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My Experience
Sunday, 13 May 2012
London City Tour
Mood:  happy
Topic: London Holidays

Originally I planned to visit Stonehenge, Windsor Castle and Roman Bath on this day. But we were too lazy to cover London city, and therefore we changed our plan to cover rest of London on this day.

The first thing we decided to visit is Buckingham palace. As usual we left hotel late, and it was somewhere around 10:00 hours. We used tube to reach Victoria tube station, and then walked towards Buckingham palace signboards. While we were searching for exact direction to Buckingham palace, we spotted entry to Royal mews. We moved in and purchased ticket costing approx 8 pounds per person. I must admit I was fool to think that this ticket will include either visit or some close views of Buckingham palace too. Well, Royal mews is just a collection to coaches, carts, cars and horses used by Queen and royal family. I found it a money waste. After exiting from it, we moved towards Buckingham palace and then I realized Royal mews was time waste also because I missed change of guards too which took place just 15 minutes before.

Buckingham palace is a majestic edifice and is residence of Queen Elizabeth and royal family. At this time, visitors were not allowed to enter the premise as the queen was at home. Therefore all visitors were roaming at the open area in front of the palace. The palace is open to general public every Aug when Queen goes on holiday outside UK.



While we enjoyed taking photographs and roaming, my son liked Buckingham palace for other reason. He found a couple of pigeons who I believe are permanent resident of that place. The determined birds were not flying away even when my son was chasing them. Instead they simple keep walking. My son spent half an hour chasing them, and was not at all willing to leave the place. Finally I had to intervene to stop their game. We then thought to take my son to the aquarium near London Eye. By the time we reached there, my son fell asleep. I had two choices; either to visit Tower of London, an old heritage museum or wait on the bank of Thames until my son wakes up & skip Tower of London. I chose later. We spent more than two hours sitting on bench enjoying Thames, London Eye and Big Ben view. Meanwhile we had combo meal at nearby McDonalds. Finally Vatsal woke-up at 16:00 hours. We then visited the aquarium. It’s a good collection of sea creatures. Not only Vatsal but we also liked it a lot. Vatsal was especially very excited to see penguins swimming underwater. By the time we finished watching aquarium, it was already past 17:00 hours, and as planned we dropped idea of visiting Tower of London.


Although there was enough sunlight, we preferred to return to hotel. Again we went to same hotel, Pride of India, and enjoyed meal. Just before returning to hotel we did some souvenir shopping. Then I visited nearby Tube station to check Oyster card balance. I topped-up Oyster card so that I have enough balance to travel to Heathrow. 


Next day (14/05/2012) we had flight to Kuwait via Doha at 10:00 hrs. We got prepared in time and reached Tube station to reach to Heathrow terminal 4. At Heathrow terminal-4 tube station, we returned the Oyster cards and received the deposits. Check-in formalities were easy, and soon our flight to Doha was in air.


Flight arrived at Doha at 19:30 hours. Our connecting flight was at 23:00 hours. We spotted a children play area while roaming around. Vatsal quickly made himself comfortable in the play area, and remained there until we had to move towards flight boarding area. The flight reached to Kuwait at 01:00 hours (15/05/2012). My elder brother offered us a warm welcome in arrival hall. Soon after exiting the airport campus I realized the weather is warm too. 


Posted by mljangir at 2:54 AM EDT
Updated: Sunday, 24 June 2012 3:07 AM EDT
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Saturday, 12 May 2012
London City Tour
Mood:  happy
Topic: London Holidays

Today we would have a city hop-on-hop-off tour. This tour is offered by several operators in London; Big Bus and Original tours being most important. Our tour was booked with Original tour operator. These tour operators run buses on a predefined ring path every 10 minutes. One can alight at any interesting point and board after visiting the attraction. I would recommend taking this Bus tour only if someone is interested in just watching London from Bus without getting down anywhere. Doing hop on hop off really does not make sense because you can hardly cover 2-3 spots if you spend good time. For hop on and hop off, Tube is much cheaper and convenient.

