Things have been busy for us the last couple of weeks so we have not managed much cooking or blogging. Neither of us has been online as Becky just moved house & I was staying in a place with terrible internet connection (India is unpredictable in this respect). We also have not been cooking, I imagine Becky has been eating lots as she moved to Bristol where there are all kinds of wonderful eateries. I have been in Karnataka, in Hampi. It has been a really special week so I thought I would share some photos & maybe squeeze in a bit about the local food.
There is some really beautiful nature here. The landscape is hypnotic & has the same effect on me as the desert. It is a place of rocks. The Hampi boulders are huge and beautiful & everywhere. The area is large, with hills, rocks, rivers, lakes, palm trees, paddy fields, temples & ruins extending in every direction. There are all kinds of exotic birds, greedy monkeys and my favourite animal around here is Lakshmi the temple elephant. Every morning she is brought to the river to bathe & do blessings.
Then there are the ruins, temples and sacred sites. They are spread across an area of more than thirty kilometers square but for me the most exciting place was the main temple. Virupaksha is still in use, unlike most of the other sites and is bursting with life. There are layers of history going back almost one thousand years. The inner sanctum was built in the tenth century with the last addition to the temple taking place just thirty years ago.
Hampi is well worth a visit if you are ever in the region. It is easy to reach from Goa and is a great place to join pilgrims for some temple visits, razz around the boulders on a motorbike, swing in a hammock, watch stunning sunsets, enjoy beautiful art, meet Indian tourists, get photographed, feed/avoid the hungry monkeys or just wonder aimlessly. It is as atmospheric as it gets. Centuries of invasion by Gods, Kings, foreign invaders and local ones have left a place rich in stories and wonderful architecture.There is art everywhere in the ruins & temples. Statues adorn the buildings and there are massive sculptures in mantapas and temples all over the hills. There are paintings and carvings everywhere. There are scenes from the Karma Sutra, Ramayana and other Hindu books as well as local history.
I also ate at a couple of street stalls. My favourite thing was the deep fried chillies in a batter with intense cumin flavour. The rickshaw drivers ate them for breakfast with idli & puri & coconut chutney so I had to try them. I can’t wait to try more of the food from Karnataka. Now I am on my way back to Goa to work for a few weeks & spend Christmas with friends. I have found some delicious Goan recipes which, internet permitting I will be sharing soon.