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Old 2nd September 2013, 21:47   #1
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Default Travelogue: Bangalore to Hampi on the Eid Weekend

It's been quite a while since I last posted a new topic, and I see a lot has changed in TBHP! The assembly line is a neat way to compose posts, and I think the photo upload to the TBHP servers makes it easier, overall, although I wish the 1MB restriction was upgraded.

Trip Date : 09-Aug to 11-Aug
Ride : Innova
Total Distance: Around 950 kms


Travelogue: Bangalore to Hampi on the Eid Weekend-wp_20130810_11_50_35_panorama-custom.jpg
View of the medieval bazaar in Hampi.


Planning the trip
I was initially not inclined on embarking on a road-trip during a long weekend, as I believe everyone in Bangalore with a car decides to take a road trip on long weekends, resulting in congested highways and stressful drive. But somehow, when my wife started discussing Hampi, I thought it would be a less mainstream destination (compared to the usual Coorg/Kabini/BR Hills/Ooty). I looked up the route in Google maps, and it claimed (incorrectly, as I later found) that the trip can be done in 5 hours, 30 minutes. As I started discussing and finalizing the route in this thread, my wife booked a newly opened Hyatt hotel in Bellary. Just a day before the trip, a couple of our friends also decided to join in. Since my ride is a Innova, space is not an issue, and it's "the more the merrier" in such trips.
The route was finalized as

1) Whitefield->BIAL Road->Devanahalli->Doddaballapur->Dobaspete (as recommended by ampere and ranjitp1, to avoid heavy traffic on Tumkur Road).
2) NH4->Tumkur->Sira->Hiriyur
3) SH-19 from Sira->Challakere->Bellary Bypass Road
4) Bellary Bypass Road->Toranagallu (that's where the hotel is)

On the way
We started off from Whitefield at 7:30AM, and part 1) of the route above was indeed free of traffic. There was the occasional slow-moving truck, blocking the 2 lane road, but since the road is straight for long stretches, overtaking is not a hassle. At Dobaspete, we took the right turn to join NH-4, and stopped at a Kamat for breakfast just outside Tumkur. In fact, there are 2 Kamat's located on each side of the road, making it convenient to stop there whether going up or down NH-4.

Travelogue: Bangalore to Hampi on the Eid Weekend-wp_20130809_004.jpg
Kamat near Tumkur

Breakfast done, we started off again, down the lovely 6-laned NH-4. I soon got bored of the drive, since it's a straight road, with nothing much for the driver to do but hold on to the steering wheel. Maybe a cruise control on the Innova wouldn't be bad here! It so happened that driving along, I missed the exit at Hiriyur towards SH-19/Bellary. We had driven over the flyover when we should have gone under. Thanks to Nokia maps on my phone, it was quite apparent that we had gone past the exit. However, the next U-turn was a good 5 km away! Again, thanks to the GPS on the phone, we could actually note the U-turn, which was completely invisible until you actually drive up to it. It took a little longer to find SH-19, but we did finally. I think we lost about 20 minutes or so, looking for the junction. But we were soon on SH-19, driving down to Bellary.

The only other place we would have missed, was I not using the GPS navigation on my phone, was the Bellary bypass. It's quite nondescript railway crossing to the left of SH-19. The only way to spot it is that all the mining lorries use this road. After the Bellary bypass, the roads were a bit broken (the first time, since the trip started), but not too much to intimidate an Innova (or any sedan/hatch, for that matter). In Toranagallu, the roads are better (thanks to JSW steel). The hotel is located right in the township called "Vidyanagar".

Travelogue: Bangalore to Hampi on the Eid Weekend-wp_20130809_010-custom.jpg
Hotel lobby

We reached the hotel around 3PM, so yes, it was longer than suggested by Google maps. However, since most of the roads were good, there was no fatigue. While we were having lunch, the hotel staff advised us not to visit Hampi, as the sites close by 5PM (we later found that this is not entirely accurate... some of the monuments have no visiting hours at all). Instead they suggested we visit Hospet and see the sunset on the Tungabhadra dam. I really wish we hadn't taken this suggestion. While the entire drive from Bangalore to Toranagallu was stress-free, the drive from Toranagallu to Hospet/Tungabhadra dam really fatigued us all out. The roads are terrible...curse inducing terrible. And when you reach the place, it's just a crowded tourist trap! Maybe I'm being too harsh here, but if you've seem one dam, you've seen them all. The wonders of 1960's hydraulic engineering do not interest me, thank you very much!

Travelogue: Bangalore to Hampi on the Eid Weekend-wp_20130809_016-custom.jpg

Travelogue: Bangalore to Hampi on the Eid Weekend-wp_20130809_019-custom.jpg
Sunset on the damn dam

Returning back from the dam was even more tiring, as the road has long stretches that are not lit, making it difficult to drive at highway speeds. Luckily, I found a speeding Corolla, and guessed that it must be a local (he was driving so confidently, either he knew the road like the back of his hand, or was stone drunk). We followed the Corolla, and could do higher speeds, but of course, keeping a safe distance behind.