 

Although today I would have this tour, the first thing I did in morning is to purchase Oyster cards for us. Oyster cards are like debit card where one can credit some balance to the card, and can use it as and when bus/tube travel is done. Generally 8 pounds are sufficient for unlimited travels in a day.

 

We boarded hop-on-hop-off bus and got down at Madam Tussauds’ museum. Tube users should get down at Bakers Street tube station. We entered the museum after security checks. Visitors are not allowed to carry camera tripods inside the museum. Also video recording not allowed. Madam Tussauds’s museum was a great experience to see celebrities’ life like vex figures. We took photographs with Bollywood stars, sport persons and other great personalities. The museum has other sections like horror room, super heroes and 3D show etc. All sections are equally interesting and charming. We spent close to three hours there and then exited. The museum was very crowded and ticket queues were also longer. Visitors can skip part of long ticket queues by booking tickets online.

 

We then searched for an Indian restaurant for lunch but didn’t find any.  Therefore we managed with burgers at McDonalds. Then we continued hop tour and got down at London bridge only for taking tower bridge photographs (Some people refer tower bridge mistakenly as London bridge). We spent some 15-20 minutes here and then continued the tour. After passing through tower bridge we got down at Tower of London. We just roamed around and then took a Thames cruise from tower pier to Westminster pier. This cruise gives close shots of Tower Bridge, St. Paul's cathedral, London eye and Big Ben. The tour takes some 30 minutes to complete excluding waiting time to board. It was being 17:00 hrs and we decided to return hotel early. We discontinued hop tour here and boarded a city bus to hotel. Here we used the Oyster card for the first time; a very convenient tool in London.

While roaming around hotel, a Pakistani fellow gave us a pamphlet of a restaurant located very close to the hotel. The restaurant named Pride of India is run by some Pakistani citizens and offer vegetarian buffet at cost of 7 pounds, and non-vegetarian buffet at cost of 9 pounds. We had dinner in the restaurant. The restaurant served decent food. We then returned to the hotel and went to sleep.


Posted by mljangir at 2:49 AM EDT
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Friday, 11 May 2012
London City Tour
Mood:  happy
Topic: London Holidays

Our flight arrived at Heathrow terminal 5 at 16:30hrs. There was a very long queue for immigration and it took more than an hour to get through the immigration process. It was a very boring arrival to London. I wonder why there are just 4-5 counters open while there are several counters.

 

My hotel arranged for pick-up taxi. The driver was waiting for us in arrival hall. He took us to hotel and soon after check-in we left for London eye. I had already booked tickets online before leaving India.

 

Hotel reception guy told us about bus no 148 which goes to Westminster where London eye, Big Ben, Parliament house and Westminster abbey are located. I didn’t get time to purchase Oyster card, and therefore we paid onboard in cash. Each travel in bus costs 2.30 pounds (while same travel costs only 1.35 pounds if paid by Oyster card). We reached London eye and exchanged online ticket to actual tickets. London eye is biggest rotating wheel in UK and offers good views of London. One ride takes half an hour to complete. It was a pleasant ride. We took photographs from and around London eye, and then decided to return back to hotel.

Evening was cold and wind velocity was high. We reached back to bus stop and waited for bus. Usually the bus frequency is every 15 minutes but due to construction works in progress bus intervals are irregular these days. The bus arrived very late and we were getting anxious to hire taxi. Luckily bus arrived and we boarded it. It was 22:00hrs when we reached hotel and we were too tired even for dinner. We just managed with cup noodles and went to sleep.


Posted by mljangir at 4:42 PM EDT
Updated: Sunday, 24 June 2012 2:48 AM EDT
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Thursday, 10 May 2012
Zurich City Tour
Mood:  happy
Topic: Switzerland Holidays

Today our destination is Zurich. We checked out at 7:00 hrs from hotel and boarded train to Zurich. Trains take one hour to reach Zurich HB. Zurich HB is a very big railway station and I wasted some time here finding out tourist information center. All facilities like tourist information center, ticket counter, information center, MaClean toilets, baggage/locker room etc are located   near to each other at the end of platforms.

