LetsGo Bangalore is back from its maiden trip to Humpi, instead of Kumbakonam, as was mentioned earlier. The maiden trip of Letsgo Bangalore, which was scheduled for a trip to Kumbakonam, the
temple city in Tamil Nadu, had to be cancelled at the 11th hour on 30th March due to the state wide strike called by the ruling party against the quota issue.
On Friday (30th) morning most of the let’s goers in
Bangalore had gone to their work places with their back packs all set because we were to leave right after the work by train. Soon after the NEWS of strike on www.ndtv.com was out people started advising us not to go there as we might get stuck in the station that too in a city where language is the biggest barrier. However, we were still in double mind as tickets were booked for 7 letsgoers and we did not want to give it up. I was adamant till 2 pm that no matter what, we will take a risk and would surely go but then had to let go the idea of Kumbakonam because it would have been a very unpredictable situation. So with a lot of disappointment we called up the rest of the wanderers and went ahead with the decision of canceling the Kumbakonam trip. But rebels that we are with adrenalin running in the adventurous minds, we decided we are gonna travel for sure, no matter what, to some other place may be in Karnataka if not in Tamil Nadu. And thus started our Google search at 4 pm Friday in search of a destination. Uncalled for suggestions started pouring in and we decided on 2 places- Medikari in Coorg or Hampi near Hospet.
Since, Sanjukta and I both are from
Delhi so we chose Hampi over Hills of Medikeri and made our plan. The plan was like this, we first decided to get the Kumbakonam tickets cancelled, come back to office, research on Hampi and then leave. After cancellation at 6 pm at Cantonment station, we reached office at 7 pm and researched, took printouts of Hampi, tried doing online booking of train tickets but in vain due to bad server of Indian railways. We then picked our bags and at 8:30 pm were at the City Junction station waiting for our turns for current booking to Hospet, the nearest station to Hampi. Major rush at the counter was for cancellations due to the bandh. After standing for about 45 min we were told that there were no tickets available for “Hampi Express” not even in the general class, hence, as pre-decided, we immediately rushed towards Majestic intercity bus stop, boarded the bus to Hospet at 10 pm and congratulated each other for our backpacking spirit as this was completely on spur. Just look at the scene, two women in the night traveling to a place which was unknown, whatever was known was through the last moment internet research (thanks to Google).
The highways in Karnataka are quite good and it was a smooth ride. The 120 km/ hr speed of the rickety state government’s bus ride was thrilling for me and chilling for Sanjukta as we munched chips and biscuits bought from the station before leaving for the bus stop. We reached Hospet at 5:30 a.m. A big board on the header of KSRTC bus stop “Maintained by “Shivananda Hotel” was our first clue to accommodation. We asked around where is this Sivananda, and check in there at 5.45. Hospet is a quite, industrial town. It has steel plants, sugar mills and other industries with a population of a little over 3 lacs (Source:- a local autowala and a co-passenger with whom we went to see, Tungabhadra Dam on Sunday, the 1st of April ).
We were impressed by the rooms in Hotel Shivananda which was nicely decorated at a price of INR 500.00 for 24 hours but were more impressed by the staff’s kindness and hospitality. 31st March, the next day Saturday, 10:30 a.m., we boarded a local bus instead of taxi or auto unlike the other travelers as we wanted to travel in the true back packing ishtyle. It took us 30 minutes to reach Hampi; the city of Vijayanagar empire of king Krishna Dev Raya which is now in ruins and has been taken over by ASI.
We hired an auto for 5 hours at INR 250.00 for a city tour but we recommend that one should hire bi-cycles or Scooty which are available in plenty in the city. One can easily cycle around the 60 kms radius in winters or take lazy strolls in the evening along the bouldered hillocks. We were mesmerized completely with the sheer grandeur of the 3mts high Shiv Linga in water. The chambered
Krishna temple looked so haunting with 3 “Garbha Griha” covered in darkness and inhabited by bats. The basementShiva
Temple, which has its top at the ground level and the base submerged in under ground water with fishes in it.
The dilapidated ‘Krishna Bazar” took us in the past when a busy market was once held. The heat, the dust, the hillocks, the banana farms, the sugar cane juice, the coconut trees, abandoned architecture, the adopted creations, we were completely into it till about 4 pm when our tour came to an end and we decided to have our lunch followed by a trip to Kishkinda, which has a resort, Pumpuhar and a temple dedicated to Hanuman’s Mother.
The lunch was at a local restaurant which, like Pushkar, claims to serve cuisine of the world but we stuck to coconut porota, toasts and eggs. After a not so great lunch, we went to Tungabhadra Ghat to take the boat which is the shortest way to reach Kishkinda (though the auto wala said that there are buses from Hospet to Kishkinda). It was already 5:30 pm and the last boat is at 6 pm so we were apprehensive of going to Kishkinda jungles in the evening lest we get stuck there.
Also, we had to get down from the boat in the river to reach the ground as there are no Ghats on the other side of Tunga Bhadra hence it is advisable that one wears Bermudas and not jeans like we did. We recommend that one should stay at lodges in Humpi instead of Hospet, spend 1 and a half day in Humpi and around 11 a.m. the next day leave for Kishkinda, spend about 2 hours there then take a bus for Hospet or come back to Humpi for a bus or auto to Hospet. (there are plenty of buses and autos plying to and from Hospet and Humpi (bus would cost you INR7.00 and a shared auto INR10.00). It takes about 20 minutes to reach Hospet from where you can negotiate with an autowala at INR30.00 for a trip to TungaBhadra Dam and while coming back, say about 6 p.m. pay a visit to the TungaBhadra Garden, for its lighting and Musical Fountains.
Though we came back the same day to Hospet after a failed attempt to Kishkinda. Partied in our hotel room after a tiring but eventful day. Next day 01st April, we started for Tungabhadra Dam. We were left speechless by the vastness of the river span where the water is being collected. Sanjukta slept under a tree while I wrote this post. Later, I decided to visit the garden, the deer park, the aquarium (you can also climb up to see the watch tower to view the entire Locale) and Sanjukta went down to the exit gate. She was later joined in by me. I had taken a lift from a biker (only private vehicles allowed) to reach the exit gate which is about 1.5 kms away from the dam. On the main road, there was a tamil festival going on. You can see the pictures always as we don’t know what is that festival called where people stick long iron rods to there skin and pull boulders and autos.
After reaching Hospet, our auto wala shook hands and in broken English said, “You need auto, I come”. “Auto 2-in-1, gas and petrol both. When gas not possible then petrol”. “ You know Kanada?” To which I replied, “Salpa salpa Kanada. Kanada gothilla”. And we all smiled.
The trip came to an end at 11:00 pm after reaching
Bangalore by state bus. And the entire trip costed us INR1000.00 per pax.
At the end of it the maiden trip was Adventorously exciting, Spiritually enriching, Mentally stimulating, Emotionally fulfilling. Click the link below for photos.