Monday, January 02, 2006

Hampi Express [30 Dec 2005 to 2 Jan 2006]

After unsuccessful previous attempts, we finally made the Hampi express last weekend [30 Dec 2005 to 2 Jan 2006]. And at the end of Day 1, we celebrated the first English New-Year-Day of 2006!

People suggested we take the tour packages since Hampi was a vast area to cover all by ourselves - it's true - Hampi is a collection of 83 World Heritage sites spread across many acres of hilly landscape.
Hampi map and sites

But we didn't like the idea of a guide showing us "folks, that's that, this is this..." from the bus and moving on to cover it all in a day. We wanted to do it like the common man touching the roots, not just the clouds - we travelled by Government bus with friendly local people speaking a musical dialect of North Karnataka. Once there after 14kms bus-ride from Hospet, many "guides" surrounded/warned us that we wouldn't make it on our own, and all that. We said we would rather walk for 2 days and cover 10% of sites with satisfaction - than cover 100% from the luxury autos/taxis.

Then guess what - we found bikes and bycycles for hire - we hired 4 bycycles for each of us - they were called Patriot(mine), Thriller(Shashi), Devil(Venki) and Road King(Mahendra). At Rs.30 per day, they were cheap and just what we could ask for.
Patriot(mine), Thriller(Shashi), Devil(Venki) and Road King(Mahendra)

We set out with a Hampi tourist guide with a perfect map - Shashi, Venki, Mahendra and me, ofcource!
Shashi, Venki, Mahendra and me, ofcource!

Saasivekaalu Ganesha
Saasivekaalu Ganesha

The Vijayanager empire in shatters everywhere we went. A peice of history in the background.
A peice of history in the background.

The Virupaksha Temple overview.
The Virupaksha Temple overview.

More stones and the three of us...
the three of us...

The erstwhile Hampi bazaar...
The erstwhile Hampi bazaar...

The famous and ferocious Narasimha statue...
The famous and ferocious Narasimha statue...

The elephants stable...
The elephants stable...

And then a shooting for a telugu movie Pournami, directed by Prabhudeva...actress Charmi in the shot...
Shooting for a telugu movie

The underground Shiva Temple...
The underground Shiva Temple...

We then returned to Hospet in an auto. I visited my relatives for an hour before returning to a small party in the room with the boys for the new year.

We started Day 2 - 1st Jan 2006 - with pooja in the Virupaksha temple.
Virupaksha temple.

We then spent some time on the banks of Tunga-Bhadra river near the temple...
"Tunga theeradi...thanna neya gaali..." (Pleasant breeze blowing the banks of Tunga river...)
Tunga theeradi...thanna neya gaali...

Next was a 2-km walk to the Stone chariot site...via the Rama Temple which has a little piece of story from Ramayana...
2-km walk to the Stone chariot site

It pains to see the ruins...
It pains to see the ruins...

One of the famous sites in Hampi...
One of the famous sites in Hampi...

The stone chariot...
The stone chariot...

Some more shots...
Some more shots...

Then we hiked up on to the Matanga Parvatha (hill)...which almost provides a complete aerial view of Hampi...breath-taking!
View from the Matanga Parvatha

Another view...
View from the Matanga Parvatha

Another view...
View from the Matanga Parvatha

We returned back to Hospet and had some snacks/lunch...at 4.30pm. We still had around 4 hours for the return train to Bangalore...so off we went to Tunga-Bhadra(TB) dam 6kms away in an auto...
Tunga-Bhadra(TB) dam

The TB dam
The TB dam

Just in time for the Sun set...
Just in time for the Sun set

A park nearby...
A park nearby...

Colour fountains...
Colour fountains...

Awesome, isn't it?!
Colour fountains...awesome!

We returned back to Bangalore next morning (2 Jan) at 6.30am. At the end of it, we were glad we didn't follow any guidelines on this trip. We did it our way - local buses, local food, cycling, walking, trekking up the Matanga hill and then chilling out in the TB Dam park. I think it's just not good enough if you click away the statues and other tourist attractions on any trip. To be able to say you have been to a place, you must take to the roads, feel the local tastes (pun intended) - just like "the Common Man". And we can definitely say we did just that!

Click here for the Hampi snaps.
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