 

I purchased tram pass which is valid for 24 hrs from the time of first use. The pass must be validated before boarding first tram. It can be validated at ticket dispensing machine located on almost all tram stops. We reached hotel and immediately proceeded for Zurich classic trolley tour deferring check-in. The classic trolley tour starts from Shihlaqui bus station barely 200m away from Zurich HB. After reaching Shihlaqi bus station, we realized that Zurich classic trolley tour is actually a bus tour. The bus is an old style wooden seat bus called trolley J The tour took us through important buildings through the city. It offers commentary in several languages including English. We found the city tour just average. If someone running short of budget and time, Zurich city tour can be excluded from the itinerary.

 

We returned from the tour at 13:00 hrs and then checked-in to hotel. Soon we went out in search of an Indian restaurant. We found a restaurant Kings & Curries in vicinity. This restaurant did not offer variety but food was good and cost 25 CHF for both of us.

 

Zurich was our last destination in Switzerland. Our flight to London was next day afternoon. We spent evening in the hotel and checked-out from hotel next day 11:00 hrs. Our tram pass was still valid but the pass is valid only for zone 10 which covers Zurich city limit only. Therefore I had to buy a supplement ticket at Zurich HB. There are trains to Zurich airport (Flughafen) at regular interval and takes some 20 minutes to reach there.

 

Zurich airport is a big airport. I converted remaining Swiss franks to UK pounds. It has three check-in zones. Zone 3 is for Swiss airline at ground floor while all other airlines check-in counters are at Zone 1 & 2 located upstairs. British airways check-in counter is at Zone 2.


Posted by mljangir at 12:01 AM EDT
Updated: Sunday, 3 June 2012 11:03 AM EDT
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Wednesday, 9 May 2012
Mount Titlis
Mood:  happy
Topic: Switzerland Holidays

Mount Titlis was our destination today. Cable tours to Mt. Titlis start from Engelberg which is one hour travel away from Luzern. After breakfast, we reached to Luzern railway station. Trains for Engelberg are available every hour from Luzern. We boarded 9:06 hrs train and reached to Engelberg at 10:00 hrs. A bus takes from Engelberg railway station to Mt. titlis cable station. The cable car journey starts from here which elevates to higher altitudes quickly offering spectacular views of Engelberg town, mountains and sooner of snow. The journey consists of three parts first involving 4-6 seater cable car followed by a bigger cable car. The last one involves a big and rotating cable car called rotating gondola. The rotating gondola has credit of being first one of its kind.

 

After reaching to Mt. Titlis top station we moved out to open areas. The surroundings were completely snow covered and it was snowing too. We played in snow and took pictures. Indian people are visiting this place a lot which is palpable by Indian tourist around and also by directions/instructions in Hindi. There is also a life-sized cut-out of Shahrukh Khan and Kajol from Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge Jayenge :)

 

We had fun and games in snow, but my son was not very keen, and soon he felt asleep. We moved a little further over snow. The visibility was very less and snow flakes were falling over cloths. The next fun item was Ice Flyer. This is an open cable over snow depths. I and my wife took Ice flyer journey separately as our son was sleeping. Ice flyer is a wonderful and adventurous experience. Cold waves are very strong in return path.

 

We then returned to Mt. Titlis station and took coffee. This station has several facilities like restaurant, open space, shopping malls, photo studio etc. Then we started downhill journey by gondola and cable car. We reached back to Engelberg railway station can reached Luzern at 16:00 hrs.

This evening we took a cruise in Luzern lake. The two hours cruise tour takes through different corners of the lake and offers views to beautiful Luzern town. Then we reached back to hotel.

 

Today our Swiss pass validity ended. This means now onwards I should purchase tickets for local transports and trains.


