A couple of days in Hampi start with an early morning taxi ride out to the second nearest train station. The train from Vasco de Gama is much slower to reach Margao than our taxi driver, with the result I can get out of bed a bit later.

Margao is the busiest railway station in the state, and it would be an introduction to the chaos of Indian life if it wasn't in Goa. As I'm reminded, Goa isn't proper India, and the alarming taxi ride out from the coast doesn't count.

The train from one stop down the line isn't that late, and we're soon shoving our way onboard. The journey passes in a haze of scenery through the dirty windows, chai wallahs and Radio 4 rips. Seven hours later we're at our destination, Hospet, and the plan comes together as we meet our lift to the Krishna Palace Hotel.

The rest of the afternoon is for wandering through the chaotic streets of Hospet, and trying to deal with the sights and sounds of India.

Tomorrow is a full day in the city, or to be precise, in the World Heritage site at Hampi. The trip out there is the true introduction to India. We cram into a small car and hang on as we career the eight or so miles to Hampi. The route takes us out of the town, through a few surrounding villages and into the site. For almost the entire route the road is full, of tuk-tuks, bullock carts, oblivious cows, other equally crazily driven cars and craters.

It's a full exhausting day of walking around the city remains, complete with coracle ride and lunch served on banana leaves.

Day two is relaxed than yesterday. We just have a couple of places we want to be and then a train to catch in the evening. Late start, grab a driver and jostle our way out to Hampi again.

We direct our driver towards the museum, but he inexplicably stops halfway there, at the Lakshmi Narasimha Temple. No bad thing - we get a chance for some photos of the statue in better light and fewer people before heading on to the museum.

It's surrounded by infinite numbers of statues of infinite numbers of reincarnations of Hindu gods, and contains further artifacts of Medieval Indian civilisation found in Hampi. In the centre of the museum is a huge map of the site, complete with model hills and boulders.

Afterwards, we head back towards the temple and through the colourful bazaar to a riverside restaurant for a light lunch.

The evening finds us on the Hampi Express to Bangalore, in first AC no less. We get a private compartment right up until some bloke knocks on the door and puts his son in the remaining bunk. No idea if he's supposed to be there.

Add a comment