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Published: January 5th 2016
Christmas Holidays are probably the best time to travel for Bangaloreans. IT and related software companies which are the nerve-centre of Bangalore remain in comparatively leisurely mood.
This year (2015) Christmas was on Friday resulting in continuous three holidays. Unbearable traffic in ever-busy Bangalore Roads was not visible. Most residents either went to their native places or decided to break out of Bangalore. Above all Bangalore weather was excellent. I could not resist taking a long drive out of Bangalore, this time to the heritage sites of North Karnataka.
Karnataka boasts one of the finest architectural creations in India (if not the world) and a very rich cultural heritage, most of which is located in North Karnataka. I planned to visit the following places to fully utilise my holidays spanning three days :
- Bijapur city is well known for its historical monuments of architectural importance built by the Muslim rulers during Sixteenth century AD. It is located around 530 Kms from Bangalore.
– Temples Famous for Chalukyan Architecture from Fifth to Eigthth Century AD. Located around 130 Kms from Bijapur.
– Magnificent temple sculptures of Seventh & Eighth Century
AD, declared as World heritage Site by UNESCO. Around 13 Kms from Aihole.
– Cave temples carved out of caves during Sixth to Eighth Century AD by Badami Chalukyas. Further around 22 Kms.
I skipped Hampi due to paucity of time and also since I visited the place earlier.
My travel plan was as follows :
1. First day- to reach BIJAPUR and stay there.
2. Second day- start with visiting sites in BIJAPUR and then gradually travel to AIHOLE, PATTADAKAL depending on availability of time
3. Third & Final day- to visit tourist spots in BADAMI and coming back to Bangalore.
My immediate requirement was to look for a lodging arrangement at Bijapur. To my misfortune, despite continuous efforts for hours (initially thru net-booking and when that failed, thru calling over phone to no of various hotels (collected from sulekha.com)), I could not manage confirmation from any of the hotels. That did not deter me, I decided to go ahead with my plan. 25.12.2015 Bangalore-Neelamangala-Tumkur-Hariyur-Chitradurga- Hospet- Bijapur (NH4 & NH 13)- Distance around 530 Kms
Thought of starting early morning (around 5 O’clock) but delayed to
around 6.15 AM due to making all necessary arrangements. Previous night, I completed my essential pre-requisites i.e. filling up the fuel tank (35Ltrs required) of my car from the nearby Shell Petrol Pump, checked Air-pressure of wheels. Google Maps would be my guide for selecting the route.
Weather was cool but not chilly. City was slowly waking up with early morning laziness. Traffic was comparatively less, but only upto Yeshwantpur. From there, after driving for more than half an hour at snail’s speed, when I finally touched upon the lengthy flyover near Peenya, it was already around 7.15 AM.
There were two Toll Gates in the outskirts of Bangalore (Rs. 20/+Rs 17/-), out of which one was just after Neelamangala. I was amazed to see hundreds of vehicles waiting to cross the toll gates. There were seven-eight queues each consisting at least hundred vehicles. Many of them were cars with families and friends going out of Bangalore.
In my queue I noticed that the toll challan was issued by a person standing after the toll gate. While counting the change he returned one rupee less. When pointed out he returned one rupee separately. A convenient way to
earn huge un-accounted income by the toll-gate personnel for each of so many waiting cars, since there was hardly any time to count the change returned.
Immediately after leaving Bangalore ,the weather became foggy and visibility level dropped. The traffic was considerably lesser. NH4 was a six lane highway and the entire road was beautifully maintained. At 8.30 AM I reached TUMKUR (75 Kms) and soon after crossed the next Toll plaza (Rs. 70). Thereafter it was a pleasant drive. I kept my accelerator pressed, and drove between 120 and 150 Km/hr and reached the fourth Toll Plaza (Rs. 55) at around 9.45 AM (187 Km) (near Hariyur).
I was not ready for what I was about to see next. Two young Motor Cycle riders were lying on the road in a pool of blood, with their two-wheelers by the road-side in badly damaged condition. From the look of it, they appeared to be from Bangalore, having possibly embarked on a joy ride. Both were badly wounded. Some two-wheelers stopped and tried to call for Ambulance/ Medical assistance, which was not forthcoming.
