Backpacking across the Forgotten Empires of Karnataka

Tripoto
18th Oct 2016
Photo of Backpacking across the Forgotten Empires of Karnataka by Some Aditya Mandal

The idea of Solo Travelling have always fascinated me but I never managed one, maybe i didn't find a perfect place to start with. One day I was going through some internet article and I came across the historical places of Hampi , Bijapur and Badami. The places which boast the rich history of Chalukyas , Vijayanagara Empire and Adil Shahis .

And that was it ! I found my perfect place for my first Solo Trip !

Day 1

So, I planned a rough itinerary and boarded an overnight bus to Hampi ,6 hrs journey from Bangalore.After reaching Hampi , dumped my luggage in the hotel and i had the whole day to explore Hampi.

Day 2

Hampi was the former capital of the mighty Vijayanagara Empire and it was one of the richest and largest cities in the world during its prime (1400-1565 AD). Hampi was traditionally known as Pampa-kshetra, Kishkindha-kshetra or Bhaskara-kshetra — is derived from Pampa, which is the old name of the Tungabhadra River on whose southern banks the city is built.Over the years, it has also been referred to as Vijayanagara (City of Victory) and Virupakshapura. In the year 1565 the city was besieged by the Adil Shahis of Bijapur and it was turned into ruins.

The history of Virupaksha Temple is uninterrupted from about the 7th century.

Photo of Hampi, Karnataka, India by Some Aditya Mandal

The ruins of Hampi were discovered by Colonel Colin Mackenzie in 1800 and they are spread out over an area of 30km².People say even a month is not enough to explore all the ruins in Hampi but you can see the main attractions in a day or two.The must-visits are Virupaksha Temple, Hampi Bazaar, Monolith Bull, Lakshmi Narasimha temple, Hemakuta Hill temples, Big Shivlinga, Vithala Temple, Hazara Rama Temple, Royal Enclosures, Queen's Bath, Zanana Enclosure , Elephant Stables, Achyut Raya temple, Statue of Lakshmi Narasimha , Virupaksha Temple, Mahanavmi Dibba, the Stepped Bath and the Matanga Hill.

Sculptures inside the Krishna Temple Complex

Photo of Backpacking across the Forgotten Empires of Karnataka by Some Aditya Mandal

Elephant Stables

Photo of Backpacking across the Forgotten Empires of Karnataka by Some Aditya Mandal

Sculptures inside Hazar Rama Temple

Photo of Backpacking across the Forgotten Empires of Karnataka by Some Aditya Mandal

Stone Chariot inside the Vijaya Vittala Temple Complex

Photo of Backpacking across the Forgotten Empires of Karnataka by Some Aditya Mandal

Boulders the beauty of Hampi

Photo of Backpacking across the Forgotten Empires of Karnataka by Some Aditya Mandal

I was done with all the major attractions by evening, so i decided to go up the Matunga Hill and enjoy one of the most spectacular sunsets.

Dusk time view of Virupaksha Temple from Matanga Hill (Sunset Point)

Photo of Backpacking across the Forgotten Empires of Karnataka by Some Aditya Mandal

Its about 5 hrs journey from Hampi to Bijapur , so an early morning KSRTC bus help me reach Bijapur(Vijaypura) by noon and i had around 5 hrs to explore the city.

Day 3

Bijapur was established in the 10th and 11th centuries by the Chalukyas of Kalyani , later ruled by the Adil Shahi dynasties from 1490 -1686 AD which left the most important monuments of the town. Vijayapura was also held by Aurangzeb, the Nizam, Savanur Nawab, Satara Chatrapati and finally the British. The major attractions are Gol Gumbaz, Jumma Masjid, Mallik e Maidan,Ibrahim Rauza,Upli Burz,Bara Kaman. A lot of Tongas are available which can show you all the places at a minimal price.

Gol Gumbaz is the mausoleum of Mohammed Adil Shah, Sultan of Bijapur and was completed in 1656 by the architect Yaqut of Dabul. Its the second largest dome and largest unsupported dome in the world.

Gol Gumbaz

Photo of Bijapur, Karnataka, India by Some Aditya Mandal

Ibrahim Rauza , contains the tombs of Ibrahim Adil Shah II and his wife.

