Monday, July 15, 2019

174) Badami, Aihole, Pattadakal & Hampi – Heritage Tour: (Jul-1 to Jul-6 2019)

Place: Badami, Aihole, Pattadakal, Hampi
Distance: 1300km
Directions: Bangalore > Chitradurga > Gadag > Badami > Pattadakal > Aihole > Hampi > Bangalore
Krew: Madhu (Howle) > Karthik (Sippy)
Bikes: Pulsar (2)                                                                             
Previous Visit: Kabbaladurga trek
Budget: Rs 5706/head (details given in the end)
INDEX: Brief > Intro and planning > Day wise description > Learnings > Budget

The Heritage Tour has to be one of excellent chapters done till date. 1300kms, 6 days, covering over 100 places over 4 different regions required a lot of pre-reading, planning and hell lot of discipline for execution. Badami known cave temples, Aihole & Pattadakkal known for its different styles of temples complexes and Hampi attracts a very broad spectrum of tourists. These places draw people who are interested in history, photography, hippies, temple visitors and vagabonds like us! So I am sure you will like this article if you are reader, writer, traveler or dreamer! I will not get into the details and history of each place in this article if you wish to know more, please ping me!

Well for mega trips like these planning is very important. Well you could just go and see places and come back. But planning ahead and executing the plan to somewhat perfection gives you a sense of fulfillment. Hence our planning began in May 2019 and the stay was booked in June 2019. I concentrated on how to go about covering the places, which places first? Hotel bookings, Overall road circuit And most importantly the sub-circuits that are highly essential for covering a place like Hampi.  Madhu started reading about the places and history and when we met, we exchanged views and learnt a lot more.

Hampi is one place where you can sit at a place whole day and admire one structure or you can cover off all the places in a day. We spaced it to 2.5days, spending quality time in places of importance and beating the rounds in others.  I also suggest you to keep a lot of buffer time, adapt to a situation like we did when a hotel we booked had to get cancelled and we rode to Hospet a day earlier itself. Read on, it is quite interesting!
TIME: 22:00 (May, June 2019)

DAY-1: (Bangalore to Badami via Gadag and scouting Badami places)
This we knew had to be hardest of all days. We had to ride 500kms on a single day and also we had planned to cover Pattadakal which didn’t materialize.  But we had foreseen this earlier and had to push a little on the second day.
The ride to Badami is one of most cherished rides I have done till date. We left early at about 5:30AM and cruised along at a decent pace until Chitradurga. After Chitradurga we proceeded towards Davangere and then after Harapanahalli the weather cooled down, windmills all around and the wind speeds increased drastically. Riding in the windy conditions was a good challenge. The ride was simply wonderful and as we approached Badami there were light showers and we felt good as the most difficult phase of the trip was almost done. We checked into the hotel and after freshening up went to the Agastya lake and sat with the police guard made a mental mark of all the places and created a good plan to cover all of them on the day to follow. After a good full meals we caught a much deserved sleep.
TIME: 22:00

DAY 2: Badami + Pattadakkal Temple Complex

Badami & Pattadakkal can be covered in a day easily and here is how you do it.  

1.  Badami Northern Fort: (Shivallaya temples, Mantapa, Badami Fort)
We reached the fort at about 6AM in the morning and trekked uphill to the Upper & Lower Shivallaya temples. One can find a lot of granaries, dungeons and Tippu’s treasury on top of the hill. The capital was shifted to Badami, earlier was Aihole.  We spent about 2hours here and finished breakfast and decided to visit the cave temples.

2. Badami Cave temples: (4 cave temples)
From the North fort we reached the cave temples. There are 4 cave temples, one of which being dedicated to Shiva, 2 of it to Vishnu and last one to Mahaveer Jain. These cave temples are simply crazy, you can sit and admire the stone carvings for days together. When you enter each temple it gives you this spooky feeling. It also shows the prowess of the artists back in the days.

3. Pattadakkal Temple complex:
Pattadakkal is about 20kms from Badami. The roads are excellent and it takes about 20mins to reach. You can find a deviation to Mahakoota Temple and Banshankri temple as well. Pattadakkal again is a beautiful temple complex and enhouses about 10-11 temples of various architectural styles. The temple complex is well preserved and some of the important temples of Pattadakkal include – Jambulinga, Galagnatha, Sangameshwara, Kashivishwanatha, Kadasiddeshwara, Papanatha, Virupaksha, Mallikarjuna, Chandrakeshwara, Inscribed stone pillar. Each temple has its own share of history and architectural importance!

4. Mahakoota temple complex & Banashankri temple:
Mahakoota temple is quite a famous temple for travellers and it is one of the oldest Shiva temples in the world. The very sight of the temples tell you how old they are and gives a strange feeling when you enter them. From here 5km onwards we find the Banashankri Shaktipeeta temple, one of the most famous Shaktipeetas. Here after visiting the temple, we finished a simple lunch at the temple itself and returned back to Badami hotel for some rest.