This incident helped me regain my sense of safety and need to drive carefully. I
Entrance Jumma Masjid
decided to monitor my speed (preferably not beyond 110 km/hr) and thereafter maintained the same throughout my journey.
Before Chitradurga I switched on my “Google Map”. Reached Chitradurga at around 10.15 AM (200 Kms). Taking right turn to reach NH 13 was slightly difficult since I could not properly gauge the map direction initially but corrected myself thereafter.
Since I would be driving alone, I was carrying plenty of snacks and fruits. I did not stop for breakfast (except a sip of tea in one of the toll gates). I decided to have a dry-lunch with my snacks and fruits only. This worked well as I managed to avoid a siesta which would be risky in a long drive.
After taking a brief rest the journey began in NH 13. Unlike NH4, it was a two lane Highway upto Hospet (around 130 Km from Chitradurga) with reasonable traffic (mostly trucks, large car hauling vehicles). The journey had been slightly painstaking, particularly in view of the recurrent trouble of overtaking large vehicles in a comparatively narrow road. Moreover, there were sudden speed breakers, mostly without any road sign.
On the way I came across a big market
on the road side (around 80 Kms from Chitradurga) exclusively trading of sheeps and goats. Large no. of people, bullock carts as well as two wheelers were parked nearby. People were carrying animals in their vehicles after trading. It was a country market which was different, particularly for urban folk like me.
I also stopped near a Sunflower cultivation field on the roadside. Watching thousands of Sunflowers glowing in the sun-shine served as a welcome break to the monotony of a long drive.
At around 1.15 PM I reached Tunga Bhadra Dam (330 Km). The place was unique and worth spending time in. The periphery of the dam (on the left side) was so huge that the other end was not visible. The right side was surrounded by hills with railway tracks on the top. I noticed a goods train moving slowly on the top. Thereafter NH 13 became broad and after around a kilometre entered a tunnel. Hospet town came after few kilometres crossing the tunnel.
Immediately after Hospet, there were two Toll gates (360 Kms) one after another (Rs. 35/- and Rs. 45/- respectively). My destination, Bijapur was around 170 Kms from here.
Hospet, NH 13 (now a six lane high way) was a pleasure to drive.
Crossing three more toll plazas (Rs 45+Rs.50+Rs.70),I reached Bijapur (530 Km) at around 4.30 PM. The fuel indicator was nearing the danger mark, hence the immediate need was to feed the car. I did the same by filling 10 Ltrs of petrol from a small-sized petrol bunk inside of Bijapur town. A brief history of Bijapur:
Bijapur city came under the Muslim influence since the time of Allauddin Khilji of Delhi
in the late 13th century.
In 1347, the area was conquered by the Bahmani Sultanate
. In 1518, the Bahmani Sultanate
split into five states known as the Deccan sultanates
, one of which was Bijapur, ruled by the kings of the Adil Shahi
dynasty for nearly two hundred years (1490–1686). City’s famous architectural marvels were built during the rule of this dynasty.
Although generally rivals, the five split states of erstwhile Bahumani Sultanete allied together against the Vijayanagara Empire
of Hampi, the last and only famed Hindu dynasty of South India in 1565. The battle of Talkota was won by the Muslim forces , permanently weakening Vijayanagar Kingdom and finally culminated in its end
Wall Sculpture Durga - Durga Temple
after a few years.
But it resulted in further strengthening Adil Shah Dynasty. During the rule of Mohammad Adil Shah (1627-1657) the boundary of Bijapur state extended as far as Bangalore.
The Sultanate was damaged by the revolt of Shivaji
, whose father was Maratha
commander of Adil Shah
The rule of Adil Shah dynasty ended in 1686, when Bijapur was conquered during the reign of Mughal
.Although the Mughals destroyed the Adilshahi, it was Shivaji's revolt which weakened the Adilshahi control. Coming back to the present :
I tried to look for a lodging near the bus stand. I approached “Hotel Lalit Mahal” adjacent to the bus-stop and luckily got accommodation.
