Sunday, 12 February 2012

Hampi: The Land of Balancing Stones

a diverse land of rice paddies,  
sprawling ruins from many different time periods
& monolithic granite rocks which have been gradually eroded
over millions of years
leaving them to find themselves
balancing in some awe inspiring asanas.
Here you can see the Virupaksha temple
nestled in the distance.
This land is home to Vijanagara (sanskrit- 'The City of Victory),
a city where at the end of the 15th century 
it was believed to be the second largest on earth, 
the home to over 500,000 inhabitants.
This being the capital of one of the largest & most powerful empire's 
India has ever seen.
Upon our arrival here,
 we met another backpacker who had described how
he observed how 10+ acres of paddies had been hand planted in less than a week!!
Oftentimes complete families will arrive shortly after the field has been
tilled & set out to plant thousands, if not millions of rice plants in mere days.
Astonishingly, there are still over 200 million women in India still 
honoring this tradition & being paid approx. 50 rupees/day (about $1 us dollar).

Left &Above, carvings from the Virupaksha.
This Shiva temple site has a uninterrupted timeline dating back to the 7th century.

Our first morning in Hampi visiting the Virupaksha Temple, after a 5:30 sleeper bus arrival time.
The preparations for the ceremonies of the day are well under way.

The markets I have visited here are among some of the most diverse, colorful & 
oftentimes quite repetitive - of those that I have seen sofar!
It is quite common to come across numerous booths that are selling virtually exactly the same items (though arranged in a different presentation) as his neighbor 3 booths down!~ One of the more effective things that one can learn for their travels here, is learning how to clearly say "No"! Setting boundaries with eager business people who are more than willing to offer you the "best price" quite forcefully, is
really crucial! Otherwise they will pursue with the perseverance of a sprout in springtime!
This land offers an incredible diversity of abundance.
The fertility hosts bananas, coconuts, mangos, papayas & rice plantations just to name a few.
Oh how I dearly love fresh raw fruit, locally loved, harvested & sold by some cute old lady!
 Being cautious around fruits that you can't remove the peel is essential though. 
Cleaning fruits & vegetables with food grade hydrogen peroxide is a common practice by savvy travelers who take extra measures to keep themselves happy, healthy & hungry for the next delicious meal!

Some school children we encounter
 at lunchtime, quite dedicated to quenching their thirst 
with the sacred waters of the earth.

Freshly harvested & raw chickpea & pod resting upon my palm.
A friendly snack to add some bulking fiber to the traveling diet is very useful!

Recently harvested, drying yellow lentils (right) & one of the largest (most expensive &clearest) shards of Moldavite that I have ever come across. The shopkeeper had it listed at 37,000 rupees ($740 cnd or so)!!
An incredible piece of an asteroid frozen in crystalline form.
One of the most alien-feeling stones that I have encountered... sofar!

My sister + one incredibly cute baby goat = memories that will last a lifetime...
One morning, we were out exploring the hills & came across this 8 year old goat shepherd.
He had quite the vivid imagination & decided to express his dominance in his own unique way!

The grounds moving up towards the temples are lined on both sides with these structures
which were at one point used to provide infrastructure for the marketplace which
would be hosted on each side.

A couple of Langur monkeys, monkeying around - you know surreptitiously making mischief..
We spent some time feeding this pack of monkeys bananas & at one point Aya had purchased
a bag with about 10 inside. Seconds after she walks away from the vender a mischievious monkey makes a move - jumping up Ayas leg bitting through the bag, removing a couple bananas and quickly retreating to relish on the fruits of his labor!

Just as the sign says~
I say be careful of that Monkey Business!!!


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