It was this temple, Virupaksha, which welcomed us to Hampi in the early hours of the morning today, having descended from a 10-hour night-bus ride from Goa. Well, perhaps that’s not exactly true. The real welcome which was extended to us was from a gaggle of rickshaw drivers and guesthouse touts who were so eager for our business that they literally chased us as we walked from the bus station to the temple, through the bazaar and onwards towards the river where people were having their morning wash. We made it across the river and are now staying in a place called The Gopi Guesthouse. Set in a leafy garden, it’s pleasant and with rooms for just INR200, it’s easy on the pocket too. Just don’t expect too many luxuries! We spent the day being hooshed around in yellow and black rickshaws by Raj and then his friend Ganesh; making sure that the monkeys got their daily dose of bananas at the Hanuman temple and being invited to lunch by the Pandits at the Durga temple. In the afternoon, we had a refreshing dip in the local resevoir. I should mention, the “we” here is a group of Russians that I’m travelling with. My very lovely Russian long-term yoga student in Mandrem, Natalia, invited me along this weekend with a gang of her friends. I guess I’ll be saying “na -zdrovye” rather than “Slainte” for Paddy’s Day tomorrow when it comes time to drown the shamrock!