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Boulders and bears.

sunny 37 °C
View Indian Caves and Temples Tour 2011 on Grete Howard's travel map.

The breakfast vouchers state that breakfast is served from 06:30 to 10:00 in the Temptations Restaurant, which is across the road but is closed for restoration. Continuing to the pool side restaurant (where we were redirected to last night), we find that closed too. Back in the main part of the hotel, we try the courtyard snack bar where a breakfast buffet is laid out, but are told that if we want eggs, we have to go upstairs. At the top of the steps it is unclear where to go, and one chap tells us to go one way, and another sends us in a different direction. The mezzanine floor has tables that are not laid, but a bain-marie in one corner which presumably has egg. Since the start of this holiday I have been trying to get masala dosa for breakfast, and according to the room service menu, this hotel does serve them and I order one. The whole breakfast scenario seems rather topsy turvy, as the eggs may be upstairs, but the juice, masala dosas, coffee and toast are downstairs. Wouldn't it have been easier to carry the eggs downstairs than all that upstairs? Anyway, the dosas were worth waiting for!


Hampi has been on my wish list for quite some time now, and is one of the main reasons for this particular trip to India.

Hampi is an enormous site, spread out over an area of 30 sq/km with over 500 monuments dotted around the hills and valleys. Despite having read all about its size many times before leaving home, I still wasn't prepared for the sheer enormity of it. We decided to hire a guide this time, to take us through some of the most important monuments and give us a brief explanation about what we're seeing. It was certainly worth it!


The site dates back to the 14th century, when it was the capital of the Vijayanagara Empire. Hampi is naturally fortified by the steep Rocky Mountains with massive boulders of granite in three directions, and the mighty Thungabadhadra River in the other direction. It was therefore the obvious choice as the capital of the kingdom, not only because of its location, but also for the huge supply of building materials. In its heyday, the empire covered the whole of South India as well as Sri Lanka, and Hampi had a population of half a million.

Hampi is a place where man and his money are easily and frequently parted. Apart from the obvious entrance fees, there is a camera charge, bakshees to the snake charmer, payment for photographs with the Sadhu, money to buy bananas for the temple elephant, tip the shoe-wallah to look after your footwear when you enter the temple, the cost of the battery operated buggy where cars aren't allowed to go, the guide of course, and so it goes on. Every few metres there is a beggar (each more deformed than the previous), a post card seller of someone trying to get you to buy trinkets, coconuts, maps or jewellery.

Lakshmi.jpg Sadhus.jpg Snake_Charmer.jpg

Feeling a little Hampi'ed out, we decided to give another three hours of temples in the midday heat a miss, and head out of town for the afternoon, to Daroji Sloth Bear Sanctuary. After a few geographically misplaced moments (retracing our entire route back – but if we hadn't got lost I would never have seen the brick-making!), we finally found someone who knew where we should be going and later some road signs. It is estimated that 120 sloth bears are living in this sanctuary, as well many other wild animals and birds. The 143 steps to the look out tower were soon forgotten when the first two bears appeared. In total we saw 11 sloth bears, a couple of wild boars and lots of birds, and it was a really relaxing afternoon.



Arriving back at the hotel, there were crowds everywhere for a very glamorous and lavish wedding. The groom arrived on a beautifully decorated white horse amid much pomp and circumstance with uniformed musicians and attendants wiping his brow to make sure he looked his best and didn't wilt under the strong spotlight for the hundreds of photos and videos being taken. I wonder how much sleep we'll get tonight?


The laundry arrived much the same time as we did. I should have known better than send clothing made from crinkle material for washing, after exactly the same thing happened to two of my favourite shirts in Indonesia. They must have spent hours getting the 'creases' out, but of course have ruined the shirts in the process.

Posted by Grete Howard 08:17 Archived in India

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mmmmm LOVE Dosas!!!!

by Helen

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