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|16th November 2015, 13:10||#1|
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Cruzing to the Stonehenge of East: Hampi, Badami, Pattadakal and Aihole
In recent times, for us the Diwali is defacto becoming the most suitable time to take up the road trip as well as the family vacations as the tariffs, kids’ vacations and more importantly the balancing attendance over Christmas/new year period is favoring this period. The trip this year was planned with theme to experience historic place, after bit of discussions, the obvious choice emerged in favor of Hampi-Badami-Pattadikkal-Aihole-Bijapur, the beautiful stories written in stones from our golden era.
In preparation to the visit have referred the travelogues on T-BHP, the numerous iterations of T-BHP to build the mental map of the places and of google for the “real” maps. The keen detailing of every aspect of places be it the sites, eateries or roads only made us to look forward for this trip. The driver in me,the kids, wifey and THE Cruze were all set And the day finally emerged after a long wait -
Day – 1
We started at 0500 for the journey to Hampi , this time relied on the tested route of NH4 over NH13. The travel was breeze with no traffic and refreshing moods. The first pit stop was near Sakareshwara for snacks. The pain on NH4 still remains in the numerous diversions, speed humps, unruly bikers/tractors and the agony of paying steep tolls, especially for the roads in the Maharashtra side of NH4. However it is completely different story as you move to the Karnataka side, has nice roads, beautiful landscape and very sparse traffic , which makes one delightful drive. This helped to pass the enroute places in Belgaum-Hubali in a breeze. The travel on NH63 to Koppal and Gadag to Hospet was bit slow as we get on the traditional 2 lane undivided highway.
The terrain starts changing near Hospet as the mountains are characterized by huge rocks, giving illusion as if a “Superman” arranged mammoth rocks over each other.
Around evening, we checked in at Hotel Rock Regency at Torangallu in the Jindal Steel Works periphery. After quickly freshening up, dashed to beautiful Kaladham , this is an Hampi illustration in the form of photographs , 3D films and different aerial views. This place is situated next to Hayatt Place, do recommend to visit in case you are staying in periphery.
The dinner was in one of the restaurant located at same Hotel, we really enjoyed the choice of delicacies and attention paid by the caring staff. I fully recommend the hotel for ones having own vehicle and looking for 3-star like hotel, still wants to be on a budget
Day - 2
The next morning, we headed for Hampi after stupendous breakfast at hotel. The distance is 25 kms from hotel and road passes through the small villages, the right side of the road has Daroji Wild life sanctuary (claiming one of its kind in India, with 125 sloth bears inhabiting).
It was really fortunate for us that the day was clear sky, add to it the nice breeze blowing all the day. After reaching Hampi, we decided to get services of a guide to make justice to the immensely impressive sites of the ruins, temples from the 13th century and mythological era of Ramayana (Kishkindha).
Thanks to Archeological Survey of India for uncovering the heritage and wealth of information from Vijaynagar Empire period. There are many sites to visit, some of them are still not completely discovered, but what you see gives you a visual treat and make you feel pride to be part of rich legacy left by our ancestors, some that I could recall are:
1. Underground Virupaksha Temple
2. Royal Enclosure - The Mahanavami Dibba (large square structure), Stepped Tank, Stone Doors and the Amphi Theater
3. Zanana Enclosure (Lotus Temple, Elephant Stable, Watch Tower)
4. Sasivekalu (mustard seed) Ganesha (crafted in monolithic stone at the site of temple)
5. Kadalekalu (Bengal gram) Ganesha (crafted in monolithic stone at the site of temple)
6. Badavi Linga
7. Virupaksha Temple
8. Rocks, rocks and more rocks
9. Hemakuta Hill (we did not go there as has 300+ steps)
10. Stone Chariot
11. Vitthala Temple
Hampi Lotus Mahal , an beautiful structure in Zarana Enclosure
Hampi Elephent Stable, another marevel in Zanana Enclosure
Hampi, Vittala temple
Hampi, Royal Enclosure, Stepped tanks
Hampi, Stone Chariot
We left Hampi around 1700 hrs for TB Dam, another key attraction on tourist list of sites, this place is on the other side of Hospet. The engineering marvel in dam built over Tungabhadra River. The TB backwater provides one of the most spectacular view of river from top. The place has garden, aquarium and musical fountains.