5. Bhoothnath temple complex – North & East + Badami Museum + Malagatti Shivalaya:
After a good rest, we visited the Malagatti Shivallaya temple and finally we returned back to the place we sat last evening for sunset. We finished the museum first. The museum is a wonderful and a must visit place as it gives a lot of information not only about Badami but also on Aihole and Pattadakkal.  Bhoothnath temple is the most symbolic temple of Badami. Agastya lake had dried a bit, but didn’t take away the glow of the temple. We visited the multiple temples of this complex and sat down in front of the Agastya lake for a good sunset.

So that was DAY-2, quite hectic but yes felt good having Badami & Pattadakkal in our bag!

DAY-3: Aihole + Surprise Ride to Hospet + Hampi Scouting
What was supposed to be a somewhat easy day turned out to be a very intense one. To start things we left from Badami at about 6AM and rode early to Aihole. Aihole can be covered in half a day. But then again the temple complexes of this place wide spread and simply magnificent. Some of them are quite far off from the centre. But follow this order of visit and you will do just great. The temple complexes of Aihole are: Hacchappayana Matha, Kunti temple complex, Tryambakeshwar Complex, Mallikarjun Complex, Buddhist Chaitalaya+ Melguti Temple, Jain temple, Ravanaphadi Cave temple, Huchimalli Complex, Jyotirlinga Complex, Durga Complex, Ambigeri complex, Rachhguddi complex, Eniyar temple complex & Taarabasaveshwar temple. Do it in the same very order when you travel from Badami to Aihole to save time . The Durga complex is the heart of Aihole and enhouses the two most important temples – Durga temple (dedicated to Sun god) and Ladkhan temple (a very symbolic temple). This complex is well maintained and also has a museum which is a must visit.


After the Aihole visit, we were surprised that we had covered most of the places by 12PM and thought we should have planned to Hospet on the same day, but alas the hotel bookings couldn’t be cancelled, Or could it? As we pulled over at the hotel in the noon there were some issues between the hotel and OYO and I had booked it though Makemytrip(two middlemen never a good idea!). So, called up MMT and asked for a cancellation. With great customer support, they did it immediately and refunded the entire amount. And after a great lunch we were off to Hospet at about 2PM – 125kms. The roads being excellent, played a very important role to ease ease our journey. Calling up the hotel at Hospet we requested for one day earlier check in and we reached Hospet by 4:30PM. Rested until 5PM and took off towards Hampi which is 12km from Hospete.

We scoured Hampi making mental map of where all the places lie in actual even though we had a map, doing it in real is so much better. Formulated the circuits in our head and climbed up Matanga hills to witness a beautiful sunset over the ancient Vijayanagara Empire. Simply breath-taking!
We reached the hotel about 8PM, ordered some good food and one beer and began watching documentaries and Vlogs on Hampi. With a good knowledge of what to see where, we crashed in for the day for some well-deserved rest.

DAY-4: (HAMPI – Royal Circuit & Vittala Circuit)
Covering Hampi can get tricky, so you have plan well and formulate circuits.  We had done it this way, hope it will help you all:
a. Royal circuit – which covers all buildings other than temples
b. Sacred circuit – which covers buildings involving mythology/temples. The sacred circuit can be further divided into two sub-circuits: Virupaksha circuit & Vittala circuit.
c. Others – hippie island, restaurants, others


Woke up again at 4:30AM and left by 6:30AM, having breakfast on the way, we covered the Royal circuit and Vittala circuit on day 1.
Royal circuit includes the following: Queen’s bath, Octagonal bath, Saraswati temple, Chandrakehwara temple, Royal enclosure, Mahnavi Dhiba, Public bath, Secret Council, King’s Audience Hall, Hazare Rama temple, Pan supari Bazar, Zenana Enclosure, Lotus Mahal, Elephant Stable, Guard quarters, Parashwanth temple, Ranganath temple, Museum-1.

Finishing of these places required a good amount of riding and walking as well. And trust me it will drain you. So having goli sodas now and then we completed the royal circuit and headed towards Kamalapura for lunch. After a kick-ass lunch, we thought we would finish off the Vittala circuit.
Vittala circuits includes the following: Museum-2, Pattabhirama temple, Domed Gateway, Water tank, Bhima’s gateway, Jaina temple, Gejjela mantappa, Kudregombe, Pushkarini, Vittala bazar, Vittala temple, Stone Chariot, Kings balance, Vishnu temples, Purandaradasa Mantappa. 