At Hampi
The next morning, we set out for Hampi. The hotel claimed that it was about 27 kms, but it was a bit longer than that. I think the trip meter showed about 33 km, and it took around 40 minutes to cover the distance. But once on the approach road to Hampi, things changed. A promise of what was to come...the boulders of Hampi.

Travelogue: Bangalore to Hampi on the Eid Weekend-wp_20130810_001-custom.jpg
My Innova with the Hampi boulders

The approach road to Hampi is narrow, but well paved, and no pot-holes! After negotiating a tricky blind turn, and a narrow gate, we saw the first temple. I have forgotten the name, but looking up in Google Maps tells me that this was the "Uddhana Veerabhadra" temple.

Travelogue: Bangalore to Hampi on the Eid Weekend-wp_20130810_005-custom.jpg

Travelogue: Bangalore to Hampi on the Eid Weekend-wp_20130810_008-custom.jpg
Pics of Veerabhadra temple

Next stop was a Krishna temple, which was larger.

Travelogue: Bangalore to Hampi on the Eid Weekend-wp_20130810_10_33_44_panorama-custom.jpg
Krishna temple

Near this, there was also a stone sculpture of Ganesha, but I have not uploaded the pics, as they have not come out too good. The statue is housed in a enclosure, and the lighting is such that it is not very visible.

Next stop was Virupaksha temple. One of the biggest in Hampi, and one that is still operational.

Travelogue: Bangalore to Hampi on the Eid Weekend-virupaksha_022.jpg
Virupaksha temple

Inside this temple, there are a whole lot of monkeys, but they are all well behaved. At least I didn't see them try to snatch something. I was carrying some bananas which was meant for the temple elephant, but seeing a female monkey with a little baby in her lap, I gave it to them. There is a path leading outside the temple, on the right side, as you enter. This path leads to the ghats of the Tungabhadra river. Well worth a visit.

Next in line was the famous Lakshmi-Narashimna statue. A beautifully carved monolith. The best thing about Hampi is that there are clear and helpful signs on the road, which means you rarely have to ask for a guide.

Travelogue: Bangalore to Hampi on the Eid Weekend-near_ln_1.jpg
Innova parked just opposite the path leading to Lakshmi-Narasimha statue


Travelogue: Bangalore to Hampi on the Eid Weekend-ln_1.jpg
The impressive statue, carved out one a single rock!

The statue is of course amazing, more so because it's a monolith, i.e. carved out of a single rock. So why is it called "Lakshmi" Narasimha? Well, the original statue had Lakshmi seated on Narasimha's lap (imagine the skill of the sculptor!). If you see closely, you can see remnants of Lakshmi's arm on the left side of Narasimha. The ASI board does not explain how the statue got mutilated, but just mentions it as "ravages of time".

Travelogue: Bangalore to Hampi on the Eid Weekend-ln_29.jpg
Another view. Remnants of Lakshmi's arm is visible.

There is also a Shiv-linga near the statue. It is unique as it is partly underwater.

Travelogue: Bangalore to Hampi on the Eid Weekend-shiv_ling_near_ln.jpg
Shiv-linga near the Lakshmi-Narasimha statue.

After this, we visited a couple of other lesser-known sites in Hampi, like the citadel, queen's bath and Hazara-Rama tample. The latter is said to have carvings of the Ramayana on it's walls, and you can read the entire epic by following the tiered carvings here.

Travelogue: Bangalore to Hampi on the Eid Weekend-hazaara_rama.jpg
Scenes from Ramayana

Finally, we thought we had seen it all. When suddenly, my wife takes out the guidebook, and sees the cover. The cover features a stone carved chariot wheel. That same wheel is seen in many Karnataka tourism ads, so now we had to see this! But there was no signs, so we finally had to ask a traffic cop. The guy was extremely helpful... he explained the directions, distance, and also stopped the traffic to help me make a U-turn on the narrow road.

Apparently the stone chariot is part of a temple complex called Vithala temple, which is a bit way off from the other sites. This was the last place we visited.

Travelogue: Bangalore to Hampi on the Eid Weekend-stone_chariot_078.jpg
Found the stone chariot!

Travelogue: Bangalore to Hampi on the Eid Weekend-vit_tem0_081.jpg
Elephant carving at Vithala temple

One thing I didn't like here (Vithala temple)... the tourism department makes you park the car 1km away from the site, and then has a paid electric car service to the temple. Now 1km is easily walkable, and we did walk, but it was a bit irritating as the road we were walking on was easily motorable, so the only reason this is done is to make sure they earn some money out of the electric car service, plus the auto drivers rake up the leftover tourists. When did Karnataka tourism start taking lessons from UP tourism department!