The hotel mainly caters to the long-distance bus passengers who need overnight halt in a boarding place near the bus stand. The tariff was quite reasonable (Rs 750/- per night for a double bed room, far less than other well-known hotels shown in various web-sites). The rooms were ok for a night’s halt. Futhermore, it had parking facility. It fulfilled all my basic requirements.
Despite having great historical significance and being the centre of humongous and beautiful Muslim Architecture, the present
Wall sculpture of Durga - Durga Temple
Bijapur looked dirty compared to other Karnataka Tourist places, as if time stood still there. There seems to be less publicity also compared to other tourist spots.
I had dinner at “Kamat Hotel”. Despite its brand name, the quality of food was not upto the mark. 26.12.2015
After taking breakfast I checked out from the hotel. My program was to visit the important tourist places in Bijapur first and then proceed for the next destination.
My morning visit commenced with “Barah Kaman” then to “Jami Masjid” located nearby. The Barah Kaman was in ruins and did not look to be impressive, wheras the “Jami Masjid” was a must see. JAMI MASJID
It is the largest and oldest mosque in South India. Ali Adil Shah I, after his triumphant victory over Vijayanagara built this mosque. This wonderful place of worship is a brilliant piece of architecture and a must visit in Bijapur. GOL GOMBUZ
It is the largest dome ever built in India and second largest in the world, next in size only to St Peter's Basilica
. It is the tomb of Mohammed Adil Shah (ruled 1627-1657) and construction ended in 1656.Adil
Love eternal - Durga Temple
Shah was buried in the vast vault, beneath the floor of the hall.
I was surprised to note the respect and love given by the king to his mistress (Ramba) who lied on the one side of the king’s tomb along with his wives. Definitely he had a great heart.
The tomb is an example of architectural glory with its magnificent large 'whispering gallery'. Gol Gumbaz is a fine piece of Islamic architectural style.
The tomb was located near the Railway station and opens at early morning.
The archaeological museum was located inside the compound and worth visiting. The paintings of the Battle of Talkota (fought with Vijayanagara Kingdom) were exhibited in the Archaeological Museum, Bijapur. One picture showing beheading the defeated Vilayanagar King was striking. TOMB OF IBRAHIM ROUZA
Built in 1627 it comprises two magnificent buildings, one is the Mosque and a Tomb. It contains the tomb of Ibrahim Adil Shah II and his queen Taj Sultana. It was originally intended to be the tomb for the queen.
One important feature was that the design of Taj Mahal was inspired by this tomb. The look of the structure has similarity to
Narasimha Avatar - Durga Temple
the Taj Mahal, although the Taj Mahal was constructed by Marble rocks..
This is one of the most beautiful monuments I have seen anywhere.
In both the places I took the help of Guides to understand the importance of these structures. Entry fee in both the places were Rs. 5/- + Rs 25/- for Camera + Rs 150/- Local Guide.
Interestingly I saw hundreds of school children visiting these places (even places of my subsequent visits i.e. Aihole, Pattadakal, Badami) along with their teachers. Probably the visits were educational tours arranged by schools in various parts of Karnataka and commendable.
City has many other historical monuments, many of them are in ruins.
I started my visit at around 7.30 AM in the morning and when I completed the visit of “Ibrahim Rouza”, it was already 11.30 AM. I decided to proceed to my next destination, AIHOLE. AIHOLE
Visiting Aihole from Bijapur was like going back another millenium or so i.e. from 16th
Century, back to 6th
Century AD. Aihole is around 130 Kms from Bijapur. Initially I drove around 100 Kms thru NH 13 and in between crossed two Toll Plazas (Rs. 50-+Rs
80). After the second Toll Plaza passing a bridge near Almatti Dam I took right turn to drive thru SH 133.
While the drive thru NH 13 was excellent, the state Highway 133 was narrow and not well maintained. The area was near the Almatti Dam and rich in cultivation. I was coming thru interior villages as well as cultivated fields in both sides of the road. Without “Google Map” direction, it was impossible for me to locate my destination.
