Hampi – Pushkar


≈2500km

I leave Hampi at saturday morning having no ideas about the day of the week. The train ride is joyful as the train is nearly empty. Unfortunately my phone does not get any connection even after leaving hampi so I believe the sim was switched of – would not be the first time. The train is late in Belgaum and before I arrive there I recognize its Saturday so I will have to stay one day before I get the bike. What to do. Sunday I move to another hotel closer at the enfield showroom and get a mobile device so I will have internet everywhere. I find out there will be a train to Delhi at Monday evening. As I am in a hurry to get my spare parts for the car from the custom in jaipur I take the train up to Gwalior.

Before getting on the train I have the occasional fight about the price with the chai wallah at the station – “One chai fifteen rupees!” – “ You know that’s why I like Pakistan so much – In Pakistan people are welcome and in india only money”. People are suddenly silent around me and looking at me – I pay five rupee and leave. I have a general ticket and the train is overcrowded. The first night I manage to get a bed but then I spend 20 hours without even really a place to sit… At this day a guy who has been at the chaishop in Belgaum invites me for chai to prove not all Indians are greedy. A few hours before arriving I meet some Russian girls I had already seen in Hampi. I join them and the last hours on the train go by fast while chatting with them. I arrive in Gwalior which is about 300km from Jaipur at 1 in the morning and its freezing cold 1800 km further in the north. There is no way to get on the bike before sunrise. I do 10km and then I spend hours at a chaishop with the biggest rats I have ever seen in india. I got internet so no problem.
Sunrise I spend at the next chaishop already – I have a lot of fun with the very nice chai guy there. Then I take a short cut and the landscape becomes amazingly beautiful again. Somewhere out in the dessert suddenly I recognize a loss of power. My diagnosis is ignition which probably needs to be adjusted which needs a mechanic who knows enfields. I stop in the next village and soon a mechanic is found. Within minutes I am surrounded by people who ask me to play my guitar and make music. I order chai but before the chai is finished the bike is. My diagnosis in general was right but lucky enough only the spark plug needed to be changed. I sing a song for the people and in exchange I get chai and spark plug for free.

Well there are places with nice open hearted people in india still. But you will need to visit the countryside – like places where people have hardly ever seen foreigners before. I didn’t sleep last night so I stop a little later at a chaishop to take a nap. Waking up very late I don’t manage to reach Jaipur and sleep again in the same filthy guesthouse where I was a few weeks before on my way to Agra. Next day morning I go to my guesthouse in Jaipur and to the post office then. They need the receipt which was sent to Pushkar so I can prove to be the owner of the parcel. Takes another two days but Sunday evening a bus driver takes the paper for me from Pushkar. So I wait a few days in Jaipur and get the parts Monday afternoon. Nighttime I arrive in Pushkar. I sleep inside suryananda. The repairing takes a few days but after it is finished I am still kind of stuck in Pushkar. “Leaving day after tomorrow” I tell everyone until people are only laughing about it. When the car is repaired I take a room to clean her completely and after I take a place at sunset ghat – which is probably the most beautiful place to park in Pushkar.

Belgaum – Hampi


N15°20’09.1”, E076°27’39.9”

≈300km

After writing the Blog the enfield garage calls me pretty soon. 10.000.- rupees! What to do I think but tell to call back to think about it to make a position for negotiations. When I call them back 10 minutes later they say 10.000 – 15.000 rupees. I get the next rickshaw to go to their place to make the negotiations face to face. 10 – 12 we agree at the end and it will take them at least two days. What to do I think again – when I see the bike at the operation table I feel the tears in my eyes. I know the time comes closer every kilometer when we have to say good bye finally. It is planned to sell her in Pushkar… It can’t end like this, I am responsible for her health! I pay 3000 in advance and take their promises to give all their love to my baby.

On the way back to the hotel I decide to spend the waiting time with a trip to Hampi. The hotel is right next to the railway station so no problems. I make the usual concerts out of dinner and breakfast and take the train next day at 12 to Hampi. The 300km cost me 160 rups (2,2 euro) for sleeper class and little more than 7 hours. On the way I work a lot on my second song and sleep a little. I arrive in Hospet at 7.30. Some friendly guys at the train arrange a rickshaw to Hampi for a good price so I arrive in Hampi half an hour later.

