Monday, September 13, 2004

Irreplacable Memories Day 3

Morning dawned with good sunshine and it was a great time to take off. We decided that we would visit the Tungabhadra Dam on the way. So off we went while the bikers were still getting ready. Heinrich, Indira and Jangs also took off early. While Jangs and his group took off straight we went to the dam walked up the hill and enjoyed the beautiful old construction of the dam.

After that we were on our way.. cruising through the way .. we had Jangs and his group for company. Our Jeep was loaded with the saddle bags of the bulleters ... but it was less this time... since they were taking off late...

We ripped across the highway. Jangs and the group were obviously faster. We came across many overturned trucks on the highway. It was a pathetic sight. But we carried on.. Reached the outskirts of Chittradurg and stopped at a ncie house like hotel by the highway.. which had a garden restaurant and everything... and we ordered our meals.. Lunch was good but it made us have a big hole in our pocket. We were slammed with a bill of 700 plus for 3 fish thali meals, one vegeterian meal and a starter. When we asked for the menu the manager refused to show us the menu saying that it was outside the menu and they had extra charge... and all that.. and to top it all they were mixing the orders from one table to another..

This was the same with Jangs and his group and after warning the bikers, we took off. It was a bad experience and we learnt a valuable lesson...
If you are lunching in Chitradurg, please do not forget to ask the price of the orders that come to you..

Funnily the food on the whole trip did not cost us that much as we paid for that one lunch fiasco... Still gets my goat whenever I think of it ... One the way we filled gas at a bunk which had this nicely carved statue..

Anyways, back on the highway, we came across heavy showers of rains which kept us company for a long time till we reached Bangalore... and finally we reached home replete with good memories of Hampi.

Hampi is a photographers paradise for both amatuer and professional. Make sure you take enough rolls with you if you are like taking pictures !!

Some important information about Hampi.

Map to Hampi

Map to go about in Hampi.. Actually its easy to go about in Hampi. You will get local maps and local guide books and the sign posts are vey user friendly to follow.

When to Visit

The ideal time to visit Hampi, is from October to March.

How To Get There

By Air : The nearest airport is Bellary (74 km). Other convenient airports are Belgaum (190 km) and Bangalore (353 km).

By Rail : Hospet (13 km) is the nearest railhead. Hospet is linked by rail with Bangalore, Bijapur and Hubli.

By Road : Hampi is 353 km from Bangalore, and 13 km from Hospet. Buses ply regularly to Hospet from Bangalore.

Where To Stay

Hotel Mayura Vijayanagar, Thungabadhra Dam Hospet, Tel:08394-48270

Hotel Priyadarshini, Station Road, Hospet, Tel: 08394-48838.

Hotel Malligi, Hospet-Bellary road.

Hotel Mayura Bhuvaneswri, Kamalapur, Hampi. Tel:08394-51374 ( we stayed here... and we recommend this highly)

KSTDC Cottages.Tel:08394-8108

Useful Links

Saturday, September 11, 2004

Exploring Hampi Day 2


We were supposed to get up and catch the sunrise at Hampi but it was not to be.
here is pic of what the sunrise looked like... absolutely glorious!!! This picture is courtesy one of the RTMC members.(I forget the name I am sorry)

While the others went ahead before 6:00 in the morning, we slept it out and started off after a lazy breakfast. The weather was just great... rain clouds were present but besides some drizzle the day was clear... thus started our exploration... here is pic of what the sunrise looked like... absolutely glorious!!!

Queens Bath:
A old bathing place which the Queen used. It had its own changing rooms and great viewpoints. This bath was open to the sky and surrounded with a moat. Though the building looks quite simple from outside one can only imagine the granduer inside the building.

Mahanavami Dibba:
This is an enomous area where kings once sat on gem-studded golden thrones and watched processions pass by. The platform sports densely carved bands of horses, soldiers and depictions of the various aspects of courtly life. There is a pyramid like structure which has nice carvings on it.. The irrigation system runs through it..

There is a beautiful tank called Pushkarani which looks like an optical Illusion with its so many steps there... the whole Tank looks like it was built with black granite...

I explored further and found another amphitheatre like area and a seat where the kings must have sat..and watched some show or the other... or maybe it was another tank for the kings and queens to enjoy the beautiful man made lake...

