This blog contains most of my biking, trekking, running, eating and other tour experiences. I see my path, but I don't know where it leads. Not knowing where I'm going is what inspires me to travel.. Guys enjoy reading... you can say your comments and experiences... Just go out there and make your own way.
A good traveler has no fixed plans, and is not intent on arriving.
Plans started to evolve as soon as we were back from Andaman trip, the first version was to cover only Hampi & Goa so as to not miss places and both of this locations were having so many things to see and understand the history but as the time passes and more and more information collected the conclusion was that if we pass a week on each of the places still we will be not able to cover all places..
So the first thing was to what all we need to cover.
I sat many of sleepless night planning & collecting details of each of the locations, which latter i took printout so as to understand the background before even seeing the places.
Thanks to india mike which came into my rescue with details available to the accurate and time needed.
Now i was having all the information and its details so the plan was to cover
Name P From Dep. To Arr. Travel R M T W T F S S 1A 2A 3A CC FC SL 2S 3E
AMARAVATHI EXP HWH 23.30 HPT 06.28 30.58 R
Y Y x Y x Y x x Av Av x x Av x x)
Day 1 – 18 Oct 2013 - Friday - Train
Day 2 – 19 Oct 2013 - Saturday - Reached Hampi
We reached Hospet around 7 at the morning, took local bus from Hospet railway station to reach main bus stand from their another bus to reach hampi.
Got freshen up, took a bike and
started hampi tour.
First stop of the day was Krishna temple. This is one of the must see sites in Hampi. The carvings are especially spectacular with the Yalis (the mythical lion) on the pillars and the entrances to the temple hall flanged with impressive carvings of elephant balustrades. Many small shrines and pillared halls adorn the campus. The temple kitchen is located at the south east of the main shrine. The main tower at the east is an impressive sight with numerous carvings on it (now the tower is under restoration work). You can see the carvings of the 10 incarnations of Lord Vishnu in this temple. This is one of the few temples where the epic stories carved on the walls of the tower. This is fairly an intact specimen of a Vijayanagara era temple.
Further east outside the temple you can see a long hall like structure. On the right (south) of it are the banana plantations.
The left area is mostly a rocky landscape. This was actually the high street (the chariot street) once led to the temple. The long pavilions were shops in the market street.
If you walk along these long structures, you would reach the impressive temple pond with structures around and at the middle of the tank. The temple tank is now not in use. The nearby agricultural places use water from the tank. The chariot street mentioned in fact terminates at a series of wide steps in front of the main temple campus, probably the only such chariot street in Hampi.
Next on the agenda was a rocky outcrop. There are two huge rocks called as the two sisters. Amazing the way these rocks are positioned.
We next went to the Lakshmi Narasimha Temple. This is the largest statue in Hampi. Sometimes this is referred as Ugra Narasimha (i.e. Narasimha in its terrifying form). The protruding eyes and the facial expression are the basis for this name.
For this reason, almost all the time the sanctum and the core parts of the temple are under water, restricting entry to the inner areas. A water cannel system too is visible around the main temple. But this canal is dry and you can walk down to a point from where it’s impossible to go further. There is a small temple for Siva’s consort too near the mail shrine.
An idol of Lord Shiva, known as Badavalinga, is situated in the immediate vicinity. The 12 feet tall lingam carved out of shiny black granite rises out of a shallow pool of clear water.
Next was the Underground Shiva Temple. For some curious reasons, this temple dedicated for Lord Siva was built many meters below the ground level.
We next made our way to the Royal Enclosure. This fortified area had been the seat of power of the fallen empire. Sprawling over many hundreds square meters, this fortified area is scattered with a number of interesting relics. The most imposing structure in this area is the Mahanavami Dibba or the Dassera Platform or the ‘House of Victory’ .
The underground chamber is located somewhere between the King’s Audience hall and the Stepped Tank.
King’s Audience Hall or the 100 Pillared Hall is located within the enclosure in the northwest area. Stepped tank is located in the southeast area.
Adjacent to this is another tank used as a bathing area. Further at the southwest corner is another huge swimming pool style tank (now empty) is located.
