Monday, November 27, 2006

A drive to Hampi...

Me and Naren (my husband) ofcourse share a lot in common but if we have to pick up the strongest passion we share it will have to be long drives… so this blog is created by a soul purpose of sharing the drives and the small vacations we keep taking now and then…. Most of the posts on this blog would be either jointly written or written by one of us… he is not an active member of blogspot so I will manage the posting etc…

Ideally would have loved to kick this off with a drive which became our dream from the second time we met… the Delhi-Bangalore drive but we are taking a long time to get that ready because of the same reasons… so first post here is on our trip to Hampi we did last weekend (17nov-19nov) taking a break to celebrate our second wedding anniversary …

Read on…

Planned to start at 6am in the morning but as usual managed to start only at about 7:05 am… both of us are just not morning people. Being a weekday and we crossing the city at almost peak hours we managed to cross the city limits only by 8:30. We had our first halt for breakfast at Kamat near tumkur at about 9:00, had a quick meal of some idly vada and good south Indian coffee… the next 100kms of the road was fantastic and we did it in just about an hour… the fantastic four lane highway which is a part of the golden quadrilateral. All this while it was Naren on the wheel and I took over the drive when the trip meter said 187.0 kms and the time being 10:45 and then started the started an amazing views as we entered the land of windmills and sunflowers fields. Hundreds of windmill turning around and lots of patches of land where all u can see is the yellow of the sunflowers…it was an amazing site and we started stopping every 5 mins for a pic here and a pic there :-)

after about half an hour we took a bio break at A1… which I think is the best thing reliance is given to the highways… neat clean toilets, place to take bath if u wish and cots to sleep…. Just wish more people used it. Most of the A1’s that I have visited are mostly empty… and after some 10 mins off we go again after taking the turn from chitradurga on NH13 the road became a two lane road without the divider slowing down the speed a little but more or less the drive was smooth and cool, and then came the tungbhadra reservoir… it’s a huge water reservoir which seems more like sea, we halted there for a couple of snaps and then moved on and in the next couple of minutes we hit hospet at 13:55 and then began the hunt for the hotel we had booked. Going through the shady and narrow lanes and wondering what kind of a hotel are we going to land into we finally managed to reach hotel malligi at 14:13 the trip meter reading 354km… we were actually pleasantly surprised when we reached the hotel which looked really plush, the reception had about 8 clocks showing the times of 8 major cities in the world and then I realized ofcourse Hampi is a world heritage site and there are lots of foreigners roaming about.

Last weeks tiredness accounting to hectic office schedules and wish to just spend some time together and talk on our anniversary we decided to just chill out in the hotel for the rest of the day and have a candle light dinner in the night…

Next morning started at 8am when we were ready and done with the breakfast and off we went with a KSRTC approved guide (Prakash) from the hotel at 8:30. The day started with loads of stories while the drive from hospet to hampi which is about 10kms and passes through the villages which were a part of the Vijaynagar empire at that time and we were relieved of our apprehensions and fear of being stranded with a not so good guide for the whole day as these kind of places the guide makes all the difference… Prakash was really good actually I personally recommended him to whoever goes to hampi and wants a guide :-) and then started our click click click as the ruins and the rocks had started to appear.

The first place we visited was mustard Ganesha located on Hemakuta hill, basically a smaller size ganesha temple which was meant for the normal public to worship, the other one is a peanut ganesha we visited later in the day.

BTW the guide told us that there were about 6500 temples in hampi once upon a time and only 5% of them have been found till now. After seeing the ganesha from all angles we moved forward to climb the hill, it was not a very difficult climb and after reaching up we were so happy we did it… all u can see till the end was ruins of temples of various centuries and various architecture. It all looked so lovely and then the rocks… some of them so precariously balanced that one would wonder that why are they not falling? I could never imagine anytime that any rock could look so beautiful. After seeing some of the structures from inside and clicking some snaps we moved forward for the return downhill to visit the Virupaksha temple. I must say that Sun god was extremely happy with us that as he was not shining on us too hard and was hiding behind the clouds…

Virupaksha also known as pampavati temple is a currently active Shiva temple and has a nine storied gopuram at the entrance which is 52m high only 2 meters short of the famous Meenaskshi temple. Its actually quite a sight to watch.

Just as u enter the temple one would find the elephant Laksmi with her muahaut taking money from people and then blessing them, also one would see a lot of monkeys around which kind of confirm to the fact that this was supposed to be the vanar raj area of the ramayan times and hampi also is a birth place of Lord Hanuman. The next thing one would notice here is the person carrying a trumpet, he looks really old and actually goes well with the ruins…. He will play the trumpet for you and let u shoot him for some meager change.

