19
Jan 14

Gingee Fort – Photo Gallery

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Photos taken at Gingee in Dec 2009. Stopped by while returning from Pondicherry to Bangalore.

I had expected that I will be able to see the Gingee “fort” in a couple of hours. From the road, it does not look much. But when I stopped I was in for a big surprise. It was not just one fort, but a complex of forts and citadels perched atop rocky heights overlooking what used to be the erstwhile royal city of Gingee.

And it goes without saying that I could barely cover one and a half of the several forts, I was thirsty and tired from the climbs and finally my camera ran out of juice. I do plan to go there again someday. For someone seriously interested in exploring forts, Gingee will be at least a 1 to 2 day affair.

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01
Sep 13

Roadtrip to North Karnataka Historical Circuit – Hampi, Aihole, Pattadakal and Badami

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How it Began

In the past many years I had considered visiting Hampi on multiple occasions. People advised me that it was far,  the roads were bad and  there were not many good places to stay which dissuaded me in the past.

Every December our company has the annual shutdown. In December of 2012 I was resigned to the fate of lazing around in Bangalore. At work everyone had a plan to go somewhere, and I could not resist. Hampi was back in my radar, and with less than 24 hours to plan and prepare we  were off to Hampi on 22nd December 6 AM.

When we returned 3 days later, this was the most memorable road trip every. I am going back again in a few years and this time at least for a couple of weeks.

The Planning

Decisions was made that we were going to Hampi next morning. Started with planning the route on Google Maps. With full circuit of Hampi, Aihole, Pattadakal and Badami the road trip with be roughly around 1200 KMs. Hospet appeared to be a good place to setup base.

Hotel

Started looking for decent hotels in Hospet and started calling up. Found that there was a Royal Orchid in Hospet and price was reasonable. Called them up, they said they were all full but will call back in couple of hours if they can accommodate. They never called back. On ClearTrip.com, I found rooms available on Royal Orchid, so booked it there.

When returning from work in the evening, topped up the fuel tank and check the tire pressure. Stopped at the neighboring Super Market to pick up some snacks, some chocolates and some canned drinks – left every thing in the car. Packing for the trip is easy, as wife took care of it. In the evening

Route

I needed to determine the route to take. Google maps gave three options. I read a few posts in Team-BHP.com, one recent post suggested we take the Hiriyur-Bellary-Hospet route and I decided this will be the route to take as the route through Chitradurga  takes longer. Bangalore to Hospet via Bellary

The Drive

Bangalore-Hiriyur – NH4

We started at 6 AM, road were clear. When we reached IISC the road was dug up  and had to go through some inside streets. We had Google Maps navigation on the phone, it guided us easily through the diversion. We than took the Neelamangla expressway  headed towards Tumkur. The road was pretty good – four lane high way and easy to maintain decent speed. Once after Tumkur there were multiple flyovers under construction on the highway where the traffic was diverted to the service lane.  All through the highway we came across multiple loaded trucks tumble sideways. In all these years of driving on India highways, never saw so many trucks in that state in a short span of road.

Hiriyur-Bellary Bypass – AH47

Once you we got into Hiriyur, Google Navigation asked  us to  move into the service lane just before a flyover. I was skeptical as I saw no road sign anywhere. Nonetheless we turned into the service lane which was narrow and there was a big goat market by it. Literally I had to drive through the herds of goat.

After half a KM or so there was a board saying Bellary to the right.  Had Google Navigation not told me, I would have never seen this board under the flyover and would have gone past it towards Chitradurga. At this point we were onto a 2 lane state highway towards Bellary. Within minutes of crossing Hiriyur, traffic became sparse. We came across multiple hers of goad as we drove along.

The road was in excellent state. Once in a while we came across slower vehicles but overtaking was easy. Throughout this leg we had a Baleno with large Hella lamps as company, at occasion the Baleno would be the pilot car and on others we  would take the lead. Google Navigation guided us towards the Bellary bypass. So far roads were much better than our expectation, but the road beyond was altogether was different story.

Bellary Bypass-Hospet

As we got into the Bellary bypass the road became bad to worse. Adding salt to injury, they charged INR 10 as toll. There were gigantic speed breakers and potholed. The road continued to get worse till we cross the Jindal Steel Plant. After that road got better. All through the fellows in the Baleno kept company till just before Hospet. This is a good practice on the unpredictable India highways.