A beautiful country road connecting Hampi-Hospet
TB Dam - Backwater, a view from top
We spent 3 hours around the TB Dam place and after a fulfilling day at rich heritage as well as the engineering marvels (then and now), we started for hotel mesmerizing the memories and for a well deserved sleep.
Day - 3
We bid goodbye to Hospet and started onward for Badami , which is another place from a Chalukya dynasty. After 3.5 hours of journey, reached Badami , where we were booked in Hotel Rajasangham. The hotel is located in front of central bus station. Badami is small village, the Diwali day meant a chaotic situation with crowd in festive moods, the roadside hawkers blocking most part of the way, finally add to it us being unaware of native language. The beauty of communications by the gestures and general helpful nature of people ensured no hassles.
We visited the Badami caves, museum, temples and Agastha Lake in the evening. Badami does have a curse like many of our historic Indian cities, wherein apart from the few places of interests taken care, the bulk is unattended. The Badami city does provide a sad story of filth and encroachment. The agonizing experience was the natives using the part of huge cave as well as the other side of Agastha lake for excretion and dumping alike.
Badami Temple, temple surrounded by fort walls
Badami temples, near Agasthi lake
Badami , Bhuthnaath temple
Badami Cave 1
After visiting the places in Badami, we headed for goddess Shakambari temple for performing Pooja on the auspicious occasion of Laxmipujan.
Badami, Shakambari temple
Day – 4
The day was planned for Pattadakal and Aihole , both within the 45 Kms range of Badami, which is our base station then. The time estimates of 5 hours together meant a relaxed start of day. Both of the sites were supreme experiments with temples’ architecture as cluster of temples providing the various shaiv, Jain and various fusions of temple architectures.
The Pattadakal was chosen for the king’s coronation in background of the river Malprabha. The Patadkal has temples from as early as 700AD. A few temples here show a very rich influence of the Orissa temple architecture.
Pattadakal, the temples
Aihole (18 Kms from Pattadakal) has another master piece with experimenting ground for the early Chalukyan kings. There are fifty temples in one cluster, while probably the same number in and around the place. Most of these temples are Vaishnavite temples, which later on were made to Saivaite ones. The Durga temple is amongst best, a unique in conception on account of its apsidal plan but non apsidal curvilinear shikhara.
Durga temples, Aihole
Please be mindful of the heat and dry climate of both the Pattadakal and Aihole , this was the only sore point of this visual spectrum, especially after being spoiled by nice climate at Hampi and Badami.
The heat was becoming bit too much, making us tired and kids started getting cranky. We decided to return back to hotel to take up some rest. The hotel @ Badami is basic one and the restaurants in and around are nothing to write about really, however I think most of hotels and restaurants in Badami are below acceptable standards.
We started our journey back,this time with route planned as Badami-Bagalkot-Alimatti (bypassing)-Bijapur-Solapur. We have taken a diversion to Bijapur to visit Gol Ghummat and resumed back on the highways.
Sunflowers, enroute to Bagpat-Bijapur
Gol Ghummat , Bijapur
A view of structure from top at Gol Ghummat, Bijapur
From Solapur took a detour to Beed (via Tuljapur NH211), this to make in time for the Bhau-Beej/Bhai-Teej celebrations. After spending 2 days, we headed back to Pune. The pleasant surprise of the entire return route was non-existence of any toll booths, looks like contractor-government nexus is happy with booty (on NH4) for now. But who is complaining
Family enjoying cart ride
The 1725kms of round journey was largely pleasant and given enough for stocking the vitamin-D(rive) for some months. Unfortunately the final day and lap proved the most tormenting one, the 300 kms journey between Beed-Ahmadnagar-Pune is supposedly easy and familiar one. However come Ahmadnagar and has a bumper-to-bumper (city like traffic) owing to people flocking after vacations, as well add to it the characteristic “impatience” , parking/planning mess and few minor accidents seen, that the final 100 kms did took around 3 hours.
May be it was a friendly messaging that the vacations are now over and time to brace up for facing work and "Pune" roads!
Last edited by sanstorm : 22nd November 2015 at 21:01. Reason: minor changes
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