|Our Bus to Bijapur|
The trip started on a really promising note. We managed to get to the bus boarding point by shared auto, bus and our legs no hired autos or taxis. Then it got better as the bus was a really deluxe one. Oh I still remember the awesome inclining seats that it had. Not that it changed anything for me. I did my usual topsy turning dance that I always do. I can only love a push-back for few minutes no matter how comfy it is.
Well it ended good too we were dropped right in front of the bus stand and all we had to do was catch the bus to Badami.
What many forget (at-least I do) is the daily rituals a human is forced to perform, stop you from boarding a bus straight away. These involve a private area and some source of water. To say that the area should be clean is not even required. It HAS to be. Sight of a public toilet was a relief and we made our separate ways to the one designated for our gender. I wish I did-not. I am still to see a toilet that is worse than that. It suffices to say that it was simply and utterly unusable. I am still not sure how the female who walked out a few minutes after I had abandoned the building, used it. That’s never a good start to a day. It meant controlling the urges and walking through the streets of Badami.
We had our breakfast (yes I ate) and got on the bus to Kerur. It is a small town on the highway some 20 Km from Badami. The driver took his time and we were standing in the small bus stand of Kerur around two hours later. In a few minutes our connection to Badami came and we huddled in with the others. The bus drive till Badami is something I will always remember fondly. The bus would stop every time people had to get down. When I say stopped it meant the engines were cut. The driver waited patiently for a minute or ten, for people to get down fight with those who were trying to get in and then for those who were decent enough to let others get down. It was very normal for everyone. Nobody complained that they were getting late. I think the only people who wanted to reach our destinations soon were us.
To say that we stood the entire time would be incorrect we performed a strange dance. Aj had the backpack so every time people moved he would have to move and adjust himself till we found a place to keep the bag. I had to arrange myself among the group of children (I suspect they were siblings) who got in with a woman. Children were quite well behaved and the lady was micromanaging them the way all moms do.
Finally at the Badami bus stand it was time to catch Patadakal bound bus. I know what you are thinking-we sat in a lot of buses. This one was similar to the Kerur-Badami ride but we had a seat to sit and the journey lasted a little over half and hour. Directed towards the temple complex we walked a few hundred meters to the gate.
|Where we got down from the bus|
This was a very different hawker experience than other monuments. Firstly we were the only outsiders everyone else was from the neighboring areas. There was nobody selling any souvenirs but there were a lot of women selling food. If you do get to Pattadakal do have the Johar roti and subji that a woman sells for 20/-(2013). Listen to the other lady next to her and buy the curd. The red powder you see on the roti here is fiery and you will find your nasal passages responding furiously.
|Tasty fiery food|
Ticket prices remain the same at 10/- for Indians and 250/- for foreigners. If you are interested in reading about the history and details of the temples this is what ASI says about it and this is Wikipedia. I am quite sure of my limited history writing capabilities and that is not the point of the post either. These are beautiful temples built over different periods and in different styles and I loved them. The thing I found most interesting was the number of smaller shrines with Shiv ling and a corresponding Nandi in front. Bigger the Shiv ling bigger the Nandi and so on. I did search the web for information on this but found nothing. If anyone of you know the story behind these share it with us here. These temples have really beautiful like this one of a lady with parrot.
The complex is not too big to tire you though it is a bit of walk. You can also rest on the resting areas made by the kings for their and civilian use. Or just sit on the stairs like we did.
|Our co-passengers back to Badami|
After satisfying ourselves we were back on our way to Badami. There is also a Jain temple some distance which I forgot about and realized that as our minibus/tempo was crossing the temple. We found the lady with piercings on this ride.
I had been seeing these vividly colored bottles at a few places on our way to Pattadakal and on our way back it struck me. These are what we lovingly call desi daaru. Ajay confirmed my suspicion and now I can say I have seen a desi daru ka theka.
|Desi Daaru ka Theka (local wine shop)|
Badami caves were our next stop. We had decided to skip Aihole due to time and transport issues. I thought we would have to stay a night at Badami to see both temples and caves but we were at the caves around 12. This meant we could go to Bijapur and stay. Bigger city means better chances of finding an accommodation. As we walked up the incline to Badami the kids around waved and called to us. We must have stood out with our sunglasses and probably the only people walking the distance.
(I will break my story to say that do not miss the sugarcane juice if you are in the city. It is far sweeter and the taste is very different from what I have tasted in other parts of India. )
The caves are beautiful and my sculpture loving self was really happy I just wish there were less stairs to get to the caves. Less stairs and less monkeys. These jumping monsters have a reputation of snatching things and you better keep your belongings safe. Also DONOT feed them.
We were back in the bus to Kerur around 2 our fingers crossed so that we can make the cutoff for Gol Gumbaj in Bijapur. The Journey went on and I found myself thinking about the Gulmohur that I have found in all Karnataka heritage sites and world heritage sites. someone in ASI sure loves them as much as I do they are beautiful trees and sit the Indian conditions really well. By the time we sat on the bus to Bijapur it was becoming more and more clear that Gol Gumbaj as not written in our fates for today. Our driver this time was a good guy and took his time at-least half and hour more than the morning one to get us to Bijapur. By then it was nearing 5:30 and we did not even bother to get to the monument.
Acutally that would not be the full truth we started walking in the direction with me insisting on walking. ‘I saw it in the morning as we entered the city. It was not that far.’ I was wrong. We never reached the boundary wall of the compound and turned back as I refused to walk any further. Being tired and not using the rest room since morning doesn’t really leave you with much energy.
This is what I was talking about when I started the post. Walking and looking for a place to stay so that we can see the Gol Gumbaj and return on our pre-booked bus day after. Bijapur wasn’t taking any of it and we ended up without a room with a not so desirable option of spending the night sitting on steel chairs of the bus stand. Oh I forgot to add I finally found a bathroom at the place we sat down to eat. That was big relief!
We had rejected the state run expensive executive bus to Hyderabad earlier and now there were no tickets. We finally were told that there is a much cheaper bus which leaves for Hyderabad a few hours after the expensive one.
|Aj found an empty seat to sleep|
I can not even explain how relieved we both were when we sat in the bus. Ajay slept on a seat meant for three passenger till Gulbarga and I sat balancing my mobile so that it would charge with the point being too high for the adapter. The late night dinner stop which served curries high in salt with tandoori roti was our savior. Fed and on our way home it was time to call the journey to an end.
If you want to visit these caves and temples read the practical information here.