By 11.30 am, we reached near the Virupaksha temple. As my friend had to leave, we directly went to the guest house. To my luck, the room was not occupied and I booked it. I decided not to carry my backpack as the plan was to climb up Anjana Parbath, the monkey hill. Taking out my camera and wallet, we three parted in two directions, one towards the busstand and other two towards the riverside. We had to wait for some time at the riverside for the ferry to get filled. In few minutes, we reached Virupapur Gadde, the place commonly known as the ‘Hampi of the hippies’. Both of us were hungry, we quickly grabbed some food.
We thought of taking a motor bike initially, but as very high rates were quoted, we decided to walk ahead a little and then take a vehicle. The green fields on the roadside were such great relief to our eyes which had been seeing the brownish tinge of boulders and stone structures. We walked for about 30 minutes and realized that the presumption of finding a vehicle was not becoming real. The sun was getting hotter and my dial slowly moved past 1.30 pm. Finally, an auto rickshaw came and the guy told he will take us to the monkey hill, wait for us to come back and drop us back at the boat point for Rs. 100. We literally jumped into the auto and very soon reached the foothills. The climb was not steep, but the heat made it really worse. By the time I reached on top of the hill, my water bottle was empty and I was dripping sweat.
The name of the hill is Anjana parbath because it is believed that Anjana delivered her son Anjaneya aka Hanuman, the monkey god in this place. There was some puja happening in the temple dedicated to Hanuman. Though it was too hot to enjoy the place to its fullest, view from top of the hill was truly incredible, which made the climb really worth taking such effort. Spending some time there, we decided to descend as my friend wanted to check out few more places before he leave.
The auto guy was waiting for us and we reached the riverside quickly. A ferry was ready to go, crowded with locals, foreigners and bikes. I somehow got a seat and in few minutes we reached the temple side.
Walking ahead, we came across few Sadhus dressed up in vibrant robes. I asked them if I could take a picture and to my surprise they posed without shyness. My friend wanted to pose with them and I clicked few photos for him. Then came the real surprise 😉 One of them took out a notebook from his bag and asked us to write our name and what we wish to donate. They asked us first to write and then put the money in the bag. We realized that it was their ‘innovative revenue model’, we didn’t have an option so we followed what they said and they happily walked away.
We reached near my guest house and it was time for my friend to leave. As his plan was to walk around in the Zenana enclosure and I was thinking of doing it the next day, we bid adieu to each other.
Looked at my watch and it was 4 pm, I decided to take an hour break before going to see the sunset. My guest house owner was sitting outside the room and I went ahead to talk with her for some time. A widow in her fifties, she is raising her daughter and son with the earnings from the guest house. She shared with me the stories on how Hampi became the one we see today. Till few years ago, the temple and the bazaar area had many families staying around. One day, to protect the World Heritage site, Archaeological Survey of India and UNESCO started their conservation activities. It was a sudden move of eviction in which many houses and petty shops of local people were demolished by bulldozers. The inhabitants were forced to move out of the place they were staying for generations, leaving their assets as well as memories. Though they have been offered with alternate housing arrangements, it remained largely in paper. I remembered the kids we met some time ago. The thoughts of how they would have cried when their houses were taken away made me remain speechless until she reminded me to walk for the sunset. I maundered through the Hampi bazaar area to which my mind started illustrating broken houses and shops.
The plan was to watch the sunset alone in some place less popular, but with a good view. Walking past the monolithic Ganesh, I met a Sadhu involved in making beautiful artifacts.
The top of the stone house where he was sitting seemed to be an ideal sunset point to me.
The stunning view from the top proved my assumption right, one side the Achyuta Raya temple and other side the Virupaksha temple with the backdrop of a beautiful sunset. I spent there more than an hour shrugging off all other thoughts and leaving myself to the sunset hues.
In the twilight glow, I planned my next day’s first destination and walked ahead..