Apart from these the Royal enclosure area is doted with numerous relics of buildings, crisscrossing aqueducts supplying water to these water bodies etc. Practically the royal enclosure area is a wide-open ground with little shelters inside
Moving on we made our way to the Hazara Rama Temple. This is not a huge temple by Hampi’s yardstick. But this temple at the heart of the royal area has some peculiarities. Firstly it had been functioning as a private temple for the king, or at the most, the royal family. The importance of this temple can be judged from its nodal location in the royal area. Your paths to various locations within the citadel concur at a corner of this temple.
Probably this is the only temple in the capital with its external walls decorated with bas-reliefs mentioned above. And the temple got its name Hazara Rama (a thousand Rama) Temple owing to this multitude of these Ramayana panels on its walls.
The final stop of the morning tour was the Queens Bath. For some mysterious reasons this was called as the queen’s bath. But in all probability this was a royal pleasure complex for the king and his wives.
Next was Zanana Enclosure. Zenana enclosure was a secluded area reserved for the royal women. This walled harem houses many interesting highlights
The major attraction is the Lotus Mahal located at the southeast corner. As the name suggests, you would enter into a sprawling compound with a mud road running through the middle of the compound. Probably the only thing you eyes catch soon when you are inside is the pastel colored Lotus Mahal at the far right corner.
It’s a two-storied arched pavilion. The whole area was the private enclosure for the royal women folks. Three watchtowers can be seen at the corners of the enclosed area. You can spot these two storied towers close to the southeast, northeast and northwest corners. You would come across the remains of huge fortification walls at a number places in Hampi. This had been primarily built as the protection barrier to a wealthy capital area. Next were the Elephant stables.
One among the few least destroyed structures in Hampi, Elephant Stable is a major tourist attraction. This long building with a row of domed chambers was used to ‘park’ the royal elephants
Varaha Temple, Achyut Raya temple
We then headed off for lunch to another of Hampi’s treasures. Mango Tree Restaurant
As the epicenter of Hampi's attractions, Vittala Temple is the most extravagant architectural showpiece of Hampi. No amount of words can explain this spectacle. The temple is built in the form of a sprawling campus with compound wall and gateway towers. There are many halls, pavilions and temples located inside this campus.
The famous stone chariot can be seen here. We spent a couple of hours at this marvelous architectural wonder.
Day 3 – 20 Oct 2013 - Sunday - Hampi - Badami
We visited the giant Monothilic statue of the Kadalekalu Ganesha on the Hill. It was remarkable. Seeing the multitude of ruins all around gave a feeling of awe and wonder.
Next stop was the Sasivekalu (mustard seed) Ganesha called so because of the resemblance. This is located on the southern foothill of the Hemakuta Hill.
Hemakuta Hill. This is not one of the tallest hills in Hampi. But this hilltop and its slops offer a splendid view of the sprawling ruins site. This hill is sprinkled generously with a large number of temples, archways and pavilions. The whole of the hill was fortified with tall wide stonewalls, the ruined remains of which can be still be seen. Once you have reached (about 15 minutes climb) the top, it’s almost a flat expanse of rocky sheet with occasional ups and downs. Hemakuta Hill is the best place in Hampi to see the sunset; and not as tedious to reach the top say compared to the Matanga Hill nearby. A beautiful Place for photography lovers.
We then made our way to a series of Jain temples on top of the Hemakuta Hill. Brilliant.
A word on the climate. Hampi becomes scorching hot in the months of March –June. Thankfully for us after a hot first day, the rest of the days were cloudy and cold.
After watching the magnificent sunrise we headed down to the most famous landmark of Hampi, the Virupaksha Temple.
In front is a long bazaar called the Hampi Bazaar which is similar to any temple town in India. Hampi being a world Heritage site attracts a lot of foreigners.
Virupaksha temple is the oldest and the principal temple in Hampi. This temple is located on the south bank of the river Tungabadra, just next to where the local bus drops you. This area in general has been an important pilgrimage centre for the worshipers of lord Shiva. Virupaksha temple is equally sort after by the tourists and pilgrims. The temple Elephant Lakshmi is a big favorite of the People here.