Posted by mljangir at 12:01 AM EDT
Updated: Sunday, 3 June 2012 11:04 AM EDT
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Tuesday, 8 May 2012
Interlaken to Luzern
Mood:  happy
Topic: Switzerland Holidays

After breakfast we checked-out from the hotel. Today we have a golden pass panoramic train from Interlaken Ost to Luzern. This train requires separate reservation in addition to usual ticket/pass. The train departed at 10:00 hrs and passed by scenic routes between Interlaken and Luzern. Of course we had already been though this route while coming to Interlaken. Although the golden pass panoramic train seems to be operated specially for sight seeing purpose, it is more or less like other usual trains in terms of facilities, stoppage etc. I wish if this train stop somewhere in between the route/hamlets rather than on usual train stations. I would recommend this route by any usual train to save reservation fee.

 

We reached Luzern around 12:00 hrs. My travel agent originally told me hotel Waldstatterhof which is just 50m from Luzern railway station. After reaching to this hotel I checked my voucher and realized that my reservation has been changed to hotel Seeburg. I returned to Luzern bus stand (opposite to Luzern railway station), and asked for directions and found bus number 24 from Luzern railway station which dropped us to hotel Seeburg in 10min. Hotel seeburg is a little far from main town and is located in front of beautiful lake and mountains. I asked for a room with lake view, and the receptionist happily upgraded my room at free of charge. The room was neat and view from balcony was amazing. I would recommend this hotel to anyone visiting Luzern. We prepared coffee in the room and enjoyed coffee. The hotel provides free WiFi also.

 

After taking some rest, we roamed out in the evening towards old Luzern. I had learned about an Indian restaurant Gauram India in old Luzern. I found out from maps and information displays about bus no 12. To make sure I confirmed with bus driver and boarded the bus. Luzern is a small town, and the bus stop for Gauram India arrived very early while I was still busy locating it in maps. The bus driver upon realizing we haven’t got down made announcement about Gauram India restaurant.  My fellow passenger nudged me about announcement and then we got down.

 

It was still early for dinner. We decided to take some stroll in this old part of Luzern. We roam around and took some pictures. After some time it started drizzling, therefore we returned towards restaurant. Gauram India has several restaurants across Switzerland, and has been operating there for more than 10 years. The Luzern restaurant offers buffet in 25 CHF per person, but we made individual order of a palak-panneer and four tandoori-rotis. The food was testy and cost 36 CHF. After dinner we returned to hotel.


Posted by mljangir at 12:01 AM EDT
Updated: Sunday, 3 June 2012 11:05 AM EDT
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Monday, 7 May 2012
Jungfraujoch -top of Europe
Mood:  happy
Topic: Switzerland Holidays

Jungfraujoch -top of Europe, was our destination today. Jungfraujoch is highest railway station in Europe at an altitude of 3,454m (Mount Everest altitude is 8,848m).  Temperatures can easily fall below 0°C even in summers, and therefore advised to carry appropriate clothing for the tour.

 

We had breakfast at hotel and left hotel at 9:30 hrs. Tours for Jungfraujoch start from Interlaken Ost, and therefore we took the shuttle to reach there. At Interlaken Ost, we exchanged the voucher for tickets. The tickets allow taking different uphill and downhill routes. The uphill path is Interlaken Ost – Lauterbrunnen - Kleine Scheidegg – Jungfraujoch. The downhill path is Jungfraujoch - Kleine Scheidegg – Grindelwald – Interlaken Ost. Therefore trains must be changed at Lauterbrunnen and Kleine Scheidegg and Grindelwald.

 

The standard gauge and narrow gauge cog wheel trains pass by; and later over to the snow covered mountains offering breathtaking views to the Alps. The white snow in surroundings forces you to reset white balance to digital camera. Even though it was a cloudy day and sun remained behind clouds for whole journey, the white snow dazzled eyes whenever train exited from dark tunnels. Thanks to Jungfraujoch railway, the trains are comfortable even at such low temperatures.

 

Overall it takes two and half hours to reach the peak station. The station door opens to restaurants offering variety of foods and drinks including masala tea. We enjoyed masala tea here and took some photographs before we begun the tour. The tour starts with passing by some tunnels displaying laser effects. It then takes you to an elevator which takes you still higher to reach Sphinx, the peak point. Here you get a chance to go open, feel snow and cold waves, and look towards France and German borders. Other interests here include Eispalast (Ice palace) and Snow-Fun (like skiing etc). We chose to skip both because both were extremely cold and didn’t suit to my son. Even then we spent close to three hours here which included lunch of Indian snacks.

