The Secret Story of Hampi

Yes- there is a secret story about Hampi. Just like every other town has a secret story which you can uncover if you choose to dig deeper and as in this case – a very vivid imagination. But if ย you are thinking that all you have to do is sit back and read this blog to get to the bottom of the mystery that is Hampi then I’m very sorry to disappoint you. I’ve already planned on an entire alternate career as a tour guide in Hampi frazzling the tourists with the especially bored expression on their faces with these stories. So I’m not giving them out to you on a platter. I may feel kind and drop some hints though…

Now to get on with the events of the last day at Hampi…. (did I say someone saying phew?)

We needed a break to relax (and for me to pack) after the morning’s trek up Matanga Hill and back. There was a possibility that we may have been able to get special permissions to venture deeper into the Daroji ย bear sanctuary and get a better look at the bears and the other fauna. Unfortunately though this did not come through (maybe yelling at park officers across the valley is not such a good idea- refer to my earlier post about the birds). But Hampi still had a lot up its sleeve and we finally decided that we would leave slightly earlier in the afternoon, go around the ruins in the main town and then come back to the canal path for some last day birding.

Going out back in the early afternoon sun into Hampi was possibly not a great idea. Not just for the light for photography. It was only February but the land and the rocks and hills around Hampi radiate heat to make the entire town feel like an oven. I do not even want to contemplate what the place would be like in April or May. Armed with caps and shades we went doggedly around the ruins. First the Lotus Mahal where our team spent more time photographing birds- much to the amusement of the passers by,

The Lotus Mahal is the other way folks!
The slightly offended Lotus Mahal

the elephant stables,

The elephant’s eye-view of the elephant stable or the frame within the frame

then the ruins of the royal ceremonial platform,

Details of Camel Relief in Ceremoni….wait is that how hot it gets out here???

the stepped pools, the queen’s bath.

Stepped Pool

It must have surely been the heat for by the time we were nearing the end we were laughing hysterically with our imagined stories (think slide pools and ancient baths). We even managed to fabricate a story about how Hampi got rich so quickly and also how in the end it became very poor with equal speed.

Before any of us were permanently damaged by the sun we managed to refresh ourselves with some tender coconut juice and head to the canal.

Hampi hardly disappoints and once again we had a great sighting of the Coucal- a mystery bird whose name I had been trying to find out for almost 5 or 6 years now.

Mysterious Coucal

We also had a standard diet of the red-wattled lapwings, the sand pipers, the sparrows and surprisingly the painted sand grouses.

Bored Lapwings- weren’t you guys here yesterday?
Sandpiper
Ms Robin
Unidentified Bird 1
Unidentified Bird 2
Sunlight on the gorge
At first the PSG was a novelty
Kingfisher across the canal

Normally I dont believe the sand grouses are supposed to be spotted in such large numbers but on that particular Monday evening just as I was beginning to get a wee bit nervous about getting back to my room and then heading out once again for the railway station it seemed the entire painted sand grouse army had come out to bid me a fond adieu. Waah! We stopped until we could stop no more before heading back to the resort.

And then there was another PSG
And another!!!
Groan!

With the last rays of the sun, I bid a fond au revoir to Hampi.

Sun goes down on Hampi!
For the love of God! Just let us pass!

Now if you finally are clapping with joy that my ridiculous narration of Hampi is complete, I would ask you to reserve the jubilation for atleast a day as I am not yet quite done with the city or with the journey.

The Francolin has the last word or laugh or whatever
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20 Comments Add yours

  1. lav says:

    the grouse weren’t grouchy after all..they were just doing their investigation into your groups past with birds…it took them 48 hours to get the background check complete…sorry folks…all aliens have to subject to the PSG laws before being admitted into the hallowed halls of psg fandom…hahahahaha…

    1. sr256 says:

      *rolls eyes*

  2. Nirmala says:

    The PSGs must have become really fond of you!!!!!! Very good narrative.

    1. sr256 says:

      Thank you!

  3. Arun says:

    Thats a long series; really made a great funny read.

    UB1 is an Ashy crowned sparrow lark. UB2 is rufous tailed lark.

    1. sr256 says:

      Hi Arun, yup I stretched it out for as long as I could- bit too much for its own good though.
      Thanks a ton for tagging the birds. Always helps to have a pro around ๐Ÿ™‚

  4. Apar says:

    Unidentified Birds?!? ๐Ÿ™‚ Well to me even after all the tagging, next time I see the pics, I would not know! ๐Ÿ˜€

    1. sr256 says:

      I think once you see those birds in flesh and blood its a little easier to remember them.

  5. brad says:

    wow! they had camels in Hampi? I wonder if they were dromedaries, or if they just had only the one hamp-i?

    (sorry!)

    1. sr256 says:

      Brad- We’ve missed your awful puns ๐Ÿ™‚

  6. selina joney says:

    Wonderful pics..loved the mysterious coucal, all the pics of the PSG taken in different hues, the elephant steps, the stepped pool…i cld go on ๐Ÿ™‚

    1. Sukanya Ramanujan says:

      Thanks Selina! The PSGs were a riot!

  7. Loved the robin’s pose – ๐Ÿ™‚

  8. And the elephant stables..

    1. Sukanya Ramanujan says:

      I like them too

  9. gustaspjeroo says:

    The next time we are in Hampi we be on the lookout for our feathered friends…

    1. Sukanya Ramanujan says:

      Absolutely- it was a paradise for birding. Do you go do birding regularly?

  10. franciscocamacho2016 says:

    Beautiful birds and photos..!!! Great shot..!! : o )

    1. Sukanya Ramanujan says:

      Thank you Francisco! Glad you liked the post!

      1. franciscocamacho2016 says:

        You’re welcome Sukanya..!!! My pleasure..!!

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