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Team outing

Heritage Hampi – Day 2

Read the first part here …

Day 2 – Began on a relaxed note. Got ready and spent some time at the dormitory, clicking pics and admiring the surroundings!

We started after having our breakfast.Most of us had no more enthu to walk. So, we moved from place to place in our vehicle. The heat felt really oppressive and we were happy to get into the vehicle and get moving …to get some wind in our hair! 🙂

The first stop was the Queen’s bath. Spent a good amount of time looking around and in photo sessions!

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Queen’s bath
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A view from inside of Queen’s bath..

Next was the Mahanavami dibba…

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The door of the royal palace; made of granite..
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The Mahanavami dibba.. the stage from where the royal family watched the festivities. Intricate carvings all around the stage – elephants, dancing figures, horses and women warriors..

A view from atop the Mahanavami dibba…

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Sites marking the remains of the palaces and other buildings around the Mahanavami dibba…
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The famed step well!

We then moved on to see the Lotus Mahal and the elephant stables..

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Lotus mahal
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The elephant stable

Next stop was the Hazara Rama temple…

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The sthambha/ pillar in front of the Hazara Rama temple, Carvings on the outer wall,Carvings on the top and the temple entrance..
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Inside the Hazara Rama temple complex… Carvings on the walls – depictions from the Ramayana

Followed by these famous temples..

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Clockwise from top left – Jalakanteshwara temple, Ugra Narasimha temple, KadaleKaaLu Ganesha temple…the team in discussion with our guide.., view from there and the main deity Ganesha
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A temple gopura seen from the Ganesha temple. The huge rocks and rocky terrain evident all around..

After this, we headed for lunch, we had a simple but very tasty local fare at one of the khanavalis!! Jolada rotti, chutney pudi, palya, mosaranna, majjige ; all typical items from the North Karnataka cuisine that I love!! 🙂 Was glad that everyone else enjoyed the food too, except for a couple of them, for whom the spice quotient was a bit too high.

Post lunch, we decided to take a break and headed to the bridge over the Tungabhadra river. While most enjoyed the view… few among us decided to go on a coracle ride. I decided to sit on the edge dipping my feet in the super cool waters !! It was thoroughly refreshing!

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The Tungabhadra river

Relaxed and refreshed, we later headed to the Anjanadri parvatha, considered to be the birthplace of lord Hanuman. We climbed around 500 steps reach the temple atop the hill. I was the last one to reach! Nevertheless, I felt blessed to have been able to do that… quite an unthinkable feat for a person who has recovered from a debilitating case of rheumatoid arthritis!

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The glorious sunset from atop Anjanadri parvatha

We then headed back to our dormitory, freshened up, packed and started on our journey back to Bengaluru. The trip was a memorable one for many reasons. And, I’m glad that I could make it!!

Now, super glad that I could write this all down, thanks to the ABC Wednesdays series and my resolve to participate as much as possible! It was tough to select a few pics among the whole lot, which was one of the reasons why I never got down to writing this post. Hope you all like the selection!

Linking this one also to the letter H at ABC Wednesdays.

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Heritage Hampi!

Hampi is located in North Karnataka, within the Vijayanagara ruins, which are a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Vijayanagar was one of the richest and largest cities in the world during its prime. [ around 1500 AD]

It was a long time wish of mine to visit this historic place. I’d read about it in my school history lessons… and, hailing from Karnataka, it felt natural to want to see Hampi and revel in its glory!! I’d also heard from friends that its a beautiful place to visit.

Click on the link to read more about Hampi.

So, when the travel enthu gang from office was planning for the next trip, we zeroed in on Hampi !! And, I for one was surely super excited about the trip… for myself as well as for a dear friend for whom it was going to be the first trip leaving her daughter in charge of the dad! She was nervous as well but wanted a much needed break.

We started on a Friday evening, traveled some 350 kms to reach Hampi the next morning. Excitement began as soon as we reached. We had to cross the river in order to get to our place of stay. The ferry that took us across carried people and two wheelers as well. Looked like it was the most convenient and preferred way with the locals as well. There was always a sizable crowd waiting for the lone ferry that made several trips between the banks each day.

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The Tungabhadra river…

We were lodged in a dormitory style accommodation. It was a nice place surrounded by trees and greenery, which was in stark contrast to the largely rocky landscape of Hampi.

