Monday, June 29, 2009

13 Day trip - Day One and Day Two

February 1996, Gulli and I.

We left Bangalore early morning, on my Hero Honda Splendor, stopped just before Tumkur at Kyatsandra for breakfast at Ravi Idli Hotel. We rode pretty slow, wanted to have a safe journey. NH4 traffic is known for notoriety. At Chitradurga we left NH4 and took NH13, heading towards Hospet. This road was even worse, both edges were eaten away, foot deep ditches. We cannot expect truckers to go off the road for a bike. At times we used to get stuck behind loaded trucks moving at ox-carts pace. At times the terrain was desert like... barren and parched stretches of open land. We stopped for lunch at a road side dhaba. We were about 10km from Hospet, to our left we saw a temple tower. We decided to explore the place, took the narrow dirt track leading to the temple ruins. The architecture was Hoysala style. There was a village close by we met few locals; some sleeping, some studying, some chatting and some gambling too... multipurpose utility. We spent about an hour and then moved on...



We checked into KSTDC Lodge close to TB Dam, the bathroom did not have light! We dumped our bags, freshened up and went to TB dam. We saw the sun go down into the reservoir and then we came down to the dam gardens. The music fountain was playing, just like the one I'd seen in Bangalore.

The next morning, we left to Hampi. We went to Virupaksa temple first, bought coconuts from this little shop and paid our respect to the Gods inside.


We went exploring more ruins next to river Tungabhadra, it was warm now and in this rocky terrain it gets hot pretty fast. We met this little fellow playing on the rocks and ran to his mom as soon as he saw us...


We had breakfast in one of the small eateries on the temple street. I think we had churmari, bajji and tea. We went sightseeing... we saw many art students paint the ruins, they seemed to do a pretty good job.


That's Ugra Narasimha, look how his eye-balls are popping out


We kept moving fast from one spot to another trying to find shaded places. We aere amazed at this well but did not have the sense to click few more snaps.


The last stop for the day was the music hall and the stone chariot. We got a chance to touch the chariot. That's our guide showing us how we could hear music in these stones. We did hear different tunes. I remember the guide telling us that back then when kings ruled the land, music and dance concerts used to b held here and the music played here could be heard a kilometer away. Our guide explained us in detail with great patience.



We had seen just a fraction of Hampi. I cam back here in 2003 and then again some time 2005 and I'm yet to see the place fully.

If you ever plan to visit Hampi, see to that you go in a small group and start early in the day. That way may be you can see the place in 3 days.

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Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Dharwad Qila

This is what's left of Dharwad fort.
















One door's still fixed in the wall


...while the other one lies rotting away close by.


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Sunday, June 21, 2009

Rock climbing at Mekedatu

Sometime 1995 or 1996. Gulli and I.

We spent some time at Mekedatu admiring the beauty of the rocks and the power of the river Cauvery. It was time for us to head back. As we walked towards the steps that leads up to the dirt path to Sangama, I saw a vertical climb with rocks and dirt and quickly did few calculations and decided that we could climb the face. Gulli, agreed for the adventure. We climbed confidently, moving up from one rock to another till we got stuck at a point 30 feet above where we started. And just enough place for two us to stand. The next hold was evading us by few inches. We thought of climbing back down but one look down it was impossible to go down safely. We thought of jumping down into the sand below but to our luck there was a rock sticking out at the point of landing. All thoughts of going down were banished. Gulli strengthened his resolve to find a way up. He gave a hard try and I think I gave a small push up and he managed to get hold of a root which was sticking out of the dirt. That’s it Gulli managed to pull himself up and then lent me a hand. We had crossed the hurdle. Then on the climb was pretty much easy and we made it to the top. Relieved!

No matter how confident we feel while climbing, it’s a good idea to have a rope as a back-up.

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Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Srisailam

Srisailam was one of the least crowded pilgrim centers I've ever visited. The place is located in hills and jungles of interior Andhrapradesh. The journey from Kurnool to Srisailam is quite interesting. We got to see Cuddapah stone quarries. The sights are amazing... straight layers of black stones as though they are man-made (that's what I felt way back, may be 1994 or 1995 but now I know man can never beat nature). Another thing which was totally new to us was goats hung by the neck on trees, usually tamarind trees in village entrances. Much later I heard that it's a custom to keep away infectious disease at bay. Later we drove through jungle covered hills. I think it was late afternoon we passed by a group of pilgrims walking and one of them made some sign by hand. I was too busy to notice him but dad said he was asking for water but I in a hurry to reach the place did not stop the van. Dad was not happy about that. Even now I regret, I made dad unhappy and left the walkers thirsty.

We hired a cottage for our stay and evening we went out to see the dam close by. On the way...


...an abandoned earth-moving equipment which was probably used at the time of constructing the dam across river Krishna, which flows in the valley below.





That's Kusuma aunty (dad's cousin) mom, dad, Praveen and my granny.


Overhead is the rope-way system used for conveying material.


Praveen and I went down close to the reservoir. We stood on a structure which housed a massive pipe which drained out water. It was scary to see water getting sucked into the pipe.


While security at dams in Karnataka is tight dams in Andhra Pradesh hardly have security, even a major dam like this!

I did not take pictures of the temple at all, even during the second time. It's a peaceful place. I wish to visit it again sometime.

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Saturday, June 13, 2009

Few pictures of Manmad Hills


This hill, to my eyes, looked like a camel's back. Below picture is the other side of the hill.



This one looks as though the rock has risen out of the ground. I like such hills. One of the hills in Devarayanadurga is some what similar.


That's the facmous "Thumsup Rock" of Manmad.

And one valley; looks as thought a river flowed here thousands or years ago.



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Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Beautiful Badami

I've visited Badami Caves three times. These pictures were shot during my last two visits.














Art in ceiling.


This sculpture depicts one of Vishnu's Avatars- Varaha.




That's Suresh Mama.


Looks as though a smaller rock is crushed by the bigger rocks.










Notice the arched rain water drain hole in the doorway threshold?




These could be graineries or prisoner dungeons.






This is the first multi-storey stone structure I ever saw. The next one was at Hampi.

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