As I sat there sipping my vodka and orange juice I starred at the steely grey waters of Ashwem beach, as the sun went down the sky burst in the evening colours of orange and red, I sat back to take another swig of my screwdriver and think about my first long bike ride through the beautiful Bangalore highway to the rustic scenes of Hampi to the Hippyness of Goa.

What’re 1600 kilometers on a bike like?

Well, it’s not pretty but a hell of a lot of fun! This was also my first long ride outside Pune, so there’s a lot I learned of the unpleasantness of your behind when on long rides.

The Plan was to go from Pune to Hampi then onward to Karwar, from there we planned on heading for Goa, all this in a weeks time.

Our rides at the time were my trusty Thunderbird 500, which I still have, will never part with, and the rugged Himalayan, an offroader and a tourer which I’m sure all you Royal Enfield fans have had given a go at.

Also read: A Bonneville, a Thunderbird and Goa!

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That’s the whole ground we covered
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The good old Thunderbird with her young Himalayan.

The Ride

Honestly, the journey wasn’t too arduous, we took the Bangalore Highway which is one smooth ride, it’s a continuous stretch with minimal traffic and can be a riders paradise for you can speed through at speeds as high as 110 kmph, our bikes at the time did not allow us to go higher.

After a long days ride, we retired at an OYO room in Hubali, next up was the ride to Hampi about a couple of hours away.

Our Stay: Hampi’s Boulder’s

For all us 90’s kids, there was this after school show on cartoon network, the “Flintstones”, well that’s where I felt I was when we went to Hampi’s Boulders in Hampi. The place was suggested by our friend Kritika Batra who runs wanderbug.in, she does these amazing curated trips for you, do check her site out. Hampi’s boulders was truly a prehistoric sort of an experience, they have rooms which are truly a spectacle, like the crocodile cottage by the river or the rock cottage which would want you to go “Yabadabado” sometimes, it’s just the way the whole place is set up, with boulders just randomly placed around the resort or the activities they have for their guests, it’s a must try when you visit Hampi.

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Rock Cottage: For those Yabadabadoos
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I just had to do the Egyptian dance
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View from the boulders

They also have some really adventurous activities like river crossing and boulder climbing which aren’t for the weak hearted

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Time for some Yoga, sitting atop a boulder mountain
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River crossing on these rickety bridges

What else can you do in Hampi?

Get your history buff out

Although the boulders had a lot to offer, Hampi is an ancient temple city, with a history dating back to thousands of years, I read on Wikipedia that it has been mentioned in the Ramayana, the most recent history dates back to the 14th century CE where it was said to be the capital of the Vijayanagar empire.

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People refer to this as the hanuman hill, for its shape

Gaze at the beautiful architecture of the temples.

Some of the temples are way to crowded and honestly not worth it like the Virupaksha, it’s very popular amongst the locals and tourists alike and will be a killjoy for foreigners, you’ll have hordes of people that would want to take pictures with you, like your not used to that already!

Amongst the must-sees are the Achutarya temple and the Vijaya Vittala Temple, they have fewer crowds and the architecture is truly magnificent.

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Virupaksha from afar
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The stone chariot at the Vijaya Vittala Temple
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Vitthala Vijaya Temple: The hollow pillar and also a musical instrument
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Steps leading to Achutaraya Temple
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Achutaraya Temple The Royal entrance of the yesteryears

Some more interesting temples you can visit, are the Underground Siva Temple or the Hanuman temple.  You’ll see how the architecture progresses through history, with even some refurbishment efforts the kings of that time have done, with the structure which is entirely made of stone having bricks to hold up for reenforcements.

This coracle boat ride

Just behind the Achutaraya temple, we found some of the locals providing this ride for a mere 50 rupees per person, now it wasn’t only this ride that made it fascinating but we found an underwater temple, which can be seen only when the water levels go down.

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The boat ride
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We actually spotted someone meditating, in the now above the ground temple

Try your hand at bouldering

Not my cup of tea although, Hampi has some mean boulders that can be climbed and is a major attraction for adventure junkies, meanwhile look at this one trying to get off one.

For some practical information

When do I go there?

Best times to visit Hampi is in the winters, December to February, we were there in November and it was still pretty hot.

How do I get there?

The closest airports are at Hubli and Bangalore, Wikitravel covers all the routes (https://wikitravel.org/en/Hampi), we’re bikers and took the Bangalore highway from Pune, which I would say was exceptional.

Can I drink there?

Although it’s a temple town drinking and eating non-veg is permitted in Hampi, we although couldn’t find wine shops nearby but our resort which was outside the temple town area and it served beer.

Where can I eat?

One must try places to eat is the Mango Tree Restaurant, there was a time where it was under an actual mango tree but as Hampi is now a heritage site they had to move, the food’s still pretty good though. Hampi’s Boulders covers the food costs with your stay they have a really good buffet, they make an effort to make spicy food for us Indians and not so spicy food for others both are equally delicious.

The second part of our week-long trip was in Palolem and Ashwem, which are in the north and south of Goa respectively. Goa is a unique place on its own and I think it needs a blog for itself for all the beaches and unique things it has to offer, follow my blog to read more about the unique and fun places I’ve explored. Happy Travelling!

Also, watch this video I stitched up with the stuff we got on our SJCAM.

 

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