When I think back to my time in Hampi, in southern India, I get a warm fuzzy feeling inside. It has so much heart. Not the kind that knocks you over with its power when you arrive, but more of a gentle glowing that washes over you without you really noticing, until you’re feeling better than you have done for a long time and don’t know why.
Hampi was a world away from the chaotic towns and cities that we’d spent much of our time exploring. A land of giant boulders and stunning temple ruins, with the most beautiful intricate carvings that tell enchanting stories. The pace of life was leisurely, the air was hot and dry, and the landscape was barren yet alluring.
We were drawn to Hampi by the prospect of climbing the huge granite boulders, although once we were there the combination of the heat and relaxed way of life meant that I did more sitting on boulders, gazing at magnificent sunsets, than climbing on them. But that didn’t matter in the slightest because my time there was perfect.
We had to wait until sunset to climb to avoid the blazing heat of the day. I made it to the top of a few boulders and then sat, perfectly content, soaking up the warmth radiating from the rock. The landscape looked less arid in the gentle evening sun. The rocks took on a pinkish tone and the sparse patches of vegetation stood out against them, a deep rich shade of green.
The rest of the time we sheltered from the intensity of the sun in laid back restaurants with low tables and cushions on the floor, or wandered around the majestic temples. Indian tourists outnumbered the foreigners, although there were plenty of both visiting the temples that had been built hundreds of years ago from the rock that surrounded us. It was easy to find quiet spots to admire the architecture amongst the sprawling temple complex though.
We rented mopeds to navigate the local area and found ourselves at a nearby lake. It was just us, the lake and the boulders. The water was cool and refreshing, and it was amazing and slightly eerie to have the whole area to ourselves. Other days we explored the ruins in the surrounding area on foot, walking far enough away from the town that our only companions were the goats that grazed on the land.
Hampi was the perfect mix of leisure and activity. By the time we left I felt completely rejuvenated and ready to rejoin the mayhem of travelling through extraordinary India.