25 Jul 2015

Chintu Travels: Hampi. Day 2.( Anegondi, Sanapur Lake, and Anjaneya Hill. )
Day 2.
I Started my day early, I had to go to the river, I wanted to capture the beauty of Tungabhadra meandering through the rocks. When I reached the river, I saw a lot of people coming back from the other side of the river, I had heard from Ratan that the other side is more tourist friendly as alcohol and Non-veg food is easily available(Unlike Hampi, which is a holy place marked by the presence of Virupaksha temple).

I sat on the bank and clicked a lot of clichéd pictures until I saw a couple of Chinese girls jumping across the rock and running towards the stairs, Lakshmi was there, they were sending flying kisses to her and shouting that they loved her. I forgot the river and took as many photos of her. The girls helped the mahout to give Lakshmi, a bath, later joined by another local, who was somehow an expert at flirting despite the language barrier.

One of the Chinese girls giving a bath to  Laxmi, while the other watches, the cap one of the cleaners is wearing belongs to the girl in purple, the guy flirted to get it for cleaning. 
Sagar Hotel, Hampi, with the women who run it and Sagar, the guy after whom the hotel is named
The Softest Appams in Making
My ride for the day. 
Shiva, The goatherd. 
The Six Hundred steps to the temple. 
The Hanuman Temple, and the hill, I went further and was on the edge of the hill, this was taken while I was coming back. 
One of the small temples I mentioned, this leads to Bali Gufa, the cave in which the mythological Bali lived. 
Entry to Anegondi
Chariot in Anegondi, these are pulled on special occasions, like the Rath Yatra in Puri. 
Panoramic View of Sanapur Lake.
Sanapur Lake, from the top of a hill, I had to get to the water by riding through that terrain
The Valley of Boulders
Tungabadhra Dam, top deck. 

I came back to my hotel and checked out, I had spent too much money on food the last day, so I decided to go easy on the breakfast, beside my hotel there was an eatery, no bigger than a standard tea stall, the food was being made by a couple of women and another three woman sat on the bench in background, they owned the “hotel”, which I later realised was one of the popular eateries in Hampi, with an appreciation letter hanging from Tripadvisor. I had the softest appams aka Paddus and idlis ever with some spicy curry and a large glass of tea, One of the woman noticed my injury and helped me drink water from the mug, they treated me like I was their own kid. While leaving, I met the son of one of the ladies, the “hotel” was named after him, One of the elderly ladies, Gangamma(If I remember the name correctly), asked me if I can take a photo, I obliged.  You can read more about them on Tripadvisor here: http://www.tripadvisor.in/Restaurant_Review-g319725-d1455645-Reviews-Sagar_Hotel-Hampi_Karnataka.html

After the heavy breakfast, I crossed the river, and as soon as I stepped foot on the other side, I was swarmed by people who all wanted me to either hire a vehicle or rent a hotel. I needed none. But one of the guys told me that, this side is best explored on a bike, I said I didn't I have a licence, he said, I didn't need one because there were no cops on this side of the town. I said I didn't know how to drive one, he looked at me for a while and then said I can take an automatic scooter or a moped, I had driven a scooter for a few kilometres before on one of the road trips in Odisha, but that was it. I mentioned this to him, he brought a moped(A TVS XL-Heavy duty) and started teaching me on the spot before I could say anything, I have always had a thing for Mopeds and once had a dream of owning a Luna, and this baby was an instant attraction. I found it fairly easy to ride and decided to take it. And boy-o-boy, I enjoyed riding it. I believe I wouldn't have enjoyed a cycle or a bike more than the moped, the excitement of the engine being louder than the horn and every part of it vibrating while going up a steep hill at a crawling pace was one heck of an experience, and to add to that, this thing was so light, that I risked being blown away by the heavy winds while on a high hill! Pro-tip, If you ever go there, don't go for the Royal Enfield which they also offer, go for this, I bet you'll remember it more than the Enfield.

