Why Travel? 11 Benefits when you start traveling

“Not all those who wander are lost. “

— JRR Tolkein

Why travel? Why do people travel? Why do you travel or want to travel? There are different kinds of answers to these questions by all of us. But the fact remains same that traveling open the doors of our brain, mind and soul. It channelizes our energy to understand deeply about things that we otherwise fail to understand.

We all have come across many articles, stories, videos and blogs on people of various culture, different age groups who travel the world for their own desires and thirst for exploration. Some do it for fun, some for the adventure while rest to get the experience of a lifetime.

Let me tell you why traveling is so important and why everyone should be doing this more often. (Am talking about traveling for self – not the compulsory work/business travel that the respective people get frustrated and fed up with 😦 )

  1. Travel teaches us problem solving skills in any situation
  2. Travel teaches us to be more compassionate towards fellow human beings and animals
  3. Travel allows us to be friends with amazing people, some for lifetime
  4. Travel shows that there are more good people everywhere than what we see on TVs and virtual world
  5. Travel teaches us to be punctual, disciplined and responsible
  6. Travel makes us more creative
  7. Travel boosts happiness and satisfaction
  8. Travel makes us happy which in turn help in lowering depression
  9. Travel makes us more smarter
  10. Travel teaches us to be reflective upon the situations we come across, thereby helping in making wise decisions
  11. Travel helps us to be independent when we think we cannot!

Whatever and to what extent the benefits are, we should always keep in mind to respect Nature by not littering any places or misusing the resources that are provided to us by Nature for our own existence. Happy traveling 🙂

 

10 ways to get paid to travel the World

‘I need a break! Let’s go somewhere.’

‘I wish I could travel 365 days without worrying about paying rent!’

Sounds familiar? We, who simply love travelling but are pulled sometimes due to the burden of the routine life and expenses, often wonder as to how can we simply travel and earn at the same time. Today, in the 21st century there are lots of ways to get paid to travel the world. Thanks to the internet ofcourse! For those who seriously want to travel and earn simultaneously, here are the options to choose from. Have a look.

Blogging (Travel Stories/Food Reviews/Offbeat Places etc)

If you are a good writer and can express well about your travel stories, then travel blogs are a way to earn. Have your own blog and pen down whatever information you got with your experiences. Uniqueness and originality is preferred since people can connect with the same. But in this case, it takes quite some time to get established fully into it.

Freelance

Online freelancing is the most flexible option. If you are good in any particular field you can charge on hourly basis based on the work. It can be anything starting from content writing to consultancy. You might want to check this out for freelance options.

Local part time jobs (specific to different countries)

Now, this is interesting and sometimes fun activity too which might pay you good amount at certain cases. The place where you are traveling, you can checkout for some activities which need a helping hand, like organic farming, gardening, poultry, minor construction etc. This is also a good way to have new experiences at certain jobs that you never thought might do in life!

Speak good English

If you are reading this article then obviously you know English. But go a step further and if you have a good grip on Grammar and command over this language then you can get the opportunity to teach at various places and countries where people look forward to learn English. Hence, you can earn on the go.

Helping Hand

If you are good in helping others, then there are options where you can offer to help and get paid in return. These include – helping someone in their homestays, day to day routine works, handling guests at their farmhouse, helping in surveys of any kind and many more. Generally the timing varies 4-5 hours a day as per the requirement and those people want travellers who could offer a helping hand too. Since, it’s not a permanent thing and the flexibility is also good enough along with the pay.

Tour Guide

Most simple, become a tour guide. If you have good knowledge about the place, history and culture, you can share the same knowledge with other travellers and tourists. This brings in good amount of money too.

WWOOF (World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms)

Volunteers are offered food and accommodation. Many people volunteer for the opportunities and flexible terms of WWOOF. It is not exactly an earning, but an excellent way to travel without much affecting your bank account. Also you get to meet a lot of like-minded travellers.

Airline

Bea flight attendant. Most of the places would be covered wherever the route takes you. It’s an excellent way of earning who can manage the long hours in the air.

Cruise

Work for a cruise line. You will get to visit some of the most exotic locations along with all facilities provided to crew members with all expenses paid for you.

Destination wedding photographer

This is for the artistic group of people who have special interest in photography. Needless to say this requires a bit of skill and should be a professional or exceptionally good photographer. The clients want beautiful and exotic locations mostly and all expenses paid for you along with a handsome earning.

Along with all these there are some sites which provide stay options and cultural exchange through meeting with the travellers across the globe – Couch-surfing , Workaway , etc. So what are you waiting for? Start planning your next destination. Happy travelling!

