‘If you have to relax in the shade, the over-hanging rock there seems a much better choice’, I said to myself as I halfheartedly pulled myself from the soft grass that had been my bed for the past half an hour. The sun seemed to be at its brightest and no one in his right mind would even think of walking even a small distance out in this heat if (s)he doesn’t have to, let alone climb huge boulders a hundred feet high. I however, love climbing so climb I will, I decided. With heat billowing from the hot-like-a furnace rocks under my feet and the scorching rays of the sun from above, there I was, making my way up through thorny bushes and narrow gaps.
The views got better every time I turned to look back stopping at random intervals. Sometimes to catch a breath, sometimes to take a sip from my half-empty water bottle and sometimes to do both. By the time I made it to what I thought was the top, I was not in a position to climb any further. ’Thankfully I was at the top’, I thought to myself! But was I?
The views however were breathtaking from here and at-least there was no confusion on that front. Lush green paddy fields to the left, lush green paddy fields to the right and lush green paddy fields in front of me, below. Swaying in the sweet summer breeze with tall coconut trees dotting their fields, the crops seemed to be joyfully dancing on a rhythm of their own. One that is slow, graceful and very content. The snaking village-road only added to the beauty of an already charming setting.
Right ahead in the distance stood the Virupaksha temple, the most iconic structure in this historic town of Hampi. On the left, a bit far, stood the Matanga Hill, the highest point of Hampi, while on the right were other ruins. Spread as far as my eyes could see. Temples, nandis and pillars among them. I thought for sometime about where to go first, later in the day,. Shall I go to the Matanga Hill or the ruins or just spend time lazing around (that’s what I did for most part of the day) but soon let these thoughts drift away as I unloaded my heavy camera-bag and settled down under the shade of a huge rock.
Sitting there lost in the beauty of the place, I couldn’t help but imagine how would it have been like during the days when Hampi was not Hampi but was known as Vijayanagara, the capital city of the erstwhile Vijayanagara Empire, one of the largest and powerful empires of ancient India. Could this place, the one where I find myself sitting right now, have been used for something more important during those days? May be a place to keep a watch on the city below. May be not. May be it was not at all a place of significance. Who knows!
The sun was behind my rock when I opened my eyes. The pleasant breeze had lulled me to sleep and I seem to have slept for close to a couple of hours, all my stuff lying next to me. Thank God for the fact that hardly any tourists venture this high up in the rocks or else none of it would have been found here I am sure. The fact that I was hardly able to sleep in the train last night, thanks to my ticket not getting confirmed and me & another guy having had to adjust on one seat which is barely enough for even a single person, I am sure have helped here. After taking in the views and the breeze for some more time, I thought it was time to head back. It however, did not take long to change my decision for good as soon as I stepped out of pleasant cove. It still was too hot ‘outside’.
I decided to spend some more time there reading and then played some games on the mobile at M88, one of the sites I have recently discovered. While I was killing time there something quite interesting happened. I saw a man heading my way with a long rectangular structure which more or less resembled a box. Very soon I knew what it was and so decided not to leave any time soon. And sure enough, I was not disappointed. We exchanged a quick hello as he made his way to the top, where he sat comfortably to practice his sitar. It was by far the best sitar playing I have ever heard.
As I finally made my way down, the sun was nearing the horizon on the west, I had just finished the last drops of water from my water-bottle and the joyful music was from the sitar was still emanating from the top!
Do you like historical places? And spending time away from the crowd? Got any other questions? Leave me a comment below and I will be more than happy to get back.