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Hampi, India

Hampi, renowned for its ruins worldwide, is also known as the ancient city of Kishkindh. It lies in the north of Karnataka, India, and is a perfect place to hide away from the maddening city crowd and unwind. It could be the cheapest destination ever, but worth a million bucks, and is visited by travellers from all around the globe. If you are planning a trip to Hampi, do not miss this quaint little place called the Mango Tree restaurant.

From the Virupaksha temple at the heart of the town, make a right towards the Tungabhadra ghat. About a five minute walk along this ghat should lead you to a banana plantation. Follow the narrow token of a road through this plantation & you are at Mango Tree.

When you go to the rear of the restaurant, you realize that it couldn't have been a better place to indulge in the lazy afternoon sun under the huge canopy of the mango tree right over your head. The place overlooks some fields and the riverbank. It has backrests made out of steps that form a sound low seating arrangement. You'll find heaps of foreigners resting with their legs up on what are actually the platforms for the food to be served.

Being a temple town you won't find liquor or non-Vegetarian items on the menu but you can get sumptuous pastas, au-gratin and other continental delicacies at a fair price. For those who cannot do without spicy south Indian platter, they have plenty of choices from thalis to spicy Hyderabadi vegetable masala.

What is striking about Mango tree restaurant and Hampi in general is the simple approach to life. No posh hotels or restaurants no 5-star facilities throughout the town and so it doesn't draw too many Indian tourists.

Anyway, it feels reassuring to go back to basics. :)

* * * * *

Published on 7/27/06

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