Sunday, December 31, 2017

Unforgettable trip

It so often happens, we tend to look far beyond only to miss out on the things near us. I realized recently that I have not taken time to visit some beautiful nearby places which I have read about in my history books and despite hearing wonderful things since my childhood, I haven't been there yet. So I decided to visit most of these places, if not all, which are quite near to my hometown, Hubballi in Karnataka.

During the Christmas vacation, I got this wonderful opportunity to visit these places of historical importance.


Badami, which is ~100 kms from my hometown, was the first place and is very well known for its cave temples. The cave temples date back to around 4th century when Chaulukyas ruled and have many sculputres of Lord Shiva, Lord Vishnu and Jain Thirthankaras. The caves are situated next to the Agastya lake. There is another beautiful temple, Bhootnath temple next to this lake and I was amazed by the art work and the great effort put in to have temples like these ready and that too during the 4th century timeframe.


I drove to Pattadakalla which is just ~21 kms from Badami and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. All the temples and monuments are situated at a single site and display stories from Ramayana and Mahabharata. This too dates back to the Chalukya dynasty.


From there I drove to the next town Aihole which is ~14 kms from Pattadakalla. There are many temples dedicated to Lord Shiva, Vishnu, Durga along with Jain temples in the vicinity. The Jain temple on the Meguti hill was a beautiful site providing full view of the town. All the nearby temples and museum are quite visible from this place. The sites are surrounded by farms and villages due to which it might not seem posh clean. Having said that, all the temples and sites are kept in best conditions. In fact, I was surprised by seeing the cleaniness maintained in all the sites at Badami, Pattadakalla and Aihole.


I decided to head towards Kudala Sangama which is an important center for Lingayats community. This place holds great importance as this is the Aikya mantapa of Basavanna, the founder of the Lingayats, and also due to the presense of swayambhu Linga. It was late night when I reached there and hence decided to search for a guest-house nearby. I had nice dinner at Kamat yatrinivas and stayed at Jain yatrinivas which are quite close by to the main temple.
Early morning I got ready and visited the Sangameshwara temple followed by the Linga dharshana. The confluence of Krishna and Malaprabha rivers was a nice sight to witness.


Immediately after breakfast, I headed to my next destination, Hampi, again a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Hampi is ~140 kms and I reached there in 2 1/2 hours. Couple of days back I had found that my friends Abhishek and Mahesh from my previous himalayan trek were also planning to visit Hampi. I got in touch with them and decided to roam around Hampi together. On reaching, we hired a local guide who took us around explaining the history and stories associated with the place, about Vijayanagara empire, the kings and etc.

The Vittala temple & market complex, Hazara Ram temple, Lotus Mahal, Elephant stables and Virupaksha temple were the few places we were able to visit in the given limited time. The Hampi experience was enriching, witnessing the grandour of the kingdown, the complexity of the temples and the minute artwork in each of them was amazing.

This was surely one of the satisfying trips I had in recent past and I'm sure I will visit these places again in near future to cover all the temples and monuments which I missed in this trip.

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