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What does TRAVEL mean to me?

What is Travel? What do you mean when you say you’re a Traveller? Why do you differentiate between a Tourist and a Traveller? Aren’t they the same? I think every traveller including me is often badgered with such questions every once in a while.
When I decided to drop out of college to travel, my parents, relatives, friends and every other Tom, Dick, and Harry were ready with these in their arsenal. Being curious is acceptable, I am happy to answer all the questions to everyone’s satisfaction as long as they are just questions. But, once the switch flips and all the suggestions and unlettered pieces of advice begin flowing, it becomes irritating. Here are my responses to some of the questions I was asked and suggestions I was pestered with. Even though each person has his own views and the intricacies may vary, I think every Traveller will agree with what I have to say, considering the bigger picture.
The Questions-
What does TRAVEL mean to you?For me, Travel is a way of life. It isn’t a…

Rediscovering Hampi

This is what Hampi looks like. Wherever you go, there are ruins of historic monuments! Picture Credit: Bala Shetty

 I was looking for some good destinations to explore and rediscover in Karnataka for quite some time. That’s when I stumbled upon a few pictures of Hampi uploaded by my friend on social media and they instantly sparked interest in me. I wanted to avoid the common & kind of boring destinations, avoid crowds and enjoy at the same time (I know! Too much to ask for) and I hit the bull’s eye with Hampi.

Now that's a climb your willing to do no matter what! Picture Credit: Bala Shetty

Hampi is cramped between hundreds of rock formations by the banks of the Tungabhadra River in the middle of nowhere. It is like a Gold Mine for Archaeologists across the globe. There are many sites where UNESCO has done restoration work and a lot of excavation. At first glance, Hampi seems to be a remote village on the inner, inaccessible parts of India. Almost a barren land, the climate here is extreme. As noon approaches, the Sun shines brighter, and the warm wind current- LOO begins to flow making it unbearably hot! As for accommodations, the lack of well-built structures leaves a traveller with 2 choices- either select any one of the numerous homestays available or go across the river in the village of Anegundi to hope for better accommodation. November to February is the peak season for tourism in Hampi, but if you wish to beat the crowd, visit around August-September; it’ll be a bit difficult to find a place to stay but will be worth it.


The world heritage site- VIRUPAKSHA TEMPLE.  Picture Credits: Bala Shetty


With a towering height of 160 feet with 9 inbuilt stories it is Legendary!
Picture Credit: Bala Shetty

The Tungabhadra River is a vital means of transport in Hampi. Even I preferred crossing the river in a Coracle boat and walk till Anegundi village on the opposite bank rather than travel 20 kms by road. These boats along with bicycles and motorcycles are the only modes of transportation in and around Hampi for a Solo Traveller. The latter ones are available on rental basis for about 100-300 INR per day while the boats range between 10-50 INR.

The two most used transports in Hampi parked by the Tungabhadra River.                 Picture Credit: Bala Shetty

I chatted up some locals and was introduced to a whole different Hampi I never knew existed. “This is actually KISHKINDHA, the monkey kingdom from RAMAYANA (a Hindu epic). We are also the descendants of king Krishnadevraya of the Vijaynagara Empire. This was a prosperous city”, one of them told me proudly, filled with excitement. I looked around as though scanning for signs of past prosperity. “Sadly now it isn’t. Vandalism even though not so prominent then, turned a monstrosity few centuries back. The age old conflict amongst the followers of Hinduism and Islam led to the destruction of this pre-historic city, almost wiping it off the map of India” he sighed.



There's nothing but everything in Hampi. Picture Credit: Bala Shetty 


All the tourist places lie within a radius of 6 kms from the centre of Hampi, the Virupaksha Temple. I was awestruck by the ruins of -temples, royal palace, the many bazars (markets) that existed centuries ago; the elephant stables, the infamous STEPWELLS all with the rock formations as the backdrop. The sunset at Hampi is the best i have ever seen! 


No Words to describe this view! Picture Credit: Bala Shetty


A young lad gazes upon the beauty of the city and reflects back on life. Isn't this what we live for?



How does your story of Hampi go?


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