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A ride into the stone-age!

8675 Views 16 Replies 10 Participants Last post by  lemmy99
Not a recent ride, but a past one. Encouraged by the comments I got from my last two ride posts- thought to share this one as well. It was a date with the rocks at Belum Caves and Gandikota in Andhra Pradesh to the mystical Hampi ruins in Karnataka. The total distance of the ride came to 2198 kms.

Hope you guys like it.

We were shivering riding throughout the night...thankfully they didn't ;)

At Tawandi Ghat, Karnataka

Just for a casual click

For the love of the lovely roads

Lovely sight that...train passing through the fields

Wish the bikes ran on clean energy too!

Posing by the sunflower fields

Too tired the previous evening after a non-stop ride of nearly 24 hours- we took a stop at a relatives place before we left again:

About to enter the state of Andhra Pradesh

Andhra Pradesh welcomes us with great roads and scenery

Lord Hanuman blessing our bikes, and specially my punctured wheels which was leaking air all the time.

Nearing Belum caves:

Belum caves entrance

Entry to Belum caves (More info about the caves here Belum Caves - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia)

The other smaller pit

Meditation hall

Fountain installed by the Tourism Dept

Walking around

LED strips overhead

Few more images of the cave

...and this is what is over the caves!

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Roads towards Gandikota

The Jamia Masjid with its two minarets

The cloisters around the Jamia Masjid


The Minar of the Jamia Masjid

My friend Shardul on top

The nearly dried up Pennar River more than 300 feet below....but that doesn't take away the tranquility and the scenic beauty of this place.

Twin fortification of the Gandikota Fort

A wider shot

Entrance of Raghunatha Temple

It was disheartening to see such treasured monuments left to wither away.

Coffee break...somewhere near the Andhra-Karnataka Border. The owner of the dhaba offered us a cot to sleep. My friend was suspicious of his hospitality


...and coz of his suspicion I had to keep awake watching while he had a peaceful sleep.

Next time I will shoot all of them. Bloody they were crowing at 2.30 in the night!

Tea break at Kudatini after a ride in thick fog!

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The bikes, the rocky mountains and the reflection in the was a treat to the eye.

Towards Hampi from Kudatini

Water canal before Hampi

160-foot high tower at the entrance of the Virupaksha Temple

Lakshmi the temple elephant of Virupaksha Temple

Artwork at its best!

The Virupaksha (Lord Shiva) Temple

The temple ceilings...colours still intact

The statue's true friend

Dome of the Pampa Devi temple

View of the Virupaksha Temple from Hemakuta Hill

The Kadalekalu (meaning Bengal Gram) Ganesha Temple on Hemakuta Hill

Clusters of temples on the Hemakuta Hill

The Sasivekalu (meaning mustard seed) Ganesha Temple

The long pavilions were shops in the market street. The empty stretch that you see were the actual approach to the Krishna Temple.

Entrance to the Krishna Temple

The Krishna Temple built by the king (Krishnadevaraya) in 1513 AD to celebrate the conquest of the eastern kingdom of Udayagiri or Utkala (in the present day Orissa state).

The gorgeous cloisters of the temple


The twin sisters....the one on the right has cracked due to the sheer weight pressure. On my earlier trip, this one was intact.

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The Queen's bath!

The Talarigatta (means tollgate) Gate

One very noble initiative. The comfortable electric cart carries 10 people- doesn't pollute and kick up dirt like some reckless drivers do with their vehicles. And no parking issues either near the temple! To and fro charges are 20 bucks per person. Wish this is started all over Hampi as for the present ferry to the Vithala Temple. And the best part- operated by women serving them an employment opportunity.

The eastern hall which is called the musicians hall is notable for sculptures of musicians on the pillars. Each of the pillars surrounding this hall is sculptured with musicians, drummers and dancers.

The Vithala Temple Campus

In front of the chariot two elephants are positioned as if they are pulling the chariot. In fact these elephants where brought from elsewhere and positioned here at a later stage. Originally two horses were carved in that position. The tails and the rear legs of the horses can be still seen just behind these elephant sculptures.

Though the chariot is not resting on it, the four giant wheels attached mimic the real life ones complete with the axis shafts & the brakes.

The Maha-Mandapa (meaning great hall). Under repairs at the moment.

The overwhelming carved pillars

The southern hall dominated with the rampant mythical creatures called Yalis on the outer pillars.

The Ganigitti (meaning ‘the oil women's) temple

Carving of Bheema inside the complex

Carvings of Draupadi tying her hair. Bheema slaying Kichaka who tried to molest Draupathi is depicted next to it.

