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Published: April 16th 2017
Hampi Explorer - 19th Feb -26th Feb'17
Hampi view from Anjaneya Hill, Anegundi.
Hello friends! WHAT’S NEW??? Hmm, I keep asking this question to myself and try to come up with ideas that excites and motivates me to travel. After my Leh & Ladakh trip in July 2016, I did not do much. As I like travelling and explore new places I was giving a thought to explore State of Gujarat during Navaratri festival in Oct’2016, but could not manage to get leaves from my office for such a long duration so I had to give up on that plan. However I wanted to visit at least one place in coming months and that’s where I decided to explore ruins of Hampi, a Boulder Paradise !
The plan was travel to Hampi by road from Pune (State of Maharashtra). Hampi is one of the most popular tourist destination in South India in the state of Karnataka, it’s been explored not only by the Indian tourist but by foreign nationals too. I am putting this blog for the people who want to explore the ruins of Hampi and places around Hampi. This will help some of my friends who are based out of Pune and want to visit Hampi by road. After given a
thought I did some research on internet and gathered good amount of information. I always wanted to travel by road and experience the adventure, also challenge myself and see if I am able to do it. Driving always been my passion, however post my Car accident in 2013 I had lost confidence in my driving and I wanted to come out of that fear, so I decided to travel by road & I was accompanied by my family :-)
The destinations on my radar were Hampi, Anegundi, Aihole, Pattadakal, Badami -Banashankari & Ilkal. Each one of them has its own importance in my view and thus I chosen these places to visit. I studied the routes over the internet and decided best suitable road for me to travel , there were two route which I thought, first was NH52 via Sholapur and second was NH48 Via Kolhapur, I decided to take on NH48 which was Pune - Kolhapur. I knew I had to travel a lot in very short duration so I need to be very specific in my approach and to the point, I knew exactly what I was settling for, however I wanted to make every day
& moment count and feel the adventure. After all greedy me, when it comes to travelling :-) Travel Planning
- While I was planning my Road Trip I looked at different aspects of travel and did my research accordingly. There was lot of information available on the internet which has helped me to prepare my Travel Plan. First and foremost I created my Travel Itinerary, dates and day on which I will be travelling and also how much I can travel each day considering I am not a seasonal driver. I calculated the distancethat I am going to travel each day, where I am going to stay, I also looked at the places if they are on the same route or they are scattered in location.
Also checked for coverage for mobile networks in the interior parts of Karnataka,as this was important for me.
I like Photography so I also looked at the fact that I reach these destinations or visit these places in morning or evening so I get good light while I am taking pictures. So finally plan was set and all the hotel bookings were made. Finally D-Day arrived
- I am always
Hindu & Jain Temples@ Badami, Bagalkot.
excited when it comes to travelling, so I was anxiously waiting for this day. Day before my travel I got my car serviced and ensured that we are all set to GO and hit the road next day morning. Day 1 - Journey of Two States (Pune to Bagalkot)
We started at 8:00 am ( IST) took NH48 and reached Kolhapur around 12:20 pm, this was not on the cards though, but we thought since we are crossing Kolhapur and we have an opportunity to Visit Mahalakshmi Temple so why not to make best use of it. So we visited Mahalakshmi Temple, since the temple was crowded with devotees we decided to take Mukh Darshan ( get a glimpse) and then hit the road again, we halt for a lunch at Hotel Parakh which is known for Kolhapuri Non Veg dishes, specially mouthwatering Mutton Thali for which Kolhpaur is known for...Yummy the tummy .
Post our lunch once again I was behind the wheels and in full command, My GPS was guiding me and providing the directions. We left Kolhapur, after travelling for an hour we reached to Sankeshwar and followed the road towards Gokak. I must
Badami Chalukya Architecture
say that the roads in Karnataka are much better as what we see in Maharashtra, Karnataka Government has done a good job here, even this goes for interiors or rural Karnataka. On our way we saw some beautiful coconut fields & water canals. The journey was pleasant, we took several halt for coffee and stretching myself as I have back ache problem and can't sit for a long, never the less the pain and driving fatigue did not bother me this time cause I was ready to give all for the glee I was getting.
We reached around 7:00 PM to Bagalkot. The entire day has gone in travelling; however it was worth the efforts. Soon after my dinner I went off to sleep as I knew I have a great day ahead. I drove for almost 450 KM and I think this was the longest drive so far. Great Going. Day 2
- Visit to Yelagur, Ilkal & Aihole
As per the Itinerary, day 2 was planned to visit Yelagur & Aihole, we left early morning around 7:00 AM and decided to Visit famous Yelgur Temple of Loard Hanuman. We took SH 135 to reach Yelagur
Ilkal traditional form of sarees
which is around 47 KM from Bagalkot. Yelagur is one of the holy places in Bijapur District because of famous Hanuman temple also known as Yalagureshwar
temple. It's the only Hanuman temple for the surrounding 7 villages and all the village people worship of lord Hanuman. I had visited this place several years ago and decided to re-visit as this is on our way to Hampi.
