December 28, 2011
Aditi's first train journey led us to a great trip. We spent Christmas weekend at Hampi, Badami and Pattadkal with our close family friends. Aditi and her friend were very entertaining and Anush and her buddy were on great behaviour having fun only as little girls do and imbibing a bit of the culture.
We realised we could have included Bijapur maybe with slightly better planning. So for those of you who wish to do this, keep it in mind- 3 - 4 days and you can cover all the places, assuming you are willing to start early daily.
While most of what we saw in Hampi is covered in the earlier trip post, there is a new pin hole shadow in the Virupaksha temple and a new bell has been discovered and displayed in the Krishna temple. We caught the elephant bathing session, a road side mehendi, a lovely trinket- a 2 paise coin finger ring and also did the boat trip across the river this time.
There are buggies now in the Vittala area and the dust is really way too much if the kids are allergic. The musical pillars have been cordoned off to the public since the structure looks rather unstable and possibly due to some mindless people using sticks and stones on the pillars!
But somehow the old grandeur seems to have diminished or since it was the second time, was my memory larger than the real thing?
Badami was fabulous despite the crowds. The cave temples/ durbars were filled with stories. The smiling Harihara and the seated Vishnu on the serpent will stay with me forever. The lake nearby saw an indulgent lady let Aditi wash clothes with her.
Pattadkal is sheer poetry and while Aditi's nature call made me miss some of the guide's gyaan, just seeing all the structures left me wondering what great skill artists and masons possesed in the years gone by.
Apart from the Mango Tree ( still too crowded and poor service and great ambiance) Badami Court and the German cafe on the other side in Hampi are places worth eating at. Small and cosy eat was the Durga cafe by the Virupaksha. Apart from the usual suspects, Israeli and Tibetan food have joined the menu in most eateries.
We were in an adequate enough place called Padma Guesthouse. I was afraid of the large lizard that paid us a visit once ( almost like a chameleon) but otherwise it was comfortable with a homely feel.
What was saddening is the brewing issue of the proposed dislocation of the smaller shops/ vendors/ autos near the bazaar to render a pristine historic feel to the place. While there must be another side to the issue some locals mentioned it is the vested interest of the powers that be. Here is a piece on that if you are interested in knowing more.