A long awaited DREAM RIDE …. for which I was waiting for 3 long years. But due to many personal and work related problems it was not becoming possible. It is very tough to get 4 to 5 continuous holidays in IT industry. But we got it and made a fantastic ride plan from 15th to 19th of August 2013. Finally the plan came in to an action, and we started our journey.
It was the ‘Searching God Part II’ ride. A perfect long ride plan was made after a preparation of about one month. And for that I would like to thank my friend Milind Hiremath (Wrangler True wonderer 2012). The ride code name as "Temple run" by Millind. Because it was not only just to visit Hampi, we had 4 days to visit almost all major(famous) temple in North Karnataka including these places...Chitradurga, Pattadkal, Hospet, Banashankari, Mahakut and Badami. But for me this was "Searching GOD part II" as I am on a assignment of Archiological collections of Temples. It took a vast preparation including wide angle lens, tripod, camera accessories etc as well. This time I really enjoyed clicking with Sigma 10-20mm.
Day1: We started on 15th Aug at 6:00 am in the morning, from Bangalore to Hampi, about 400 km. We reached Chitradurga at 11:30 am. It was very nice to see the crowd of the village people, celebrating the Independence Day. It was a huge crowd of 3-5k people. We passed through the crowd towards the Chitradurga fort.
The area was vast enough with many historical monuments and architectures…it was not possible to visit everything even in 2.5 hrs. Felt like one day is not enough to document everything. But could capture some important spots.
Storehouse @ Chitradurga Fort
Another fascinating thing about Chitradurga was its green grass carpet. We spent a long enough time here in front of Gali Mantapa. The meaning of ‘Gali’ is air in Kannada and we enjoyed there a very refreshing ‘Gali’ indeed. We spent around 2.5 hours at Chitradurga and tried to cover as much as we can. Then heading towards Hospet. We were too hungry and rain started...Riding through the rural road was amazing but could not speed up due to hunger. Dhaba was the best choice, had ‘dhaba style’ lunch on the way.
On the way to Hospet, Malapura Lake was there. It was not a famous tourist spot, but we can’t stop us halt there for a few moments and took a short break for rest and again started towards Hospet.
It was almost 5pm when we reach Hospet. We already had collected information about the good hotels available there. So staying was not a problem any more. Hotel Pridarshani is one of the good options. In the evening we planned to visit the light show in Tungabhadra Dam which was just about 7km from Hospet. But we did not get a chance to park the bike there, as it was Independence Day and there was a huge crowd. And finally we have to return back without seeing the show. We spent the night in Hospet.
Day2: On the second day morning we started our ride towards Vijaynagar ruines, Hampi. It was 5 am in the morning. First we visited Kamalapur Lake. It was a fantastic mind refreshing stop on the way to Hampi. The day started with beautiful scenarios in and around Hampi. We have enjoyed slow shutter photography a lot. We aimed to complete our photography and documentation before 9 am, as tourist visit used to start by that time every day. But it seemed not possible to visit Hampi completely in a single day, as there was a stone sculpture in every 10 meter.
A side view of Vitthala temple, Hampi. There are numerous temples spread over the land of mighty Humpi. I may not complete the list, if I note down the names. We visited as much as we could and clicked a lot. We visited Vithalla temple where there is world famous musical pillar.
Ancient stone chariot ' Kallina Ratha' at Vitthala temple campus, Hampi.
A single day was not enough to document everything !
From there we saw lots of unknown temples in the Tungavadra River. While returning we met a boat man and took the chance. We saw Shiv temple, Laxmi temple and many more submerged in the river.
In picture, clockwise : Lord Vishnu, Goddess Durga, Nandi and Thousand Shivlings.
Rock sculpture of Lord Shrikrishna.
Another attraction was King’s Palace. The amazing fine sculptures were really mind blowing. I will not upload Hampi clicks any more. I have about 27GB Hampi clicks. It seems it is not possible to cover the Hampi History in my blog page.After Hampi we travelled nearby places like Krishna temple, Princes bath, Mahanavami Dibba, Bheema temple, Lotus mall, elephant astable etc.
In picture, clockwise : Lotus Mahal, Horse stable, Elephant stable and Mahanavami Dibba.
The best place for lunch in Hampi is "Mango tree restaurant". By the end of the day I can say an awesome place to document a lot. But the infrastructure of the city is very bad. Road condition is very poor. And the city is not clean at all. We hope the authority will take necessary action in near future.
Back to hotel, got refreshed and again gave a try to Tungabhadra Dam light show. Today the crowd was less, but yet it was crowded by local and international tourists. It was not of much interest for me as all the light shows in Karnataka are more or less the same. But what was more important was the night view of Tungabhadra dam with play of different colors over it. The authority has managed to flash lights of different colors over the dam and the look was very beautiful. I was not lucky enough to take a snap as my battery got dump after the whole day exploration in Hampi. But Milind could take two best snaps of the night view of the dam. I have uploaded here one of them.
Day2 was end, packed up everything and get ready for Badami.
Day3 : At 6 am in the morning we started towards Aihole. Aihole is a less explored place, full of prehistoric monuments and sculptures. It was a fantastic ride through SH11. We choose Hungud and Amingad rout, as we could not stop us from testing the famous mouthwatering sweet of Amingad. Finally we stopped at Amingad for breakfast and tasted different sweets. Sweets were a little expensive, prepared from the seed of a fruit mixed with jaggery.