Pros and Cons of Solo traveling

It has been quite sometime now people have come to know the term ‘solo travel’, thanks to the internet. But just like everything under the Sun has its pros and cons, so does solo traveling. Before you head out, be familiar with the pros and cons of solo traveling.

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Let’s see the cons first –

  1. Can be lonely – Solo traveling can be lonely sometimes. Especially when we would like to share any special moment with someone. Also for clicking photos selfie sticks are a savior in today’s time but still there are situations where we need to ask some stranger to take photos of us against the backdrop of the object or location
  2. Can be less safe – At some places and situations, solo traveling can be less safe, be it for a man or woman. So always be careful for own safety
  3. Can be expensive – Since we are all on our own, the expenses can get expensive sometimes, especially when not planned out well in advance

Coming to the Pros –

  1. Freedom – From A to Z typically, we plan everything for the trip, even if not the complete plan but at least the tickets, accommodation, place to visit, etc. This gives the freedom to chalk things out in our own sweet and comfortable way
  2. Self confidence – This point requires a five-star! Solo traveling not only develops and boosts our self confidence but also makes us a person with a to-do attitude in life
  3. Acceptance – We learn to accept other people and culture much easily into our lives and hence blending into the diversity
  4. New friends – Surely we make some wonderful friends, sometimes for lifetime!
  5. Broader perspective – We become (more)open minded and see things in a broader perspective with a positive attitude towards life
  6. ‘Me’ time – To get away from the daily routine, chaos or responsibility, we find ourselves some ‘own’ time just for our self, which is extremely essential for our mental and emotional being
  7. Problem solving – There are situations that we need to face and fix the problem all alone. This teaches to handle problems in our own way and how effectively we can do it

Even though there are some cons to it, yet solo traveling unleashes a whole new range of experience and exploration. All the benefits, advantages or the pros (as mentioned here) of this kind of adventure is something to be enjoyed and cherished. Personally I would suggest at least once everyone should travel and experience some destination solo in life. It is worth it! Happy traveling 🙂

P.S. – If you have traveled solo and found some real benefits/experiences other than those mentioned here, please feel free to share in the comment section. Would love to hear them!

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Things to do in Penang(Malaysia) in a Day! #SoloTraveling

Welcome again travelers! Penang – in a day sounds really confusing right? So let me tell you this story is going to be about the places, foods and the people of Penang that I have experienced in a day’s time! I will provide as much information as possible and it is going to be a bit lengthy, so keep reading and enjoying the images too.

  • Mumbai to Penang round trip offers you will get on MakeMyTrip, Yatra, EaseMyTrip. Round trip costs around 20k approx (provided you book it advance).
  • Accommodation are available at budget friendly rates in Booking.com , Hostel World and others too.
  • For visa you need to apply beforehand.
  • Checkout the conversion rates too and preferably better to take some converted cash from here itself than Airport, since the conversion rates are a bit higher there at the Airports.

Overview :

George Town, Capital city of Penang has many interesting places and some amazing foods for the taste buds. Some of the best places – St. George Church, Goddess of Mercy Temple (Chinese style ancient temple), Penang State Museum and Art, Kek Lok Si (19th century Buddhist Temple), Little India, the creative and colorful Art works at almost all streets, Queen Street, Cheong Fatt Tze (The Blue Mansion) and many  more.

What to do in a single day :

Well, you cannot cover all the places and see everything in a day’s time. So these are some points of interest which are worth visiting and exploring.

Morning – Go to Penang Hill, the highest point of Penang with an exquisite flora and fauna and breathtaking view from the top. You can take the train which takes around 15 mins to reach the top or can hike – although train is the fastest and comfortable route. You can spend few hours or whole day depending on your likeness.

Day/Evening – Tour around the town by walking. You definitely need to visit the streets of Chinese Temples, Little India and Kalitan Mosque, all one after the other. The amazing street arts are so creative that every art form portrays a message. See few of the Art forms below.

These are just few of the Street Art works (below) you would come across at all the streets and corners.

These are so vibrant and creative with a strong and beautiful message in every Art form.

Go to the Blue Mansion – It is a Government gazetted heritage building. It is now a Chinese boutique hotel. This was made at the end of 19th century and has 38 rooms, 5 granite-paved courtyards, 7 staircases and 220 vernacular timber louvre windows. This is a must visit which portrays the Chinese architecture and Feng Shui in every corner of the mansion.

Food : This is my favorite section. Definitely try out the local foods there, especially if you are non-veg and sea food lover. Veg options are also quite good.