Yalgur is on the bank of Krishna River and one can see beautiful Almati Dam on the way. After taking Darshan of Loard Hanuman we were off to Ilkal.
Ilkal is 50 KM from Yelagur and it is known for Ilkal saree.
is a traditional form of Saree which is a common feminine wear in India. Ilkal was an ancient weaving center where the weaving seems to have started in the 8th century AD. My only interest to visit this place is to see weaving centers and how Sarees are being made, this is something I saw on one of the travel channel. While I was there I also learnt that the distinctive feature of Ilkal sarees is the use of a form of embroidery called as Kasuti. The designs
Badami Chalukya Architecture
used in Kasuti reflect traditional patters like palanquins, elephants and lotuses which are embroidered onto Ilkal sarees. Great knowledge for a man, indeed.
I also presented Ilkal Saree to my wife and Mother in Law as it was my wedding anniversary and I had specially chosen this day to be there at Ilakal, so that I can gift my wife a beautiful Ilkal Saree. We purchased few more Sarees for gift purposes at home. Sarees are the indigenous affairs for every women & my wife like to collecting saress from all states.
By this time we were starving and wanted to have lunch as quickly as possible, so we inquired for good restaurant, and we got to know that there is Kamat Restaurant which serves good vegetarian meals and snacks. After heavy lunch we decided to visit Aihole by this time it was already 4:00 PM and I thought this is a good time to do some kick ass photography.
Aihole is 35 KM away from Ilkal towards Bagalkot. On our way we crossed Amingarh which is a small village, My father in law suggested that we must buy " Karadantu" sweets. It is made of edible
gum mixed with dry fruits and has a chewy texture, it's very yummy and one must taste these sweets as this place is known for these sweets.
Note of advice, while travelling in this region I noticed that very few gas stations accepts credit or debit cards, so you may like to carry hard cash to avoid trouble.
Aihole, a small village in the Bagalkot district of Karnataka, is like any other village in India but there is a major difference, the village has around 125 stone temples dating back to the 5th century! Every corner of the village has a temple. Aihole is a popular tourist destination and is famous for Chalukya architecture. Described as the ‘cradle of Hindu temple architecture. This site is inscribed under UNESCO Heritage Visiting Hours -
Visiting hours for this site is 6:00 AM to 6:00 PM IST and its open all days of the week. It also has an entry fee INR 30 per person and camera fee of INR 25, for foreign nationals its different. For photographers watch out would be all monuments are under the protection of ASI (Archeological Survey of India) they do not allow tripods, unless
you have written permission from ASI. So if you are planning to head to an ASI protected monument, leave your tripod at home and save yourself the trouble of heaving to lug dead weight.
You may find villagers (men and small kids) approaching you, they will appear to be a tourist guide, however they are not professionals so you may get fooled around with the info they share. Also you may like to carry water bottles and your own food to avoid any starving as there is no market place in this area.
We left Aihole at 6:30 PM and headed towards Bagalkot, rest of the evening I spent checking my pictures and planning for next day. Day 3 - Badami Caves, Banashankari Devi temple & Monuments at Pattadakal
Day three appeared to be an action packed day as we had lot to capture, after heavy breakfast we left for Banashankari temple
around 9:00 AM, The road distance between Bagalkot
is 38 km,
around 45 minutes’ drive from Bagalkot. We stayed at our relatives at Bagalkot, most of the places are in the radius of 50-60 KM.
We reached Banashankari Temple
AM and performed Puja (ritualistic worship) I wore a traditional south Indian attire (lungi & kurta) while performing this Puja. We felt calmed, rejuvenated and spiritually uplifted, wow what a great way to start our day ....Post this we left for Badami Caves. Badami
is truly famous for its Cave Temples that date back to the 6th and 7th centuries, located at Badami in Bagalkot district of Karnataka, Cave Temples represent the fine architectural style of the ancient times. Badami is acknowledged for being the ancient kingdom of Chalukyas. In totality, there are four cave temples in Badami. All these temples enclose brilliant carvings with the sculptures of Gods from the Hindu religion.