Some 20 KMs before Hospet we finally stopped. I had been driving non stop since morning. We reached the hotel around 2 PM. We took the same route on the way back to Bangalore.

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06
Apr 08

Somnathpura Temple – Hoysala Stone Craftsmanship Exemplified

The seven hundred years old Keshava Temple at Somnathpura or Somnathpur, is a fine example of Hoysala stone temples. A very few such places exist. the craftsmanship of the stone workers, sculptors of the Hoysala period cannot be paralleled even today.

Also read the older post on the Somnathpura Temple (click here).

How to Get There ?

Somnathpura Temple is located in the south western direction from Bangalore, India. From Bangalore we can reach this place via Mysore Road or via Kanakapura Road. The Mysore Road would be the most recommended route to take.

Photo gallery follows, get to know what grandeur awaits you when you get there.

Photo Gallery (photos taken on Aug 20th 2006)

 


26
Jan 07

Tasteless Ads on Neo Sports Can Send Wrong Message

Neo Sports is a new TV channel in India. Their tag-line is “Home of Cricket in Indian Television”. They are carrying the ongoing India-West Indies cricket series being played in India. I am not writing this post, not about their cricket coverage. But about some in-house ads they are running with the tag-line “It’s tough to be a West Indian in India”. To many such ads can be considered racial and provocative.

In one of the ads, they show a West Indian guy going to a dhaba where he is fed a dish red with chillies. He is crying for water after the first bite of this red curry. No one in the dhaba let him have water. One gentleman in the dhaba pokes his finder into a glass of water so that the West indian guy cannot drink, finally he goes to the hand-wash. Here another gentlemen just cuts off he water supply. The ad end with the pathetic tag-line “It’s tough to be a West Indian in India“. Sick ad.

Then there is another ad. A West Indian couple goes on a romantic boat ride on a large lake. Here their Indian boatman takes them to the middle of the lake throws his oars into the water. Then he jumps into the water swimming back to the shore. Leaving a visibily terrifed West Indian couple stranded in the middle of the lake on a small boat with no oar-man and no oars. This ad also ends with the sick tag line “It’s tough to be a West Indian in India

Indian tradition says “atithi deva bhabo” (a guest is like god). If these ads are a measure of how a guest is treated in India, then who will visit India. These ads do not project the real picture, but just creativity gone wrong.

Does Neo Sports realize that in 2 months, the Indian cricket team will be in West Indies to play the Cricket Work Cup ? So, will the West Indians or anyone else send such tasteless messages to the Indian team when they go to play cricket series abroad.

I am unable to see any humor in this ads. I think these will send a very wrong message to our West Indian guests. Neo Sports channel can help by show more maturity. Is anyone listening ?


08
Sep 06

Somnathpur Temple – Photo Blog

The seven hundred years old Keshava Temple at Somnathpura or Somnathpur, is a fine example of Hoysala stone temples. A very few such places exist. the craftsmanship of the stone workers, sculptors of the Hoysala period cannot be paralleled even today.

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See the full gallery

The temple is walled inside a square courtyard of stone walls. The main temple sits at the center of this courtyard. The main temple has three perfectly aligned domes. Each of the dome houses a stature of the temple deity. The walls of the main temple is sculpted with stories curved in stone.

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See the full gallery

When you step into the main temple, the curving on the stone is all about you – on all the side , on the ceiling ….. Iron grills now guards the three priceless statues inside the three domes of the temple.

The inner side of the courtyard complex also houses many smaller temples. Unfortunately, in most of the smaller temples the statues have been removed. Wherever statues are still present, are now guarded with grill put up by ASI.

A slow walk around the temple courtyard would take us to another age. The age when this was a real temple, not an archaeological relic. It will make you imagine what this place would have been like in hundreds of years back. Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) who maintains this site has done a splendid job. The complex in spite of its ages still looks in fine shape, the complex is neat a clean, the lawns outside the complex lush and green.

How to Get There ?

This temple is located to the south west of Bangalore, India. From Bangalore we can reach this place via Mysore Road or via Kanakapura Road. The Mysore Road would be the most recommended route to take, right now Kanakapura Road is in pathetic shape. Photo Gallery of the Somnathpura Temple (photos taken on Aug 20th 2006)