Postcards Home – Week 3

To my dearest friends, family and fellow culture cravers,

I have had a fabulous first week of travelling solo (not to say I’m not missing my travel buddy though!). After surviving my first sleeper bus, I spent the end of last week in the enchanting city of Hampi with a couple of girls I met at my previous stop, Palolem. A UNESCO World Heritage site in the state of Karnataka (around a nine-hour bus journey from South Goa), Hampi is a calm city with some of the most unusual and outstanding scenery I have ever seen.

Encompassed by piles of huge granite boulders, a trickling lake, luscious green palm trees and paddy fields and thousands of ancient temples, it is hard to put into words how beautiful this place is.

Postcards Home - Week 3 - Scenery in Hampi - My Culture Craving

Postcards Home - Week 3 - Hampi Scenery - My Culture Craving

Once my new pals arrived (they travelled up the day after me), we spent our first morning chilling out in one of Hampi’s many rooftop restaurants sipping on fresh lemon, ginger and honey tea before exploring the two largest temples in Hampi –  Virupaksha and Vittala.

Postcards Home - Week 3 - Tea in Hampi - My Culture Craving

Postcards Home - Week 3 - Hampi Temple - My Culture Craving

Coincidentally coinciding with Sankranti Festival, the Virupaksha temple was heaving with locals worshipping and offering blessings to the temple whilst the bazaars’ floors were decorated in vibrant, floral patterns created by using coloured powder and glitter.

Postcards Home - Week 3 - Festival in Hampi - My Culture Craving

Postcards Home - Week 3 - Hampi - My Culture Craving

On route to Vittala temple, we wandered past locals cooling off and picnicking beside the water in celebration of the holidays. We walked for ages admiring the scenery whilst sipping on fresh coconuts.

Postcards Home - Week 3 - Lake in Hampi - My Culture Craving

Postcards Home - Week 3 - View in Hampi - My Culture Craving

We spent the morning of our second day on a bicycle tour exploring another part of the city. Cycling through lush scenery and admiring many a temple, it was a great way to see Hampi from another perspective and having the guide meant we knew exactly what we were looking at.

Postcards Home - Week 3 - Biking in Hampi - My Culture Craving

Postcards Home - Week 3 - Ancient Temples in Hampi - My Culture Craving

We ended the insightful morning with a scrummy thali served up in the old ‘Queen’s Baths’ garden.

Postcards Home - Week 3 - Thali in Hampi - My Culture Craving

On our final day we headed over to Hampi Island (an area on the other side of the river). However, on our way to the boat dock we were distracted.

There, lying aimlessly in the water, was Lakshmi the temple elephant being washed, scrubbed and pampered. We stood in awe as she swished her trunk in and out of the water and waved her ears in the air in satisfaction.

Postcards Home - Week 3 - Elephant in Hampi - My Culture Craving

After tearing ourselves away from the elephant, we hopped on the boat and headed to Hanuman temple (aka the Monkey temple) – a temple situated at the top of a challenging 570 steps.

Postcards Home - Week 3 - Monkey in Hampi - My Culture Craving

A megaphone blaring ceremonial chanting kept us motivated and with very sweaty upper lips, we made it to the top. Despite the temple not being breathtaking, the devotees singing, swaying and playing instruments inside the temple reminded me how much I’d missed this religious energy of India in Goa. We celebrated my revelation and the incredible view with a photoshoot…

Postcards Home - Week 3 - View - My Culture Craving

I have spent the past couple of days exploring Bangalore with a friend I met in Goa who studies in the city. I have been given the local tour of this bustling city and have experienced the best of its food, gardens and temples.

This morning I arrived in Munnar  – a breathtaking hill station in the state of Kerala. So far, I have only seen the scenery from a bus window but what I saw was jaw-droppingly green and beautiful.

Until next week…

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  • Reply Shanmuga

    Reading through your blog, it sounds like you’re truly enjoying your time in India minus the scams. Be sure to visit Tamil Nadu; there are many places to look around.

    January 21, 2016 at 7:22 pm
    • Reply Lydia

      Hi Shanmuga,

      Thank you for your comment! Yes, I’m loving my time in India. I’m actually heading to Top Station in Munnar today, which I believe borders Tamil Nadu and will also be visiting Chennai before I leave. Do you have any recommendations of things to see/do in Chennai?

      January 22, 2016 at 3:26 am
  • Reply Ronak

    Good page and great read here on hampi Lydia. You could try the backwaters of Alappey while at Kerala. They’ve got all sorts of elaborate house-boat arrangements in what is called the “Venice of the East”

    January 24, 2016 at 1:56 am
    • Reply Lydia

      Hi Ronak,

      Thanks for your advice. I’m actually heading to Alleppey tomorrow to check out the backwaters!

      January 25, 2016 at 7:25 am

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