After going inside the temple and the pooja, we headed out for a light snack and a cup of coffee, it was almost 11:30 and because of the walk since morning out breakfast had already digested.

As soon as you come out of the temple u will see a long street with shops both sides which is the hampi bazaar. Currently selling the digital camera memory sticks, souvenirs, mineral water, small eating joints claiming to have a mention in Lonely planet. Originally this was supposed to be the trade centre hampi and the traders used to sell gold, emeralds, rubies by litres… and that too in open shops with no doors and walls forget about locks, after the cup of coffee and a little shopping in the crafts bazaar of hampi we proceeded towards the walk by the tungbhadra river. This is a must do if one visits Hampi. The landscape here is beautiful with the rocks, the river and some amount of greenery, everything perfectly balanced. Here we also did the coracle ride, how I love it the very funda of it, its all about balance isn’t life like that too.

After the coracle ride and the walk back towards the hampi bazaar we decided to give the Lingayat meal a try at a really small roadside joint, I had read about that in 52 weekend getaways as a not to miss thing and I totally agree with that. It was a wonderful meal of jawar roti with dal, sabzi, chutney, podi and rice. We really hogged on this personally I don’t remember when was the last time I eat so much at one time.

After the nice lunch, we decided for a quick visit to the hotel as the coracle ride had left our clothes really wet…. The post lunch session was planned as a visit to the royal enclosure, BTW Hampi is broadly divided into Royal enclosure and the Sacred Centre and the pre lunch session was a visit to the sacred centre.

We started the post lunch session by visiting Peanut ganesha, the larger Ganesha meant for the royal people

and then moved on to see the huge Narishma’s statue in the yogic position and the active temple with just one huge lingam surrounded by water.

After that we moved on to Queen’s living area, we saw the famous Lotus Mahal which was an air conditioned hall during those days, the queen’s bath that was the huge swimming pool the queen had with a massage parlor attached.

After that we moved on to see the Elephant enclosures for the royal elephants and can u beat it even the elephants were given rooms with carvings ;-)

After seeing all this we headed towards the start attraction of Hampi – the Vithala temple. This is the most exquisite temple that I have seen. There are thousands of pillars carved in the most intricate and beautiful manner, representing so many things I could have spend the whole day here. The centre of the temple was designed and created specially for the queen as she loved dancing, here each pillar makes a different musical sound mirdagam, dholak, sitar, tabla, sitar, jal taranag u name the instrument and its there. Apparently in those times experts used to create music for the queen to dance by just banging on these pillars and it used to travel till 1.5kms far… amazing isn’t it. And then in the same temple there is the very famous stone chariot. Rugged structure which has some different charm to it. With all this Vithala is indeed the star attraction of hampi. We spent about 2 hours there looking at a lot of things and still didn’t want to leave the place but alas with the constant reminders from our guide that there are a lot of places still left and its almost sunset time, we moved ahead.

Hampi is famous for its sunset and sunrise colors and hues and the fact that made us so happy in the morning made us equally sad now as no sun means no sunset either…. Anyways we managed to catch a glimpse of what it could look like and wished that the sun was shining fully today….

From here we moved on to see the place where the kings and queens used to stay during the Dashera festival… it was already dark and we could hardly see anything in our cell phone lights after seeing stone gate, the massive stone lunch plates and the lovely water tank with steps we decided to call it off for the day at 7pm. We thanked the guide and payed him his Rs 600 fee and some tip to add on to it. He seemed happy and we were happy too.

Once we reached the hotel we realized how tired we are from roaming about the full day, just ordered some food from room service and crashed to get only next time and that was time to head back home. I wish we could spend some more time there and see the stuff we had missed – Matanga hill, tunghbadra dam etc….

Anyways the drive back was quite uneventful and went on smoothly, we hit Bangalore post lunch, all in all we had a great time and recommend Hampi visit to everyone.


Vidooshak said...

Lovely blog!! Where have you been hiding it all along?

Great pics of Hampi. I wanna go back after seeing these pics....

Monika said...

ohh its always been here, with a link on my main blog... sad u discovered it only now :) :)

sadly the frequency at which i am writing here has become less... hopefully will add a post next week of coorg travel in the long weekend

and ya hampi is indeed a lovely place...

mallik said...

It is excellent.I really loved the photos.
This is Mallikarjun