This place has lot of other small ruins which you can explore with leisure... I wish I had more time...

Hazara Rama: a typical Dravidian temple... and this has lot of sculptures depicting the story of Ramayana in three tiers describing the whole story till after the birth of his twins Lav and Kush.. The sculpting is the wall is worth spending time. There is a hanuman sculpture here.. Hampi was previously also the capital of the Monkey People... and it was known and Kishkinta... thats why the stress on Ramayana

Lotus Mahal : A small enclosure inside huge grounds. the walls which protect this enclosure is still there.. and one needs to see how uniquely the walls have been placed ..One would imagine royalty coming here and relaxing... the mahal itself is a small place surrounded by huge grounds.

You need to buy a ticket to enter this place which is valid for the Vittala temple too.

Elephant Stables: - As you walk through the green lawns in Lotus Mahal... you come across the elephant stables which seem like huge... rooms .. one can imagine how much care they were given ... this being an important mode of transpot there

Guards House - To one side of the tables there was another huge building which many ignored and went off.. We went ahead .. i was pretty curious what this building was meant for. It had one elephant statue resting at the gateway One of the natives, dangling his legs ... and with a nonchalant attitude told us that it was the guard's house... It was a huge building... with lot of artifacts and a nice garden... the building was at a height... I guess so that the guards could survey what was going on......

Nobelman's Quarters: This was a little further from the Lotus Mahal.. and we went ahead to explore the Nobleman's Quarters... a huge space of land with collapsed building blocks... gives the impression of a huge chunk of population might have existed in this area.. you can go up the steps to have a panoramic view of the area... the guards might have stood at that very point to surveyed all the nobleman... or soldiers...

Sister Rocks
this is a marvel to see,.. imagine two cards inclined and balancing each other by touching it at the top.. now imagine two huge round stones doing the same thing and touching each other just at a point and standing like that... Awesome.. According to a myth, these stones are two sisters who have been turned into stone.

Lakshmi Narasimha - A huge monolith statue which is sometimes mistaken for Ugra Narasimha.. A huge piece of architecture which is difficult to imagine that it has survived all the years to be a witness to all of the wacky specimens... like us.... People mistake it for Ugra Narasimha but it has been specifally mentioned that this is Lakshmi narasimha..

Badavilinga : Next to the Narasimha.. there is this amazing 12 ft Shivalinga known as the Badavi Linga.. this has always water around it since a canal passes through it..

Krishna Temple: This is an old temple built by Krishnadevraya in 1523. We found a young boy dressed as hanuman and willing to dance if we gave him money... we shooed him away and took some photographs... of the nice pillars.. what struck me was the eerie silence in these temples... but I could imagine devotees thronging here for their pujas... There are many small temples inside this temple.

This is on the way to Krishna Temple.. thought that the gates with the Jeep looked really cool..

Mustard Ganesha:
This is a huge monolith of Ganesha which you can go and see... we did not wait around this statue as we had a lot of things to cover. This is also one of a kind statue very well made. This statue is 12 ft tall and is placed in the open with a mantapa.

Virupaksha Temple:
This is one of the main temples in Hampi. We did not spend much time inside this temple as there was a huge crowd singing and dancing there... The road in front of this temple is flanked by shops and restaurants.

Here we halted for lunch... in one of the small restaurants which had boldly written captions " Recommended by Lonely Planet" . This place caters more to foreigners so if you are ordering toast and omlete you will get it faster. There is a unique thali known as " African Thali, which we did not have the stomach to try. I ordered some pineapple pancakes, lassi and sandwiches which came pretty fast rather than the indian thalis which my friends ordered.

We called in the gang who by this time were scattered. Some tried to take a short cut and got duped by auto.
DO NOT try taking shortcuts. All of the things can be seen one after the other so you can chill out and take your bike around and park and walk where you wanted to see stuff.

So while the gang was having lunch, we walked by the side of the river Tungabhadra...

Suddenly for some reason I remembered the song...

By the rivers of Babylon..
There we at down
there we wept
when we remembered the bygones... ( ok i made that up instead of Zion)

Pondering at the ruins and the huge area of what might have been I felt somewhat sad and melancholic.
Market Place:
The market place is just opposite the Virupaksha Temple .. This is a huge area and once upon a time it used to be the market area for the people living in that kingdom. At present this place is used as an amphitheatre during dance festivals and all that.