Photo of Bijapur, Karnataka, India by Some Aditya Mandal

It took about 4hrs to see the entire Bijapur by Tonga , and then i took an evening train to my next destination Badami.

I woke up early next morning such that i can cover all the three places around Badami - Aihole , Pattadakal and the Badami Cave temples. The local bus took around 1.5 hrs to reach Aihole which around 30 kms from Badami Bus Stand.

Day 4

Aihole was established in 450 CE as first capital of Chalukya kings and has about 125 stone temples sprawling across the village, some of which were constructed as experimental structures by artisans of Chalukyan period. The must visits are Durga Temple,Huchimalli Temple and Ravalphadi Cave Temple dedicated to Lord Shiva.

Durga Temple Complex

Photo of Aihole, Karnataka, India by Some Aditya Mandal

My next stop was Pattadakal which is another 1/2 hr bus journey from Aihole towards Badami.

Pattadakal is the historical location where Badami Chalukya kings were crowned as it was considered a holy place. Vijayaditya was the first ruler to be crowned here at "Pattadakisuvolal" at the start of 7th century AD. It was the capital of the Chalukya dynasty of Karnataka in Southern India between the 6th and 8th centuries and it was during this period temples were constructed.

Pattadakal Temple Complex is an UNESCO inscribed World Heritage Site

Photo of Pattadakal, Karnataka, India by Some Aditya Mandal

Sculptures inside Virupaksha Temple and they date back to 7th Century.

Photo of Pattadakal, Karnataka, India by Some Aditya Mandal

Mallikarjuna and Kashi Vishwanatha Temple

Photo of Pattadakal, Karnataka, India by Some Aditya Mandal

I was done by noon , and it was time to get back to Badami and explore the Badami Fort and the Cave Temples.

Badami was founded in 540 AD by Pulakeshin I (535-566 AD), and was capital of the Chalukyas between 6CE - 8CE and the rock-cut Badami Cave Temples were sculpted during this period.

Agastya Lake and Badami Cave Temples from Badami Fort

Photo of Badami, Karnataka, India by Some Aditya Mandal

From the museum you can take left and there's an uphill trail which will take you to the Badami Fort area from where you will get to see the stunning Agastya Lake and Badami Caves.

Upper Shivalaya

Photo of Backpacking across the Forgotten Empires of Karnataka by Some Aditya Mandal

Agastya Lake , Upper Shivalaya and the Badami Fort

Photo of Backpacking across the Forgotten Empires of Karnataka by Some Aditya Mandal

The Badami cave temples are a complex of four Hindu, Jain and possibly Buddhist cave temples. Cave - 1 is dedicated to Lord Shiva , Cave -2 and Cave - 3 are dedicated Lord Vishnu and the 4th Cave dedicated to Tirthankaras of Jains.

4th Cave dedicated to the Tirthankaras

Photo of Backpacking across the Forgotten Empires of Karnataka by Some Aditya Mandal

Third Cave dedicated to Lord Vishnu

Photo of Backpacking across the Forgotten Empires of Karnataka by Some Aditya Mandal

Bhootnath Temple on the banks of Agastya Lake

Photo of Backpacking across the Forgotten Empires of Karnataka by Some Aditya Mandal

By the evening i have seen all the places and it was time to pack up and board the bus back to Bangalore.

My first solo trip ended in Bangalore next morning and now i have lots of stories to tell. Stories from the pages of history - rise and fall of empires,the raging battles, Stories of the new people i met, new foods i tasted , new experiences i gained - Lots of Stories .

Solo travel gives you ultimate freedom. You wake up and it’s just you,you and you. You can do whatever you want,wherever you want,whenever you want - Go to places you want to, Eat anything you want to , Indulge in activities you want to. You don't need to compromise or sacrifice for anyone.And in this freedom and infinite space of possibility, you meet yourself and that's the best thing.And if you’ve been putting off a trip because you’re waiting for someone to go with — Stop. Just go. Don’t let others hold you back from your dreams. Trust me, along the way you make plenty of friends and it is fun. 

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