Ok, I got to admit the place sucks! Oops… let me re-phrase. The place sucks for everyone who is not a photographer. Still few eyebrows raised? mmmm.. I would re-re-phrase. The place sucks for those who are not photographers and who make the terrible mistake of hiring a guide. Guided tour is what everyone tells you to go for when in Hampi. ‘Everyone’ is generally comprised of that group of people who haven’t been there but have “heard” a lot about it. The guide takes you around the place, tells you something boring and mostly fake about the pretty stony statues and structures, strips you from any pleasure you could have got from the little aesthetic sense you have, and worst of all – you feel like being stuck in a history excursion from school.
Fortunately, we were a smart group. Apart from the smartest kid in our gang, who was busy taking notes from the guide’s fake gyan, we all were convinced that we need to end the educational tour. Hence: Exit Guide. Enter Beer. …. Enter fun! Enter running after firangi n desi babes (not fun)… and the best part: Enter Mango Tree! If you went to Hampi without visitng Mango Tree, you have literally wasted your entire time and money. Whats so good about MT? First of all the name: its exotic! Then, the awesome ambience, … you must have guessed that it is a restaurant. A restaurant built in the design of terrace farms. There are steps on the side of a hill on which tables are laid overlooking the river and the entire landscape from east to west. Though I didn’t like the food much, paneer pakoras and Chocolate milkshake were superb. Combo of MT and DumbC is addictive. I still miss resting on the hillside with an amazing view in front n non-stop playing dumb charades.
The first day got over in a flash and we were back to the hotel to take showers n relax. I had to leave in the morning next day to catch a train from bangalore next day. Half an hour before the departure of the night bus to bangalore we found out that the bus scheduled in morning are like those horrible state buses in which spending 8 hours would be the biggest torture. So we rushed to the bus depot, got a seat for me, and I was all set to go. The smartest kid (same one) came up with an idea that I can cancel my train and instead take a flight with pooling the same amount that I was spending in train and the rich kids from Citi and Pune funding the rest. The smart idea caught everyone’s attention. But my ego couldn’t say yes.
For Rescue came an idea from Sholay! Yups! The Brilliant educational film. The movie buff amongst us came up with the idea of tossing a coin to decide whether I stay or go. Everyone agreed. Coin was spinned. And I was to stay. For few moments, I thought those crazy chaps were just kidding me. But they were all serious! I still smile when I think of that moment. I stayed. And every minute of the entire trip was totally worth it. I m so glad that I m lucky with coins. Else I would have not forgiven myself for ditching the trip in middle.
Next day was even more fun, with trek to the highest point in hampi, more of dumbC, trying stupid maneuvers in swimming pool of the hotel, and then an adventurous journey to Badami. To reach Badami we boarded a bus to reach some tongue-twister named town from where we were to take another bus to Hampi. By the time we reached the mid-way town, it was too late (9 at night) for buses and too late to get food and to late to hunt for rest place. Coz, we were in country side, and people there still follow the folk-sayings (early to bed and early to rise makes a man healthy wealthy and wise)! So, we were all standing on the roadside, tired and bewildered. The photographers amongst us, who just loved Hampi, were trying their best not to get hit by us by going around and asking for help. Luckily, we got a taxi to drop us to Badami, which we reach at 12 in the night. We got lucky again and got decent rooms, but most importantly we got food!
I hadn’t slept (really) from 3 nights (not 2 :P) so when I was told about 5 o’clock morning trip to some junk temples built some billions years ago by some other boring people, I was too tired to respond. So half of the cool gang didn’t go to that another boring place, and the rest half of smart people went. I remember the name of that place though – it was Peddiakkal (dunno if I spelled it right). I was told later that there were erotic sculptures in those temples, which made me repent a little for not going… but what the heck, nothing compares to Khajaraho.
At humanly hour, on the third day, we went to see caves and temple in Badami which were quite good. More of monkeying around and DumbC happened. After all that, we were too tired and too happy to think or act clearly. Yet, we managed to play cards till 11:30 at night in the train while coming back to Bangalore.
BTW, I didn’t mention above, but the two gultis in the trip also extended their trip from 2 to 3 days. After that the guy from Pune also extended his trip for few hours by canceling his train ticket and taking a late houred bus. So the lesson learnt is: Impulsive trips are the bestest and don’t hesitate to cancel and re-book your tickets. Its worth all the fun and masti you get in return. Second lesson: Doesn’t matter where you go, as long as the people with you are travel-freaks like yourself.