27-30 November 2003
Well, I was planning on writing a short entry and leaving my pictures of Hampi to speak for themselves, but I had an unfortunate event occur. I was saving my photos from my memory card (from my digital camera) to my hard drive, when all of a sudden, I got an error message saying I had a sharing violation. Behind the little grey box in the middle of my screen I could see all of my photos disappearing in a row. What?!?!?!?!?!?
I didn’t know what to do. What just happened? Was something wrong with my card, my camera? Did I do something wrong? I was in shock at having lost 130 (yes 130) photos. Knowing how I love pictures, I am sure you can all imagine my disappiontment and frustration. One friend helped me a bit and basically figured that I did something wrong. However, I talked to another friend who knows all about this and he said that the cards are volatile and that if you are editing from them or renaming while leaving the photos on the card sometimes it can go haywire. AHHH! I never knew. So, here I have learned a lesson the hard way and hopefully you won’t have to (at my expense). ALWAYS save your photos immediately to your hard drive and then manipulate them.
Now on to Hampi. I will keep this short because, as usual, I have a million things that I need to do all converging on the same 4 day period. Why does this always happen? There is the CKS DoorsEast conference I told you about (It starts Sunday, goes all next week, I am missing part of it, but we are very busy with the final details). I also have to plan my time from Christmas to New Year’s for when I come back to India. That was supposedly all figured out, right? Wrong. The trains I thought I was taking are all booked. So now, I have one overnight train for 1o hours, followed by a 6 hour wait in a trains station, followed by an all day 9 hour train ride. Joy! Then I also have somehow ramped up my research into CSR and the like. I had an interview with this Rhodes scholar at HP Labs yesterday, a meeting with the professor who heads the Centre for Corporate Citizenship today and am trying to squeeze in a last minute lunch meeting with Meg’s boss who will be in Bangalore for the day tomorrow. She had some ideas for my project so we thought it would be good to meet. I say squeeze her in because, I in the midst of all of this, I am looking for apartments! My friend, Mitali is coming in tomorrow from Dharwad so that she and I, and another Fulbrighter, Lizzy, can all go look for a three bedroom apt together. I am so tired just thinking of all of this. But at least I can be comforted by what comes in one week. What is that, you ask? Oh a 36 hour journey from Bangalore to Bombay to Zurich to New York. I just can’t wait. Hahaha.
[Update: I wrote the above paragraph last week. Since then, we found a place!!! But more on that once I move in there in January]
Okay, now really on to Hampi. Hampi is this beautiful remote village in northern Karnataka (the state I live in), that requires an overnight train and then about a half hour bus or rickshaw drive to get to. My friends and I stayed across the river, so it also entailed a walk through the town, a moist coracle (a round boat that looks like a huge woven basket and keeps water out just as well) ride and then a walk down this stip of dirt road, lined with guest houses to reach our destination—the Mowgli Guest House. Actually, I cannot complain. I went for the weekend with two Fulbrighters, Adrienne and Lizzy (aforementioned). But we were also accompanied by Brian, who was one of the exchange students at IIMB (he is from Seattle) and we were meeting David (another exchange student), his wife and also the mother of yet another exhange student. The latter three arrived the day earlier and had 2 rickshaws come to meet us at the train station. How great is that? Then they brought us to the guest house where we ate banana chocolate crepes and looked over a magnificent field of rice paddies with hills in the background and coconut trees everywhere. I would show you a photo, but we already went into that.
Hampi is known for its beauty—there are these mountain formations made out of rusty brown boulders (reminiscent of Arizona or Utah in a way) framing the way along valleys of rice paddies, banana fields and coconut groves. There is a river, the Tungabadhra, which flows through the place and is considered holy. Which brings me to its second claim to fame. It is filled with temples. It is sacred on three levels. It was supposedly where something happened (forgot what) with Shiva )and there are temples to him. Then it was the land of the monkey kings and there is a Hanuman (the monekey god of mischief) temple sitting, white, high atop one of the mountains. The third thing had to do with the kingdom that was there several hundred years ago, but I forgot the details.
It was always known for its bazaar and trade that occurred there. The Portuguese and Arabs brought horses. There were others from all over the place and selling diamonds, gold, spices, camels and just about everything else. We went to see lots of things, including the Vittala, Vurapaksha and Hazan Rama temples, the old palaces, the monkey temple—where this little boy, Ragu, helped us and then made music with his mouth like being in a club and danced for us-hehehe, the reservoir that looks like a lake and has an amazing peacefulness to it. We hiked up a hill to see another temple (had this great picture of me with this sadhu—holy man) and watch the sunset (more great lost shots-okay I will stop). We had a guide for the first two days named Ragu, oh and one of our rickshaw drivers names’s was Ragu. Sense a pattern here?? I didn’t mind because it is quite easy to pronounce! Haha.
There are lots of backpackers in Hampi, including hordes of Israelis who are toxifying (I can’t take credit for that word, but thought it was quite funny and accurate) after three years in the army while they travel. This is when I wish I had actually learned Hebrew in my 5 years at Hebrew school. Their presence meant that all of the guest houses had Israeli food, including hummus and Israeli salad. Hooray!! I was quite excited. There were also lots of Europeans and quite a few Italian restaurants and “European” bakeries. We met some really nice and cool people, so that made the trip even better. On the day we went to the lake we rented bikes with this American, Kevin, from SF and this Indian, Neeta, who has been living in the U.S. for about 7 years. She is now moving to South Africa to work on her dissertation. We had a great day with them. Well, I was at the kick-off party for the DoorsEast Conference (the one I have been working on) on Sunday and one of the other women who is friends with Aditya and helping out says to me—I heard you met my friend Neeta in Hampi. Neeta is not even from Bangalore—she is from Bombay. How funny! Small world, even in the land of 1 billion people.
No more time to write b/c I must be finishing up before I get going to the U.S. But here are some photos from Hampi.
The coracle ride
A marriage ceremony
The gateway to the 570 steps up to the Monkey Temple (with the whole crew). You can see the white temple at the top of the mountain
The Elephant stables in the Palace complex. The top of the structure has 3 styles, which align with the three major religions existing at the time of the construction--Jain, Muslim, Hindu.
Rama temple roof