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Hampi Visit - IV. Adagio maestoso
The bus followed the same village road which I had walked along just minutes ago. After about twenty minutes it came to a halt near another temple. I got down the bus with intentions of paying my visit to the deities. Upon realizing that of faith and fatigue the latter usually prevails upon me, I retreated back in. The bus was eventually parked under a shady tree. The calm (this being a small temple, was relatively freer from hubbub) and the breeze cajoled me into a short nap.

When I woke up people were pouring back into the bus. The nap proved invigorating, though it also invested me with a prodigious appetite. I wanted to fish out a packet of coconut cookies from my hand-bag, but in light of the announcement that our next stop would be a restaurant for an hour-long lunch break, I allowed my hunger to work upon itself up a bit. We arrived at the restaurant after a short drive through a small town close to Mantralaya. I sat alone and devoured pooris which had arrived at my table after calamitous communication differences with our waiter (who incidentally was the only one taking orders from the entire lot of us). Around three we were back into the bus for our drive to Hampi.

This was the only part of our journey conducted during daytime allowing me a good look at the landscape. The sky was a perfect azure with occasional patches of clouds. There were golden fields on either side of the road with a lonely tree or two standing far away in the horizon. The scenery exhorted the photographer in me but alas these buses won’t stop at mere photographic whims of their passengers. Nonetheless, the ill effects of morning’s unpleasant start were now a thing of past and I couldn’t help feeling self-congratulatory for having taken the tour.

The movie posters changed from being exclusively in Telugu, to being in Telugu and Kannada, to Kannada alone and thus we had crossed back into Karnataka around five in the evening through the town of Bellary. I noticed that everything here - the houses, their roofs, parked vehicles, picket fences, plant leaves and the half-awake dogs - was covered in a fine rusty soot inescapable as the air itself. I saw trucks carry heaps of the same dusty material, leaving behind plumes of it each time they would hit a rough patch on the road. At a good distance from my window I saw a tall chimney lazily bellowing out pale-rust smoke. I later learned of an Aluminium Carbide factory in the vicinity which in all likelihood was the reason for the dusty, rusty environs.

Within minutes of clearing the tollgate, our bus passed by the magnificent fort-like Bellary Central Jail situated atop a hill. I managed a shot or two of the structure as our bus slowed down in the chaotic traffic. We stopped for a forty minute tea break at a Hotel-Restaurant with a somewhat unusual moniker of Pola and a somewhat unusual backdrop of Bellary Jail. I rushed to the restaurant’s terrace for clicking the prison but the high parapet and coconut trees surrounding it effectively blockaded my view. A very sweet and milky tea, bolstered me (if you’ve ever had a cuppa at a roadside dhaba you would agree with my pronouncement of its nutritional merits, but I digress) for the last stretch of the day’s journey.

The sun had begun its westward plunge by the time we resumed our remaining journey. I caught the last few rays of a beautiful sunset through a view cluttered with billboards, electricity poles and wires, as we stood waiting at a crossing. As it grew darker I lost sense of time and distance. We were speeding towards Hampi and that alone was sufficient for me.

At nine in the night our bus unexpectedly halted in the lawns of what looked like a guesthouse. We were near Hampi but not in Hampi. The guesthouse, Kamlapur Yatri Nivas, was to be our abode for the night. Three of us (one former acquaintance from morning’s ordeal, one total stranger and me) were summarily allotted a four-bed room. Fortunately the room was passably clean and the bathroom demonstrated standards of hygiene reasonably acceptable for a guesthouse in the middle of nowhere. The room even had provisions of mosquito-coil to ward off the sweet-singing, bloodthirsty insects.

Having heard so many tales about the sunrise at Hampi I was keen to catch it. I found out that this would have to be ruled out as our guesthouse was about 4 KM or so from the actual excavation sites. So close, and yet, so far. Despite this little setback I was now brimming with anticipation. Hampi was already working its magic on me. Weary, I dozed off to brace myself for a busy tomorrow.
posted: 18.2.05

11 Comments

I did my undergraduate studies in Bellary. Have so many memories of Hampi and Hospet...especially the dry and rocky landscape. Thanx for a lovely post which reminded me of all of them! Plus,I hope you are feeling a lot better.

By Blogger Sunrayz, at 19.2.05  



Thanks Sunrayz. I'll get the remaining posts about Hampi out by next week. For a tour that lasted just two days I am surprised at the volume of my notes. One thing is certain, I'll be there again perhaps during summers.

Mom's here for 10 days to ensure my speediest possible recovery; couldn't have been better :-)

By Blogger Deepak, at 19.2.05  



Ohhhh! Just could'nt help write this comment- you are listening to Mariza!!! I have 2 of her CDs - she is brilliant,isn't she?

By Blogger Sunrayz, at 20.2.05  



Absolutely! I have two of her CDs too! - Fado Em Mim and Mariza. Have you heard Dulce Pontes before? Same genre - Portuguese Fado and almost contemporary to Mariza (a tad older). Her album "O Primeiro Canto" is a must hear!

By Blogger Deepak, at 20.2.05  



Hi Deepak,

Thanks to the discussion between you and Sunrayz, I got curious and just heard bits of Portuguese Fado on Amazon and I think I want to pick up some on my next visit to a music store. Though I am not very sure I will get lucky, given the limited world music they have in stock.

I am faced with a niggling query that no amount of googling gets me any answers. Maybe you or somebody else who reads this can help. In the movie Saving Pvt Ryan, just before the last battle, when they prepare to hold the bridge, some of the soldiers find an old gramophone player from somewhere and play some music on it. What genre of music is that (which sounds suspiciously close to Fado) and to get a little more precise, what is the title of the track and the name of the artist.

By Anonymous Avis, at 20.2.05  



Deepak, nice to know that you are better now :)

We too noticed the rusty dust cover on Bellary and sorroundings. So the fort structure on top of the hill is a jail, eh? We noticed that too, down from Bellary railway station, but thought it was just a random something.

Now - I can't stop being jealous. Looks like you had a more interesting journey :)

By Blogger sajith, at 21.2.05  



Hey Avis, my introduction to Fado was through a movie too - Dulce Pontes' Cancao Do Mar was used heavily as the background score of the movie Primal Fear.

Unfortunately, I haven't seen Saving Private Ryan so won't know about the music they used.

Great picture of the station you've got there Sajith! Oh yes its a prison and a functional one at that!! Uhm.. don't know who had
a more interesting journey.. but like I've said before.. let's gang up the next time :-)

By Blogger Deepak, at 21.2.05  



Havent heard Dulce Pontes before but I will keep it on my mind now!
Thanx for the info.

By Blogger Sunrayz, at 21.2.05  



One small correction - the second Mariza album I have is not 'Mariza' but 'Fado Curvo'.

By Blogger Deepak, at 23.2.05  



That guesthouse where you had stayed near Kamalapur -was it the same which is run by the pwd dept.?That was where we had stayed the last time we visited Hampi? A good experience.

By Blogger jagannath rao, at 6.3.05  



Hi Jagannath, I am not sure but the place definitely had a Govt. Dept. feel to it :-).

By Blogger Deepak, at 7.3.05  


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