 

We returned to Interlaken Ost and then to hotel by 18:30 hrs. While roaming around hotel streets, we spotted an Indian restaurant “Spice India” in a street just beside the hotel. We took dinner in this restaurant. A chana-masala and 5 tandoori-rotis were good enough to quench our hunger. The food is testy and cost 40 CHF (approx Rs 2250).  It was still sunlight and we continue roaming to the streets, took some photographs, and then returned to hotel.


Posted by mljangir at 12:01 AM EDT
Updated: Sunday, 3 June 2012 11:05 AM EDT
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Sunday, 6 May 2012
Zurich to Interlaken
Mood:  happy
Topic: Switzerland Holidays

The tour started with flight from Bangalore to Doha (State of Qatar). Qatar airways flight to Doha; transit and flight to Zurich were easy and comfortable. We reached at Zurich at approx 14:00 hrs. We were transferred to immigration terminal through an underground train. After getting through immigration formalities, we reached to Zurich Flughafen, a railway station located within airport terminal. Here I purchased Swiss francs (CHF) and got our Swiss Pass validated. The Swiss Pass, I asked my travel agent to purchase, was valid for any 4 days from the day of validation. The Swiss Pass holder is eligible for unlimited travel in Switzerland in trains, buses, boats/cruises and is also eligible for good discounts on mountain excursions and other attractions.

 

Our first destination in Switzerland was Interlaken. In Switzerland, trains to each destination are available within/less than an hour via different routes. The train enquiry operator suggested us to take the train to Interlaken via Luzern which pass through very scenic route between Luzern and Interlaken. Although this route takes one hour more than other routes; we preferred to take this to enjoy scenic shots.


 

We boarded a train to Luzern. The train passed though Zurich HB (most important train station in Zurich), and reached to Luzern in an hour. We changed train at Luzern destined to Interlaken Ost (most important train station in Interlaken). In Switzerland, 5 minutes are usually enough to change trains but you must keep 10 minutes gap for busy stations like Zurich, Luzern etc. We had 6 minutes to change the train at Luzern, and we managed it within 5 minutes although in a little hurry.



 

This train passed by snow covered mountains, beautiful & neat lakes, green plains and small hamlets. The scenes are pleasure to eyes and dreams to mind. The peace and calmness as if present in atmosphere make you feel in heaven. It was intermittently raining making scenes picturesque The train reached to Interlaken Ost at around18:30 hrs. It was still good sunlight, a welcome change for tourists. My hotel, City Hotel Oberland, was located close to Interlaken West, and therefore we boarded a shuttle and alighted at Interlaken West. We walked down 200m to hotel and checked-in. The room was good with views towards snow covered mountains. Hotel offered free pass to be used in any of buses within Interlaken. Although useless for me (I already had Swiss Pass), this was a good service from hotel for their customers.


 

We used some of snacks items for dinner which we brought from India, and went to sleep.


Posted by mljangir at 12:01 AM EDT
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Friday, 2 September 2011
Pattadakal tour
Mood:  irritated

Today we got prepared a little early and after having breakfast we left the hotel at 7:45AM. The plan was to visit Pattadakal which is some 150 km from Hospet and return back by end of day. While coming from Bangalore to Hospet, I managed to avoid NH13 but the jinxed highway didn’t leave us as we had to go Pattadakal through this. Next 30 km drive from Hospet was a horrible. I have not seen such a bad road in my life. Completely broken road, too much of trucks along the way, too much of diversions and work in progress all along the way do not let driver be relaxed even for a second. It took us more than hour to finish this 30km stretch. After that the road is just motorable. After reaching Kushtagi town I thought to leave this broken highway and decided to take detour via some villages. From Kushtagi to Gajengradgarh the road is good. After some 3-4km of Gajendragarh, we took right turn towards Badami. Next 30km we drove through single lane village road. Since this road is void of any directions, we had to ask for directions many times. Finally we reached Pattadakal at 12:30 PM.

 

Pattadakal located on banks of river Malprabha, a very small village today, was once coronation place of Chalukya kings which rose to prominence in 6th century. This is one of the world heritage sites in Karnataka. The word Pattadakal is derived from word coronation in Kannada language. There are ten temples in all at one place. Some of them are half-built and abandoned while some are completed and are worshipped. The most striking feature is that the place has some temples built in Nagar style (prevalent in north India and Orrisa) and some temples built in Dravidian style (prevalent in south India) and some temple built in a mixed style known as Vasara style.

 

Here our guide was Basavraj who took us through temples one by one. The oldest temple among these is Sangmeshwar temple. The Virupaksh and Mallikarjuna temples are built by two queens of king Vikramadiyta in 745 AD. These temples were built by the queens to commemorate king Vikramadiyta’s victory over the Pallavs of Kanchi. These temples are carved with stories of Ramayana, Mahabharata and Panchtantra. The Virupaksh temple has a big Nandi statue build in front of the temple (a common feature later followed in Hoysala dynasty temples).

 

Some 500m away from this group of monuments is a Jain temple which was built in 9th century.

 

It didn’t take more than one and half hours to visit all temples as all are located at one place. By 2:00 PM we were done with Pattadakal. Finding no place for lunch we decided to have lunch in Badami which is some 16km from Pattadakal. Road to Badami was a narrow one for some distance. We reached Badami in some half an hour and had lunch in an ordinary restaurant. Badami had been capital of Chalukya kings during 6th to 8th century and therefore has many historical places to visit. Before leaving Badami, we decided to give a short visit to Badami rock cut caves which are located in city limits only. The rock cut caves carved out of a rock cliff are truly masterpiece of rock architecture.  Total four of them, they are dedicated to Lord Shiva, Vishnu and Jainism.

 

Other things which are visible from rock cut caves are Badami tank, Bhutnath temple and lot of monkeys screaming from the top of rocks.

 

Badami is surely a place worth visiting and spending some time. However we were in hurry to return, and didn’t visit much places there.

 

Around 4:00 PM we started return journey to Hospet. This time, we decided to go though NH13. We reached Hungund town easily as road quality is good throughout. After reaching Hungund we joined NH13 and the sad tale of bad road started. Having trouble with this highway we drove slowly but the worst was yet to come. Some 40km before Hospet (it was being 7:30PM and dark around) on a diversion I suddenly noticed a road hump along the road in center of the road (Yes, along the road!). First I thought my car can go over it (Dzire has a ground clearance of 160mm); moments later I realized, no it’s too high! But it was too late and I drove over it. The car chassis touched to the hump jacking front left type a couple of mm above ground and car stopped. This made car reversing impossible. After many failed attempts of car reversing, a close by person noticed us and came to help with his colleague. Both of them pushed the car from front and with a minute reverse move car reversing worked. I thanked both guys for their genuine help and offered some money which they kindly refused to take.

 

This time we drove even slowly and by 9:30PM we reached back to Hospet. Having horrible experience with NH13 and tired completely, we had a quick and small dinner and went to bed.

I would suggest anyone planning to visit Badami, Aihole or Pattadakal to wait for at least one year. Hopefully by that time the work in progress would have been completed.

 

On 3rd Sept 2011 morning we started return journey to Bangalore. We left around 8:30 in morning, had breakfast at same Mahadev Family Dhaba near Bellary. Next we stopped after Tumkur for lunch and by 6:00PM reached to home.


Posted by mljangir at 8:00 AM EDT
Updated: Sunday, 27 November 2011 7:22 AM EST
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Thursday, 1 September 2011
Hampi tour
Mood:  happy

We had a comfortable sleep in the hotel room, and rose fresh to start the day. We had breakfast in hotel and left for Hampi at 8:00 AM. Hampi is not very far from Hospet although the road is narrow and just average. It took us 45 minutes to reach Hampi where we were greeted by a person Rangnath. He introduced himself as tour guide and offered four hours tour guidance at Rs 600. It appeared reasonable to us and we took Rangnath along with us to guide us about Hampi.