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On day 1, we walked for the most part, though it was quite sunny and hot. The Kuduregombe mantapa, Pushkarini, Vijaya Vittala Temple complex, the Virupaksha temple all stand testimony to the grandeur of the city that was! The structures are all a mix of the old parts and the new stone pillars that have been added to resurrect these.

I’ll let the pictures do the talking!

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The Kuduregombe mantapa
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The Pushkarini
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The Vijaya Vittala temple. And inside the temple complex.
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The famed Stone Chariot
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The Gopura of the main temple in the complex.
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The rocky terrain..opposite Sugreev’s cave

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Amazed to see some tour the place on bicycles! The rocks prominent in the background..
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Purandaradasa mantapa
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Virupaksha temple

We also visited a museum that housed the pics of Hampi, taken when the ruins were first discovered. Moving about these places, the mind was filled with wonder and I found myself thinking about the kind of life the people of Hampi had led and about the things that I recalled having read in my History books!

By evening most of us were dead tired. On reaching our place of stay, we freshened up a bit and then crashed onto the bed 🙂 Got up after relaxing for a couple of hours and then just lazed around for sometime until dinner. One group was enthu enough to cut short the relaxation and make the most of the trip! In fact, it was their excited shrieks that kinda forced the rest of us to get out of the cozy comfort of our beds 🙂

Post dinner, we chatted some, read some… still dazed from all the activity of the day. However, a round of Poker made us all sit up and shake off our inertia. We retired to bed around midnight.

to be continued..

This is my entry for the letter H at ABC Wednesday!

 

Just like that!

Well… life did become easier after D returned but I became busier too… Personal unread emails are piling up, the list of blog posts to be read is huge.. and growing by the day!

The role I am in now in my current job requires me to deal with a lot of email… never before have i had such an experience! Feel overwhelmed at times.. but then its kind of challenging as well. And, I’m trying hard to do justice to whatever it is that I need to do.. Haven’t felt this way in a long time.

But then there was a welcome break.. a much needed one. Last Friday, we had a team outing to Club Cabana, to celebrate 2 years of our company’s existence. Here, the team refers to all the people in our office 🙂 It was great fun.. especially since its a fun loving team and also, I went on a team outing after a long time… after 4 years I guess..

The next day, we were off to Mysore.. the annual trip during Dasara. This time the whole family planned to go and there was much excitement and anticipation. Sadly, Sis 2 fell sick and even though she came, she didnt have the energy to go around the city with us. She didnt do anything much except taking rest for all the 4 days that we were in Mysore, except on one evening when we went to the Dasara exhibition.

Apart from the usual roaming on the superbly lit city streets and visiting the Dasara exhibition, one afternoon we went to the Chamundi hills to see the Nandi.  This huge sculpture of Nandi is made from a single rock of Granite. This outing was quickly planned, thanks to Adi’s desire to see Mysore from  hilltop! Funny thing is he did not, at first, realize that we were on the top of the hill !! Well, funny for us.. but I guess that’s how kid’s minds work.

Later, we went near Lalitha Mahal palace. The jogging tracks, the greenery and the helipad… the kids running around in that open space and sis 1 running , playing with the kids.. made it an unforgettable outing that day!!

In all, it was a memorable Dasara vacation. But when I came back to all the pending work, it almost made me feel never to go on a vacation again! Anyway, that’s another story… 😀 Perhaps, its a learning experience as well.. on how to get better at managing stuff..

P.S: I’m going to hit publish, as is. Excuse the typos or errors if any. Pleaseeee 🙂

Good old days :)

Just when we think that we’ve settled … change happens and we need to move on! This is the only constant thing in life… isnt it? Yet.. we resist change and try hard to retain some of the charm from the ‘good old days’ and get all nostalgic at the slightest opportunity 🙂

Well, personally i’m not resisting change… its just that I’ve been seeing everyone around me in that mode, for sometime now. The project that i was in, is officially finished now and all the team mates have been moved to different teams. Everyone was skeptical about what awaited them and the kind of team they would be in. Few of them were luckier to get into one project and they are together now. However, most of them have not yet got comfortable with their new work environments. And each one misses the camaraderie that was!!