The first and the foremost cave is known to be built in 578 A.D. This cave is dedicated to Lord Shiva, the cave adorns not less than 81 sculptures of Lord Shiva in the form of 'Nataraj' having 18 arms. Made out in Red sandstone, the cave has an open verandah, a hall with numerous columns and a sanctum. The ceilings and pillars are depicted with paintings of amorous couples.
The second cave can be sited at the summit of a sandstone hill.
This Cave Temple is dedicated to Lord Vishnu, the preserver of the Universe as per the Hindu beliefs. Here, Lord Vishnu is presented in the form of a 'Trivikrama' (dwarf) where his one foot is commanding the Earth and with the other he is mastering the sky.
The third Cave Temple traces its origin in 578 A.D. The platform is carved with the images of 'ganas'. This temple is a fine example of the artistic quality and sculptural genius. The sculpture of Lord Vishnu in the company of a serpent captures the major attention.
The fourth Cave Temple is accredited for being dedicated to the Lord Mahavira, the 24th Tirthankara of the Jains. The cave is believed to be the latest amongst all the four caves. It finds its origin in the 7th century, near about 100 years after the construction of earlier three caves. In this shrine, one can see the image of Lord Mahavira in a sitting posture.
The rich traditions of India are depicted through these monuments of heritage. People from all over the World come to visit these shrines of architectural radiance and religious significance.
It was a great experience
visiting Badami caves and witnessing some of the great Indian architecture monuments. The cave temples are pleasant, and worth seeing, the views over the lake are enjoyable. The monkeys are a real menace, but worse on the other side of the lake, above the museum. Do not carry food with you as it will be seized!.
Around 4:00 PM we left for Pattadakal,
which is 22 KM from Badami , 30-40 minutes’ drive , the roads are good , in some areas they are under construction but they are in small patches. Finally we reached Pattadakal,
the glimpse of Pattadakal Monumets
made me so happy as I was getting chance to do some good photography. Pattadakal
, is a UNESCO inscribed World Heritage site featuring 7th and 8th-century Hindu (Shaivism) and Jain temples. The group of many popular monuments of Pattadakal are very fine portrayal of Hindu temple architectural beauty. The best attraction of the temples of Pattadakal lies in presenting an excellent amalgam of Dravidian (Southern Indian) and Indo-Aryan (Northern Indian) architectural dexterity. Government of Karnataka has done a very good job maintaining these structures. Day 4 & 5 - Travel at its peak ...Arriving at Anegundi
Finally the wait got over, I was super excited to be at Anegundi & Hampi. This was the last segment of our journey. The distance from Bagalkot to Anegundi is approx 160 KM via NH50, its 3 hours and 30 minutes journey, the roads are very good and while driving occasionally you would see huge boulders alongside the highway. As you get connected to Hospet Expressway and take left turn for Anegundi, this is the shortest road for Anegundi. You got to be watchful as the turn is not easily visible, however one can see beautiful paddy fields surrounded by coconut trees and Boulder Mountains. You will find villagers selling fresh Coconuts roadside at very reasonable rates. If you happened to visit this place it's worth taking halt for a 10 minutes and enjoy beauty of this part of the world with a sip of fresh coconut water.
On our way we could see tourist taking on Bike and Bicycle rides, some of them preferred to take nature walk & this is exactly I wanted to do.
Talking about Anegudni, the beautiful village is situated in Koppal district of Karnataka on the northern bank of
Anjaneya Hill - Anegundi, Birth Place of Lord Hanuman
Tungabhadra River, Anegundi is a village older than Hampi and is being developed as a world-class heritage site and tourism spot. According to Indian mythology, Anegundi was earlier known as Kishkindha, the kingdom of monkeys. A place of great historical significance, occupying great glory during Vijayanagara Empire. Hence, all historical monuments are well-preserved here.
There is not much to choose at Anegundi so we stayed at Shanti Dhama Hotel, the rooms are just fine. Guests can enjoy the on-site restaurant. Free private parking is available on site along with Wi-FI.