 

Hampi, situated on banks of river Tungabhadra, has been capital of Vijaynagar Empire which was spread over parts of current Karnataka and Andhra. Four dynasties ruled over it during period of 1336-1570 AD. The most illustrious king of Vijayanagar was Krishna Dev Raya who ruled over Hampi during 1509-1529 AD. Hampi reached to its zenith during his period being an epicenter of art and trade. The erstwhile Hampi was spread over 200 square miles. Many important monuments were built during his time.

 

During the rule of Aliya Rama Raya in 1565, the combined forces of Deccan sultanates defeated Vijaynagar army at battle of Talikota. The Deccan sultanates later plundered the city of Hampi and reduced to ruins in which the city remains till date. Therefore prepare yourself to see only destructed ruins while visiting Hampi.

 

Rangnath first took us to Laxmi Narasimha (popularly called Ugra-Narasimha) statue. This 22 feet long statue is made of monolithic stone. The statue was partly damaged by sultanates army. Beside this status lies second largest Shivlinga which remains 3feet dipped in water.

 

Then we drove towards Vittal temple which lies some 6 km away. While going to Vittal temple, we passed by ruins of Hampi bazaar where once a rich trade grew. Car parking is 1 km away from the main temple, and we boarded an electric cart to reach the temple. The Vittal temple is a beautiful stone work complex having a stone chariot, main temple, kalyan mantap, dancing hall and prayer hall. The stone chariot wheels are also made of stone and are beautifully carved. It’s actually a small temple in shape of chariot. The main temple has stone pillars which produce musical sound. Our guide Rangnath tapped them for us and the sound is truly comparable to musical instruments. It is said that when the temple was in its full glory, 52 pillars were used to be tapped together and the echo sound could have been heard as far as 1 km! The temple is fully decorated by carving from top to bottom. Many carvings are actually two/three in one, which gives different views from different angle. The temple although de-sacred by Deccan sultanates army was lucky to survive complete destruction.

 

Having spent more than an hour at Vittal temple, we returned back and stopped at some monuments which included queen’s bath, Hazar-Rama temple, queen’s palace (only ruins), queen’s anthpur and nearby elephant stable. Some of these monuments are believed to survive Deccan sultanate wrath because their architecture is a mixed one having some Islamic tinge.

 

The next place we visited was King’s administrative place. This place is completely in ruins except King’s bath pond. Still, looking at the ruins the splendor of the ancient time can be visualized.

 

 

 

The next place we visited was Virupaksh temple. The temple lies in the heart of Hampi town and can be seen from a distance due to the big Gopur at the entrance. Although the temple is believed to be much older, it was more decorated during Vijayanagara rulers. The sanctum sanctorum has beautiful ornate pillars on each side. Some 10m right of the sanctum sanctorum, there is a small dark place which has a small opening for light. The opening is designed in such a way that Gopur’s shadow falls upside down through this opening to opposite wall simulating a pinhole camera. The temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva and is the only one which was not de-sacred by Deccan sultanate army. Rangnath told me that the temple has some Varah statues (Varah is Lord Vishnu’s incarnation in form of boar) which are considered pious in Islam.

 

Although Hampi has much more to explore, we finished our tour here. It was being 1:00PM and there was no good place to have food in Hampi, so we decided to have lunch in Hospet. We bid farewell to Rangnath and returned to our hotel and had lunch there.

 

We took rest for 2 hours and then we drove towards Tungabhadra dam. The dam is located in Hospet town itself and has a big garden attached. By the time we reached Tungabhadra dam, it was somewhat drizzling. We roamed around for some time, watched Tungabhadra dam and the garden beneath and then returned back to hotel.

 


Posted by mljangir at 8:00 AM EDT
Updated: Sunday, 27 November 2011 7:07 AM EST
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