Across the river thier is another nice place called as Anegondi. Due to time constrains i was not able to go there:
The ambience of Anegondi is refreshing for the ones who like a peaceful place to soak themselves in a rural ambient and tour at their own pace.
We made our way back to Virapur Gadde where the heavens opened up .We had brilliantly green fields in front of us as we sheltered in a shop. The fields in the rain made for amazing viewing.
We planned to take a bus to reach Badami via Idkal.
On the way the Tungabhadra Dam was clearly visible.
We had lunch at the Badami court restaurant, Badami.
we went on to the caves at Badami.It was an amazing place.
The first cave dating back to the 5th century CE has gigantic carvings of Shiva in bas relief. It enshrines a Shivalingam. In the adjacent wall there is a carving of the cosmic dance of Shiva Nataraja depicted with eighteen arms. There are also reliefs of Ganapati, Shanmukha and Mahishasuramardhini.
The second temple bears images of Vishnu . It is reached through a flight of 64 stairs from the first one. On its celing, are carvings of Vishnu on Garuda and several other scenes from the puranas.
The third rock cut temple is reached from the 2nd temple through a flight of 60 steps. It is a 100 feet dep cave, with inscriptions dating this Vishnu temple to 578 CE during, the period of Kiritivarma Chalukya. Here there are carved images of the Narasimha and Trivikrama avataras of Vishnu. There are also murals depicting the divine marriage of Shiva and Parvati.
Further up, is a Jain rock cut temple dedicated to the Tirtankara Adinatha with inscriptions dating back to the 12th century
There is the magnificent tank near the temple which is a brilliant shade of green and has healing properties. Other temples dot the landscape.
Day 4 – 21 Oct 2013 - Monday - Banshankari - Mahakuta - Pattadakal - Aihole
First stop was the Banshankari temple. Pretty ordinary and not worth a visit.
We next headed off to a small temple called Mahakuta. This was a gem. This temple is not very popular on the tourist circuit as many do not know about it. But this turned out to be a gem. It was the kind of temple I like, all old world charm. You can imagine yourself 1000 years back if you want to.
We headed off to Pattadakal next. Pattadakal is 22 km from Badami, the capital of the Chalukya dynasty of Southern India, who built the temples in the seventh and eighth centuries. There are ten temples including a Jain sanctuary surrounded by numerous small shrines and plinths. Four temples were built in Dravidian style, four in nagara style of Northern India and the Papanatha temple in mixed style.
Here the best temples of the style, the Virupaksha and the Mallikarjuna are seen. These were built by the queens of Vikramaditya II (734-44) in memory of his victorious march against Kanchi, the Pallava capital, and the temples were named by them after themselves as the Lokeshwara (by Lokadevi) and Trailokeshwara (by Trailokadevi), which came to be known as the Virupaksha and the Mallikarjuna respectively. The two magnificent temples with their nicely engraved lively figures on walls and the massive square pillars are in sand stone. Pattadakal itself was known as Kisuvolal (`Red Town') as the sand stone here is reddish in colour.
Badami was built in 8th century AD on the Banks of Malaprabha, flourished to the glory during the reign of chalukyan dynasty, here it was always Royal activities and we were told close to 200 pattabhishekha ( royal Coronation) of various kings had taken place. It was believed to be a holy place during and after chalukyan dynasty. Pattadkal is a colony of temples the art and architecture is excellent the carving are exquisite it is almost 1500 years old and is preserved by UNESCO quite a bit of hard work has gone into preserving the heritage site by our historians. One of the temples replicate the kailasnath temple of kanchi. This virupaksha temple was built by queens of Vikramaditya II to commemorate the victory of chalukyas over pallavas of kanchi in 735 CE (Common Era).There are numerous Kannada language inscriptions at Pattadakal. Important among them; at Virupaksha Temple, there is 8th (733–745 CE) century Old Kannada inscription on victory pillar, in the Sangameshvara temple, there exists a large inscription tablet (696-733 CE) describing grants made by King Vijayaditya for the construction of the temple. These are some of the temples we visited at Pattadkal ( Patta meaning thrown and Kal meaning stone) It was basically place of chalukyas coronation and capital city of Chalukyan dynasty. The Chalukya style originated in Aihole (450 CE) we visited virupaksha temple, sangameshwara temple, kashiviswanatha temple, kadasiddeswara temple, jambulingeswara temple, galaganatha temple and jain temple. their are some beautiful carvings on the temple you will only appreciate with the knowledge of guide.
The group of monuments in Pattadakal was designated a World Heritage Site in 1987.
The Sangameshwara, Chandrashekhara, Jambuling and Kadasideeshwara are the other major temples here, and Pattadakal has also a Jaina basadi of Rashtrakuta times with two beautiful elephants in this front. The Galaganath here which is dilapidated, has caurvilinear (rekhanagara) shikhara.
A note on all the places on this trip: As most of them are world heritage sights these places are beautifully maintained with immaculate lawns and sign posts with descriptions. Really admirable.
From pattadkal we headed towards Aihole. The story behind the Name aihole goes like this, when sage jamadagni father of parshuram was at penance and some kshatriya hit an arrow thinking it as animal and the arrow hit the throat of jamadagni seeing this parashuram took a owe to destroy all kshatriyas on the earth as a result he goes round the earth three times destroying kshatriyas finally he washes his axe at river malaprabha as a result the water in the river turns red, seeing this the ladies start screaming as aiyyo hole which in turn becomes aihole so much for the name aihole was the commercial capital of the chalukyan dynasty later changed to badami or vatapi as it is called. as you enter aihole all along the village you will see temples all around,
The village has more than 100 temples but the historical site had a few temples. I was told it was a learning center for art and temple construction. During chalukyan period aihole had a population of a more than lakh. It is also strongly believed that the dravidian style of temple architecture originated from aihole. The temples that is worth visiting are lad khan temple, durga temple, suryanaryana temple, triyambakeshavara temple, gowda temple, huchimalligudi and ravana padi one will be wondering how the temples got such names. During british time these temples were inhabited by the local people and name of such occupants have been given to the temples by the British and it has stayed on. The durga temple is no durga it is a celebrated vishnu temple just because it is close to durga (fort) it is named as durga temple. Ones imagination has no bounds We can feel that the architecture of our parliament may be is based on the style of durga temple. All the temples here is probably from 7th and 8th century you will see traces of steel used in the construction of these temples. Aihole should have been a great ancient city. The carvings are brilliant, the windows of the temples has unique designs on each one. will be continued.
Aihole has its own historical significance and is called as cradle of Hindu rock architecture. Many temples and caves of historical importance can be found at Aihole. The roadside was littered liberally with temples. The most famous is the semi circular Durga temple and the Lad temple.
A note on all the places on this trip: As most of them are world heritage sights these places are beautifully maintained with immaculate lawns and sign posts with descriptions. Really admirable.
we saw the majestic dudhsagar-waterfalls from train as we were in no mood for hike so we dropped the plan of getting down at Kulhem Railway station @4:35 AM
Route 3 (Transport + Hike)
In Kulhem one can hire a 4X4 to reach the foot of , There is a taxi stand called 'Dudhsagar Taxi stand' where one can hire a vehicle and get dropped near the falls which is 1 km hike from the dropping point.
From Madgaon Station, take a bus to Kadamba Bus Stand.
From there an express bus to Panjim.
From Panjim, a bus to Calangute.
Stay near to Calangute beach
Ingos Saturday Night Market - Arpora
Mackies Saturday Night Bazaar - Anjuna
Roadside and Beach Stalls
Fashion showroom Miriam Strehlau
Sé Cathedral – 7.30 am-6.00 pm
Church & Convent of St Francis of Assisi – 7.30 am-6.30 pm
Open from: Tiracol Fort – 6.30 am-9.30 pm for 30 minutes tours
Day 6 – 23 Oct 2013 - Wednesday - Goa
Bath at Anjuna Beach - Close to the Chapora Fort, its key attraction is a magnificent Albuquerque Mansion built in 1920, flanked by octagonal towers and an attractive Mangalore tile-roof. Anjuna was the second home (and main location) of the hippies in Goa in the 1960s and 1970s, after other destinations like Calangute got too "crowded" for them. It is still the venue of a (vastly-changed and more mainstream) flea market held each Wednesday. In the nearby village of Arpora, two colourful Saturday night bazaars are held in the non-monsoon seasons. This is still part of "alternative" Goa, though charter and other tourists also visit in increasing numbers to "get a feel of the hippy years".
Anjuna: This is one of the most frequented and hip beaches in Goa, and you would find all kinds of people coming here. Anjuna’s best highlights are the beach parties that happen on full moon nights and its Wednesday Flea Market, where a whole world of trinkets and souvenirs are available. The beach is overlooked by a red cliff and is full of rough stones and boulders set amidst swirling waves. There isn’t much watersports activities, except occasional snorkeling when parrotfish and mullet might be visible. Also located closeby is Siolim Village, which is known for its annual Sangodd and Zagor Festivals.
Vagator: This is known for the Chapora Fort, which dominates the skyline of the beach. The site of many Bollywood film shots, Vagator Beach is marked by red cliffs and fresh water springs, against the backdrop of stalls selling trinkets, t-shirts and sarongs. Explore the area of Ozrant, which has an interesting stone carving of Lord Shiva’s face. Vagator’s most defining structure is the Chapora Fort, which is accessible from the sea-face. The fort, which offers breathtaking views, is not maintained too well, so you need to be careful when exploring the ramparts. The Chapora Village is set away from the beach and has tiny shops and stalls selling fresh fruits, vegetables and breads. Closeby is the Chapora Fishing Jetty, where you can try your hands on some angling and indulge in dolphin-spotting activities.
Wednesday Flea Market - Anjuna
Day 7 – 24 Oct 2013 - Thursday - Goa
Visit Fort Aguada at Calangute. It’s popular for the fort, the jail and the lighthouse. The view from the lighthouse is a personal favorite of mine.
Aguada Fort: Built in 16th century by Portuguese, there is a big light house inside this Fort.
Sinquirm Beach (Dolphin )
Have bath at the Baga Beach: a big crowd enjoying their holidays.
Churches: Check out the 2 churches located on either side of the road at Old Goa. One of these churches is the one which houses the preserved body of St. Francis Xavier. Nearby is St. Augustine’s cathedral, it’s the ruins of a large cathedral from Portugese times. It’s a heritage site now. The main wall of the ruin makes most people say wow. There are a lot other churches you could visit, ask the hotel guys about it or google it.
Basilica Church: 16th century church built by purtagals. It is a beautiful piece of art, one must go there. We got bus from Panjim to ponda (church is on the way of ponda). Below is the beautiful Basilica Church.
And headed towards Old Goa to visit some churches by 9:30 am. Old Goa is far from North Goa. After reaching Old Goa first thing we saw is the Bom Jesus Church and the museum.
Photography was not allowed in the Museum but did lot of photo shooting in the church. It was 12:15 pm by the time we came out of both Museum and the church. Then we saw St. Francis Church. We were able to see the dead body also. 2:30 we were almost done with this church. Then headed towards a big monument which once upon a time was a big church, but got destroyed/broken because of some reason and now the left over part is kept as a monument to be seen. We completed all this by 3:00 pm and headed to Dona Paula
Churches in Old Goa:
Dona Paula / Dona Paula Beach: It is the tip of Goa, beyond which is Arabian sea. You will have to take bus: Panjim to market, market to Dona Paula.
Miramar Beach: On the way to Dona Paula there is Miramar Beach, beautiful beach with lots of palm tree in a row.
In Panjim, check out Dona Paula and go to Miramar beach. You could visit Panjim church if interested. Something interesting to do would be to go for the Evening Cruise which is available near the bus stand, below Mandovi Bridge. There are quite a few cruises available, which take you for a spin along the banks of the Mandovi River, and you can admire the city as you do that. There’s music and other fun along with it too. It’s not as expensive as it is perceived to be, tickets should be less than Rs. 200 for sure.
Try boating at Mayem lake. Approx 20 kms from Panjim, if you use a ferry boat.
