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Trying to paraphrase Katrina Kaif's dialogue from 'Zindagi Milegi Na Dobara'........Driving is like meditation for me.....:P:P:P

Done with the cheezy bollywood dialogue reference for my first post, I must say I am extremely thrilled to have found a bunch of like minded folks in the 'India-Drive' Team. Looks like an awesome space to share your travel stories and road trip experiences. Some of the pics in the posts here are simply breathtaking. Kudos guys!!

 

Never knew there were so many places in and around “mana†Hyderabad that one can simply drive down to during the weekends. Now that I know where I can get great suggestions, I am sure my weekends will be way more fun than usual.

For my first post, I am going to share my most recent travelogue....its almost a month old. But, better late than never!!

 

P.S.: Not a great writer....so excuse me if anyone finds the language crude..:);) Also, a budding photographer...YES!!! I am one of those who thought buying an SLR would make me a PRO at it...But Hey!! I am trying to get better at it....I have tried to share my experience in as much detail as possible. Please feel free to suggest additions that I can make to my future posts (there will be a lot of them..)

 

Planning:

The month of September was coming to an end, and we all know what happens when some one says October 2nd - Gandhi Jayanthi!!...With all due respect to the "Father of the Nation" people now consider it just a public holiday. Some people stock up their bars before hand and some plan a quiet holiday with the folks at home.

 

So, I heard from one of our common friends that a bunch of guys from the India Drive team were planning a weekend getaway to Hampi. Interestingly, I was told that another group from India Drive was also driving down to the same place from Bangalore. Always, on the lookout for a great drive and meeting new people, I managed to join the folks at Hyderabad and decided to take this trip.

 

HAMPI, popular as a hitch hiker's dream destination, is famous for the ancient architecture and the innumerable ruins. Typical tropical climate and hot weather in the area makes the monsoons the best time to visit HAMPI. A visit to such historic places make you wonder how vastly rich and incredible our glorious nation once was. If only we all were fortunate enough to have lived in the Golden age.

 

Mind you, HAMPI still is a very beautiful place and connoisseurs of fine architecture will surely love it but you will be forced to think as to how much more beautiful and majestic it would have been in its prime.

Enough of the build up....I will get down to business now...  ;)

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When: October 2 - October 4 2015

Drive: Volkswagen Polo

Fuel: Diesel

Distance: Approx. 350 kms (One way)

Travel time: 7 hours including breaks

Mileage: Avg. 15 Kmpl

Accommodation: Hotel Rock Regency, Hosepet.

Price: 1850/- INR per night (A/C Deluxe room)

 

Routes:

There are a couple of other routes which one can take to reach Hampi. One of them keeps you on the NH7 much longer and takes you to Hampi via Kurnool, Guntakal and Ballari in that order. Still, I would suggest the Raichur road as the best one in spite of the bad batches as it saves you considerable time and also because it seems to a busy route with a lots of greenery around you on your way.

 

Route - 1: Hyderabad - Shamshabad - Mahbubnagar - Makthal - Deosugur - Raichur - Sindhanur - Gangavathi - Hampi

Route - 2: Hyderabad - Shamshabad - Jadcherla - Kurnool - Gooty - Guntakal - Ballari - Hospeta - Hampi

 

Route Taken:

Hyderabad - Shamshabad - Mahbubnagar - Makthal - Deosugur - Raichur - Sindhanur - Gangavathi - Hampi

 

Places to Visit:

1) Vittala Temple Complex

2) Underground Shiva Temple

3) Virupaksha Temple

4) Anegundi on the Tungabadra river

5) Hampi Bazar

6) Hemakunta group of temples

7) Many other ruins scattered around.

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The drive down to HAMPI from Hyderabad was a relatively pleasant one. I caught up with the 'India-Drive' folks at 5:00 A.M. on the 2nd of October near Gachibowli. After a quick introduction and a cuppa, we were storming past the early morning traffic on the Nehru ORR and then onto the Bangalore Highway.

 

For people who haven't experienced it yet, the part of the NH7 connecting Hyderabad and Bangalore is an absolute driver's paradise. A four lane road so smooth, its like riding a cloud.. Unfortunately, we had to get off this route a little distance after Jadcherla and that is where our bliss ended.

 

We stopped by at a nice lil tiffin centre in Raichur for a quick bite. More of a feast, rather... The road from Mahbubnagar to Sindhanur is pretty ok with a few uneven surfaces and potholes springing up on your way from time to time. We still managed an average speed of over 80kmph. Once you reach Sindhanur, the road spreads out again into a delightful four way right up to Hampi. I am assuming its a newly laid road and I seriously hope it stays the same for the foreseeable future. I am a bit sketchy on the exact names of all the towns and villages we crossed as it has been over a month since the trip, but I have outlined the major towns and villages we crossed on our route.

 

My Polo poses by the Narihalla riverside in Sandur

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Devotees at this temple are strictly prohibited from entering without proper diving equipment...:D:)

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Virupaksha Temple

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The Elephant GOD's messenger blesses you with prosperity....and does not ask for anything in return....

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These paintings on the temple ceiling explain the whole Ramayana

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Ferry boats to take us all to the Monkey Temple

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When you find our dear friend NANDI calmly settled at one place and staring at someone in front of him.......

