Tuesday, 30 August 2011

Hampi - Lakshmi Narasimha and Badavilinga Temples

We walked further down the road, from the Lord Krishna temple, under the stone gateway. After a few yards, on the right side, was a board that indicated the direction to the Lakshmi Narasimha (Ugranarasimha) and Badavilinga temples. Agricultural lands surround these temples. It's a nice fusion of Green lands (indicating life) and Gray sculptures (indicating bygone period). 

The idol depicts the angered form of the Lord; but, the greenery tends to give a cooling effect. I was mesmerized by this idol. How beautiful would the complete idol have been? Well, that's beyond my imagination. Spend some time here to seep in the energy that the idol and the surroundings emit.

Adjacent to this temple is the Badavilinga temple. I loved the idol especially with the water surrounding it. Let the photos talk about its beauty!

At the entrance, craftsmen sell artifacts made of stone. Ensure that you bargain reasonably; sometimes, they tend to quote a fancy price. Well, art is priceless, though. We bought a stone chariot.


Monday, 29 August 2011

Hampi -

Part 1: http://asha-ram.blogspot.com/2011/08/hampi-journey-to-golden-era-1.html
Part 2: http://asha-ram.blogspot.com/2011/08/hampi-hemakuta-hill-sasivekalu-ganesha.html
Part 3: http://asha-ram.blogspot.com/2011/08/hampi-hemakuta-hill-sasivekalu-ganesha.html

We continued to walk further down the road, from the Lord Krishna temple. We walked under the stone gateway, and then after a few yards, on the right side, was a board that indicated the direction to the Lakshmi Narasimha (Ugranarasimha) and Badavilinga temples. Agricultural lands surround these temples. It's a nice fusion of Green lands (indicating life) and Gray sculptures (indicating bygone period).

 The idol depicts the angered form of the Lord; but, the greenery tends to give a cooling effect. I was mesmerized by this idol. How beautiful would the complete idol have been? Well, that's beyond my imagination. Spend some time here to seep in the energy that the idol and the surroundings emit.

Adjacent to this temple is the Badavilinga temple. That's a beauty that dries all my words! Let the photos talk.

At the entrance, craftsmen sell artifacts made of stone. Ensure that you bargain; sometimes, they tend to quote a fancy price. We bought a stone chariot.


Sunday, 28 August 2011

Hampi - Hemakuta Hill, Sasivekalu Ganesha, and Krishna Temple

The first part of the blog: http://asha-ram.blogspot.com/2011/08/hampi-journey-to-golden-era-1.html
The second part: http://asha-ram.blogspot.com/2011/08/hampi-virupaksha-temple-2.html

Early morning when we drove into Hampi, our first stop was at the Sasivekalu Ganesha and walked up the Hemakuta hill. And our second visit in the day to this place was from the path that is next to the Virupaksha temple. Loved the hill and the ruins from both these routes!

From the Ganesha idol, we walked up the hill to enjoy the cool breeze and get a splendid view of the Krishna temple and the Virupaksha temple. The rocks are placed in an interesting way. The mantap and smaller shrines are serene. The place is absolutely silent; you can hear your heartbeats or your random thoughts. The entire beauty of this place cannot be captured in a camera; only the soul can experience it. So, please ensure that you spend time here. 

We walked down the hill, and exited the place. Walked further down the road to see the beautiful Lord Krishna temple. If your favorite God happens to be Lord Krishna, ah, this is the temple for you. There are several forms of the Lord carved everywhere. Check out the ones on the pillars. In front of this temple is the shops in the market street and a tank. Beyond which, you can see the fields with lush crops. 

Wish I had a time machine that could take me back in time, to witness the bygone golden era!

In the next article, I shall write about the remaining places.


Thursday, 18 August 2011

Hampi – Virupaksha Temple – 2

The plan for the next day was to wake up early, and then drive to Hampi. We wanted to race the Sun, if at all He decided to shine bright. The Hospet-Hampi route is pretty; water in the canals, lush fields, and small and humble establishments.

Our first stop was Sasivekalu Ganesha. I will come back to describing this beautiful Ganesha. But first, I need to tell about how my camera conked off. Memory card was damaged, and I lost all the pretty photos. My heart sank, and I asked my hubby, "What am I going to do now?" Capturing the memories in my camera was important for me.

My hubby suggested that we check the stores on the main bazaar; they may sell memory cards. I looked at him in disbelief, and said that we could drive back to Hospet. Hubby asked a guide about where we could purchase memory cards, and the guide promptly said the stores behind the Virupaksha temple sold all kinds of stuff. Unbelievable.

Of course, we hurriedly went to the street behind the temple, and voila, local departmental stores were selling memory cards and USB ports. To cool our heads, we walked down towards the Tungabadra river. Ah, what a serene sight! The river was full, and added a mystery to the whole place. We returned to the temple, bought entrance tickets and ticket for the camera, and entered the temple complex only to be swept off by the huge gopuram.

