The plan was made pretty much a few days in advance. Manja was visiting, and I was still undecided on what to do with the Thanksgiving holidays. I don’t have them as “holidays” per se, just that I take those days off usually.
The booking was made at KSTDC and one more verbal one at the Heritage Resort in Badami for the next day. I hate staying in Hospet and making forays. We left at 6:30 AM from Bangalore. By 9:40 Chitradurga was reached, with a breakfast stopover at Pavithra’s in Tumkur. By 11:45 AM we had reached Hospet and Hampi was reached by 12:15 PM. Pretty good timing I’d say! The road condition from Chitradurga to Hospet wasn’t too encouraging, but I guess we got lucky with the timing. There were quite a few lorries around, but it wasn’t too stressful. The road condition also alternated between pristine and patched up, with a few occasional potholes that needed to be avoided. But it was doable in 2 hours.
Lunch was had at Mango Tree which has now shifted pretty close to the Virupaksha Temple and is no longer the charming restaurant with a view of the Tungabhadra. The temple was visited after lunch, but we found that it was closed for the noon.
Around 3 PM, we began with the temple, checked out the usual pin-hole opening and reflected Gopuram and headed off to the Tungabhadra near the temple. I dumped the bigger lenses and carried along only the 50mm. I figured I could combine the 50mm with the iPhone camera and get good results. Not sure it worked too well though. Certain things like getting landscape or portrait work well. But put one guy into a landscape and see if both come out well? Well, the results were mixed. But it was an interesting experiment. It restricted me in many ways, but at the same time made me see things in a different way. With the usual lens, I’d still be producing the usual kind of photos. So yes, it’s an experiment worth trying out again. It also helps that I get to reduce the weight I carry with this really small lens!
The plan was to walk along to the Vittala complex and double back before it became dark. I had not done this walk before even though I knew there was a path available. We walked past the old “market” to the Monolithic Bull and started climbing up the Mathunga hill. Soon, it started descending, right into the Achutaraya Temple. We explored the temple a bit, and found that we had to take its “market” road to the banks of the Tungabhadra and then make our way to the Vittala complex.
Note that each major temple has a “market” area in front of it, more of a major road stretching out in front with mantaps on both sides where shopkeepers can sell stuff. Each temple also has a Kalyani or pond near the Market. All of these ponds are in various stages of decay thanks to bad maintenance.
We went along this path and reached the Purandara Mantapa and I promptly put my legs into the Tungabhadra. The early winter water was cool and refreshing!
The Vittala complex was bathed in almost horizontal golden rays. The last time I was there it was right in the afternoon with the Sun beating down from the top. This was easily much better. The camera though did not cooperate at many points and some of the photos weren’t too great. I, at least, screwed up most of the Stone chariot photos. A bit more patience was called for.
I particularly love the Frangipani tree in the courtyard. It was blooming with those white flowers and there were Plum-headed parakeets flying all around it.
We doubled back at around 5:30 PM, and this route got me some good shots of the Tungabhadra river. There were fishermen in coracles heading into the evening waters to catch their fish or to pull out their nets. Even saw a couple with the wife rowing and the husband pulling the nets.
The next day we started early. Breakfast was had at Mango tree. My favourite eatery from last time, which is right opposite Mango tree wasn’t open. Closed on Fridays apparently. So no ಗುಂಡುಪಂಗಲ for me this time.
Because of the early start most of the places were not crowded. KadalekaLu and SasivekaLu Ganesha were done. And so was the awesome Krishna temple where there were absolutely no tourists around. The Kalyani was even better, still and reflecting.
We drove on to the Hazara Rama temple with its amazing outer walls and Ramayana carvings inside.
The plan was to head from there to Aihole and Pattadakal, hoping to reach Badami by evening to check in. Badami was to be explored the next morning before heading back to Bangalore. But then there were alarms over Mother’s health and we had to cut the trip short and head back to Bangalore. Thankfully she’s back to normal now, after the ‘mild’ antibiotic which one doctor had prescribed, ‘in case there was an infection’, which turned out to be a really strong one, was stopped after consulting with another doctor.
Rest of the photos here: