Boulder paradise Hampi

Boulder mekka in the realm of monkey gods

Hampis cultural heritage

In the Hindu epic Ramayana Hampi is referred to as the realm of monkey gods (Kishkindha). This seems to me still quite obvious once you become aware of the monkey bands in the area running over rooftops daytime and nighttime and watching the people from a safe distance from the tops of the palm trees. Around 1336 Hampi was the capital of one of the largest Hindu empires – under the name of Vijayanagara. The City hat already in the 16th century  not only about 500,000 inhabitants, but also huge temples. In the 16th century Sultanate’s conquered the capital and plundered them. The city never recovered. Among the most important temples belongs Virupaksha Temple, which is up to 50m high. Also there is a house elephant named Lakshmi, who bathed each morning in the river. I was however discouraged from visiting the temple, as it was said to be not worth it from the inside. Instead, we visited the temple ruins in the area, which ar situated everywhere in the area around or on tip of massive granite blocks. The palm groves and rice fields are also worth visiting, which offer a cool breeze on hot days. In short Hampi is a living cultural city. Our highlights have been:
  • A spontaneous visit of an Indian wedding. We were unexpectedly invited to dinner. Unfortunately there have been no traces of  the bride or the groom. Instead we assumed we have already thrown rice on them in the street the day before.
  • An introduction to drumming with Muzkan. We found that drumming is not easy to learn, especially when the teacher only speaks “little english”. But he has taken great care to give us a good lesson and even sang us a few songs.
  • The nightly Sunset in the Boulder Hills of Hampi. Traveller brought their instruments and played some music and the Chai-Mafia offered liquid for the dry throats – a lucrative business for the children of the region.
  • A bicycle tour of the region visiting rice fields, banana plantations, farmers and cattle.

Bouldering in Hampi

The geology of India is shaped by the events that have occurred on the Indian and Asian crust millions of years ago. Not only arose the highest and youngest mountain range in the world – the Himalayas – but also the unique geological formations in Hampi. The boulders of Hampi are made of granite – the so-called Closepet granites. The granite emerged from magma, which was stuck in the process of ascending to the surface, then cooled down and therefor received a coarse and crystalline structure. They are about 2.5 billion years old and got their shape from billions of years of weathering, before finally reaching the Earth’s surface. (Source: Golden Boulders, Gerald Krug / Christiane Horn) The bouldering area is in my eyes unbelieveable  beautiful! Everything is within walking distance and yet there are many more boulder problems to discover. The most popular Homestay for climbers is the Goan Corner. It is led by a Goanerin, called Sharmilla. The food is great and the Homestay very organized. What struck us immediately positive: the staff remember the names of each guest. That made it familiar and billing with so many climbers easier. Moreover it is easy to catch up with others to solve some boulder problems and to share crash pads. The usually time to go climbing is from 6-11am and from 5pm until end as it is to hot over the day.