But what was that? There was no more Hampi! Most of the buildings had been removed! Like whole buildings! There was bare ground with some leftover rocks where there had been buildings before! The music shop! My favorite restaurant! My barber! Bare ground! The people who had lived there where promised to get new homes a few kilometers away. But these have not even been started to be built yet. So most of the people live on the street and in the jungle now! What the fuck? Fortunately the area around the Megha guest house, where I always stay, still exists. Having some difficulties to find it in the leftover little maze of Hampi I use (like always) the gps to find my guesthouse.

And like always the owners see me first laughing about me staring at my handheld gps nearly passing them. I drink a chai with the owner talking about the things happening in Hampi. Of course I can sleep for free at his shop, no question. After I go out to eat and make some music. Soon I find a place and 5 minutes later I share a table with Dean who is playing guitar too. A few lovely girls clap their hands after our first song so we keep playing for a while. When I come back to the guest house they are already closing so just right in time. I prepare my bed and start writing when five minutes later my friend Mogli enters the room. We are both happy to see each other and have a long talk. Maybe he knows people who are ready to pay 50-60000 for my bike. He will call them tomorrow! Awesome I think, finish writing and go to bed. Being curios and afraid to see the leftovers of Hampi tomorrow at daytime.

I wake up pretty early when the first customers arrive at the chai shop. Loan , a beautiful girl from france with Vietnamese roots and her friend, Marizza from Switzerland who just arrived in Hampi… What can there be more beautiful in life than being woken up by two wonderful girls? We enjoy several chai together and then I go to the barber.

Garlis music shop is on the other side of the river now and I promised to the girls to show them around a little so I go and pick them up to take the boat together. While waiting for the boat I manage to slip in the shallow water of the river carrying all my stuff like guitar, camera, money, passport. I manage to hold up the camera but all the other stuff dips in the water for a part of a second. I am lucky enough nothing happens. The passport and my songbook are just a little wet – that’s all. We pass to the other side of the river and go direction music shop. On the way, when passing a thali shop we recognize we are hungry so we sit down. The food is tourist quality but Indian price – so at least a lot cheaper than the places around. The owner of the thali shop knows Garli and calls him on the phone when I ask for his shop. 5 minutes later Garli stops his bike in front of the shop with a big smile on his face. Of course he remembers me. We make a quick five minute jam session together and then I ask him for what I am here for.

He has. (!)When Marizza hears what we are talking about she tells me she might have some kind of connection to the builders of the original hang. She offers to help me to get one and I am happy like a little child. I came to Hampi for a fake hang which I will get and now there might be even a small chance to get a real one. I quickly eat and then nearly run to the music shop thinking about which scale I would prefer…. G major – that would be amazing.

When I enter the shop he is making music with two Russian girls. The first thing I see then is the Hapi drum. I take it out of the back and try it – its awesome! The sound is not to be described – you not only hear it but feel it in every cell of your body. I stay at the shop for more than an hour before we make a short negotiation about the price. Garli and I are brothers so he gives me a more than fair price and leaves me happy! The scale – well of course the only one (out of three) that was openly in the shop was a G major… Sometimes in india things just happen.

I go back home and show my new love to Loan who is waiting at the chai shop. Her friend is at the cyber café so we have chai and a long very deep and interesting conversation. When she says she wants to get a massage later I offer to give it to her. We prepare everything, go to her room and when I ask her about where she has a problem/needs a massage she says she wants headmassage. OK! I have never done this before… I know I can trust in my fingers and what they are doing when I stop thinking but still I am a little worried to try something completely new at a person I know a couple of hours only.

At the beginning its hard. I have to find out how to hold the head so she can relax and I still can give enough pressure to massage her head. A few minutes later it works. I found my position to sit and to hold her head. Its really an amazing experience and even the pain I have in my right shoulder since Verygoods treatment is gone after this massage. Loan looks very relaxed when I finish and when I ask her if it was good for her she tells me it was the best head massage she ever had. Even hours later she tells me that she still feels her crown chakra in a very pleasant way. This makes me very happy too and I thank God for my fingers several times. This evening ends with a nice talk with Dean whom I met yesterday. Unfortunately we have no time to make music as all the restaurants are closing at 10. Never mind I will probably meet him in Pushkar.

