taller tourists. The morning finished with an attempt to wash off the worst of the paint in the river, before a nap!
Day three of Hampi was the day of temples – we pedalled our way to a number of temples and the Queens baths, before returning home, entering the main temple (third time lucky due to covering and price misunderstandings) and then heading all the way out to the further temple. The main site housing the elephant, as well as a native monkey population – allowing us to see a new born monkey taking what must have been it’s first few ‘steps’. Our evening meal of aubergine curry and spinach & paneer curry was accompanied by some new card games and magic tricks shown by the waiter. Another place we were sad to leave, but we had to head on over to Goa