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......you should know that Lord Shiva is around...:)

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We then walked to sight the Hemakunta group of temples on the hill

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Kadalekalu Ganesha temple has a gaint statue of Lord Ganesha which was carved out of a huge boulder on the Hemakunta hill.

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A view from a hill top.....not the sets for Bahubali 2....:D

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Seeing territories clearly marked....we stayed at a distance and observed....

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This hill has some beautifully carved Gopurams and Mantapas scattered all around

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We found a lot of open mantapas with yali columns scattered on the Hemakunta hill

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The road which drives you to various ruins around Hampi

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Ancient market place in the Hampi Village

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Krishna Temple

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We managed to get on top of the roof of the Krishna temple for a good view and some cool breeze...until...we were shooed away by the security...

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Feeling like Bhallala Deva from Bahubali...:mad:

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The RED Swift....or like my friends from INDIA Drive called it..."The Red Pearl" which had joined us from Bengaluru....

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Hampi bazaar along side the road to Virupaksha temple stretches upto 1 km with rows of shops showcasing the artifacts of the place.

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Ugranarasimha Temple is a huge monolithic about 6.7m high. All the arms of this Vishnu Dashavtar were broken now.

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Badavilinga Temple

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Gateway to the 'Underground shiva temple'

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Entrance to the temple which is submerged most times in the year.........

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With small fishes near our feet and bats near our heads....we felt like we were entering the Bat Cave...:)

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Lord Shiva...trying to go unnoticed in the dark....but our fones had LED torches....:D

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Gateway to the 'Hazararama temple'

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The interiors of the temple has beautifully carved stone pillars which explains the history of the place

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A la "The Brothers of Destruction"...;)

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...playing the Tourist Guide....

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The Lotus Mahal.....

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Watch towers are seen common in the compound

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Elephants Stable at the sacred center of Vijayanagara

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Each of the 11 elephant pens has a uniquely designed roof . It as well has the living quarters for the elephant riders

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Queen's Bath

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'Mahanavami Dibba' is one of the most important ceremonial structures which rises to a height of 8 meters

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The customary group pic.....and I am always the crazy faced one....:P

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This ruin was once a village which had ample raw material for huge massifs of rock sculpted to produce a unique architecture of the numerous temples and shrines scattered around

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This place 'Pushkarani' also called the 'Stepped bath' is one ornate tank in Hampi.....looks even more stunning when empty..

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Talarighatta gate welcomes you to the Vittala temple which has the iconic 'Stone Chariot'

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A mandatory one kilometer hike from the parking to the Vittala temple....

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....or you can also chose to ride the bus or the electric cart.........

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Ruins of a 'Lake Temple'

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As the epicenter of Hampi's attractions, Vittala Temple is the most extravagant architectural showpiece of Hampi

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The major feature in the complex is a chariot of granite whose stone wheels lifted off from the ground are actually capable of revolving around their axles

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Perspective view of the iconic 'Stone Chariot'

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Vittala temple despite its ruined state represents the highest achievement of the Vijayanagara art.

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We managed to get a couple of decent rooms in the Rock Regency Hotel near Hospet as the ones in Hampi were either unavailable or a bit over priced for our budget. But accommodation in Hospet is also not a bad idea as the distance between Hampi and Hospet is just over 30km and can be covered in like half an hour.

 

Our stay for the trip.. 'Hotel Rock Regency'

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View of the Tungabadra dam from the hill top......

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The return journey was also a pleasant affair. Back on the same route that we had taken earlier, I wished I could have stayed back a little longer amidst the quite, serene surroundings of HAMPI to escape the Monday morning blues. But the weekend was coming to an end and I had to get back. We were caught up in some severely heavy showers near Raichur on our way back. It did not hamper our schedule in anyway as the showers lasted for a brief period only.Hope this post proves helpful to fellow travelers and road trip enthusiasts.

 

A special mention to the 'India-Drive' folks.....Keep this forum alive and kicking guys....its a great initiative.

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Planning to do Hampi from past 3 years but it has never been finalised.

Now your picture tell me it is worth a drive.

Log is very informative for the first timers.

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Great write-up and amazing photolog. You just put it the way we had done it. Looking forward for another drive together this December :)

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Great narration ,I like the way you started up the write up with an exiting Bollywood dialogue and the way you have given a story about the drive .

By the way the pics are breathtaking ..Kudos ......:D

Edited by sagar
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Fantastic photography and excellent description Kumsi. Nice post pal. I been to Hampi recently and we took Route 2 and the road condition near ballari was very disturbing and the weather in Hampi gave us free tan for 5 years:p. But the place was amazing and worth visiting though.

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Thanks guys......a lot of holidays coming up.....Must take full advantage and have some fun again...;);)

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Kumsi said:
Thanks guys......a lot of holidays coming up.....Must take full advantage and have some fun again...;);)
Quote
Driving is like meditation for me

 

Many people find it stressful but for us it is other way around. :cool:

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gowtham said:

Many people find it stressful but for us it is other way around.

 

Cannot agree more with you on that bro.....There are very few things that come close to the "pleasure" you get :idea: from a drive in a good car on an awesome road...

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etoor said:
Whats vivid triplog with stunning captures mate.

Thanks buddy. I am planning a trip towards the end of this month....Not finalized the itinerary yet. hope to come up with some even more exciting stuff.

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It's been quite a while since I visited Hampi... the roads leading to the place were in terrible state when I visited.. May be the tourism department can look into it to make it more accessible..

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