Day 50: after 27 magical days in Arambol, it’s time to move on. We leave behind some wonderful people – the lovely Heather, Spencer, Matthieu, Violet and Prana – heading East with Jack, Clay and Jim, bound for the ancient ruins of Hampi, Karnataka: they say “an unearthly landscape that will leave you spellbound the moment you cast your eyes on it. Plan on lingering for a while”. We say “Ok then.”
To get here involved our first sleeper bus experience from Mapusa – 10 hours in an economical double bunk (in relation to humans anyway), shared in a cosy shoulder to shoulder manner whether you know your neighbour or not – untold numbers of people have lain their heads here before me. the a/c is cold, consistent, assertive, often wakening, and the curtains indifferent about their job – but who wants an easy journey? thank you India, and thank you Xanax.
Bleary eyed, I step off the bus the next morning at the sacred centre of Hampi Bazaar, straight into a swarm of enthusiastic Tuk Tuk drivers, each vying to take us where want to for 100rps (84p), if only we knew our own names.
Factoid: set over 36sq km there are some 3,700 monuments to explore in Hampi – it would take months to do it justice. It’s early, but the suns already fierce and the Xanax only just wearing off: makes for a dizzying combination. The temperature’s set to hit 36 today too. Jeese. Think we’ll ease ourselves in gently.
Due to Hampi’s religious significance meat and alcohol are banned in the Sacred Centre, but across the river is Virupapur Gaddi where there are no rules – ideal.
A tightly-squeezed Tuk Tuk ride, a short boat crossing and a sweaty walk later we land at The Goan Corner, a guesthouse run by the sharp witted matriarch Shamila, and for 900rps/night it’s our home for… well, let’s see shall we? It’s the usual basic room and we have a hammock, so I’m sold.