The Monolith Bull near the foothills of Mathanga

One of the important locations mentioned in the Hindu mythology, Ramayana. The place was the hermitage of Sage Mathanga. Monkey prince Bali killed a buffalo demon called Dundhuvi and threw the corps on to the sacred Mathanga hill. Angry at this act, sage Mathanga cursed Vali that he could never venture on to this hill.

The climb up to Mathanga Hill

I wish Sage Mathanga cursed that like Bali, no monkey would be able to get on top of the hill. They're a menace trying to pull people's bags for food and water. A stick in hand is more than enough to keep these restless souls away!

Aerial view of Hampi Market and Virupaksha premises

The rocky of the best views of Hampi

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Idol of Laxmi Narasimha sitting on the coil of Seshnaag!

The Badavilinga Temple. This is the largest monolithic Linga in Hampi. Located next to the Narasimha statue the Linga is housed inside a chamber with an opening in the front.A close look on this icon can reveal three eyes (depicting the three eyes of Siva) carved on it. Legend has it that this was commissioned by a peasant woman and hence the name (Badva means poor in local tongue).

The cart ride again next morning

The Kudregombe Mantapa

One of the temples in the Vishnu Temple Complex

The King's Balance also called as Tula Bhara or Tula Purushadana, the king used to weigh himself with gold, gems, silver and precious stones, and distributed to the priests.

The flowing waters at the back end of the Vithala Temple

The Purandara Dasa Mantapa where Purandara Dasa known as the "father of Carnatic Music" lived.

Exteriors of the Vithala Temple

Bidding adieu to the magnificient Vithala Temple!

Bikes enjoying a few moments of peace!

A few shots of the river...wish it had more water! The coracles no matter in operation :( Now substituted by motorboats!

The remains of the Queen's Palace in the Zenana enclosure- a secluded area reserved for the royal women.

The Lotus Mahal aka Chitragani Mahal or Kamal Mahal, most probably this was a socializing area for the women folks in the royal family.

The beautifully constructed archway!

The Elephants Stable! This long building with a row of domed chambers was used to ‘park’ the royal elephants.

Can't help taking another click of the Lotus Mahal!

The Hazara Rama Temple. It used to be a private temple for the king, or at the most, the royal family. The temple got its name Hazara Rama (a thousand Rama) owing to this multitude of these Ramayana panels on its walls.

Highlights of the Ramayana Epic are carves on the walls all around.

The sanctum though closed at the moment

Stunning...just stunning.

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The Mahanavami Dibba (the House of Victory). King Krishnadevaraya constructed this in commemoration on the victory over Udaygiri.

Steps leading to the top!

The platform looks plain from the distance...get closer and the treat starts! Just fabulous.

The king used this platform to watch the army march-pasts, war games, aquatic sports, shows of the royal animals, musical performances and also the most important Navarathri celebrations.

Probably this was used as a service staircase during the ceremonies.

Atop the Mahanavami Dibba

King Krishnadevaraya graces Hampi again, this time in RJays Riding Gear ;)

The stepped tank...much deeper than it actually looks!

The aqueducts that flush water into the stepped tank

This speaks volumes about human ingenuity and dedication. A series of holes were made on the surface of the rock (along the line of cut). Then they pegged dry wooden pieces into it. Over these pegs water is poured to soak it. The wood expands slowly by absorbing water and the sheer force of these tiny peg in a row made the rock crack apart. Once the crack was developed and the rock split, it was the job of elephants and men to move them the construction site.

The most painful part of the journey...bidding goodbye to enchanting Hampi, but with a hopeful promise to return again. Its not a place you can explore and understand in a single visit.

Back on the runway called NH4...the CBRs showed us as to why its a highway star.

And that was our route. Thanks for the patience of going through this huge bunch of pictures ;)

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Thanks, once again, for inviting the rest of us to join you vicariously on your trip! The temples, cloisters, other structures and raised-relief carvings all appear to be marvels of inspired engineering and very reminiscent of the best of Greco-Roman work. What is the approximate time-frame for the structures and art shown in your photos? Was there a Greek influence, or vice versa?
I doubt any greek influence. Though you can read more about it here:

Vijayanagara architecture - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Hampi - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
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Excellent report again and some stunning craftsmanship there (that chariot for example blew me away:eek:).

Oh, and don't take elephant photo!:p
Yeah I have been to Hampi three times now and still can't get enough of it.

BTW yes...the elephant is not allowed to be clicked- got that shot from a distance away. But the hypocrisy here is- it has been shown in a movie- don't remember the name, but it stars Jackie Chan.
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