Tungabadra river

Virupaksha temple gopuram

The temple belongs to Lord Shiva, and the main sub shrines are dedicated to Goddess Pampa and Bhuvaneshwari. This is the only temple in which daily pujas are performed. The deity is intact; not destroyed by the invasions. The Sun shone from behind the gopuram. The three Nandi idols sat nicely facing the gopuram. The courtyard flaunted several pillars (100-pillar hall) and unique carvings on them. A word of caution: Do not photograph the temple elephant (live one) and inside the sanctum area; you will be fined.


Three Nandi idols
There are different kinds of rocks used to carve the pillars and pillar halls. One set of pillars are Red (mud color); while the other set is White. The pillars had the royal lion carved on them. The pillars also had panels of carvings of deities, animals, and floral designs. It's fascinating to observe the delicate carvings. You will end up wondering if the rocks turned as soft so that the sculptors could easily carve them.

Pillar with royal lion

The Lord
We were hungry... for food. We went to the streets behind the temple, and found eateries on the roadside. They sold idlis, pooris, and chilli bajjis. Tasted yum. On this street, you can also see mopeds and bicycles available for hire. There are shops that sell clothes and handicrafts. There is a barber shop too. It's a fun street that leads to the river.

On the right side of the Virupaskha temple, there is an entrance to the Matanga hill. We walked up the hill, admired the rocks that were placed together in odd groups. The belief is that the Gods must have played with the rocks, and must have left them as is. If you continue to walk further down the hill, you will see the Sasivekalu Ganesha. Will write about it in the next blog.


Wednesday, 17 August 2011

Hampi – Journey to the golden era – 1

A trip to Hampi had been due for a couple of years. Neither my husband nor I had previously visited this place, and so, we were eagerly waiting for a long weekend to drive to Hampi. What better time could we have chosen than the Independence Day weekend to visit the bygone glorious era?

We quickly made a checklist to check weather conditions, reserve room, check condition of vehicle, and take a printout of the map. Of course, we also had to complete all our errands and chores before taking a vacation.

Our route was from Bangalore - Tumkur - Sira - Chitradurga - Hospet. For details about the route that we took, see Map-Route.

Though most travel blogs or agents suggest that the best season to visit Hampi is during its festivals (October to February), we preferred the rainy season; any season other than summer is fine. A word of caution if you visit the place during monsoon – do not mess with the overflowing river. During this season, the coracle rides will be suspended. You will miss the coracle crossing; but you can always take the longer road route to visit the places on the other side of the river. The country side is awesome, and will be worth the long drive.

Hospet (and Hampi) offers you hotels to suit your budget. We stayed at the Hotel Malligi, Hospet. The hotel provides neat and comfortable rooms at a reasonable rate. The food at their restaurant is tasty. The hospitality is good. And, best of all, the hotel is closer to the Bus station, Railway station, and the city center. The other hotels are the Royal Orchid, Hotel Krishna, Hotel Karthik, and others. On the Hospet-Hampi road, you can also stay at Vijayshree Heritage Village.

On the beautiful Saturday morning, we headed towards Hampi. The day was cloudy, and we prayed that the lovely weather accompanied us during our journey. And it did! We stopped for breakfast at the Kamat Hotel on the Bangalore-Tumkur road. The place was crowded with travelers. Seemed like a big breakfast party; only that there was no host and that you had to pay your own bills!

Plenty of trucks and heavy-duty vehicles greeted us on the road. Surprising we did not find many cars on the road. Oh well, that made us the sole users of the road! The road was bordered with fields. The country-side was beautiful. Farmers grew maize, corn, onion, cotton, sunflower, and other crops. Lakes and river supply water; some fields have bore-wells. Of course, we took the camera, jumped out of the car, and marched into the fields. First, we absorbed the fresh air and sunk in the beauty of the plants, and then clicked a few snaps to save the sweet memory. The truck drivers seemed amused, and would honk when they saw us in the fields.

In my opinion, each terrain is different. Each road narrates a different story. Each culture fascinates us in a unique way. The river, lush fields, cloudy sky, fresh air, and a great travel companion are similar to a gift basket with wonderful goodies. As we drove further, we spotted one windmill after another. They were erected on several hill ranges, and stood tall. When the blades moved, they seem to greet us – “Hello! Welcome.” Click, click, and click went our camera. That’s our way to acknowledge their beauty.

Just before Hospet, we stopped the car to see the backwaters of the dam. Oh, so much water that the waves splashed against the retaining walls like the waves in the ocean!  All the roads were fantastic except a few potholes on the road that led to the Hospet town. Hospet is a cute little established, and one cannot get lost in those streets but can miss a road. We can see a lot of canals; be careful when you walk or drive at night. It’s nice to see people lazing near the canals, washing clothes or vehicles, or generally gossiping. The breeze that blows over the canals is refreshing.