At around 1.30 PM I could reach AIHOLE. On the way I filled in 10 more Litres of petrol. Brief history
Aihole was located around 500 Kms from Bangalore. It is said Parashurama
washed his axe in Aihole after killing the Kshatriyas
It has immense historical significance and is called the 'cradle of Hindu rock architecture’. The temples were famous for Chalukyan architecture dating back to a long period from fifth to 12th Century. There are many temples in this place. Durga Temple
Most incredible was the Durga temple constructed around 8th Century AD. The temple was enriched with beautifully carved walls and pillars having various sculptures with minute details. The wall carving
of “Mahisa Sura Mardini Durga” was magnificent. The wall statue of Durga was almost identical to Goddess Durga worshipped in Bengal which was an integral part by Bengali culture. How it related to our Durga idol and reached distant Bengal was amazing. Other wall statutes of the temple were also simply outstanding. Lad Khan Temple
The temple was built by the Chalukya
Kings in the 5th century. The walls of the temples had beautifully carved stone sculptures. Ironically the temple was named after a Muslim warlord living here. PATTADAKAL
Pattadakal was very near (around 13 Kms) from Aihole. I started for Pattadakal after around one hour stoppage in Aihole.
Initial drive was thru a narrow and badly maintained road (around a Kilometer) inside a village. Gradually the road condition was improved to some extent but still filled up with large no of patholes. Driving had to be slow and cautious. Surroundings changed after some time and there were long hills in the surroundings. One important feature was the colour of the hill stone, mostly pinkish. There was definitely a link between the nature of this stone and rich architectural environment in this place.
Sanghameshawara temple 2
around 3.15 PM I reached Pattadakal. Brief History :
Located near Malaprabha river, Pattadakal is one of the world heritage sites declared by UNESCO.Itwas the capital of the Chalukya
dynasty between the 6th and 8th centuries. The Chalukyas built many temples here between the 7th and 8th century. Pattadakal is a great centre of Chalukya art and architecture, noted for its temples and inscriptions. It is called ‘the Laboratory of Indian Temples’. One can find both North Indian and Dravida Style of South Indian Temple side by side.
One advantage was that all important temples were located within one area. Virupaksha Temple
Built in eighth century, the temple was the largest of all temples in Pattadakal. I am not a student of architecture, but I must say that the brilliant sculptures of Nataraja and other goddess in the temple wall were enough to mesmerise even an ordinary person with no background in this field. Kudos to those talented craftsmen who made those outstanding creations with stone that stood the test of time.
The sanctum contains “Black Siva Linga” as well as a “beautiful stone large bull.” Sangameshvara Temple
This temple built in
Nandi statute - Virupaksha Temple
Dravidian Style by Chalukya King during 7th
Century AD was the oldest amongst all temples here.
There were large no. of visitors in all those places enjoying Christmas Holidays, many of them were school children.
It was 5.30 PM and I started for my last destination Badami. BADAMI
Badami was around 22 Kms from Pattadakal. Road condition was not good once again. On the way I saw the Pink Stone of the roadside hills becoming reddish with the evening sunlight, a beautiful view to watch.
Once again, I had no prior booking of accommodation. After trying a few hotels in vein, I was suggested by one of the hotel personnel to try at Hotel Mukumbika. I got accommodated (Rs 1450/- for Double Room, Single Occupancy). I was allotted a room at the Ground Floor Corner, since all other rooms were reported to be already booked/occupied. Room was clean although not matching with the tariff. Ok, I had no other choice. The hotel was having a separate parking lot where I parked my car.
There was no restaurant in the Hotel. Hence I had to dine at night at an Udupi Hotel located just on
Siva Linga - Virupakhsha Temple
the opposite. The quality of food was not satisfying.
After roaming various places throughout the day I was very tired. Thus it was time to go to bed and gain energy for the next day. 27.12.2015 A touch of History of Badami
Badami was capital of “Badami Chalukyas” during Sixth Century AD. This kingdom ruled Karnataka, few areas of Tamil Nadu and Maharashtra during the period of Sixth to Eighth Century. The greatest ruler of this dynasty was Pulakeshin II.
In middle of the Sixth Century, the Pallavas (presently from Tamil Nadu) destroyed Badami (then named Vatapi). But the Chalukyas fought back and won the war against the Pallavas and their capital Kanchipuram. After the Rastrakuta dynasty came to power in Karnataka, Badami lost its importance.