Miramar-Dona Paula: Miramar Beach is the site of the confluence of the Mandovi River and the sea and is full of tourists and picnickers every evening. The Gaspar Dias Circle was home to a fort by the same name, which used to guard the Mandovi River entrance. The single-steeple Cabo Chapel is open to the public for Christmas Eve midnight mass. Made up of three beaches, Dona Paula offers sailing activities and great views of the Mormugao Harbour and Arabian Sea. At the base of the hillock is a sculpture depicting a man facing west and a woman facing east.
Basilica of Bom Jesus 6.00 am-6.30 pm
Chapel of St Catherine
Church and convent of St Francis of Assisi
St. Augustine Church
Church and Convent of Santa Monica
Church of our Lady of Rosary
Church of St. Cajetan
Arch of Viceroy and Panaji Church
Day 8 – 25 Oct 2013 - Friday - Goa - Mumbai
At this time of the year one would expect very few tourists in Goa but once I entered the approach road to Calangute beach it was flooded with tourists (mainly Indians, very few foreigners). It seems Goa has become an all season destination for Indians. The beach looked exactly the same it would look during season, families splashing water on each other, vendors selling all kind of fancy items, lots of honeymoon couples walking on the beach. One restaurant had put up 15 – 20 tables on the beach & their guests were enjoying candle light dinner. The only big difference you notice is the absence of water sports operator for obvious reason. However as you walk towards Candolim side you will find very few tourists & apart from few locals who are enjoying their evening walk there are few children playing football. This is where you can sit & enjoy the wild sea.
Calangute: The discovery of hippies, Calangute is said to be the Queen of Beaches in Goa. TheBaga-Calangute-Candolim stretch is frequented by tourists and shops selling a whole range of interesting buys. The Calangute beach is a haven for watersport activities, including parasailing, water-skiing, banana and bump rides. You can also contact the boat operators who organise crocodile and dolphin spotting, fishing and trips to nearby islands. Also accessible from the Anjuna Beach, Baga is lined with restaurants and shops, and is home to the famous Club Tito’s and Café Mambo. Arpora Village near Baga is known for its exciting Ingo’s Night Market, where, along with the usual trinkets, you also have options of tattoos, body piercing, tarot-reading, wood carvings and sculpting. Candolim is a relatively quiet beach and is home to theChapel of Saint Lawrence, dedicated to the patron saint of sailors. The stark white Candolim Church is dedicated to Our Lady of Hope and has stained glass panels. Other quiet beaches near Candolim include Coco Beach, Reis Magos and Queg de Velim Beach. All these beaches have selective hotels where you can stay and some well-spread shacks offering great Goan cuisine.
Cloak Room is located between the Entrance of 13 & 14 Platforms at CST.
Victoria Terminus Train Station (7:00 AM to 7:30 AM)
Gateway of India (7:30 AM to 9:00 AM)
Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahalaya or the CST Museum
Marine Dr- incl Girgaum Chowpatty (beach),(Reach by 4:30 PM–6:15 PM)
then go via Bandra Worli Sea Link to Bandra Bandstand area
then Juhu beach (If time permits)
Gateway of India
The Gateway of India was built to commemorate the visit of King George V and Queen Mary to Mumbai, prior to the Delhi Durbar, in December 1911. However, they only got to see only a cardboard model of the structure since the construction did not begin till 1915.The foundation stone was laid on 31 March 1911, by the governor of Bombay Sir George Sydenham Clarke, with the final design of George Wittet sanctioned on 31 March 1913. The gateway was built from yellow basalt and concrete. Between 1915 and 1919, work proceeded on reclamation's at Apollo Bundar (Port) for the land on which the gateway and the new sea wall would be built. The foundations were completed in 1920, and construction was finished in 1924.The gateway was opened on 4 December 1924, by the viceroy, the Earl of Reading
The last British troops to leave India following the country's independence, the first Battalion of the Somerset Light Infantry, passed through the gateway on their way out in a ceremony on 28 February 1948, signalling the end of its rule
The cost of the construction was 21 lakh (US$33,000), borne mainly by the Government of India. For lack of funds, the approach road was never built, and so the gateway stands at an angle to the road leading up to it.
Mumbai Sunset at 6:10 PM on 26 Oct 2013
Day 10 – 27 Oct 2013 - Sunday - Train
Day 11 – 28 Oct 2013 - Monday - Reached Kolkata @ 6 AM