Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Hampi: The forgotten empire

A long weekend is something which bikers always look for, thats a good opportunity to break free. Originally I was thinking of doing Wayanad during this long weekend but then dada suggested Hampi, we all agreed saving Wayanad for the hotter days.

We had full three days to ourselves - Republic day being on friday. I took a day off on monday and it was a four day weekend for me. Dada (JSR), Boodee (Shashi), Parvez and Kid (Amit) were going to ride with me. Dada had to meet one of his friend in the morning so he asked us to start off saying that he'll catch up on the way. And so we pushed off at around 7 AM from citibank on MG road. Vasanth had come to see us off.

I had thought of doing Badami on the 3rd and 4th day, and others had plans to come back on sunday. I was looking forward to this ride and especially the return leg of the journey as I had never done any solo rides.

We tanked up at the shell petrol pump, and when we were waiting for the air checkup dada crossed us! I SMSed him to wait for us at Nelamangala, what I meant was Nelamangala crossing. Dada read the SMS and the literal meaning took dada to Nelamangala! Now me, Kid and Shashi continued in the straight direction and Parvez took on NH48 instead of NH4! All the directions from Nelamangala crossing covered by us :D! Never mind, few calls and everything was set right, we waited for dada and Parvez to come and join us at the toll gate on NH4.

The first stop was at Kamat for breakfast. We met Arun and Dominic (RTMC) here, they were riding to Goa. Some time later Rajesh (Cup) from RTMC also arrived - these guys were headed to Devarayana Durga hills. We told them about our trip to DD hills and tipped them about the stony hill. One of the guys here went crazy to see dada in full riding gear. Man, he looked so amused as a small kid who has seen circus for the first time! He even clicked a snap! No need to say dada was embarrassed with that treatment. That explains why dada never wants to stop on a ride!

Soon my riding gear will also arrive.. Time to do non-stop journeys then? Ha ha.. who knows if this guy shows up again?!

Kid exchanged his machismo with Shashi's and started feeling the gush of the winds at high end speeds.

On a highway like NH4 70-80 kmph speeds feel like you are not moving at all! I slowed down a bit and maintained 90-100 kmph speeds. At Tumkur we got divided in two groups - Dada riding along with Shashi and the rest of us carrying on further. After a while Amit was left behind and it was me and Parvez doing 100 + kmph speeds again! We did this till we reached Chitradurga. From Chitradurga we took NH13 to Hampi, and stopped at a roadside shop to have some refreshments. I did a sync up with dada and shashi, they were around Hiriyur around 60 kms behind us so we decided to split in two groups taking Amit with us and continue.

NH13 is full of truck traffic and the whole area around Chitradurga is very windy. Explains the presence of so many windmills! We negotiated our way from these trucks and maintained good 80-90 kmph speeds on those roads. The roads do not have a smooth surface though it is without potholes.

It was on these roads that my goldie exhaust fell off the bike! I was leading the pack, doing some 90ish speeds followed by Amit and Parvez. I checked my rear view mirror after I heard Amit honking and saw something shining banging off the road. First thoughts - The tripod has broken loose, but then a second later I got reminded that the tripod was kept in its cover, how could it shine so much! And to my surprise I looked down to find that the silencer was missing. So this had happened! With me too. Ha ha ha, some of the people get frustrated but I was getting amuzed! Before this I had read about a few people mentioning having a fallen off silencer.. now all that must have been true :P..

I stopped and took a U turn to remove the silencer from the middle of the road. It happened so fast that Amit just ran over it, thankfully he did not loose his balance. The tail end of the silencer was totally bent and the front end had got some dents. The stay had also got broken.

'The end' of my Badami "solo ride" plans as getting the Goldie repaired itself was going to take at least a day.

Parvez, the only non-Bullet rider, followed up soon and before I was caught by him tending to my broken silencer. Man, he couldn't control his laughter! Koi naah, chalta hai.. So I opened up my tools from the saddles bags and after some filing I was able to fit it back with the help of a rope.

A wastage of around 45 minutes followed. By the time we moved on we were hungry. Soon we found a punjabi dhaba and we stopped there to gulp down the tasty lunch. Soon Dada and Shashi also arrived. The food and tea in that dhaba were real delight for the north Indian taste buds. We carried on further, me riding slowly with Kid (Back to his own Bull) & the rest three riders going ahead and ripping to glory. Their assignment was to reach VijayNagar and book hotel rooms in KSTDC Mayura hotel.

This in turn was delegated to Shashi by Dada and when the two of us were about to reach VijayNagar we were told by Dada to stop by a lake just before VijayNagar.

Beautiful view ;)

Shashi came back with a triumphant smile of accomplishing the task at hand.

We thumped together to reach VijayNagar, Parvez comments 'Emperors are back in town'!
We relaxed in the hotel and started taking rounds of Hampi. What a grand place to be in. Though it is said to be a ruined place still the grandeur of the ancient buildings didn't fail to make its mark on us!