Vithala temple was the last site we visited, and the mid-day sun had started sapping our energy. We ended the Hampi site seeing with a lunch at a restaurant near the Virupaksha temple. I had read in Wiki-travel that there is a restaurant called "Prince" which served (according to the editor) the best biriyanyi in Karnataka. Well, food was nice & hot, but very average. On seeing the place, with it's loads of Hippies and electronic lounge music blaring, I could understand why the wiki-travel editor found this the "best biriyani in Karnataka". He was quite likely stoned! The menu of the place was a hilarious read... there was actually an item called "Banana Filters with Nutteria sauce".

Travelogue: Bangalore to Hampi on the Eid Weekend-menu0_087.jpg
The menu had something called "Inchilada" - maybe it's an inch-long enchilada

Last edited by floyd : 3rd September 2013 at 22:04.
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Old 4th September 2013, 10:35   #2
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Default Re: Travelogue: Bangalore to Hampi on the Eid Weekend

Thread moved from the Assembly Line (The "Assembly Line" Forum section) to Travelogues. Thanks for sharing!
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Old 24th January 2014, 15:44   #3
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Default Re: Travelogue: Bangalore to Hampi on the Eid Weekend

floyd, nice travelogue and great pictures.
When i google map, the route shows via chirtradurga, kanamadugu, Bommaghatta - Hospet.
Any idea how is this route condition compared to the route which you took via Bellary by pass.
Looks like it took 8 hours for you from BLR to the hotel.
Actually i am planning for a weekend trip, but is 7 hours of drive time realistic in a sedan?
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Old 24th January 2014, 19:52   #4
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Default Re: Travelogue: Bangalore to Hampi on the Eid Weekend

Nice travelogue, very well written, as you have mentioned "ravages of time" people want to hide truth strange we live in such a country.
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Old 13th March 2014, 17:06   #5
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Default Re: Travelogue: Bangalore to Hampi on the Eid Weekend

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Originally Posted by ark_rover View Post
floyd, nice travelogue and great pictures.
When i google map, the route shows via chirtradurga, kanamadugu, Bommaghatta - Hospet.
Any idea how is this route condition compared to the route which you took via Bellary by pass.
Looks like it took 8 hours for you from BLR to the hotel.
Actually i am planning for a weekend trip, but is 7 hours of drive time realistic in a sedan?
I'm replying quite late, but I hope you made your trip. Now that I recall, I think 7 hours (including rests/breaks + breakfast) is a bit too optimistic). I didn't use Google maps, as off late, it has become very unintuitive. But if your destination is Hospet, and not Bellary, then the Chitradurga route may make more sense.
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Old 25th August 2014, 12:05   #6
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Default Re: Travelogue: Bangalore to Hampi on the Eid Weekend

Hi, nice one there. ANy reason for choosing this hotel for stay, which is 33 km away? How was your experience there? Any reccommendations for stay closer to Hampi for family?
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Old 25th August 2014, 12:24   #7
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Default Re: Travelogue: Bangalore to Hampi on the Eid Weekend

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Originally Posted by floyd View Post


One thing I didn't like here (Vithala temple)... the tourism department makes you park the car 1km away from the site, and then has a paid electric car service to the temple. Now 1km is easily walkable, and we did walk, but it was a bit irritating as the road we were walking on was easily motorable, so the only reason this is done is to make sure they earn some money out of the electric car service, plus the auto drivers rake up the leftover tourists. When did Karnataka tourism start taking lessons from UP tourism department!

I do not think this is done to rake up the revenue, but to protect the monument in itself. Earlier, vehicles were allowed till the gate of the Vittala temple, and due to the emissions from the vehicles, the sculptures were getting damaged even further and that is when the vehicles were banned from going near the temple. The EV's were for the benefit of the people, but optional.

I was also in Hampi during the week of August 15th and visited almost all the places that you have covered and we did it in two days.
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Old 1st September 2014, 17:50   #8
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Default Re: Travelogue: Bangalore to Hampi on the Eid Weekend

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Originally Posted by vrvarier View Post
Hi, nice one there. ANy reason for choosing this hotel for stay, which is 33 km away? How was your experience there? Any reccommendations for stay closer to Hampi for family?
No reason. We just didn't know any good place closer by. More frequent travellers would probably know better. The Hotel was quite nice, actually. It's a typical business hotel (so rooms are not very large), but well managed, and excellent staff.
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Old 24th December 2014, 06:55   #9
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Default Re: Travelogue: Bangalore to Hampi on the Eid Weekend

Quote:
Originally Posted by floyd View Post
I'm replying quite late, but I hope you made your trip. Now that I recall, I think 7 hours (including rests/breaks + breakfast) is a bit too optimistic). I didn't use Google maps, as off late, it has become very unintuitive. But if your destination is Hospet, and not Bellary, then the Chitradurga route may make more sense.
There is a main thread on the route from Bangalore to Bellari/Hospet. The recommendation there is to not take the Chitradurga - Hospet route at all. It is supposedly full of major potholes.

Srinivasan
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