Revisiting the heritage run series, Badami was my second of the Heritage runs organized by GoUNESCO. This was an upgrade from the 15 km run to a half marathon distance of 21 kms. Though Nitin was supposed to join me for this, he fell ill in the last moment and I was left to go solo on this. It was ironic since the previous time to Coorg, I had to cancel after registering since I had an injury just a week prior to the run. Nonetheless, I was high on enthusiasm after completing my comeback half marathon in Bangalore just the previous week. I booked the bus to Badami along with the stay and got ready to explore Badami.
I reached the bus stand around 8 in the morning of 22nd October. My hotel, Rajsangam International was just opposite to the bus stand and thus, was pretty easy to spot. Though the exterior suggested otherwise, the interior of the hotel was pretty clean and well maintained. The room was spacious with a good view of the rock formations. I decided to take my time getting ready as the bib collection time was post 11 am. Badami has a
few very popular spots to visit and as per my calculations, I could easily finish them with post bib collection. I had decided not to wander far off from the place since the weather was expected to be super hot and I had no intentions of getting roasted. I had my breakfast in the restaurant adjacent to my hotel and then relaxed in my room for a while. At about 11 am, I went out in search of Clark's inn where I was supposed to collect my bib. That was pretty close to my stay (500 m at max) and since it had a much better restaurant attached to it, I decided to have my lunch there before heading out for sightseeing.
At 12 30 pm, with the sun trying to break my resolve, I followed Google maps to Badami caves. Being a combination of Hindu, Jain and Buddhist temples, it is considered a prime example of the Badami Chalukya architecture which is a part of the Indian rock-cut architecture (some other examples being Karla caves, Lonavla and Ajanta caves). There are 5 prominent caves here. Cave 1 is famous for the portrayal of Shiva as Nataraja.
Shiva also has Ganesha and the bull Nandi by his side here. The cave has a number of other Hindu deities too. Cave 2 is primarily dedicated to Vishnu with the layout being pretty similar to Cave 1. The representation of Vishnu as Vamana is the largest in this cave with the other popular one being the Varaha (boar) avatar. The ceiling of this cave has swastikas along with a few other carvings. Cave 3 is also dedicated to Vishnu and is considered the largest and most intricately carved cave of the complex. This has giant figures of Vamana, Anantasayana, Paravasudeva, Varaha, Harihara and Narasimha. There are a host of other sculptures within the cave on every wall and ceiling. Cave 4 is dedicated to Jainism with carvings of the Jain Tirthankaras. This is one of the most recently constructed caves. It has Mahavira sitting on a lion throne, Bahubali with his lower legs surrounded by snakes and so on. Cave 5 had not been dated yet and there has been no consensus as to its dedication too. Though there is an inclination towards a Buddhist origin for the sculptures, due to a few inconsistent opinions on the carvings, the
identity of the cave remains enigmatic.
From the courtyard of the caves complex near the Cave 3, 4 and 5, I could see the vast Agastya lake with the Bhootnath temple at the right end of it. The panoramic view was a unique sight with the exquisite rock formations in various shades of brown and the lake giving out a greenish tinge. On getting down, I decided to head to the Agastya lake. I had seen a few photographs of sunset shots of the Bhootnath temple on the banks of Agastya lake which had bedazzled me and I had decided not the leave the place without capturing one on my own. It was pretty close by and it took me just 15 - 20 mins to reach the place. As I neared the Agastya lake, I noticed a White-throated kingfisher sitting on an electric line flanked by Little green Bee-eaters and took my time photographing them. Even with all this done, sunset was more than an hour away. To kill time, I decided to visit the Bhootnath temple complex once before sunset. I visited the temple No. 1 which is on the east side of the lake.
It had an open mantapa and extended into the lake. As I went near the lake, I noticed a few colourful dragonflies following their zigzag but predictable paths near the weeds. After spending some time near the water and then in the shade of the temple, I roamed around a bit aimlessly waiting for the sunset. Finally when the sunset started, I felt that it had been worth the wait. The sandstone of the Bhootnath temple glowed with the golden light making it look more orangish while giving the whole setting a golden orange glow. As I was heading back I also met a few of my fellow runners who had come near the Agastya lake as it was supposed to be the starting point for the run the next day. I had dinner again at Clarke's inn while watching the ProKabaddi finals and decided to call it a day as I had to get up early for the run.
The roads were dark and it was a bit creepy moving around small streets early in the morning. About 50-60 of us reached the starting point at the Agastya lake eager to explore Badami through the run.
As the warmups completed and we started off, the sun just started creeping up. The initial 5 kms was through rocky terrain and was almost like a trek. But I loved it as it was very different from any other run I've participated in. A big orange ball slowly moved up the horizon as we were passing the rocky terrain. We moved out into a small meadow from the rocky terrain which looked refreshing especially during sunrise. Once out of the meadows, we mostly had to follow a meandering road. I noticed a number of birds during my run and felt bad that I could not stop for long and capture them all. I decided that from next time I would check out the routes before if I reached the run location one day early. The road was a bit boring (initially I enjoyed the vast fields at the side but then that too became repetitive) and as the sun crept up, it became more and more tiring. Each km felt longer than the previous one and finally I was very happy seeing the rocky terrain on the way back. Quickly I reached back and as I was about to
reach the end point, I met a veteran runner (Prof Ajay) with whom I slowly made my way back having a healthy discussion on various topics. I was pleased with my accomplishment and had the breakfast which had been arranged to celebrate it.
When I reached the endpoint, I had realized that I did not want to wait till the night to catch a bus as it would have been pretty boring to spend the whole day in Badami. I checked with my fellow runners if anyone had any plans of reaching Bangalore that night but was unable to arrange anything. After thanking the organizers, I quickly went back to my hotel and asked the receptionist there whether I could catch any bus to Bangalore. I learned that I could catch a bus to Hubli and then from there make it to Bangalore. So I hurried up and after a quick bath, left to Bangalore. I reached Bangalore at around 1 am and got a good night's sleep to end my second interesting Heritage run.
Tot: 1.477s; Tpl: 0.105s; cc: 13; qc: 30; dbt: 0.0653s; 1; m:saturn w:www (184.108.40.206); sld: 1;
; mem: 1.3mb