Vittala Temple:
This is one of the most beautiful places in Hampi. This contains the essence of Hampi, I must say. It contains a huge area of monuments. The river Tungabhadra flows by its side... Inside the grounds you have the Vijaya Vittala temple containing musical pillars... a guide can show you how it sounds by beating it with the help of the knuckles... clicked some shots here too... This temple is full of beautifully sculpted works of lotus, swans, etc...

Just in front of this temple is the stone Chariot which is like a work of art. Its reminiscent of the Sun Temple in Konark. It was raining that day.. and though it ws not the right moment for photography.. i could not resist taking some shots

Kings Balance:
Outside the Vijaya Vittala Temple complex to your right, a few yards away you will find the Kings Balance where the king used to weigh himself with golds and diamonds and that weight used to be distributed among the poor.

Then to chill out we relaxed by the river banks of Tungabhadra drinking tea from a small shack... it was that time of the day when the birds go home and farmers come back from the fields... bliss...

We came to back to the Hotel. The gang decided to go to the Tungabhadra Dam where there would be some musical fountain display and all that. Some from the gang relaxed. We did the same... chilled out .. had dinner and waited for the guys to come back..

The guys were back and they decided that they would light a campfire and have a great time. While I was busy with our friends, the rest of the guys chilled out by the fire with some good drinks...

Day 3

Friday, September 10, 2004

On the way to Hampi ... Day 1

Day 1 ... 10th September, 2004

It was a Friday that I was looking forward to... I have been wanting to visit Hampi and dreaming about it from the moment that we decided that we would be going riding to Hampi.

Started early in the morning along with the Bullets. We decided to take our Jeep since we had friends with their 2 year old, visiting us and we wanted to share the fun of motorcycle riding with them. The Jeep became a storage section for the saddle bags.

Hitting the Tumkur highway close to 7:30, we carried on and decided to take a break near the toll gates. After sometime we hear that Vikas one of the riders has had an accident while avoiding a stray dog.

And well luckily he escaped with nothing but a few scrathes and a broken light bulb.He was pretty sporting about it. Reminded me of Bumboo and our Wayanad trip when he attracted all animals to hit him.. we called it animal magnetism...

On the way Sagarika who was riding for the first time had a tough time hanging on .. without a back support and a tiny seat... for the pillion. She opted to come in the jeep.

Anyways, carrying on towards Tumkur, we had breakfast of soft Thatte Idlis and Vadas and hot coffee in our usual place in Catsandra...which left us feeling refreshed and rejuvenated. Continuing along the road which was pretty good and had few bumps... the scenery that opened itself before us was spectacular to say the least. The whole landscape which is usually dry... was lit up with a carpet of green grasses and yellow sunflowers... it was a beautiful feeling to drive along the highway...

Passing by Mangalore Highway, we took a version to Kudiligi, and then on to Hospet. Took lot of breaks of hot tea and then finally reached Kamalapuram, Hampi where we rested ourselves at Hotel Mayura. I highly recommend this hotel. You can book in advance and you can also go and get a room during off season..

Rates start from 400 to some 1000/- and the facilities are very useful. They have a good canteen which also caters their version of European food along with South Indian Thalis, veg and non veg. Rooms are clean and water is also good.If you want to destress yourself you could also go in for the ayurvedic massages which the hotel provides... ( they might make a tiny hole in your pocket, but it is worth it.) The hotel itself is situated among huge land area which has a long driveway and lots of green grasses growing.. or maybe it was because it was monsoon time.

This picture is just the driveway to this hotel... If this is off season for Hampi, I tell everybody to go and visit the place only at this time. You can benefit from the greenery and also from the cool breeze blowing which according to the natives is a rarity since temperature rises up to 44 degrees C.

Had a decent meal and lazed around in the evening with the kid, and with friends.. You could hear crickets "cricking" away along with frogs coming out of their hideouts... and jumping here and there.. the hotel sports a small tank of fish and two tortoises too which was good entertainment for the kid.

Weather was just perfect and we were ready to face the next day... we fell asleep to the anticipation of what we would visit the next day...

Day 2
Day 3