A Travellerspoint blog

India Part Two – Middle India and Goa


View RTW on adamandrina's travel map.

On our third night in Hampi, the breeze abandoned us and the heat took over. Another bout of illness had struck us, no doubt a combination of intense exercise in the 30+ degree heat and poor restaurant selection. Days like these call for plenty of water, rest and repeats of The Sopranos. Nonetheless, we enjoyed our time in Hampi, where the ruins amongst the backdrop of boulders create an electric atmosphere.

Uniquely, the owner couple of the rooftop café specialise in Korean dishes. They are featured in the Korean version of the Lonely Planet, so here the medley of accents consists of a Korean overtone, above the usual French and German.

Hampi is a firm favourite for us. As recommended by our friends Erik and Suzanne, we had been looking forward to visiting and have not been disappointed. The ruins are easy to visit by scooter but much more fun on a bicycle. Getting lost (as we often seem to do) has been rewarding, we have enjoyed following dusty red tracks as our 20 rupee map/comic failed us.

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Our return to India has been busy as expected. After spending time with Dejan and Tjasa in Kochin we were bound for Ooty on the Toy Train. What we imagined to be a romantic ascent aboard a classic steam train included an Indian twist, with 12 people for each pair of benches. Least to say that our views were obscured by bodies, with knees intimately locked as a dozen strangers faced each other as we covered the 42km track in 5 crawling hours.

The hill station Ooty seems unprepared for the cold, for most accommodation is poorly insulated and hot water not readily available. Gripped with cold and fatigue we decided to go on an easy trek for fresh air and photo opportunities. Fortunately the day was clear, a temple festival was taking place and we had great company. Jonathan also introduced us to fellow travellers Tom (at the end of his inspiring London to Goa bike ride) and Pen, and later we indulged in the western comforts of Willy’s Coffee Pub in our weakened states.

A stomach churning bus ride tested us all the way to Mysore, with 5 of 13 passengers in our minivan requiring several “resting” stops. After buses in Myanmar and Sri Lanka our stomachs had no problems on this occasion. We also ended up in the middle of another religious celebration, and stared eye to eye with a giant elephant as the procession engulfed our minivan on the road.

Mysore appeared to be like any other mid-sized Indian city, but we were truly impressed by the splendour of the Palace. A mash up of Islamic, Indian and European architecture, it took decades to realise the vision of its British architect. Indian bronze pumas flank the entrance made of British pillars, which in turn support Islamic arc shaped windows and bulbous dome roofs. The psychedelic coloured walls, and delicate mosaics of lotus flowers and peacocks are unmistakably an Indian influence, crafted with European style.

The market district of Mysore is vibrant and its hectic pace is one that we have come to love. The undercover bazaar with sections dedicated to fruit and vegetables, luminous dye powders and glittering alleys of bracelets and accessories are a thrilling sight – we even found ourselves swept up in bartering for random pieces of Indian kitsch.

After Mysore we spent a short time in Bangalore. This city is bustling with trade and is a paradise for shopping, food and drink. Big brands compete for signage space in the chaotic MG Road and Commercial St, alongside elegant mosques and temples. We were particularly fond of the old town, known as Majestic, as the streets were less organised and more exciting for finding clothing bargains and delicious street food. Before we realised it we were on the train to Hampi.

Arriving in Goa after 3 nights in Hampi, we were reacquainted with Kylie and Vince. By now we were ready for a slower pace after 5 cities in two weeks. As we had heard before, Goa has an irresistible charm and we were hypnotised in a sunny daydream for over 2 weeks. With bicycles and our own apartment, we were a happy family and relished making our own meals and having a routine everyday. It wasn’t surprising to hear that many foreigners had been hanging around for months in this tiny piece of paradise. Before long, we parted ways and headed north to Mumbai.

