After a bit of a mission we made it to a small little Village called Hampi, around 8-10 hours East on the train from Goa. The village itself consists of only a few streets, some ramshackle guest houses, and a bunch of rooftop restaurants right next to a huge river, but the natural surroundings and historical sites make it one of the coolest places we’ve seen yet.
Right in the middle of the village is a huge temple / stupa made from stone and ornate carvings that has monkeys climbing all over it and people entering day and night to pray. On the hillside surrounding the village you can explore Grecian-looking temples and ruins of Queens Baths, Elephant Stables and other world heritage sites. There are also huge boulders dotted all over the landscape, some creating huge stone hills you could climb and others seemingly impossibly perched on top of one another.
We did some Yoga a few morning with a fantastic Yoga instructor called Yogananda in a beautiful setting under a Neem Tree that had been converted into a temple and next to an ancient old bathing area where you could hear water running and prayers being chanted.
One of our days in Hampi was Grace’s birthday, so we jumped in a tuktuk and made our way to a lake about 50km away through little villages and rice fields. We spent the day swimming in the lake, playing in the little round boats and the boys jumping off rocks.
We met a lovely English guy called Declan who joined us for a few adventures as he was traveling solo through India which I’m sure can get lonely at times. We climbed the main stone mountain for sunset two days in a row to see the amazing view over the town and then our last morning for sunrise, but unfortunately only saw some clouds! Disappointing, but good exercise for people who have been eating lots of curry!
A few days back we made our way to Mumabi from Hampi on an overnight bus on which we had our own double bed (kind of). The trip from Hampi to Hospet where we caught our bus from was… an experience.We had two tuktuks taking us the 12km from Hampi to Hospet but after about 3km, Mark and Grace’s tutuk broke down. Our drivers’ solution? The driver of our working tuktuk pushed the other one ahead of us with one foot while he drove and each of them steered. For 9km. Through traffic. For real. It was dangerous, frustrating and hilarious all at the same time! Take a look at the last photo below to see what I mean! Indian ingenuity at its finest.
Our time in Mumbai was for life admin – one night to get in, get things done and get out. We were pretty successful, finding Liam a new laptop and sorting out bits and pieces and even managed to squeeze in a beer at Leopolds, made famous by the book Shantaram. We wanted to get out of Mumbai as quickly as possible, as yesterday a festival for Ganesh started which practically shuts down the entire city of 18+ million people. No. Thank. You.
We left Mark and Grace in Mumbai to get some stuff sorted and started our journey from Mumbai to Jaipur in Rajasthan. To get out of the city we had to catch a local train to a station called Bandra, get off and change to the terminal where all the inter-city trains leave from. Everyone we spoke to told us that we could catch this train from either platform one or two, so we jumped on the first train that came along to platform one. Luckily about half an hour into the journey we asked a young local guy when Bandra station was coming up and were told we were on the wrong train heading in the wrong direction! This guy jumped off the train with us, got us into a taxi (no mean feat) and on the way to our station out off the goodness of his own heart, something you get a little cynical about after being in India only a few short weeks. He told us that his Mumma would be very proud of him for being able to help us, so we think he deserves a very special mention as we would have definitely missed our train if it weren’t for him. Many good vibes of thanks heading his way.
Our trip was an epic one – 22 hours in on the train and about 26 hours door to door from our hotel in Mumbai to our hotel in Jaipur. We met a lovely English/Welsh couple on the train who we’re hoping to do some sightseeing with, though it looks as though the rain isn’t going to stop today so we think we’ll just be chilling until tomorrow, which we’re happy to do after such a big mission!