The rivalry between two south Indian culture dated back to thousand years which was manifested in the conflict between Chalukyas and Pallavas.
I was advised by the Hotel personnel to visit the Badami Caves in early morning which I did. The place was very near to the hotel. Another advantage would be avoid huge Christmas Holiday rush. Brief History of Badami Caves
Sun flower Blossom - On the way
four cave temples created side by side. The Cave Temples
were sculpted mostly between 6th and 8th centuries. One had to climb to the caves thru around 100 footsteps. The panoramic view on top of the hill was beautiful. The hills of Badami Caves was on one side of a big lake. In fact the lake was surrounded by hills of pink colour stones. On the bank of the lake was the ancient Boothnath Temple.
Cave 1 was devoted to Lord “Shiva”. This was the oldest of the caves. What attracted me the most was the crafted sculpture of Lord Shiva with 18 arms depicting different dancing poses. Lord Ganesha was on the left side with dancing mood. The craft was one of the best and brilliance of the craftsmen was beyond elaboration.
Cave 2 & 3 was dedicated to Lord Vishnu. Several forms of Vishnu avatars are crafted in the caves. Lord Vishnu manifested in his various glorious form which were immortalised by the beautiful craftsmen thousand years ago.
Cave 4 depicted Mahavira and other scholars related to Jain Religion.
These four cave temples represent the secular nature of those rulers. “Intolerance”, “Secularism” are the buzzwords
and much discussed topic today. However depiction of the lords of various religions (Hinduism, Buddhism & Jainism) side by side together in Badami Caves was a glaring example of tolerance practised in India since thousand years.
Visiting all the caves took nearly two hours. I came back to main road and had small breakfast. There was a motorable road for going to the other side of the lake. But it was very narrow and stretched between dense habitats. I decided to visit there particularly to have glimpse of the ancient temples located therein.
There were no of ancient temples on that side. Out of that most noticeable was the Boothnath Temple. This temple of Lord Shiva was constructed right on the lake itself and excellent to watch. Driving back to Bangalore
After having bath and checking out from the hotel I started my return journey at around 12 PM. Bangalore was around 450 Kms from Badami. The day temperature was hot but not un-bearable. During return journey also I decided to depend on Fruits and Snacks only to statisfy my belly with occasional stoppage in between.
Starting the journey thru NH 367. After around 50
Kms, Google Map advised me to adopt a shorter route. I followed the Google Map and landed into a narrow road. The road was full of Potholes and not at all motorable. After proceeding few kilometres there was a bit improvement. Suddenly the Google Map stopped its operation.
Thereafter I had to drive considerable distance in an under-construction road. I was deeply concerned with the safety of my car, which was not equipped to face this kind of road. Gradually the road stretched thru interior cultivation fields on all sides and few interior villages.
The fuel meter was indicating need for filling up petrol at the earliest.
Totalling loosing the way, I halted to the next village stop. Despite having language problem they were very helpful. As per the villagers advice I had to change the direction of my car and to drive further. At around 1.30 PM when I reached Beur to touch NH 13 I felt relieved.
One disadvantage of blindly following the Google Map was that the road condition had not been explicitly depicted or known. As such, there was a possibility to end up in an awkward situation which I experienced at
More images Badami Caves
the last leg of my journey.
I filled up 20 Ltrs of petrol from the nearby petrol Bunk and resumed my journey. Thereafter it was a smooth journey. I reached Hospet at around 2.10 PM and Chitradurga at 4.30 PM.
Ultimately I reached my home in Bangalore at around 9 PM. Over all I travelled around 1170 Kms in three days and consumed around 65 Ltrs of petrol.
Total approx cost of the trip (except cost of food, Entry Fees, Guide Charges):
1. 65 Ltrs of petrol – Rs. 4300/-
2. Toll Plaza Fees
i.Bangalore to Bijapur – Rs. 417
ii. Bijapur to Aihole – Rs. 130
iii. Badami to Bangalore – Rs. 242 Total Rs. 789
(I hope I did not miss any Toll Gate)
3. Lodging Charges –
Bijapur Rs 750
Badami Rs. 1450 Total Rs. 10790
Overall It was a pleasant journey.
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