The amazing panoramic views from the top of a boulder hill overlooking the Hampi ruins

The amazing panoramic views from the top of a boulder hill overlooking the Hampi ruins

This mother was not so excited about the view

This mother was not so excited about the view

Looking back up

Looking back up

Adam walking through one of the ancient gates

Adam walking through one of the ancient gates

Hindu Pilgrims walking into the town’s main temple

Hindu Pilgrims walking into the town’s main temple

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Two boys who were part of a riverside religious procession that we didn’t quite follow

Two boys who were part of a riverside religious procession that we didn’t quite follow

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Hindu robes drying on Hampi’s Ghats

Hindu robes drying on Hampi’s Ghats

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The annual Temple Festival in Kochin was visually and aurally captivating with 12 decorated elephants roaming through bands of drummers and ear piercing fire works

The annual Temple Festival in Kochin was visually and aurally captivating with 12 decorated elephants roaming through bands of drummers and ear piercing fire works

This man had an intriguing method of dismounting his elephant

This man had an intriguing method of dismounting his elephant

Rock and roll Shiva!!

Rock and roll Shiva!!

Rina stuck on the top level of our train with the luggage on the first of our three trains up to Ooty

Rina stuck on the top level of our train with the luggage on the first of our three trains up to Ooty

couple curious and friendly Indian men on the second

couple curious and friendly Indian men on the second

Our final and slowest ‘toy’ train maxed out at about 15km/h

Our final and slowest ‘toy’ train maxed out at about 15km/h

A typical picturesque view from the toy train

A typical picturesque view from the toy train

Another very un-Indian looking countryside seen from Ooty

Another very un-Indian looking countryside seen from Ooty

Hindu women carrying buckets of water up to a well as part of a festival in a small village we stumbled upon during our trek.

Hindu women carrying buckets of water up to a well as part of a festival in a small village we stumbled upon during our trek.

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We do!

We do!

John, Thom and Pen who we met in Ooty and inspired us to completely change the next leg of our holiday

John, Thom and Pen who we met in Ooty and inspired us to completely change the next leg of our holiday

The beautiful Mysore Palace

The beautiful Mysore Palace

Mysore markets

Mysore markets

Cows have free roam of the streets of Bangalore, as they do all over India

Cows have free roam of the streets of Bangalore, as they do all over India

Rina was in heaven with 360 degrees of her favourite fruit

Rina was in heaven with 360 degrees of her favourite fruit

Another delicious Thali meal

Another delicious Thali meal

An Indian shop owner hedging his bets

An Indian shop owner hedging his bets

Vodafone India Headquaters

Vodafone India Headquaters

An accurate snapshot of our two weeks in Goa with Kylie and Vince

An accurate snapshot of our two weeks in Goa with Kylie and Vince

A nice touch from Kylie

A nice touch from Kylie

Rina’s version of the Hello to the Queen dessert inspired by our favourite dish at a local restaurant

Rina’s version of the Hello to the Queen dessert inspired by our favourite dish at a local restaurant

One of the many fishing boats lining the shores of Patnem Beach in Goa

One of the many fishing boats lining the shores of Patnem Beach in Goa

Posted by adamandrina 07:55 Archived in India

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Comments

As usual awesome photos.... Glad to see you had so much fun there.

by Greg

hey guys remeber me? we had a great day of sight seeing and finished it off with octopussy on the rooftop (projector!) in udaipur on Holi!!! that night i saw you in jaisalmer, i'm sorry for not meeting up again but all I can say is Bang lassi is to blame ='( crazy night and im suprised i made it home lol. i guess you guys didnt end up going to nepal but luckly i remebered your names and googled it to find your blog again! just wanted to say how much fun it was to hangout w/ you guys and wish I was still travelling so we could meet up =) best of luck with the rest of the trip and let me know if you swing by canada!!!
Dave

by David from Udaipur!

Hey Dave! Of course we remember you! We had a great time with you, especially the night with the private cinema and bottle shop beers!

Don't worry about not meeting up in Jaisalmer, I think we were both asleep about 20 mins after bumping into you anyway...

We did actually make it to Nepal, but we are extremely slack with updating the blog.

Thanks for looking us up. Don't worry, if we make it up to Canada we will definitely be knocking on your door!

Hope you are having fun back at home,
Adam & Rina

by adamandrina

Hi Friends,

Iam from India, Kerala...Thanks a lot for your good words about cochin and my country.

it really god's own country...

Thanks
sumesh

by Sumesh

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