I did a practice ride for a few kilometres and then decided to go Anjaneya hill, the famed birth-place of Hanuman, On my way, I stopped for instructions, but this area isn't as crowded as the country, I found a goat-herd in one of the fields but, unfortunately I couldn't understand a word he said, neither did he understand me, I repeatedly asked him for directions to the hill, and he repeated something in Kannada, I then said the words Hanuman temple and he pointed me towards a direction. I forwarded my hand and said Ashish, he shook it and said, "Shiva". I smiled and pointed towards my camera and then to him and his goats, which then resulted in this hauntingly beautiful photo.
The Hanuman temple is on top of Anjaneya hill, and to reach the top, you have to climb approximately 600 stairs, when you reach the top you have your thighs aching and find yourself out of breath. The temple isn't a great example of architecture unlike the other famous temples in this area but has the best panoramic view. You can climb on the hill top touching the stairs, I decided to do so, and went to the extreme corner of the hill, the view is mesmerizing, the vehicles and the roads look like the satellite view you get on the mapping applications, the farms are surrounded by banana hills, I decided to sit there for a while and catch my breath.

After I came down from Anjaneya hill, I asked one of the shop-keepers on the base of the hill about other places nearby, he pointed me to temples and Anegondi, which I already knew about, I quickly covered the small temples in the area and then went to Anegondi, which like Hampi, has a lot of ruins from the Vijayanagara empire, but isn't as commercialised as Hampi, so some of the ruins aren't well maintained as they are in Hampi, and some have people living in and around them, I buzzed through the town on my moped and covered all the ruins in a quick succession, I had decided to head back to Hampi, but there was still a lot of time left, I asked some more locals about the area, and got to know about Sanapur lake, this Lake is between the hills, to reach there you have to first go high on the hill amidst heavy winds and then come down on the rough terrain, the lake is surrounded by hills and boulders , a few coracle boats are there to make some quick money, and it is probably the only water body in this area where you don't see the beware of crocodiles sign, which I doubt is because of the not many people knowing about it. I did reach the lake, but before reaching it, I took a wrong turn, and reached a rocky trek where taking the moped would've been risky, I decided to put it there and followed the trek on foot, I walked for approx a kilometre to a hill top, which unlike other hilltops was clean! All around you could see the higher hills, this was more like a valley, I again shouted at the top of my voice, but there was no one there to hear me, except the whistling wind and the valley of boulders, this place is probably one of the better places to plant a tent and rest amidst the wilderness.

After visiting the lake, I decided to move back to Hampi and Have my lunch, I still had to go to Hospet and see the Tungabadhra Dam, lunch was at The Mango Tree, where I exchanged pleasantries with Ratan and bid him farewell.

I took the government bus to Hospet Bus Station, and then from there another Bus to Tungabadhra Dam, after the security check, I took the Dams Bus to the top deck, the view of the gallant river hitting hard the Dam wall makes you feel puny. I saw the people who came with me queue up to get onto the Bus, I didn't want to get into the crowd again, so I decided to walk down to the lower deck, which would have been hardly a 3 Kilometre trek, I would suggest to the walk back to the second deck, unless you're visiting there in summer or in the peak winter. I looked around for tea on the lower deck but the only stall there was out of stock, I again took the bus to the base entry, there while I waited for the government bus to the train station, I had pakoras and couple of cups of tea. No matter where in the world you are, Pakodas and tea would always feel divine in wet rainy weather. Opposite the Bus Stand in Hospet is Udupi Shri Krishna Bhavan, the hustling and Bustling Restaurant is pure vegetarian and pure Udupi cuisine place, I asked one of the waiter to bring suggest something he liked, he wasn't used to that question and stared at me for a while and then suggested a Rava Masala Dosa, I asked him to get me one and a filter coffee to add to that.

After the meal, I walked to the station which was hardly a kilometre from there and then I moved to the waiting hall to catch my train, making a plan about re-visiting this dream which was ending.