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Hampi was probably the only reason why we undertook the Karnataka Journey, having heard from one too many people about the ruins. Hampi is a UNESCO world heritage site and increasingly becoming popular as a tourist destination.

The landscape surrounding the entire site is rocky and dry and forms an apt background to showcase the spectacular stone and mud creations from over 600 years ago. Hampi all in all was very impressive and surely worth the trouble getting there. One full  day is needed to see all the different sites. Having your own vehicle is an added advantage.

The site we visited first was the Virupaksha Temple and the ruins surrounding it. Advise to anyone going to Hampi is never to start with this temple. The area around is teeming with vendors and guides and various peddlers who are always in your face trying to sell you something. I was angered to see that an entire walk way stretching for few hundred meters on two sides were used by squatters with clothes lines and banners covering the age old structures. There was even a police station housed within the ruins, the officers’ uniform and underwear hanging in front for all to see. I am not even going to start talking about the bathrooms that were in deplorable condition in spite of being a paid facility.

We stayed in Hospet, a dirty little town with piles of garbage, overflowing drains, wandering cows and donkeys, posters, hoardings and bad roads. Shocking indeed to see the town in such terrible condition, it being the gateway to Hampi and all.

Here are pictures from the trip put into a slide show.

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Traveling in my own country made me view things differently, perhaps see things I would not have noticed before. I was curiously watching various groups of kids on excursion from schools; we saw that a good number among them were without footwear, all of them in very ordinary clothes and seemingly from very poor background. What struck me most was that, they were fascinated by the white skinned foreigners and their cameras. They wanted to be photographed and appeared content just to see themselves on the camera screen. Coming from a country where even 3 year old owns a smartphone, it was a disheartening observation! But, I should also mention here that was nice to see kids being taken out on excursions and given a chance to see our heritage. The best was that whatever background they might be from, they all seemed happy and were having a plenty of fun!

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