Hampi used to be the Land of the Monkeys in the Indian epic Ramayana. It is still full of monkeys. I have a mortal fear of being slapped by a monkey which nearly came true a while ago. If I am ever confronted by a monkey or a cow or any other animal, my first instinct is to just chuck everything I have on me and run for my life. Never ever do this. Bad bad idea.
Coming back to Hampi, apart from monkeys of course, it has beautiful ruins, temples and a gorgeous lake. Once you cross the lake, you enter the backpacker side of the town. Rent a motorbike or a cycle and explore the place. Make sure you check the brakes on your cycle first! Go to random ruins, hike to places, go rock bouldering (only if you are an expert that is)- there is so much you can do!
Go for a coracle ride.
See sunset at Sunset Point.
You can climb up all the way to the top of the hill from where you can see the whole of Hampi. There are usually musicians atop the hill who jam with the local kids. The most popular song is “Hampi bala chanagide” which translates to Hampi is wonderful.
Get a shave by the lake
Have you always wondered how it would be to get a shave out in the open? Well, here is your chance! Just sit back and relax while you get an Indian style shave while enjoying this gorgeous view! Aaaand this guy even follows up with a solid neck and shoulder massage.
Go for a swim at the reservoir.
The Hampi reservoir is safe to swim in. There are signs that say “Crocodiles in water” etc. but those are usually to dissuade locals to get into the water so it remains clean. Ask around once before entering though.
Make local friends
The coracle guys are the best! They’ll take you to the most obscure places for a swim and get you back safely. They also have the best idea about sunset spots like this guy in the picture below!
We also met this very enterprising guy called Babu. We had met him first about 4 years ago when he was just a little boy of 12, now he works as a guide and sells postcards and supports his family. He also maintains this log book (in the picture below) where he collects reviews from travellers. He is a gem of a guy. Do ask around for him if you are around he is very helpful.
We met this strange but very interesting man called Sitaram. He scours shacks dressed in his brightly patterned shirt and straw hat, sings to travellers and collects money. He had some very cool pictures from back in the day when they staged plays about the Ramayana. They would ride around on bikes to get to the venue in full costume, leaving people on the road utterly confused.
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