On the way to Aihole there were uncountable small and large temples. We stopped at Sri Huchimmali Temple. Visitors were less as the temple is not much famous. We spent a quality time there and then continued our journey to Aihole.
The journey was interesting through sunflower fields, rural scenarios and the simple fascinating village beauty..
The point of attraction in Aihole was the Aihole Archiological Park, where there is Durga temple, Lad khan Temple, Suryanarayana Temple and a few other temples along with Aihole Mesuam in the me campus. It was possible to visit and document all the temples because all the temples were in the same campus.
Rock sculpture of Durga temple.
We were already 2 hr late as per scheduled time. Next destination was Pattadkal, another place of historical importance. There was a group of temples Virupaksha,Sangameshvara,Kashivishvanatha and Mallikarjuna temples are in same campus. The Rock art in this campus was really a point of attraction. You can see different rock arts in each different temple. After seeing these sculptures one can imagine how beautiful must be the Stone Age was. No one can compare stone art of ancient time with today’s digital technology. Two are completely different representation of beauty.
In front of Pattadkal monuments.
We had a quick lunch in Pattadkal and started to our next destination Mahakut. The showering rain and the surrounding greenery with small hillocks made the ride more beautiful. We could not visit the Bansankari temple due to lack of time and continued our journey straight to Mahakut, the famous Hindu ‘Tirthasthan’ (religious place).
In Mahakut temple there is a famous common bath place known as ‘Kund’. It is a natural water spring and holy place. It is believed that one can wash off his sins by taking bath in that pond. We arranged a ‘Panda’ (priest) for the formal rituals. After such a 6-7 hr ride we put off our riding gears and went for a refreshing bath.
One another interesting thing in this spring is the Hanuman temple at one corner of the pond. The door of the temple is under water and one has to go through the water in order to reach inside the temple. Only one or two persons can enter at a time inside the temple. It was a little difficult, but we entered and could get the blessings of the Lord. It was an amazing experience. I feel the meaning of "Searching GOD". I was correct to set the name of the ride as "Searching GOD-Part II". After the bath we proceed towards the Mahakuteswar temple for Darshan and Puja. Entering the temple after bath, I felt blessed. Suddenly I recall Maa Kamakhya temple of my place. Priest Basanagouda Veeralinganagoudra has already arranged everything for Puja. So we did not have any problem. Free daily lunch is served as Prashad every day. And we had a good lunch with rice and sambar. Finally we washed off our sins and continued our jorney to Badami…
Four faces Shivling at Mahakut
We entered Badami "The Cliffs town" (my own opinion) by 4.30. After check in the hotel we got fresh and then came out to explore Badami. The best thing was all the sightseeing places were inside the town and one can visit all the places by walk. We started with Agashtya Lake. There were museum, Cliff, Bhootnath temple and Badami caves nearby. We spent the whole evening on the bank of the lake with the taste of famous pakora and had a delicious dinner in the night. Thanks to Manju for arranging everything for us.
The mesmerizing beauty of sunset at Bhootnath temple of Badami, is always being a point of attraction for photographers. But it was a cloudy day.
In the 9:30 at night we visited Bhootnath temple again to take some night shot. But as ill luck would have us, there was no power supply to the temples on that day. However, we applied our creativity, started our bikes and switch on the head lights towards the temple. And the night shot arrangement was ready. It was a fantastic arrangement.
Dear photographer, please do not use again our creative idea :) This is how we have added studio lights on Bhootnath Temple.
Finally it was last day for us at Badami. We went to Manjus house at about 5am in the morning, and he showed us a short cut to Badami cliff, as the only way to cliff for visitors is through museum gate which opens at 9:30 am. We had to ride back to Bangalore around 400km. We climbed up to the cliff and got the chance to enjoy sunrise. It was very refreshing….far from technology….far from life hazards….
A side view of Upper Shivalaya temple, Badami. As we started early in the morning, there was no crowd and we got the opportunity to take lots of photographs of the temples and monuments.
Lower Shivalaya Temple, Badami.
Security tomb @ top of Badami Cliff.
At 9 o’clock we left museum and proceeded towards Badami cave. Architecture was fabulous along with scenic beauty of the nature. . A best set was automatically got ready by nature. Here is a click of Badami town from Badami Cave 2.
I could not stop myself posing in front of such a beautiful wall paper…. Spent some quality times in the cave temples and getting ready to journey back.
A view of Badami town and Agastya lake from Badami Cave IV.
Probably this was the last moment of sightseeing @ Badami Cave temple.We attend Maju’s home as he invited us for breakfast. It was a delicious Badami style breakfast. It is really nice to met his family. Food was too heavy that we did not need lunch any more.
At 12 o’clock we went to Hubli, as NH4 is the safest route from Hubli to Bangalore. We were already 2-3 hr late. For photo shoot also we spent some times here and there on the way. To the end of the evening rain started. It was difficult to ride in drizzling road, though it was an amazing experience to ride in the rain :)
It was horrible to ride between 8-10 pm on the high way, due to speedy cars and trucks, and the most difficulty was due to continuous heavy rain. As there is no arrangement for wiper blades in helmet like cars, the riding became more dangerous and risky. Finally we safely reach Bangalore at 12 o’clock in the night.
Thank You !