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Old 31st August 2016, 09:57   #1
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Default Resurrecting the wanderer's soul! Badami, Pattadakal & Aihole

I read a travel quote the other day, “Die with memories not dreams” and it triggered the dormant desire to travel again, travel solo. I knew that if I can overcome the inertia and anxiety, it will open up a world of splendor waiting to be explored. It did..!
So here is my modest start, a baby step, but a step nevertheless in the right direction. Just two days of wandering but it bought back the self-confidence and also the much needed self-connect that I had lost in the last few years.

Initial plan was to leave on Friday evening and halt overnight at Solapur but the inertia had the better of me. I postponed it for an early start on Saturday, but by the time I moved out of the house with full resolve it was 8:00 am.

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However once on the highway, I got in the groove of things and settled behind the steering to soak in the sun.

Pune-Solapur road is an absolute pleasure to drive, with a tar road (I find the feel of tar a lot more comforting than concrete), moderate traffic and flyovers at all major village intersections. Total toll amount of INR 255 is definitely worth the 250km stretch.
My first stop was at Shri Siddheshwar Temple, in Solapur. Took the blessings, had the prasad laddoo and moved on towards Vijaypura (earlier Bijapur).

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As I crossed Bhima river, Lupin crossed the 5k mark on the odometer and while doing so the Kannada script welcomed me in Karnataka.

The road between Solapur and Vijaypura is single undivided and with heavy truck traffic. Lot of other-side overtaking and lot of patience. Some truckers are very cooperative while others irritable of small cars. Whatever the case I have immense respect for long distance carriers. One such occasion, I wanted to pass a TN plate truck and pressed the horn lightly. It wasn’t an aggressive gesture at all, but I guess the driver had a rough day and he promptly made the most elaborate (not obscene) gesture with his right hand which said, “kya horn bajata, kitna raise karega (like the bike throttle), thoda ruko na..!” After few seconds, he made another quick gesture, “jao abhi..!” I laughed to my heart’s content as I made the pass.

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Another thing that caught my attention was a local Tempo Trax having a poster of Marathi movie “Sairat”. Although Kolhapur and Solapur are both within range, it still came as a surprise to me. Goes to show that stories told with authenticity reach out beyond language barriers.

When traveling outside your state, is it common to feel that all others are noticing your outsider registration plate? I felt that for a while till I reached the Vijaypura bypass but learned to live with it later. Had decided earlier not to enter Vijaypura so circled it and moved on towards Bagalkot.

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This is a pleasurable stretch, although single road, it has moderate traffic and endless farms with sugarcane and sunflower in majority.

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Driving on the 2km long bridge over river Krishna was a fun experience, with excellent monsoon this year the water level was up to the mark.

The final stretch from Bagalkot to Badami is also very scenic. Reached Badami at 4:15pm with 482kms clocked and checked into the Hotel Clarks Inn.

Wanted to explore the site so quickly ventured out on foot. Badami town is not very great to be honest, has a fair share of slum area with crowded and dusty roads. The Agastya lake and cave temples being just 0.5kms from the hotel it took me hardly 15 mins to walk at a leisurely pace. My first impression of the place was very neutral, the approach road being right through the slums while the lake was being occupied by ladies washing clothes on the bank. The brief climb up to the caves offers a spending view of the lake and surrounding hills with huge red sandstones. The sunset was not visible being cloudy. The carvings are interesting and is a must visit site for those learning or interested in archeology.

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View of Badami town

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View of Agastya Lake

Went back to hotel in time to watch India-West Indies T20 (old habits die hard!)
After a good night sleep, started early at 6:00 am and headed towards Pattadakal. The 20 kms drive was beautiful, although the road is patchy, the typical early morning country side is totally refreshing. The “group of temples” at Pattadakal is a UNESCO world heritage site and I must say very well preserved by Karnataka government. The temple architecture is fascinating with many type of temples standing alongside each other.