Picture update will be coming in the next post

Jan 21 Hampi – Solapur

Km today: 285

[17°24´24.5”, 075°50´43”]

I force I (just learning redemption song on guitar) to stand up early to meet Etienne at sunrise hill in Hampi to make yoga. The 2 australian guys are still sleeping – never mind I will make yoga with them later. When I arrive at the hill Etienne is already waiting for me. We quickly take the 800 steps to the hilltop and enjoy an amazing yogasession at this beautiful place while many tourists take pictures of us. Very relaxed we go down after and ride back to the hampi maze – it takes me always a few days to find my way here even though the village is really tiny! We have big breakfast at Tom and Jerry while the Australian guys wake up. I ask Mogli to tell them I wait for them at T&J.Meanwhile Etienne figures out a few more songs for me to learn to play on the guitar – I will have a lot to practice in the days to come. After breakfast we go back to my guesthouse to take some pictures of the two of us. Mogli tells me girls had been here to pick up the yoga guys – he told them I am waiting but they just went away without even telling me even though I was sitting less than 50m away. I believe their desire, attachment and expectation is probably just too much to start yoga yet. What to do?

In the last days I discovered a feeling of homesickness so I pack my stuff and leave direction home – Pushkar! I say goodbye to all the nice people I met here and leave Hampi around lunchtime. When I leave a guy stops me asking if I come or go. I tell him I don’t need or want any room, opium and charraz and smile. He replies his friend is enfield mechanic – why not 4 days ago? But at the moment all seems to be fine so I drive on. My Baby is great and sounds awesome! (Etienne told me he had heard me coming at the moment I started the engine at the guesthouse – I love).
When I come to Hospet (12km after Hampi) I am suddenly in neutral gear and not able to put a gear in. Fortunately I stop 100m before a mechanic. When I stop I notice the chain is broken… The backside gearwheel looks very bad too. The mechanic wallah fixes the chain and suggest to visit an enfield workshop to cange chain and gearwheel – Fortunately I know already where to go. It takes about two hours until Omtatsat is fixed and I spend the time making a walk, drinking chai and eating pakoda at street shops. Late afternoon we hit the road – two km further the foot handle breaks! I turn around and go back to the mechanic. He is smiling and tells me my own thoughts: ”Seems like you are not supposed to leave”. He is right, today Kali is working for me again… I already think about going back to hampi but the Capricorn in me is stronger.

At sunset Hospet lies 40km behind me. The streets are good and I bought a new helmet with a clear view so I don’t mind a nightride.
A lot of chai helps me to keep riding even though there are drunk guys bothering me at every chaishop. When I stop around midnight in Bijapur I feel like in Pakistan. As soon as I stop I am surrounded by police… At midnight the shops close and the police is waiting for me to repack the bike and leave (its coming cold). When I ask them whats the problem they tell me its dangerous area – pick pockets! I smile secretly and hurry up to move on. Some time later suddenly the speedometer doesn’t work anymore. I stop at the roadside to repair it. Before I can finish a car stops in front of me. Probably someone who wants to help, I think and quickly finish repairing. Suddenly they sound their horn and I notice the red flashlight on the car – police again: Where are you from – Austria, Where you come from now? Hampi, Where do you go? Solapur, Are you alone? Shiva always with me. What you have on your bike? My luggage(??), can we see your passport, are you married and so on…..
I explain I already fixed the problem I had and as soon as I have answered their never ending questions I drive on. Its already 2am so I stop at the next chaishop to take a little nap.

Jan 20 Hampi

Today I wake up as two Australian guys enter the rooftop. I welcome them and soon find out they want to do yoga. I decide to stay a little longer and enjoy the day. In the morning I do a little yoga at the rooftop restaurant opposite of the guesthouse and some tourists take pictures…. Thank you. I eat a lot for breakfast and then I am tired so I take a nap. In the afternoon they tell me they want to start the next day so I can focus completely on the guitar lesson with Etienne whom I met at the music shop yesterday. The lesson is awesome – I learn a lot and we have a lot of fun. His mother is with him so we have food together in the evening. I hope to see Etienne soon again – in france, Austria or india – we will see.

