Sanapur, Aihole, Pattadakkal and Badami
My last blog “Hypnotism at Hampi” gave insights about planning a trip to Hampi. Read here : Hypnotism at Hampi
This blog is an extension with more travel agendas around Hampi.
Anegundi is a sleepy hamlet on the other side of Tungabhadra, away from the hustle and bustle of Hampi. I did not intend to climb the Monkey hill unlike most tourists. While waiting for the boat to take us to the other end, we encountered Laxmi, the temple elephant, having her morning bath in the river. She enjoyed being scrubbed by the Mahauth and merrily sprayed water over herself, rejoicing the daily ritual.
Crossing to the other side of the river in a coracle was just a two-minute task. We hired a bike and set off to ride on the fringes of the Sanapur Lake. While we halted for tea at a local stall, I saw a little girl who had tied a rope to an unusually big, scary-looking fly with bulgy eyes and chestnut wings. It seemed like the fly was wearing a sparkling green headgear. Each time the girl spun the rope around her, the monstrous fly (almost the size of an egg) fluttered its wings at high speed, made a noisy buzz and stuck itself to the girl’s skirt- playing dead! Our eyes met and we shared smiles, the little girl had taught me to fetch happiness in small things in a span of 5 mins. As our bike rode past fresh green fields, the first view of Sanapur lake came into sight. The lake was spread to as far as my eyes could see. The emerald water was serene and untouched. A few coracles floated along its periphery. A river tern calmly dived into the water for a quick catch and broke the pitch silence with its shriek. Next, we made a quick visit to the Tungabhadra dam situated around 25 kms ahead.
We bumped into Benjamins Music Cafe while hunting options for lunch. Benjamin’s was a cozy shack with bamboo and fresh green creepers gliding through. A guitar, a congo and a harmonium were placed carelessly next to the low seating. We were greeted warmly by the amazing hosts who were in their late 40’s. Whilst the wife spread an array of home-made food, Benjamin started to string his guitar and hum a song. He spoke to us about his life and its ups and downs as though we knew each other for ages. Tired of the push and pull of the fast paced life, the couple had decided to settle here and had built this shack-cum-home all by themselves. They also ran a home for orphan girls in the village, providing for their shelter, food and basic education. A feeling of gratification took over when we finished an extended lunch amidst musical conversations. We shared a few snaps and heartfelt hugs before we bid them goodbye.
Aihole, Pattadakkal and Badami: We started off from Hampi before sunrise since there was a lot planned for the day. A three hour ride brought us to Aihole, the town with hundreds of Buddhist, Hindu and Jain temples and Jain Basadis. A quaint Malaprabha flows calmly through Aihole and Pattadakkal. The Durga temple here has some great architecture and should not be missed. The tower of the temple has been dilapidated, and a structure resembling a lotus is seen fallen on the ground. I spent only around two hours exploring Aihole before proceeding to Pattadakkal.
Fifteen kilometres beyond Aihole lies Pattadakkal, another Unesco World Heritage site; so vast, that it looks like a town in itself! The temples here are a confluence of Chalukyan, Aryan and Dravidian architecture. Taking a guided tour is strongly recommended to understand the stupendous construct and the intricacies of its architectural brilliance! Pattadakkal is impregnated with depictions of episodes from Ramayana, Mahabharata and other epics. The more you understand Pattadakkal, the more you want to see of it!
Badami, famous for its rock cut caves, got its very name due to its almond (Badam) colored rocks. Reaching to the top of the hill is quite a climb but presents panoramic vistas. As I climbed breathlessly, my eyes feasted on the enormous rock carvings of various gods and goddesses. The last cave on the top has the most beautiful and huge sculpture of Mahavir Buddha. How these structures were built, what engineering was used for accuracies and why these were constructed at such heights are few questions that one would constantly ponder upon while exploring the caves of Badami.
The views of the Agasthya lake below are astounding. A peaceful Bhootnath Temple overlooks the lake. There is a small cave next to the temple which has a Buddha carved on a rock with natural ribbon-like formations in multiple shades of brown.
We headed back to Hampi the same evening with just enough time in hand to gobble on the sinful Nutella chapati at Mango tree before we could wrap up our experiences and return to Bangalore.
P.S : “We” is in reference to me and my spouse, Mihir, who is usually my partner in most of my travel sojourns…
Note : Aihole, Pattadakkal and Badami can be covered in a day. The idea is to start a little before sunrise from Hampi by hiring a cab for the whole day. Cab charges are usually INR 3000. Kiran(9448143906) who runs a guest house and Coffee(9481664743), the auto driver can make cab arrangements.