This is the place where you can get fresh sea foods.

There are lots of things to do and see at Penang. But if you have a single day out there, you can definitely go for these above things. The food, culture and the people will leave you wanting to come back again.

Happy traveling 🙂

The Blue City – Jodhpur in a day! #SoloTraveling #TravelIndia

After spending two and a half amazing fantastic days at Jaipur , it was time to head for Jodhpur – The Blue City. There again stayed at a dorm at Hostelavie . With a touch of Rajasthani decorations, its a fantastic place to stay.Very friendly staffs, great food, clean rooms and great view from the terrace.

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Rightly known as the ‘Blue City’

Mehrangarh Fort

Reached around morning and got freshened up. The best part is the location of this hostel. The Mehrangarh Fort is just behind this place at a walk-able distance.

Few things to remember :

  • The walk-able road from the Jodhpur Clocktower road is quite steep so prepare accordingly and go if you are planning to walk.
  • Carry a bottle of water, cap/hat as it can be quite hot except the winter months.

The entry charge is Rs. 150 to the Mehrangarh Fort. One of the biggest Forts in India. It’s majestic beauty and magnificence cannot be simply described in words. While entering there is a small canteen with simple snacks, juices and beverages available.

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Majestic Mehrangarh Fort

Performances by the locals, the hand made arts and crafts, music, everything is worth experiencing over here. The interiors and the exteriors as well have been maintained very well.

The galleries, the royal court, the antiques take you back in the history giving goosebumps.

Umaid Bhavan Palace

The Umaid Bhawan Palace is one of world’s largest private residences named after Maharaja Umaid Singh. It has 347 rooms. This museum cum a luxurious hotel is visible from the Mehrangarh Fort. The Royal Hotel section is managed by the Taj Hotels.

Reaching this place is very easy, you can either book Ola/Uber or hire a local cab and reach there within no time.

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Umaid Bhavan palace

Jaswant Thada

Next was the Jaswant Thada, a cenotaph built by Maharaja Sardar Singh. You can sit at the lawn over there and have a relaxing time.

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Jaswant Thada

From there went to the Birla Temple. It’s beautiful! Peaceful, clean and serene.

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Birla Temple

By the time it was evening and was feeling hungry. There’s a famous egg sandwich stall at the Jodhpur Market gate, which earned its place in the Lonely Planet, hence, it’s name is Lone Planet Sandwich Shop. Do try out the egg butter cheese sandwich. It’s delicious!

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Egg sandwich at Lonely Planet Sandwich Shop

From there wanted to go to a good cafe and so after searching and asking some people there, went to ‘Pizzeria’. Have some awesome pizzas and Quesadilla. The ambience was quite good to chill out.

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Pizza with Cold Coffee!
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Quesadilla!

After that it was evening time and I had to catch the train. It marked the end of this Jodhpur diary. However, the experience for me was quite interesting and would love to visit Rajasthan again whenever I get time.

Do visit places atleast once as solo traveler. It is really exciting, interesting and lots to learn for oneself for good. Happy traveling 🙂

 

Jaipur – Pink City – #SoloTraveling #TravelIndia

A long weekend….pleasant weather…..a previous cancelled trip of Rajasthan – all these came down to the booking of to and fro tickets to Rajasthan. Finally! I had 3 days so thought of covering 2 places. First Jaipur and then Jodhpur.

Total cost for Jaipur trip – Approx Rs.2500.

Started off on Thursday and reached Jaipur on Friday. Now, the stay options had to be given a good thought, since I did not want to stay in the same boring hotels or guest houses. So looked around for hostel options. Got few really good ones! As per the availability, booked a bed in bunk-bed dorm in Moustache Hostel located near to the Jaipur Railway Station at a proper location.

Reaching Jaipur

Since I went from Delhi, took the Delhi Porbander Express which reached around afternoon, perfect for me since the check in time to the Hostel was 2:00 PM. From Mumbai BCT Jaipur Superfast Express would be the good option.

First day, got down at the station, few rickshaw pullers and auto rickshaw came running to bid for the ride. Instead of taking those, came outside and took one auto rickshaw from the stand which was only Rs. 40 (I confirmed the rate from the Hostel guys itself over phone) 😛

Reached Moustache Hostel, the entrance and interior will give you a friendly feeling with lots of interactions and good vibes. Ofcourse it’s mostly for the backpackers but to my surprise there were families too! Good rooms, foods and the recreation room was the best thing – read books, play games or sit/sleep there for as long as you want.

Moving on to the next set of action – Got freshened up, and decided to look around the city on foot since it was already evening by then.