Jan 19 Hampi

Alarm wakes me up at 5.30 today. I quickly have chai and then drive to a nice hill for watching sunset. The couple from Switzerland doesn’t appear but there are many people I can ask to take pictures. It’s a little stress doing yoga because all is full of monkeys and I have to be careful all the time so they don’t steal my bag. Anyway yoga session is great and the sunrise awesome. I go back to have a full load of breakfast opposite my guesthouse (neverending muesli, veg sandwich and chocolate banana pancake – a perfect birthday breakfast). I am so full I can hardly move so I go to the rooftop to take a little rest. Within minutes I fall asleep and wake up not before afternoon.

After waking up I go Mango tree restaurant – its amazing river view there and I get some coffee and papaya salad to wake me up. Yesterday after the jam session I promised to visit the music shop so I make a stop there on the way back. Gali has a guitarlele at his shop and I cant control my desire. I show him circular breathing technique for didgeridoo and get it for a good price. During my negotiation my mother calls to tell me happy birthday. She is pretty nervous because she will come to visit me in 2 weeks and I try to calm her down. The guitarlele is my birthday present she says when I tell her about it. YEAH! Awesome birthday present. Gali invites me for jam session at durga restaurant in the evening. I come little late as I cant stop playing the guitarlele at the rooftop…. At durga restaurant we make amazing birthday party with a big variety of instruments, great musicians and an even better audience. I enjoy a lot.

Jan 18 Hampi

Sleeping long this morning I am too late for doing yoga. We quickly clean the room to check out and after sit on the rooftop with mogli and his father. I enjoy Chai and pay our bill while Adam goes downstairs. Later I only find a note at my luggage he went to the other side and will meet me there later. Mogli offered to me to sleep on their rooftop for free – of course I accept. In a way I am happy Adam disappeared so quickly. I go internet and after I have breakfast next I drive to hospet to a bullet wallah. On the way there which is 12km I take more hitchhikers with me than on all the way from Europe to india and all of them are very happy and say thank you many times. It is just an adjustment problem so its fixed quick and cheaply. I buy one more spark plug just in case and a new helmet. The old one has so many scratches that its impossible to see something at night. When I go back the engine sounds amazing again – I simply love this sound and now I am fully confident there will be no more problem for now.

When coming back to Hampi I take a little rest at the rooftop and finish my Chetan Bhagat book. After I go to the barber at the river. Its an amazing place for getting shaved. He asks 150 rupees for full shave which is more than twice as much as normal. I start bargaining in hindi and he is surprised enough to tell me I can pay whatever I like. I ask a couple from Switzerland to take some pictures and I am lucky she takes pictures like a professional – they are astonishing. I invite them for chai at our rooftop and after we have dinner together. We get food just in time so I can go to temple 10 minutes before closing to make bahjan again. I love this place and singing there in the evening. On the way back to the restaurant I hear some drums. I follow the sound and seconds later I see a couple of people making music. Several didgeridoos are lying on the floor so I just grab one of them and join in. We make some music together and then I go back to the restaurant. Mogli is there too and when I ask him for a book shop he introduces me to the owner of the book shop just around the corner who is at the restaurant too. He has Chetan Bhagat so I get a new book and give back the one I finished today – YEAH!

The couple from Switzerland wants to do yoga tomorrow so I make appointment for 6.30 at the rocks. I am curios if they will really come at that time of the day but I am happy for there might be somebody who will take awesome pictures at an amazing place.

Jan 17 Hampi

Waking up early I enjoy sunrise at the roof top. Adam doesn’t wake up until lunchtime so I check Internet, get breakfast and make a walk in the meantime. In front of the temple an old woman calls me “baba, baba come here”. I go to her and tell her if she calling me baba she has to give me donation. She looks at me like I am completely mad but I tell her again that I am not joking. She is totally confused and gives me two bananas for free. I give her blessing and walk away happy smiling. Actually I have a lot of fun here!

