26th September 2014 – Hampi, India
The priest rides a motorcycle, sports a fake ray ban, and smiles. The vendors stay waiting. Your choice, to them, is like a litmus test. The touts are everywhere, selling everything, from lodges to food to rides. The cow walks through them all in the bazaar, with the head held highest.
I set aside a full-day to see as much of Hampi as I could. And believe me, there is a lot to cover that I couldn’t finish even in 2 days.
Hampi Bazaar is an interesting place to be in. A bazaar is a street market in India. This little street, or row of streets, plays a stark contrast to the desolate boulders found in the rest of Hampi. There is an entire civilisation that brawls and does its business here, ranging from home stays to rooftop restaurants to shops selling hand looms and artefacts.
Located right next the Virupaksha temple, staying in the Hampi bazaar allows a quick walking tour of most of the major attractions in Hampi. And so, I did. I took up a meagre lodging in a colourful looking home-stay for just 500 RS (thats about 8 USD) which provided cold and hot showers, and a decent wifi connection. And I proceeded to walk around the temple city.
Hampi is a very religious city, despite the throngs of foreigners that you will see here. There is a ban on Alcohol and you will not find meat anywhere. But, one noticeable aspect is the number of Monkeys and cows that you can see on the road. Both these animals are considered holy in India, and tolerance for their public appearance is very high. But in Hampi, the monkey places the quirky side-hero, and the cow is the absolute rockstar. It is everywhere, and owns any road that it walks on.
These guys are spoilt, I tell you.