Day 1 – Albert Hall Museum and Ram Bagh Niwas

Started to walk towards Albert Hall Museum . On the way to the museum, there is the Ram Bagh Niwas – one of the oldest park in Rajasthan. It was simple, full of greenery and nothing extra unique over there. Then headed to the museum. It has housed different kinds of artifacts , instruments, historic articles and many more.

One very interesting fact is that there is a mummy kept at the basement of the museum. Do watch it!

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Squirrel having its own time @ Ram Bagh Niwas

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Albert Hall Museum

By the time I came out it was already dark and I was very hungry. Asked some people which is the best place to have the authentic Rajathani dal-baati churma, and I was suggested to try out the thali at Virasat.

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Rajasthani Dal Baati Churma

Just to give the idea about it, Virasat is a three storey building with each floor having its unique way of presentation – Rajasthani folk dance performance, traditional seating arrangement with costumes, giving you a Royal feel , general Ala Carte too. Although it’s a bit pricey but the food was amazing, no doubt.

Returned to the Hostel and spent time in the common room and terrace. There was BBQ that night for all on the terrace.

Day 2 – Nahargarh , Jaigarh and Amer Fort

Next day, hired a two-wheeler and started for all the major Forts in Jaipur. Yes! Like Goa and Hampi, two-wheeler renting option is available which is definitely a boon! The roads are really well maintained and the view while going uphill to Nahargarh Fort is breath taking. You can spot our National bird – Peacock roaming around on the roads and nearby bushes.

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Our National Bird – Peacock roaming in the bushes

The entry to Nahargarh Fort is Rs. 200.

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Interior of Nahargarh Fort

Then on the way back visit the Jaigarh Fort . This is an interesting one. The largest canon ‘on wheel’ is kept here. Also as per the guide story, the water reservoirs in this Fort was used not only to store the rain water but also to hide tons of gold acquired after winning a battle! Hence when the Britishers used to raid, they could see only water and return without the hint of gold underneath the level of water.

The entry to Jaigarh Fort is Rs. 50 only.

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Largest Canon on Wheel in the World at Jaigarh Fort

Next is Amer Fort . More famous due to the fact it was the home of Jodhaa Bai. Beautiful, magnificent are very small words to describe the beauty of this Fort.It has been maintained very well by the Govt. Interesting fact is that , Amber Fort and Jaigarh Fort are connected by a ‘tunnel’ . And yes! you can walk through the tunnel which is underground at the Amber Fort side and above the wall on the Jaigarh Fort end.

The entry to Amer Fort is Rs. 50 only.

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Amer Fort

I walked the entire length of the tunnel and back i.e. starting from Amber Fort and back to it, since I took my two wheeler and had to get back on it.

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Inside the Tunnel at Amer Fort

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The portion of the tunnel above the wall at Amer Fort

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Brilliant mirror work of Sheesh Mahal at Amer Fort

It was evening by the time got out of Amer Fort, so had food at one of the hotel there. The food was simple and cheap.

While returning saw the Jal Mahal, the Palace in the middle of the Lake.

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Jal Mahal at Jaipur

The day was amazing in the midst of the historic relics.

Day 3 – City Palace, Jantar Mantar, Hawa Mahal, Jaipur Markets

Next day was the City tour.

Started off at the City Palace. Even today the Royal family stays there. Hence half portion is private while the remaining is open to the public. It’s clean and well maintained. The variety of arms display is great. There’s a museum and Rajasthani items exhibit where you can see and buy stuffs from amazing hand made paintings, traditional jewelleries, clothes and lots more.

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City Palace – Jaipur

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Guards at the City Palace posing for photo 🙂

Just infront of the City Palace is the famous Jantar Mantar – first in India. The one at Delhi is a smaller version of this. This is a great place for all especially for the kids. The perfect calibration hundreds of years ago, the calculations as per the astronomy, the zodiacs and the biggest physical Sun Dial in the world are human creations that will leave you simply amazed.

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Largest Sun Dial on Earth at Jantar Mantar

Next, headed for the Hawa Mahal – ‘Palace of breeze‘, famous for its architecture and the constant breeze that blow in the top floors of it. May be previously it was closed for public to get inside as per few locals over there, but now it’s open and you must pay a visit to this other gem of Rajasthan.

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Beautiful Hawa Mahal at Jaipur

Just opposite to the Hawa Mahal are two cafes. You can sit there for hours and enjoy the beauty of it over a sip of coffee or bite a sandwich. Below road is the continuous stretch of the market area. Lots and lots of traditional ‘Mojri’ , clothes, spices, foods are available here. So shop till you drop!

