Travel: Hampi will hold you and soothe you the way you want to.
By Aley Thomas
Sitting on the banks of Tungabhadra River, sipping a cold chilling beer in a steel glass — a specialty in Hippie Island — with a book to read, another to scribble my feelings, and a pen, was a dream come true.
It’s my fifth day in Hampi. And I wanted to write about everything. A normal travelogue about Hampi, you could read anywhere. I will tell you how Hampi could make you feel.
This was never planned, or imagined to be a spiritual trip. But I was sure to make it a memorable one. At least, a moment of strange or adventurous feeling or experience I would possess and take all along in my life’s journey ahead. Yes, I was determined to please my body and soul to liberate myself from the agonies and trauma that I had been through.
I arrived in Hospet by a night bus from Bangalore. From there, I took another bus to Hampi, which is less than 8 miles away. At the front desk of the hotel, where I booked my room, I had asked to arrange for a two-wheeler, which I had never ridden after my license test.
I had all the inhibitions and my insecurities with me to draw me back. My face, full of expressions when I least needed it, made the manager of the hotel a bit hesitant to ask me again about my decision. I was persistent. And full of fear, too.
The events followed helped me to feel my best self. As I drove along the paddy and plantain fields, I shouted, screamed, laughed out loud and let all of my emotions out. I could sense that I had been longing for it. There were hardly any people on the road. And all those who appeared along had pleasant faces.
I drove without any particular destination. But I had a place to go for lunch in mind. I thought I wouldn’t reach the location. It was a bit too far away from where I was roaming around and this was first time I was riding a two-wheeler that long in my life. Sitting at home for the last two months had made me sluggish. But tenacious I was. I reached “Laughing Buddha” in Hippie Island. I sat there for a long time collecting my thoughts. I was having my fun and solitary time. Yes, Hampi lets you to be yourself.
I headed to the Anjaneya Hill for the sunset. There I met two people from my home state of Kerala. They suggested me to take a room on the other side of the river and experience the “agrahaara” life a bit. Adventure, I always wanted. Without even knowing them any better, I agreed to move to their hotel, where they confirmed a room for me by that time. Yes, we meet people who help us for no reason at all, at times.
* * *
Morning air was fresh at Mattanga Hill, with the sun spreading its light with new hope. I sat there in peace, day dreaming as usual. Later, I had some photo sessions along with my new buddies, who would be leaving Hampi in two hours. Soon I bid good bye to them after the breakfast and started on my own.
I wandered through the streets of Hampi learning more about the Viajayanagara Kingdom. Ambling down the streets of the Virupaksha Temple and the Hemakuta Hills, the memories about the great kings of Vijayangara swirled through my mind.
I tried to remember the little history that I knew. The romantic stories of Krishnadevaraya and his love for Chinnamma Devi crossed my mind. I must say, Panchaali from the book “Palace of Illusions,” was accompanying me all along. She was reminding me of the history, her love for Karna, her jealousy when Arjuna found his eternal love in Subhadra, and my requited and lost love.
I wondered whether there was any striking coincidence between the book I was reading, the love between Krishnadevaraya and Chinnamma Devi, between Panchaali and her unrequited love from Karna and mine.
I felt jealous of those who found their true love and there was Panchaali, who until late couldn’t recognize her true love at all. May be that was me, too.
I could sense, I was not alone. Many were with me. I was trying to hold on to something which was not mine. Thungabadra River with its serenity, Hampi with its history and romance helped me to liberate my love. And I found a calmness settling inside me.
* * *
It’s my fifth day in Hampi, Sitting at Laughing Budha in Hippie Island, sipping my beer. I wanted this trip to mourn for my long lost love and to just liberate myself from all my agonies. My first love and it was his smell that’s my first addiction. I was reminded of that smell when the therapist at the Ayurveda Center started to massage my body with medicinal oils. It was more relaxing and sensual, which helped to assuage my body of her wants for peace of mind, body and soul. When the day was done, Panchaali, my travel companion, strolling beside me, I felt a confidence that evinced more true colors of my life. I wanted to live my life with full vigor unstirred by what others may think.
Towards the end of the trip, all I wanted was just to swallow the beauty of the moment so that it may stay within me forever.
Hampi is all blue, if you want it to be. Hampi is all green and grey, if you want it to be. Hampi is the color and feel of your choice — however you want it to be. Hampi will hold you and soothe you the way you want it to be.
On final morning, it was my time to dissolve in the lasting serenity and beauty of Thungabadra and the history it holds for one last time. I dissolved and formed again, and dissolved and rejuvenated.