Three flights down and one in progress. After twenty-two excruciatingly long hours in the air, I am finally on the last leg of the journey to Kathmandu. The last day and half of travel has been a whirlwind full of surprises, both pleasant and not so pleasant.
Hours 1 - 13: YVR - Hong Kong
On the first flight from Vancouver to Hong Kong, I did something I don’t normally do, I talked to a stranger.
Today is my 29th Birthday and it is also the eve of India’s 65th year of independence. On this day, 65 years ago, the first prime minister of independent India, Jawaharlal Nehru, made his famous Tryst With Destiny speech. It is considered to be one of the greatest speeches of all time and was a landmark oration that succeeded in invoking the essence of the victorious conclusion of India’s independence movement, characterized by one hundred years of largely non-violent resistance and civil disobedience led by the Indian National Congress.
At 5:30am we awoke to begin our long day of travel. I had packed the night before so I helped Shawn search for items as he packed. The sun, not yet over the horizon, provided little light as we ventured out to look for our transportation. Our rickshaw was already waiting for us and we piled in with our luggage. The twenty-minute ride to Hospet took us through the lush, jungle like surroundings that lie on the outskirts of Hampi. The temperate breeze rushed over us as we sped past cows with brightly painted horns pulling large carts full of bamboo, crops and building supplies.
The Vittala Temple, situated northeast of Hampi, is one of the principal monuments of the city. The temple is believed to date from the 16th century and is dedicated to Vittala, an aspect of Vishnu worshipped in the Maratha country.
One of the main draws to the Vittala Temple is the musical pillars. Each pillar represents a musical instrument, and is constructed in a cluster of 7 minor pillars arranged around a main pillar. These 7 pillars, when struck, emanate the 7 notes from the representative instrument, varying in sound quality based on whether it represents a wind, string or percussion instrument.
Over the span of two days, we explored the ruins both by foot and by bicycle. It was a surprise to discover that Hampi continues to be an important religious centre and that Indian tourist, pilgrims and rural inhabitants (from surrounding villages) all flock to Hampi to pay homage to these spectacular ruins.
Our original plan after departing Mysore was to head straight to Mumbai, but (as you are probably well aware due to the last post) we decided to heed our friend Jo's advice and head towards Hampi.
Jo sold me on the idea as soon as she told me that Rudyard Kipling based his classic novel, The Jungle Book, on accounts of the ruins at Hampi. Soon after, Shawn squashed my Jungle Book dreams by telling me that Kipling based his novel on a different set of ruins, however, in my mind, Hampi is The Jungle Book incarnate (the Disney version that is).
Here's the proof...