Saturday, 4 June 2011

Bangalore to Wayanad - concluding part

Continued from Part 4...

The day started with ayurvedic massage, for us. Almost all resorts at Wayanad have the ayurvedic massage and treatments, either included in the travel package or availed separately. We saw a few ayurvedic medical shops and clinics. The rainforest is a treasure of herbs and roots that are used as medicine. The water is purified using some roots; and the water tastes good. No wonder people from these parts of India are healthy, pretty, and active!

The massage made us hungry, and we attacked the breakfast buffet. After a good breakfast, we were ready for another round of sight-seeing. We had a different driver and a vehicle to take us to the tourist spots. Our first stop was Kuruva Island, which is a favorite picnic spot. The Kabini river flows around the islands; when the water is low, we can walk across to the other bank. When we went, the water was about 20 feet deep, and we availed the ferry service. There are small boats and big rafts made of bamboo. And, yes, the place was packed with people.


After we reached the island, we bought tickets to enter the island. There were lots of trees and bamboo. More than the melodies of birds, we heard bird-calls by human beings. Remember that it is easy to get lost on this island. Don't venture inside a prohibited area. Follow the walk-path, enjoy the Nature, click a few photos, and return safe (before dusk). Exercise caution when getting into the water. Carry sufficient food and water because there are no shops inside the island.

We spotted a few monkeys; shy ones. Orchids and ferns plants grew on several trees. Bamboo grew everywhere; gigantic. There were lots of butterflies; it's the butterfly season. The branches of trees made geometric and abstract shapes; interesting to see. Have you seen a wild coriander? See http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-qWwOkXpC2bA/Tee3DGtf6TI/AAAAAAAACxY/k-JkUIrHJTs/s1600/Newdump-pics+235.jpg.
After walking about 1.5 kilometers, we could see other smaller islands. The river was bigger and filled with rocks. Every rock had people sitting on it. Can you imagine how crowded the place was? We didn't get down in the water or hop from one rock to another. We started walking back. And funny, we saw an uncle carving his mobile number on a bamboo (like several other people had done). We teased him, and continued towards the exit gate. By this time, we were hungry. Guess what waited for us? Typically Kerala vegeterian lunch.

Kabini river

There are several houses that provide food for the visitors. Our driver had arranged lunch at Mr. Umesh's house. We were surprised to find out that Mr. Umesh and his wife spoke Kannada. Seems he lived at Coorg for some years before relocating to his native place. Was awesome to talk to someone in Kannada! The lunch had a good spread of dishes, boiled rice, and payasam. We gobbled every morsel. :-)

Typical Kerala Lunch

Our next stop was the Banasura dam. We walked about half a kilometer or so to reach the dam. The walk was refreshing. The entire area was covered with lemon grass, and the air was fresh. We took deep breathes as we climbed the stairs; seemed endless. Remember that you can also take a jeep to the top of the dam. When we reached the top, oh what a sight! The hills, clouds, and water... Seemed like heaven. The peaks were covered with clouds. After a few minutes, the clouds would move lower and mask the dam. 
Banasura hills

Yes, boating facility is available at the dam. There is a small and neatly maintained park and a cafe. But we loved to stand and watch the elements of Nature. The wind kissed our faces a million times. The clouds covered the peaks, and then uncovered; repeating this sequence. It drizzled too. Seemed like Mother Nature was showering her love on us. To distract us, from somewhere, a motor boat cut the silent water into slices.

We saw traditional drummers, welcoming the new minister. The troupe danced to a nice rhythm.

After a beautiful day, we retired. The next day we started our journey back to Bangalore. Just before we entered the forest area, we saw people watching something; cars were parked too. Hey, what did we see? At a distance, we saw a wild elephant; had entered a banana plantation, was uprooting banana plants, and eating one after another. Such a risk for people living in the surrounding areas, but they are used to such incidents.

On the way, we stopped at Ranganathittu Bird Sanctuary. On weekends and holidays, this place is crowded too. There were several vehicles with Kerala registration! Excited to capture a few birds in our camera, we entered the sanctuary. The birds sat on trees that were far away; only way to reach them was to use the boat. There are crocodiles in this river, and please do not put your hand or feet inside the river. We opted not go boating, but to sit and enjoy the scenery. Hubby took a nap - power nap; while I watched the activities of the birds.

For lunch, we stopped at Vasudev Adigas.; had a quick lunch, and then continued our journey. We witnessed a couple of accidents; disturbing. Pleasant sight was of vendors selling mangoes and jackfruits on the road side (Ramanagara). The smell of these fruits... intoxicating! We took the NICE road, and joined the Bannergatta road; had coffee at Adigas. In minutes, we were home. Home!

The trip to Wayanad was fantastic. We would love to visit the place again. We hope that people retain the beauty of the place; not commercialize it beyond recognition.

Happy traveling!