Jai Hanuman!!

April 7, 2010

Hot Happy Hampi and Beautious Beaches of South Goa– a perfect post yoga teacher training holidayyyy. It felt soso good to be traveling again…exploring, pacticing the yoga of simply being and experiencing.

I’ll write about Goa first, as it was a gorgeous, relaxing time and easily summed up in some key words:
*Laguna Vista at Columb beach in South with huts looking onto a lagoon;
*The company of my beautious British, Dutch, and French yoginis, respectively- Fiona, Danielle and Laurence. Three wonderful, fun, uiquely amazing women I had the pleasure to get to know much more deeply, and with whom I felt totally at ease, while traveling;
*6:30am wake-ups for meditation, pranayama, asana practice;
*The best (and super cheap!) Aryuvedic massages. The Keralan brother-sister duo a 15-hour course offered every year….
*Lime-mint or ginger lemon soda. strawberry, cucumber, mango juice;
*Delicious Nepali food;
*And, of course- salt, sea, sun, sand (the four F’s my Dad pretends to hate).

Now, Hampi…I wrote most of this while taking the 8-hour train journey from Hampi in the state of Karnataka back to Goa, which is a travel experience in itself. So much happens. Hot beverage sellers walking up and down the aisle, who can say “chai-coffee” with as few syllables as humanly possibly. Hot food sellers who somehow manage full baskets of samosas and other yummy fired snacks, incomplete without their matching sauces! Cold drinks, fresh kurd (yogurt)…you want anything, it’s possible! Kids running around. People sharing their home-cooked food with you. Watching the scenery go by, accompanied by a welcome breeze. My favorite part of the ride, I think, would have to be looking up to see Laurence and Danielle snuggled into their 3-seater by 2 kind elderly men (there’s plenty of room in the carriage, by the way), eagerly chatting them up with a very limited selection of vocabulary. Danielle is now having her palm read by one man, Laurence is looking out the window, and the other man is sitting quietly, content in his tight seating arrangement. They offer us cookies, share ringtones and ask how many rupees is a cup of coffee in America (and are shocked upon hearing the answer).

The rest of this, I jotted down after ordering from a delicious selection of menu items ranging from “watermillon juice” to “chocolate bols” and “macroni” ad waiting two hours for toast and fruit salad, if that gives any indication of the pace and feel of this place. Hampi is in the Indian state of Karnataka, and is famous for its 500 year-old ruins from the Vijayanagara Empire. The sites of Hampi are spread throughout landscapes of enormous brown boulders and bright green banana plantations. We stayed in cute, simple huts across the river from the main village, which overlooked gorgeous kilometers of boulder mountains and rice paddies. It was actually our luck to be there in low season, late enough to have many sites virtually to ourselves but also just soon enough- literally the week before most workers were packing up to go back home (many are from the north). We explored crumbling temples in the morning before it got to unbearably hot, had looong lunches mid-day, and caught multiple red-orange Indian sunsets before loooong dinners.

One main highlight was waking at 5am one morning and getting a very dark auto rickshaw ride to Hampi’s Hanuman (Hinduism’s Monkey God) monument; our driver knew the winding road by heart, in the pitch black– for us it was a bit like a rollercoaster ride! We arrived at the base of this temple and climbed 600 steps to reach our pinnacle. Leged has it that Hanuman was born here some 16,000 years ago, also marking the mythical kingdom of “Kishkinda’. At the top, we joined the dedicated Indian “temple-keepers”, some overnighters, and a few “extended-stayers” who apparently were cultivating some Hanuman bhakti (one was a really white guy with bright red hair who stood out a LOT–not gonna lie, it was kinda funny). Best of all, we watched the sunrise accompanied by dozens of, naturally, monkeys!!!

From Hot Happy Hampi Beautious Beaches of South Goa

The rest of our high-flying morning was spent watching, and guarding from, the monkeys steal anything and everything (they particularly liked snatching cigarettes and lighters), and having wise broken-English discussions with the Hanuman devotees: one guy frequently fasts for a good meditatio and to become pure, so he ca look directly at the sun for 2 hours every day…Some 2 hours post ascent, were suddenly here bells ringing from the small temple and the guys still hanging around quickly run into the temple, motioning the rest of us to follow. More bells, accompanied my hypnotic drumbeats. Morning puja (honoring ritual) has begun. We watched as the main temple keeper lit candles and performed the ritual ceremony at the sparkling Hanuman alter. We watched, listened, felt, soaked in the magic.

As we got ready to leave, the main monkey guy cried, “sit! Must stayed for breakfast!” Of course, we could not refuse. After eating deliciously simple dollups of spiced and gheed, polenta-like porridge, alas it was time to leave (despite further insistence that we stay for lunch). Filled with this unexpected, amazing experience, the now hot sun shining strongly on our backs, we made our descent back to earth.

3 Responses to “Jai Hanuman!!”

  1. Cathi Says:

    Hi Hilary!!! I love reading everything you write–this is such an amazing experience for you–and those of us that are reading about what you are doing. Keep traveling safely and keep those wonderful experiences shared!!! Love, Cathi 🙂

  2. Hilary Says:

    I forgot to mention clearly–here the link the the pictures of this trip is (also at the very beginning of this post).

  3. tskraghu Says:

    Nice photos in the album!

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