New vehicle, new driver, new seating arrangements- Nick’s bag sitting not so securely on top. Me – ‘Wow, why didn’t the driver just put mine on top? It’s the biggest?’
Nick- ‘Hmm yes Charlotte, let’s not rub it in.’
So our 6-hour journey was taking us to Hampi- South Indian state of Karnataka. As exciting as car rides go, nothing too out of the ordinary happened- other than that we managed to find a coffee shop on the side-road; something we really missed. As far as Wifi goes; non-existent.
Along the way, we stopped at Chitradurga Fort.
Ok google.. Chitradurga fort (or Chitaldoorg as the British call it) is a ‘fortification’ that straddles over the picturesque landscape of the Chitradurga District, Karnataka. The fort was built somewhere between 11th and 13th century by the Dynastic rulers. Between the 15th- 18th century, it was expanded by the Palegar Nayakas (rulers of the Eastern Karnataka region after the Vijayanagara period). The fort was captured by, you guessed, the British in 1779 when they defeated Hyder Ali’s son , Tipu Sultan.
Today it is a cite of 19 Hindu temples, and home to monkeys; lot and lots of monkeys. This was our first encounter of monkeys during the trip, and we were all excited to see them. I on the other-hand, was abit apprehensive. After being stolen by one last year (taking my bananas, mangos and almost my bag-pack God forbid) I preferred to keep a good distance.
The fort offered picturesque skyline views of the Karnataka landscape. A couple of hours, a thousand photos; we wasted no time and headed on.
Another 4 hour journey and we arrived at Gowri hostel; a real ‘bag-packer’ place to stay,’ located right next to a swamp and pretty much in the middle of nowhere. Aside from the fact that the accommodation what similar to that of a derelict shed; cold showers, pad-locked, no Wi-fi and a life assuring mosquito net to put our (my) Malaria concerns aside, we were very happy.
Our limited time took us to take a trip to Monkey Temple straight way. Renowned for its spectacular sunset views, we were more than willing to do the climb.
The temple is located on Anjanadri Hill in Anegundi (4K from the town) believed to be the birthplace of Sri Hanuman. (Lord of celibacy and victory in Hinduism)
A flight of white granite steps lead us to the temple which had gorgeous landscape views along the way.
Tourists were walking in both directions, taking full advantage of the viewpoints with some nice landscape selfies; myself included. Catching me unawares, (readjusting myself for a photo) a monkey seized the opportunity and took my coconut sat on the wall (and for visual effect) beside me. A moment of vanity and it was gone; further reinforcing my lack of trust in the furry beasts.
The views on top were tremendous. Probably my most favourite part of the trip.
Exotic, silver streams, tranquil, warm, peaceful. And of course, the perfect opportunity to get the over-used ‘looking out into thin air, contemplating life’ shot (talking of which)
..that most travellers aim to achieve; And it just so happened that the topic of conversation went pretty deep as well- ‘Nick, how did it just so happen that we’re all sat here? 1 year ago none of use knowing each other, now here in India, overlooking the most beautiful landscape? Our small choices, gravitating us together, and leading us to this one spot…
‘Physics Charlotte, atoms formulating decision making in the brain that you nor I have control of.’
Our time on top of Monkey Temple was tremendous; short-lived, spiritual, picturesque and refreshing after a 6 hour car journey.
We returned back to hostel, had supper and finished the day exchanging our favourite parts of the day over a rum- or four.