Hampi : Glory Of The Vijayayanagar Empire

Lakshmi Narasimha temple Hampi

I never thought there could be an archaeological site as vast and neat/clean as Hampi. From most of our travels, such sites are limited to tiny areas in congested villages or towns. Hampi is anything but that. The name Hampi comes from Pampa, another name for Goddess Parvati. Hampi is also known as Pampa Kshetra, … Read more Hampi : Glory Of The Vijayayanagar Empire

Badami : The Marvelous Cave Temple Art

Badami Cave 01

We had never planned on visiting Badami. In fact we were in Hampi and while returning, we decided to give Badami a quick look. But Badami turned out to better our expectations. The capital of the 6th Century Chalukya Dynasty, Badami is famous for its rock cut temples in the cliffs of red sandstone that … Read more Badami : The Marvelous Cave Temple Art

Ranganathittu Bird Sanctuary : A Brief Visit From Bangalore

On a cloudy, overcast day,we managed to find time to visit Ranganathittu Bird Sanctuary, a tiny 40 acre place that sustains so much wildlife. Only some 130 km from Bangalore, one can easily make the trip in a day. The sanctuary is more like a public park, with cemented parking lot, paved walkways etc and … Read more Ranganathittu Bird Sanctuary : A Brief Visit From Bangalore

Chikmagalur : A Dreamy Misty Coffee Heaven

Misty trails in Chikmagalur

I never thought, for some reason, that I would like Chikmagalur, having been to Madikeri earlier. And I was more than happy to be proven wrong. Located in the foothills of the Mullayanagiri Hills, Chikmagalur has a mild climate suitable for coffee plantations. Nestled amongst the hills and valleys of the fabulous Western Ghats, Chikmagalur … Read more Chikmagalur : A Dreamy Misty Coffee Heaven

Mumbai to Puducherry : Roadtrip

I am always all too eager to hop into a car and drive off to beautiful destinations, rather than take a flight. And when this meeting came up in Puducherry, we thought for maybe 5 minutes, and decided to drive. And we didn’t regret for even one kilometer. Almost. That’s how began our Mumbai to Pondicherry road trip.

We planned the route from Mumbai via Hubballi, Bengaluru, Krishnagiri and then Puducherry. The road passes through some diversions till Kolhapur, but then becomes a beautiful highway, passing through miles and miles of farms. We got our first taste of authentic south Indian snacks at the border of Maharashtra and Karnataka, at Hotel Satyawati.

We picked Hubbali (before Bengaluru) for a stopover. Hotel Shoven, found on TripAdvisor, was a clean and affordable place for the night. We recommend. We do not recommend making a pre-booking at The Gateway Hotel, Hubballi, as you apparently cannot cancel 2 days before the booking. Weird. We lost some money there. Still fighting for it.

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Chitradurga : A Beautiful Fort Hidden Amongst Boulders

On our way back from Coonoor, we took the NH4 (Mumbai – Pune – Bangalore Highway), and decided to take a break at Chitradurga. It’s a small dusty town, which is surrounded by small hills and many windmills. We had heard of an ancient fort at Chitradurga, and decided to visit it before leaving for Mumbai.

The fort is very close to the main highway, hidden behind hills. The fort doors open at 6am, and that’s the best time to see it, because of the light and the cooler weather. It is probaly the most beautiful fort we have seen in India. Not much remains today save walls and ruins, but one can make out what a magnificent fort it must have been in its time.

If you have time, do walk through the city. There are plenty of ancient buildings still standing.

From Wikipedia: Chitradurga Fort or as the British called it Chitaldoorg, straddles several hills and a peak overlooking a flat valley in the Chitradurga District, Karnataka, India. The fort’s name Chitrakaldurga, which means ‘picturesque fort’ in Kannada, is the namesake of the town Chitradurga and its administrative district.

Built in stages between the 17th and 18th centuries by the dynastic rulers of the region, including the Rashtrakutas, Chalukyas and Hoysalas as well as the Nayakas of Chitradurga, feudal lords in the Vijayanagar Empire, the fort is a marvel. The Nayakas of Chitradurga, or Palegar Nayakas, were most responsible for the expansion of the fort between the 15th and 18th centuries. They were defeated by Hyder Ali at Chitradurga in 1779. Later the fort was expanded and strengthened by Hyder Ali and his son Tippu Sultan,who succeeded Madakari Nayaka V, the last ruler of the Nayaka clan.

The fort is built in a series of seven concentric fortification walls with various passages, a citadel, masjid, warehouses for grains and oil, water reservoirs and ancient temples. There are 18 temples in the upper fort and one huge temple in the lower fort. Among these temples the oldest and most interesting is the Hidimbeshwara temple. The masjid was an addition during Hyder Ali’s rule.The fort’s many interconnecting tanks were used to harvest rain water, and the fort was said to never suffer from a water shortage.

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The entrance to the fort is made of many sharp right angled turns, to slow down any invading soldiers, who can then be tackled by fort security from behind these stone walls.

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Kabini River Lodge and Nagarhole National Park

August 2013. Once again in our untouristy mood we submitted to spontaneity and cancelled our home bound flights, re-routing ourselves into the jungles of Nagarhole, Karnataka. The drive from Bangalore to Kabini is about 6 hours, include half hour stop for a quick meal at midway Kamath. Try the various range of vada, idli, dosa … Read more Kabini River Lodge and Nagarhole National Park