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Group of monuments at Pattadakkal

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Galaganatha temple

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Mallikarjuna temple

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Papanatha temple

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Sangameshwara temple

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Virupaksha temple

After spending 2 hours and taking the blessings in Virupaksha temple, I left the site to proceed to Aihole.
Aihole is very small village and not very well protected. Narrow lanes, muddy roads and people idling around is the first thing you notice but the impression quickly changes as you start noticing the numerous temple remnants scattered all around the village, 125 to be precise. I felt like I was actually in prehistoric era, can’t explain it’s a weird feeling. The main site at Aihole is not as well preserved as Pattadakal but fascinating nevertheless. It also has a history museum with loads of information about the Badami Chalukya Architecture.

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Durga temple

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Durga temple wall

After spending an hour or so started my drive back to hotel to catch the complementary brunch available till 11 am.

After having excellent south Indian brunch, checked out and went for another quick view at Agastya lake and cave temples. It turned out to be a bad decision, while approaching (this time in car), locals stopped every tourist vehicle and asked for money for Ganesh festival. The kids stormed every car and would not give way till some money is donated. After few minutes of bargain, I could manage to bring the group down from 100Rs to 10 Rs for which they gave me a receipt so that no other group will stop me.
Reached the parking only to see significant crowd. Still went ahead and walked through the caves to absorb a passing memory of the splendid place.

Finally left Badami at 12:45 pm and started the return journey. Passed Solapur exactly at 5:00 pm and started the final fast lap to Pune. Had a stop at Vitthal Kamat near Mohol to have a much needed snack, missal pav and tea was good. The sky was on full HD display, or maybe 4K, or even better. The drive back was beautiful due to the awesome skyline. Last 2 hours were night ride as I reached home at 9:15 pm.

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Ultra-high definition sky

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Lupin with the double rainbow

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Did 1030 kms in two days and Lupin was a brilliant companion. Didn’t bother to check the FE but I guess it was steadily above 20kmpl with 70% AC. The more I drive this car, I get more and more addicted with the sublime handling and braking prowess.

All in all the weekend was well spent, indeed the destination was worth the visit but the drive and the quite time of reconnecting with self was the best part of the journey. With my confidence restored, this is surely a beginning of many more journeys.

Last edited by aah78 : 31st August 2016 at 19:49. Reason: Post edited.
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Old 31st August 2016, 11:41   #2
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Default Re: Resurrecting the wanderer's soul! Badami, Pattadakal & Aihole

Nice travelogue.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Aditya2703 View Post
Pune-Solapur road is an absolute pleasure to drive, with a tar road (I find the feel of tar a lot more comforting than concrete), moderate traffic and flyovers at all major village intersections. Total toll amount of INR 255 is definitely worth the 250km stretch.
My first stop was at Shri Siddheshwar Temple, in Solapur. Took the blessings, had the prasad laddoo and moved on towards Vijaypura (earlier Bijapur).
Thanks for the road update. I think this is the better route for Hyderabad - Pune.

Quote:

Another thing that caught my attention was a local Tempo Trax having a poster of Marathi movie “Sairat”.
The movie actually received very good reviews in Hyderabad as well.


Quote:
Lupin with the double rainbow
Lovely picture for a mobile wallpaper.

Last edited by aah78 : 31st August 2016 at 19:50. Reason: Quoted post was edited.
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Old 31st August 2016, 12:21   #3
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Default Re: Resurrecting the wanderer's soul! Badami, Pattadakal & Aihole

Here are the total route for the trip and the local travel maps.

Resurrecting the wanderer's soul! Badami, Pattadakal & Aihole-route.jpg

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Old 1st September 2016, 09:15   #4
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Default Re: Resurrecting the wanderer's soul! Badami, Pattadakal & Aihole

Quote:
Originally Posted by Aditya2703 View Post
I read a travel quote the other day, “Die with memories not dreams” and it triggered the dormant desire to travel again, travel solo.
Very nice, crisp, short & sweet travelogue there Aditya, thanks for sharing it . I have been dreaming of visiting this trio of Badami, Pattadakal & Aihole since some years now and surely me too don't want to die just dreaming about it, but preserve it in my memories. I salute to your imprompto decision of going solo on such a long drive, wonder if ever I will be able to do that
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