Some stranger suggested it—swore by it. He seemed like a credible source. And so I didn’t bother to google it. Instead I blindly bought a bus ticket and hopped aboard for one rickety 10-hour journey from Arambol, Goa, in the south of India to Hampi, Karnataka, just about 200 miles east.
Eventually, I felt the overnight bus roll to a stop and I reluctantly peeled open my heavy eyes. Every time we’d pulled over throughout the night, a man would hop on touting a steaming canteen of chai or stale peanuts or warm fruit flecked with flies. Their shouting voices had woken me up from my sorry semblance of sleep one too many times along the way. This time, however, I woke up to pleasantly surprising sherbet skies. My jaw, agape in a yawn, dropped further to the floor congested with the scattered bodies of somnolent bus riders who didn’t get seats.
I’d made it to Hampi, and I was stunned.