Riding Motorbikes and Jumping Off Cliffs in Hampi, India
Hampi, India is an ancient town that was the center of the largest Hindu empire from the 14th to 17th centuries. It was conquered by neighboring Muslim empires in 1565, leaving behind nothing but the rubble that makes Hampi so remarkable today. The mountains of rocks still exude a majesty they must have possessed in their former lives in the shapes of palaces, temples and forts.
We spent most of our time across the Tungabhadra River in on an island of small villages. With only two short days here, we avoided breaking our necks to hit the touristy spots and instead opted to try and break our necks any other way. We rented motorbikes (strictly forbidden by our volunteer organization due to India’s lax traffic rules and lack of basic safety equipment, like helmets) and cruised around Anagundi and the surrounding villages. After some minor mishaps, we maneuvered like pros through the ancient stone structures, warm breeze and mellowing sun rays inviting us to be as reckless as we pleased.
As if the adrenaline needed any more encouragement, we discovered a lake, some cliffs in the distance, and a boat driver willing to transport us. We hopped in his unusual boat, which made me think of an upside down sombrero, and paddled to the overhanging rocks. As we alternately climbed the rocks and jumped into the water several times, the thought “My mother would kill me if she knew what I was doing right now,” briefly flitted through my conscience, as it has done several times since arriving in India.
But my spirit of adventure and invincibility overruled my conscience with the truth I find in this quote: “Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” – Mark Twain