Sunday, January 04, 2009

Rocks & Ruins - North Karnataka Heritage Trip

Duration - 2008-12-24 ~ 2008-12-30
I was on a 6 day outing touring North Karnataka by Bus and local transport.
To being with we were 10 and to end with we were just two !
This was something unusual to me without any kind of planning.
The group consisted of 6 gals and 4 guys off which I knew just two of them Nagesh and Vin.
Hampi Hemakoota Temples after sunset

Day 1 [25th December 2008]

We boarded an overnight bus from Majestic Bangalore to Chitradurga at 23:00 hours without reservation. Reached the place at 3:30 hours, weird place where lodges are locked from inside. Every man in this town lies.. We believed every word and scanned all the lodges we were asked to go. Finally we realised the hard way only 2 lodges are open at this odd time and checked into Surya lodge opposite KSRTC Bus stand.
Chitradurga Fort Raj,Joe,Kavitha,Anitha,Manisha,Prashant,Vinutha,Nagappa,Suvarna

Fort & Mutt:
Nagesh and me had good breakfast, joined in the other bigger group and got into the fort by 9:30 hours. We were out by noon and in time for lunch. Our next destination was Chandravalli, it is well maintained place with a nice pond and some man made caves. Pretty stuffy inside but pretty interesting.. Our final destination was Ankali Mutt. I did not find it very interesting but it was not bad either... We spent the night at Chitradurga and planned to start next morning early to Hospet~Hampi.

Day 2 [26th December 2008]
To get to Hampi we need to take a bus from Chitradurga to Hospet and from Hospet to Hampi. With the Busstand facing our(nagappa and myself) guest house we missed the 1st bus at 5:45 and had to get to the next bus 6:15. However the others made it in time for the 5:45 bus but somehow landed at Hospet much later than we did :D. We waited for them and joined them to reach Hampi.
Hampi Saisevekalu Ganapathi Temple

On reaching Hampi we again got lost and ended up getting separated. Nagappa and myself hired a by-cycle and covered these in-order Monolitic Basava, Mutunga Hills (we did not scale it), Sasvekalu Ganapathi, Kadalekalu Ganapathi, Krishna Temple, Krishna Bazzar, Lakshmi Narashima,
Hampi Lakshmi Narashima
Badavilinga, Uddana Virabhadra Temple, Underground Shiva Temple, Mohammadan Watch Tower,
Hampi Lotus Mahal
Lotus Mahal
, Elephant Stable
Hampi Elephant Stable
, few Ruined temples in the vicinity, Hazarama Temple, Underground shrine Chamber, King Audience Hall, Public Bath and Mahanavami Dibba. By the time we hit Queens Bath, it got way too dark and the gates were locked out. we cycled back to Hampi to reach by 19:00 hours.
Hampi Stone Chariot
Hanuman Temple Its believed Lord Hanuman was born here!

Hampi View from Chintamani Temples

The food at Hampi is bad, it's neither Indian nor Continental .. I had a tough time fishing out onions.. Nagappa and myself spent the night at Gayatripeetha, the rest had a booking at a local house. The place is fine except for the toilets. Nagappa has the habbit of snoring at night. I had a great time waking nagappa off his deep sleep every time he snored on all Three nights. I usually don't fall asleep while out.

Day 3 [27th December 2008]
Next day we visited Virupaksha Temple and again rented out a By-cycle. We visited the famous Vittala Temple and the Stone Chariot. The by-cycle proved too expensive when it came to river crossing. We had to get to the other bank of Tungabhadra River, we paid a hefty INR 150. Our fist stop was at a mess. Soon we left to Hanuman's Birth place, Pampasarovar, Durga Temple and Chintamani Temples. We then crossed back over to the other side of the river to head back to Hampi. On the way back we passed by Gangatti Jaina Temple and cycled through Bhima's Gateway.

We decided to split with Vin's group and head off to Badami the rest head to Gulburga & Bidar.

Day 4 [Aihole]
We started off from Hampi towards Aihole. We were lazy to wake up early we had late breakfast and head off to Hospet (it was about 11 am by the time we made it).
We boarded a bus that dropped us as Ilkal. From Ilkal its about 8 kms to Aihole. We took a shared auto to Aihole. I seemed to like only the Durga temple
Aihole Durga Temple
which is again in Ruins and has undergone massive re-construction and restoration work. Within the premises is also a well maintained museum. Our next stop as Banashakri (4 kms before Badami)

Day 5 [Banashankri & Badami temples]
We booked into the temple accommodation which was not worth INR 200 without hot water and no cot :(, we had to sleep over bedspread. The local snacks here is interesting - roasted Tender-channa over a mixture of sand ad salt; one has to peal off the outer tender shell and eat the channa inside.
Banashankri Reflections of Banashankri Temple off the Kalyani

Banashankri is not much heard of, we saw how vibuthi (sacred ash) is made.
We had pooja done at the temple, I seemed to like this temple.
Banashakri Sacred Ash being dried (Vibhooti)

We then hit Badami Museum in a shared auto. The Museum was worth a visit, clean and well maintained.
Badami vicinity of Shiva Temple
We also visited Shiva temples in the vicinity and the famous Boothnath Temple. On the adjacent bank of the Boothnath Temple are the famous Badami caves.
Badami Boothnath Temple
We were done seeing all the places by 13:00 hours. We went to the local postoffice and got the famous Nataraja stamping done. After a brief shopping we left headed back to Bangalore by a night bus.

#1 You will need 2 to 3 days to cover the whole of Hampi.
#2 Cycling around Hampi was a great experience
#3 Use packaged drinking water else you will end up cutting down on your trip.
#4 Our total expense including food accommodation and travel all inclusive worked out to INR 2200 per person.