Monday, November 14, 2011
Hampi, day 4; Hanuman Temple
Over breakfast, Shelley and I spoke to Kiran about our time in Goa before coming to Hampi. Somehow, Geeta came up in the conversation and Kiran got really excited saying he knows the family, that they're from just outside of Hampi. He said, "If you like her, talk to her brother, tell him you want to marry her. I think you can marry her!"
I almost choked on my chapatti when he said that. I was thinking more along the lines of a date, which I already knew was out of the question in India, so, basically, I wasn't thinking about it at all! Next thing, Kiran gets on his cell phone, calls Geeta on the beach in Palolem (yes, I had her number stashed in my money-belt), talks to her a bit, then hands me the phone and tell me to tell her I like her. I chatted for a bit, but kept it casual. No way I was going to get myself into a mess like this again, though deep down, I sort of wanted to...
Back to what I actually came to India to do, after breakfast, Shelley and I set out to find the Hanuman Temple, the legendary birthplace of the Monkey King on Anjenaya Hill. Actually, it's one of a few places that are claimed to be the birthplace, but I like the fact that Hampi was once known as Kishkindha, the Monkey Kingdom.
We returned to the riverbank, where I'd noticed some basket shaped boats the day before along with the little white temple sitting on the edge of the peak in the distance, and hired one to cross the river. It was a hot day and the three kilometer walk seemed intimidating, but we kept in the shade when we could and the walk was quite beautiful, passing through a small village and golden rice fields.
When we got to the fittingly monkey infested hill, there were still 572 steps between us an the temple, winding through the boulders. It's said that Hanuman's mother was Goddess of the wind, and getting to the top, her presence was noticeable. We sat on some large stones admiring the view while a monkey climbed on top of Shelley and wasn't eager to get back down.
The temple it's self really was more about the journey getting to it, as we were much more taken with the view. Once we had our fill, we climbed back down the 572 steps, bought a coconut to drink from a cart by the road, and made our way back to the river. I was a bit upset when the boy refused to haggle with the toll to bring us back, even though his price was a few times more than what Kiran told us we should pay. But being on the wrong side of the river, with no bridge and no other option, he had the upper hand.
He ended up not even taking us to the right place along the river, and dropped us off amongst a bunch of giant boulders that lined the river banks. Actually, as we leapt across them, in the general direction of Hampi Bazar, we noticed that we were to fall between them we would have ended up in the river. They were interesting to explore, though, scattered with carvings.
Anyway, we made it back to Gopi's, both sunburned and tired, but enjoyed the rest of the evening eating great food and talking with friends.