After reaching Anegundi rest of the family members decided to take some rest however I and my son who is 7 year had different plans. We decided to explore the village and do some photography. We picked up our camera gears and left our hotel to unfold Anegundi Village. We drove through the small dusty lanes and paddy fields and reached at the bank of Tungabhadra River. At one point we lost the way and I did not know the local language which is Kannada, however my son asked one of the villager about the road in Kannada as he knew a bit of it. My wife is
Constructed during the reign of the Vijayanagara Empire
from Karnataka and she speaks Kannada fluently. As we reached at the river bank we learnt that there are ferry boats which helps you to cross the river and get you to Hampi near Virupaksha Temple, however if you have to travel by road its takes 30-40 minutes. Anjaneya Hill
- As it was hot outside we decided to visit Anjaneya Hill in the evening. Anjaneya Hill in Anegundi believed to be the birthplace of Lord Hanuman , is located in the center of Anegundi You can see this hill from the Hampi side of the river as well. At the top of the hill is the temple dedicated for Hanuman. You can easily spot this hill from a distance as the temple at the hilltop is whitewashed and a white trail of steps zigzagging all the way to the top. We had to climb around 575 steps and they are very stiff, it was a uphill task but we managed it well. The view from the hilltop is marvelous. Patches of paddy fields looks like a solved jigsaw puzzle, coconut tree plantations and the whole of the ruins sites is visible stretching into the horizon. You can see
Elephant Stable, Hampi
The Elephant Stable used to provide shelter for the royal elephants of the Vijayanagara Empire.
Hampi from the Hill top, many tourist visit this place for beautiful Sunset and Sunrise. The experience is awesome and heart touching during sunset. I managed to click some great pictures here. You also get a glimpse of Vitthala Temple from the hill.
There is not much to do after sunset here, so after having our dinner we decided to go to bed early.
Next day morning we got up at 6:00 AM and went to see the Sunrise at the riverside (Tungabhadra River), as the water levels were very low we went into the middle of the river and sat on big rock, this was one of the best moment of this trip. Early mornings and their sunrise are quite special. You have to learn to appreciate them. We often forget what it’s like to wake up early and just sit back and enjoy the moment of a fresh start of the day. I have been working during nights for a long now so I understand the importance of this. Pretty often we entangle our-self in day to day work and forget to connect with nature.
After spending an hour there I picked up the camera
Vittala Temple, Hampi
Vitthala Temple is an ancient monument that is well-known for its exceptional architecture and unmatched craftsmanship.
and did some photography, I saw a fisherman catching fishes and I decided to click some pictures while he performing his job. This was a really good experience.
Post our breakfast we checked out our rooms and left for Hampi, Anegundi to Hampi is approximately 40 KM by road, one can also use the ferry boat to cross the river and get into Hampi Market, it just takes 5 mins, however we had planned to stay at Hampi that's why we had to move. Though it was a quick ride from Anegundi to Hampi, the journey was awesome. The landscaping of this place is beautiful. We can see Vitthal Temple and some small monuments as you enter in Hampi. This definitely enhances your excitement and curiosity to know more about this place and explore it further.
We reached Hampi around 10:00 AM , we did not check for a hotel earlier so we started hunting for one, with less efforts we got Padma Guest House. The hotel rooms are ok not worth the price though, We took an AC room as it was very hot however the rooms itself were so hot that we could not feel the
Virupaksha Temple, Hampi
The Virupaksha or the Pampapathi temple is the main centre of pilgrimage at Hampi.
AC effect. We decided to choose this place cause it's one of the few hotels which has parking facility and it is opposite to Virupaksha Temple. If you happened to book hotels near Hampi Market and if you have your car along then I would suggest to go for Hotels which is in the lane opposite to Hampi Parking. It can be easily located as you enter Hampi. The hotel promises to have Wi-Fi but it only work at the reception area. Bathroom doesn't have any ventilation so rooms will surly stink and it would be muggy too.
After having some snacks we decided to move on for sightseeing, we had lot to cover and we had only one day to do it all. So we started with Virupaksha Temple as it was just 200 meter from our hotel. Virupaksha Temple
- Virupaksha is a form of God Shiva as per Hindu Mythology. Virupaksha Temple
is the oldest and the principal temple in Hampi. This is easily one of the oldest functioning temple in India as well. This temple is located on the south bank of the river Tungabhadra, just next to where the local bus drops you.
Vitthala Temple - Stone Chariot
The most stunning architecture of the Vijayanagara kingdom.
Virupaksha temple is equally sort after by the tourists and pilgrims. It believed that this temple has been functioning uninterruptedly ever since its inception in the 7th century AD. This superstructure is made with brick and mortar. All around the exterior of the first tier spots many interesting stucco figures. For example, the erotic figures of the amorous couples located at the south side of the tower.
You can witness the daily temple rituals and ceremonies in the mornings and evenings. Temple opens before the sunrise and closes in the night around 8: PM. Usually the sanctum is closed in the noon. So entry into the campus may not be possible at that point of time. One has to buy tickets to get into the temple which is nominal also if you carrying camera you need to pay fees for Camera as well. Photography is not permitted inside the sanctum area though.
