Feb 25, 2010

Hampi Hues: Orange

A large part of travel, is really, the people you meet and the impressions they leave behind. Hampi, has a surprisingly high number of foreign travelers as compared to Indian ones, hence the opportunity to meet people from all over the world. A few people flood the annals of my mind when i think back to the time spent there. The color orange attributed here is simply for the vibrant mood it set.

The icing of the Hampi trip was meeting Shilpa. She's spirited and just about discovering the pleasures of traveling and meeting random people herself. She's vivacious and will keep the conversation
going...and ofcourse she has one of the most disarming smiles you'll see around here.

There was the usual spattering of people you meet briefly and have conversations with over extended meal times. There was Alexandr (below right) from Ukraine and little Laila's (left) family from Italy.

One of the most interesting meetings was with John McCormack and his friends. John is a dashing man from England who is an Architectural Historian. At the time of our meeting, John along with his friends, were trying to piece out the construction of the bridge built during the Vijayanagar era across the Tungabhadra River and its possible reasons of collapse. John very patiently explained the same to me as well and it was fascinating to say the least. Incidentally they told me they are friends of John M Fritz and George Michell, who wrote a book on Hampi which I read during my travel and will highly recommend.

Apart from that, we met a huge number of people from the Ratlam area of Madhya Pradesh, India, who had come to assist in the preparations for the Hampi festival held in commemoration of 500years since the reign of King Krishnadevaraya. In a place like Hampi, among the ruins, the stages and the wiring seemed rather anachronistic. Its almost as if time stops here. The audio systems and the twinkling lights seem amiss.

The people are colorful and always willing to have their pictures taken. I met them mostly around the time when they came by the river for their daily bath. Post that, they would hold their wet clothes out to dry. It was a wonderful experience, to see a multitude of brightly colored sarees flapping around in the wind.

The last piece is about the local people, a lot of them come from the eastern part of India, all mostly engaged in the hotel/restaurant business. There are children galore on field trips from schools. I met Swamy, while he had brought around his cattle to graze, full of energy Swamy ran up to show me the Octagonal baths and kept running around it in circles!

However, what made my trip to Hampi was the kindness shown by the couple below, who are coconut sellers on the North bank of the Tungabhadra river. They shared their simple lunch of rice and cabbage with me when I was quite famished. Its moments like these that take your breath away. The idea of sharing what little you have, in one sweeping gesture of immense generosity left me quite overwhelmed and in that they remain nameless and yet very dear.


Explore planet said...

Thanks for a great writeup..

Hampi Tourism