At lunchtime we take the boat to the other side. Here is hippieland again. Accommodation is much cheaper so we decide to move tomorrow. I find some awesome rocks for climbing and try a little. We find a guesthouse where we can sleep on the terrace for only 50 rupees a night. Awesome sunset included. We make little music there and then decide to go back as the last boat to the other side goes at 6.30.

We run down to catch the last boat. Boatwallah is aware of our situation being late so he charges 50 rupees each instead of 10. Adam is getting a little aggressive so I react completely calm. I hand 101 rupees including Brahmin baksheesh to the boatwallah. He throws the one rupee all across the boat telling me he is no beggar and Indian people full power blablabla – he even tells us we can go police if we like. In the middle of the river he says bad things about us to the other people on the boat in hindi. They look a little shocked, I understand what he is saying so I tell I have no problem in going police. He turns around the boat until the other people calm him down. 5 minutes later we reach the other side and most of Indian people give me an apologizing look. They seem to be pretty ashamed for what happened. I don’t care and we take a long walk in town. We come to main temple ten minutes before closing and go in. Temple is empty and amazing that time of the day. Around the center I meet some Brahmin people and when they see my drum they ask me to play. I agree but tell them I will chant a mantra first. I chant Om asatoma for 15 minutes in the center of the temple while they make pooja. Acoustic and power are amazing – I feel the power of the place – its awesome. When I am finished Brahmin people say thank you many time and I get prassat (holy food – gods gift). They invite me to come again next day.

Adam seems to be a little weird today. I suggest him to join morning yoga every morning but he doesn’t even though we share sleeping place the last days. Early afternoon he tries to pick up money but without success. He tells me his money is finished. I make several suggestions to solve the problem (like doing some yoga classes to get donation for him) but he refuses. What to do? Slowly he starts taking my power as he is focused on problems instead of solutions. Secretly I start hoping he will not come with me any further. Evening time he calls his girlfriend in Israel by internet and after he tells me he has to go back as fast as possible. This is more than ok with me!

I decide to stay one more day (my birthday) in hampi to do yoga and rock climbing on these amazing boulders all around the place.

Jan. 16 Paradise – Hampi

[15°20´09”, 076°27´39”]

Km today: 319

Today I make it! Last night at paradise and before sunrise I wake up Adam so we chello before somebody can stop us. Prakash is completely surprised I am leaving. I think there was not one day passing without telling him I will leave tomorrow – but we all know what tomorrow means in india – not today! We have Muesli at his place and after get the bill. For 15 days room and more than 7 day breakfast, lunch, dinner and chai he charges 2001 rupees! Much less than I expected as this is less than 30 euro. I give him 2111 brahmin baksheesh and we hug each other very intensely for a long time before we leave. I promise I will come back. If you click the “sponsors” button u can find his address, phone number and email address. If you are around you might want to stay at his place. It is fully recommended for food, hot shower, hospitality and love by the owner family!
The first 70 kilometers are done quickly. Riding Omtatsat feels comfortable even though we are very heavy with 2 persons and full luggage. Little hard to balance when going slow but as soon as I put second gear all is perfect. After half the way the engine has problem again. The mechanic in Gokarn did not get the spare parts so I expected this to happen. I have spare spark plug with me so we stop in a village to fix the problem. Immediately we are surrounded by people who want to help. This time I don’t need. It takes us 5 minutes to change the spark plug while people look at us like they would “look at monkeys that suddenly start writing” as Adam says later.

The road is amazingly good so we are 30km away from Hampi when the sun sets. At the same moment the streets becomes a construction site, the traffic gets crazy and the night becomes cold. At sunset I was fresh and relaxed but when we arrive in Hampi an hour later I am completely done. We go pretty directly to Shiva guesthouse where I slept on my first india trip. I still have a waypoint for it on my gps so we find it immediately. (The waypoint at the beginning of this post is actually 4 years old) Mogli the son of the owner remembers me at arriving and soon we have a room with hot shower.

Again I fall in love with this place. We will stay here tomorrow to enjoy the amazing sight and I want to do some Yoga in the morning on the rocks. We have chai at the rooftop enjoying my music with Moglis speakers and after go out to have dinner: stuffed capsicum! Me like too much!