Hampi is located with Tungabhadra river, and the whole area is still too big to be covered in two days. It was in King KrishnaDeva Raya's time in 16th century AD that Hampi was in its prime time. It was said to have been a rich state then, and was later pludered and destroyed by various emperors. Of all the ancient temples Virupaksha temple still remains functional.

We went to Virupaksha temple and visited the Hampi bazaar. It has all kind of restaurants & Hampi crowd is more foreign than Indians. Most of the Indians there are locals & only a few of the travellers are Indians. Couple of other places in the evening time and we started riding around Hampi. It was a moonlit night, and soon we were on the roads. Vasanth had told us about the sighting of ghosts ;-) so we went well inside a solitary road inside a jungle. All we found was a clear sky with moon and stars. The place where we had stopped was surrounded by rocks and our voices were getting echoed.

Dinner at Hotel Mayura and we were soon in our beds.

I didn't want to miss the chance of photography in the early morning time so I got up early at 5.30 AM and was visiting the monuments and capturing all that beauty while the lazy bums were still asleep. By 8 AM I was ride-n-click happy and so I decided to return.

I heard another thump & yeah - I spotted Dada ;)! He'd also got up early, though few minutes after me and had been busy clicking! We got back to our hotel and woke up the lazy party! Bathing, breakfast and all set to explore Hampi again!

This time we took the three machismos for the local exploration. Hampi is soo bigg! And the whole day was spent in visiting monuments. Still there were plenty of places to be seen.

It was fun with these guys. Good company and a very nice time!

By the evening time Dada, Amit and Parvez changed their minds and decided to ride back to Bangalore.

A special thanks to boodeee a.k.a. Shashi for keeping me company ;)

We saw off these guys and on the way back I bought some cotton ropes for holding my silencer :) It was followed by a dinner at a Tibetan restaurant and then a small round of Hampi.

The next morning both of us got up early and went for a round of places not explored the day before. I wanted to check out the Vitthala temple complex, the pictures of the chariot in the history books motivated me to go there. And the result was good ;)

Of all the temples in Hampi Vitthala temple complex is the most exquisite, decorated with intricate carvings from the Ramayan mythology and are a treat for the eyes.

Being an early 'morning' bird at places like Hampi makes sure that you don't get to see much crowd. The lesser the better ;)

Hampi remains a city lost in time, all those old temples and palaces just stand witness to what all it has seen. It must have been a great city in its time.

Seeing the whole of Hampi is a time consuming thing and we didn't just want to rush through everything. Our time was running out, so we decided to leave the place and explore the remaining places in our future visits.

The nights spent in Hampi were really amazing, peaceful, serene, riding in unknown jungle roads in search of the 'ghost' vasanth had mentioned, relaxing in the rocks in the night, chitchatting and every other thing was really amazing.

The return journey was done in around 7 hours and we were back in our homes by evening.

Adieus Hampi, we'll cherish this experience.

Ride stats:

Route: Bangalore (NH 4) - Tumkur - Hiriyur - Chitradurga - (Take NH 13 from here) - Jagalur - Kudligi - Hospet - Hampi
Distance: 378 kms (approx) from Bangalore.
Road condition: NH4: superb, NH13: Bumpy in some parts, smooth otherwise. No potholes.
Pictures available at:
http://picasaweb.google.com/kamlesh.sanwal/HampiTrip (By me)
http://picasaweb.google.com/jayansr/Hampi_Jan26_2007 (By dada)


jsr said...

cool! nice blog and the TB photu to sahi hai.. lighthing bhi mast :)

--xh-- said...

teh foto of ur bull is a Print Ad stuff for RE. looks gr8. next time whn u plan a rid elike this, count me in.. gr8 write up, man.

Mayank said...

Cool blog.... elaborate n well described account... snaps bhi bohat mast lagaayi hain....great lighting in all those snaps.....

keep it up.....

Sprotor said...

Neat writeup Kam..
And the pics are just fantastic ! ..

Jo said...

great one.
But again u remind me that I missed this one. :D

Tamanna said...

Finally long awaited is here...Beautifully written blog and awsome pics :-) Keep up the good work and ofcourse rides :-P

Praveen said...

Nice log and pix Kam. Hampi still in my 'togo' list. Silencer breaking off while riding and you still laugh it out!! kool attitude :)

Kartik said...

Man !! Nice blog..
I am really surprised at how you can remember everything after 3 months!!

Rajesh said...

Nice write up man and I am really impressed with the photographs...keep riding and writing.

Kam said...

@ All: Thanks :)
@ Kartik: I bet its difficult to forget a good experience, and thats wat this ride was :)
@ PKM: The day you become a bulleteer you would also behave in a bizarre way :D

Naren said...

I want to thank you for sharing the beautiful pictures of Hampi--the reflection in the motorcyle mirror is sublime--you need to enter it in a contest.

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