As the Vittala temple was quite crowded we decided to just spend few minutes and return the next day at 6AM. We headed towards the Hemakuta hill (Virupaksha circuit) to witness a good sunset and a heavenly rain showers which preceded the sunset.
DAY-4 was hectic, but filled us with a sense of joy! So two beers it was on second day and Andhra full meals :D

DAY-5: Virupaksha circuit, Anjanadri Temple & Hippie Island
This was the last day of visiting places. So we left as early as 5:30AM and reached the Vittala temple by 6AM, taking the first tickets we spent about 2 hours at the temple with zero people & noise. The place felt so beautiful and calm. We just split up and sat at different locations absorbing the beauty of the place and finally ended up meditating at the Purandardas Mantapa for a good 30mins.


After which we decided to finish off the final circuit – the Virupaksha circuit. The Virupaksha circuit consists of the following places:  Underground Shiva temple, Chandikeshwara temple, Lakshmi Narasimha Idol, Badavilinga temple, Krishna Temple, Krishna bazar and Pushkarini, Sasavikalu Ganesha, Kadlekalu Ganesha, Hemakuta Complex, Virupaksha temple, Hampi bazar street, Monolith bull, Achyutaraya temple, Matanga hill.

Whew, it will take some time covering all of these. And a lot of walking too. After this we headed towards the other side of the river Tungabhadra which has a few more places to cover. It is a good 25km away from Hampi so yeah, it would take some time.
Other side of the river circuit includes the following places: Anjanadri betta, Gagan Mahal & Hippie island. Anjanadri betta has about 550steps and will take a good 1-2hours of your time. This is believed to be the birthplace of Hanuman. Hippie island is something very lively and choice of stay for most easy going crowd.  We bought a few shirts and gifts for back home.
So DAY-5 we had finished it all and were very happy, so 3 beers it was :D Speak about an Arithmetic progression in real life.

DAY-6: Hospete to Bangalore ride
This was a 350km ride back to Bangalore. After fuelling up at Hospete we rode pretty much non-stop. The roads between Hospete and Chitradurga are still half way done, so we got a mixture of 4-lanes and 1-lane. It was tiring and the raging winds made it challenging. After reaching Chitradurga we felt comfortable and with standard stops at Hiryur, Sira, Tumkur, Nelamangala i.e, every 40-50km once we reached back Bangalore comfortably.
TIME: 16:30

These big, advanced planned trips teaches you a lot of good things. Here are some of them:
1. Buffers - Plan well in advance and keep a lot of buffers on daily basis.
2. Adapt & Improvisewanted to ride to hospete, hotel mess happened, we used it to our advantage and pulled some levers to tilt the situation in our favour.
3. Do not go with expectationsPattadakkal had to be done on day 1, but never happened. And we really didn’t know about any place, hence we spent good time admiring the places as they were.
4. Don’t be stubborn about the plan, be flexibleOn day1 even though we knew pattadakkal was a drop, we visited the Basavanna statue in Gadag and had a nice time
5. Don’t overeat, Don’t overdrink, Don’t over sleepevery day we were up by 5AM and ready to roll, it takes a good amount of discipline to cover these places. So stay light & travel light!
6. Eat local foodthat would be what they will know best to prepare, so eat what is best at that place. Try the Jowar rotti meals!
7. Stay hydratedwater, water, water. Carry a bottle and re-fill it during your food stops rather than buying sealed bottles every time.
8. Scouring - always go on a small beat previous day around all the places and form a mental map before actually visiting them. This greatly helps!
9. Rest wellmight not be the best person to say this. But sleep well and rest well. You need that sleep to keep you active throughout the next day.
10. Speak out your plansyes, you need to discuss with the team your plans, listen to their views, make changes if necessary and finalise on a common ground.

A break up of the total budget (for both) is given below:

Long self-planned trips like these are bound to see some ups and downs. No doubt in that. But what separates the old school and the newbies is how you handle them.

Madhu: had to be this guy. We meet almost everyday the ground for running and walking. Hence most of the pre-planning was never a problem. Even the day before we left Bangalore, we met for a short run in RR nagar. His active pre-reading and watching documentaries helped us a lot when we visited places. And it is a feat by in itself to ride a Pulsar 220 for 1300kms. And when I showed him the hand drawn circuits and explained how to go about it, made it point to wake up early and cover every place in the planned book! Cheers brah \m/

So, yeah that’s it people. Hope you enjoyed reading through the article. As said earlier this is more about our visit to the place rather than the place itself. Because the place itself is so rich in history that I did not want to mix it in a common article. Detailed description of each place are on signboards near the places itself, so you need not worry. I can always share you photos of the same in case you need in advance. I hope this article helps you to cover these wonderful places, rich with heritage and history. Plan your trip, come back to the blog and let us know how your trip went. Cheers \m/