Spotted this Elephant walking down the market road from the Cafe opposite to Hawa Mahal.

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Mighty friend on the Planet!

This marked the end of the Jaipur trip. For Jodhpur check out the next article, since this has become quite long! Stay tuned and happy traveling… 🙂

A Solo Trip to Happy Hampi :) #TravelIndia

A solo trip in India is a less-heard-of concept especially for a woman Indian traveler. But thanks to the internet, you get to see so many blogs and travel write ups where solo travelers write about their solo trips and experiences within India and outside too. After much surfing and research I decided to start off 🙂

Within the city anywhere roaming and exploring alone is fine but going to a different place is something new. There were few options for a weekend gateway , out of those I decided to go to Hampi.

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All set, took a bus at night from Mumbai and reached Hospet after around 12 hours. From Hospet there are options such as rickshwas and buses to reach Hampi bazaar. In every half and hour you will get a bus. Took a bus, the fare was only Rs. 13. It’s approximately 10 kms from there. Reached in half an hour to the Hampi bus stand.

The beautiful and majestic Virupaksha temple at the main Hampi Bazaar can been seen when the bus takes a turn to enter the stand. It’s one of the biggest temples there.

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Tomb of Virupaksha Temple

Stepping down, it was a feeling I cannot express in words. Travelling in the unknown place, a spiritual land, a place for backpackers – everything was new and exciting.

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Entrance to Hampi!

While heading towards the bazaar, the rickshaw guys will ask you to book their rickshaw for the entire day and start giving discount offers. Not needed for anyone wishing to explore the place alone and with own sweet time. Take a map and a guide for the history related to every monument and temples. A bicycle or a mopet is available at every places for rent. It varies from 100 to 150 per day.

Its a nice thing to notice that the local villagers over there including the auto rickshaw guys speak in excellent fluent English with a clear accent! So communication is not at all a problem over there.

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Chandikeshvar Temple – Most Architectures are of only huge stones

A short overview about the stay at Hampi – There are basically 2 places one can choose to stay. ‘This’ side of the river which is Hampi Bazaar is mostly a bit crowded and congested. It closes down after sunset and there’s nothing much to do on this side of the river if you have visited all the sites during the day. The only good thing is the restaurants and cafes over here. Famous being the ‘Mango Tree Restaurant’. It’s a must visit for the food and especially for the ambience.

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Thali at Mango Tree Restaurant

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A simple Meal at Mango Tree Restaurant

One thing to remember, there is no proper phone calling signal at most of the areas of there. But free WIFI is available at every restaurant, cafe and stay options.

The last ferry to cross the river is at 6:00 PM. The ‘Other’ side of the river which is pretty famous among the backpackers is a place to stay for those looking for relaxation, a laid back experience, meet new people, hangout at any time anywhere. It has nice options for stay and food.

A Coracle ride is must if you visit Hampi. You can either book it solo for crossing the Tungabhadra river or you can share it with fellow people over there.

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Coracle ride at Tungabhadra River

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Nests of the Weaver bird 🙂

There are paddy fields, boulders, hills, beautiful trees and you can also spot some beautiful birds there. So many nests can be spot at different trees of the Baya Weaver or the ‘Weaver bird’!

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A view of the Other side of the River

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Guest houses beyond the Paddy fields

I took a bicycle for the entire day and headed as per the map I had. Started with Vittala Temple, Narashima Temple, Underground Shiva Temple, Royal Enclosure, Pushkarni , Queen’s bath.

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Entrance to Underground Shiva Temple

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Underground Shiva Temple. While entering, it gives a feeling of going in the past back to thousands of years like a Time Machine!

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A section of Mohammadan Watch Tower, Band tower and Mosque

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Hazararama Temple

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Beautiful Art inside Hazararama Temple

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Structure opposite to Hazararama Temple

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Giant rocks of Hampi!

Everywhere in Hampi the rocks/boulders seems to attach loosely to each other. A small push or displacement might lead to the fall of all the rocks at the same time it seems! But nothing as such has been reported till now!

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Pushkarani

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Virupaksha Temple at Sunset

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Sacred Elephant blessing inside Virupaksha Temple

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Another part outside of Virupaksha temple during Sunset

The ‘Other ‘ side of the river is yet to be explored completely. Next time!

If you really looking for some own peaceful time and to meet new people or just chill out, Hampi is the place you must visit. With the exceptional touch of History and the scenic beauty  along with the home to backpackers, it offers everything.

Keep Exploring…….!

Next Trip Coming Up soon 🙂