We learnt that the next day there is Mahashivratri Festival (Maha Shivaratri is a Hindu festival celebrated annually in honor of the god Shiva) and temple trust was getting ready to organize and celebrate this festival & so thus the entire Hampi. We saw an elephant
Virupaksha Temple, Hampi
Virupaksha Temple, Hampi, a view from Hemakuta Hill.
whose name is Laxmi, everyone surrounds the sacred elephant Laxmi for her blessings in the morning! You have to give her something in return for your blessings though. Hemkuta Hill complex
- Post our visit to Virupaksha we moved to other Monuments in Hampi. We visited Hemakuta Hill, Hemkuta Hill complex has many small temples. Only few have deities for worshipping. Virupaksha temple in the north and the rocky terrain on the west make this hill top very attractive. Watching the Sunset from Hemakuta hill is simply mesmerizing. Queen's Bath
- This place is at reasonable distance from Virupaksha temple, towards Hospet. There is NO entry fees here, should spend around 10-15 minutes here. This was a great example of the canal system used back then. The small balconies used to be occupied by artists like musicians and entertainers and ladies who showered women taking bath with flower petals. The complex was also guarded by an entourage that had only females to make the royal women feel comfortable in their presence. Don't forget the Ceilings, there are have a unique design and each they all resemble the design of tradition earrings. Vithala Temple -
This is a
Sunset at Anegundi, Hampi
View at Anjaneya Hill, Anegundi
beautiful Vishnu temple in Hampi famed for its musical pillars and the beautiful Garuda chariot. The hall with musical pillars was used as a private dancing hall by King Krishna Deva Raya to watch his consort's dance performances. The Garuda chariot is chiseled so beautifully that it retains a lot of finer details despite the ravages of time and weather, thanks to some great restoration efforts by the government.
We also visited Ugra Narsimha , Hazar Rama, Elephant Stables, Balakrishna temple, Kadalekalu Ganesh temple, each of them has its own importance and these places are in the periphery of 8-10 KM from Hampi , so you may like to hire a private car or Auto Rickshaw. One may like to bargain with the locals here as they tends to charge unreasonable fare.
They also have city busses but its very time consuming affair. You can reach Vithala temple in two ways. The first is by the road and the second is by a walk along the riverbank from Hampi Bazaar. You can take an auto rickshaw from Hampi bus stand (Rs 40) to Vittala temple. Or catch a local bus from Hampi bus stand to Kamapapura and then
Sunset at Anegundi, Hampi
View at Anjaneya Hill, Anegundi
from Kamaplapura to Vittala temple (ask any one at the Kamalapura bus stand to spot you the right bus)
Admission fee Rs10 for Indian citizens; USD 5 or equivalent for foreign nationals. Preserve this ticket. You can use the ticket for the same day to enter the Zenena Enclosure area in the Royal Centre. Admission is free for children under age of fifteen. Pay at the ticket counter Rs25 for use of video camera. You can use still camera free of cost. Use of tripods is not permitted inside the temple campus.
The monument opens from 8.30 in the morning to 5.30 in the evening. Try to visit this place soon it opens in the morning. You can practically see & photograph peacefully before the crowd (and noise!) builds up slowly.
Post our day tour we came back to hotel, knowing next day we had to check out at 9:00 AM we thought of visiting Virupaksha Temple again and take blessing of Lord Shiva as it's a Mahashivratri Festival.
At night we explored Hampi Bazar which is a local market at Hampi, nothing much to choose or shop as this is flea market which has things in common as we see other markets in India.
We searched for a decent restaurant for dinner and we got one, the place name is Mango Tree,
which is very well know place in Hampi, it’s a very good food joint, hotel serve quality food, it has nice ambience and staff is very polite and service is prompt. Hotel serves vegetarian food only. Day 6 – Hampi to Hubali
This was our last day in Hampi, as decided we went to Virupaksha Temple early in the morning and took blessings. It was bit crowded due to festive occasion. People around nearby villages also started to pouring in. Finally we wrapped up, dump our luggage in the car and hit the road once again to our next destination, Hubali with fond memories of Hampi.
We took halt at Hubali and visited few of our relatives; this was a good break for me as well, as it gave me some breather from continuous driving. Day 7 – Returning PUNE
This was a final leg of our trip, journey back home. We left Hubali aronund 9: 00 AM and reached Pune at 7:00 PM, on the way we bought " Kandi Pedhe" from Satara which is made of evaporated milk and sugar. Satara is also known for these sweets. My take away of this tour.
· I travelled for long enough and I realised that this is no longer a vacation, it’s my life
· Indeed travelling is a wonderful adventure and to do it in a sensitive and responsible way will only make the experiences more meaningful and authentic.
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