Sharing a few pics form our trip to Kodaikanal in May 2009 🙂

En route to Kodai
Suns rays!
Capturing the beauty!
Overcast sky...@ Kodai lake
The monsoon is here!
the boat ride 🙂
Cycling in the rain!
Indoor fun!!
Fresh and bright... the next morning 🙂
Walking the ramp!
Guys.. silhouetted against the blue sky
Pine forest
Pine Forest - another view!
The hills...
The valley...
The clouds... closing in
The scene... just moments later
Sepia effect... naturally!

On our way back to B’lore, we celebrated a dear team mate’s birthday at midnight, 1st of June. Today, wishing him a great birthday and lots of fun in the year ahead 🙂

Ghatikallu

Ghatikallu lies in a remote corner of Chikkamagalur district; around 300 kms from Bangalore. Be warned…  only BSNL signal is available there!

We started from here at midnight. En route, we played the ever popular Anthakshari and when our voices went hoarse.. we settled down to watch 3 idiots! Many of them dozed off … but me and 2 others next to me were wide awake even after the movie got over :(. After chatting for sometime, eventually, we fell asleep at day break. Drifting between sleep and consciousness… i watched the sun rise, the mist clear and the green fields and faraway hills.

We had estimated the journey to be of about 6 hours. However, due to some snag in the vehicle, we reached the Ghatikallu homestay only by 8.30. Though the whole place was surrounded by trees and plantations, we could feel the heat.. maybe it was not the best time to visit the place. But then the coffee blooms were all over the place lending a heady fragrance to the atmosphere. I had never seen the blooms, though i had travelled many times through such places. I savored the beauty of the place… all the while trying to recollect the names of familiar looking trees 🙂 and also consciously taking in the fragrance so that i could make it last in my memory!
Sprinkler in the coffee plantation!

We quickly freshened up and had our breakfast. The first trip was to the waterfall; we were taken in 2 of their vehicles, through winding roads that all looked the same to us!  If left to ourselves, we could easily get lost in such a place!! After a 30 minutes drive, we reached the waterfall (the top from where the water fell). This waterfall is within the private property and so at that point of time, we had it all for ourselves :). Then we trekked downwards through the bushes to reach the bottom where it formed a pond.

Moving cautiously...

The cool water was very inviting.. in fact, by the time i reached the pond, most of them had already hit the waters and had swam to the other end, under the falling water! We wallowed in the waters for almost 2 hours. The swimmers in the team had a field day… and since we all had been provided with life jackets, everyone dared to go upto the waterfall, except me 😦 . I went as far as my feet could feel the ground.. no further. I dared not take a risk even when everyone assured me that i could do it.. and there was nothing to fear with so many people around. Well, i just refused to budge, no matter what. That is, until i was physically frisked away by two teammates! So there… i too did it. Though scared to bits, i was happy .. it was indeed an experience not to be missed 🙂

The waterfall!
Fun under the falling water!

Reluctantly, we left the waters to go back for lunch.

After some rest at the home stay, we went to the sunset point. We reached around 5.30 and waited for the sun to set… in the meantime exploring the surroundings and taking pictures of the lovely landscape! We could hear the roar of a waterfall nearby, but could not actually see it. We sat down to wait for the sunset and were treated to a couple of lovely songs by one of our teammates. Finally, the sun descended beyond the hills .. offering a picturesque view!
Watching the sunset..
Splendid !!
The drive back was awesome. We, some 10 of us were seated in the open part at the back of the vehicle; me and 2 others stood up as the van went down the winding roads. With, the breeze hitting our faces and we going oooh..aaah.. in chorus, it was one hell of a roller coaster ride 🙂
Back in our room, we sat down for a few rounds of cards, sipping tea. Later, a bonfire was arranged in the open space, in front of our rooms. Though hardly the weather for a bonfire, there was something charming and inviting about it. We sat in chairs around the bonfire, under a clear sky, with a million stars twinkling above… it was as if we could just reach out and touch them!
We were to have a dance party around the bonfire.. but the CD player, that was playing fine till then, started acting up 😦 After failed attempts to make it behave, we settled for dumb charades.We continued for some time after dinner. Just when it looked that we could have a dance party after all… the CD player again went bonkers. Dejected, most of the guys went to their rooms downstairs. Secretly though, they must have been glad to get on with their booze party! The teetotalers decided to hit the sack.
But we ladies, even though we were tired from all the activity,  didnt give up. Finally, tired of being tinkered with, the CD player gave in! And then the 7 of us… had a blast… dancing away at midnight, right beneath the twinkling stars!! It was fantabulous… the ladies dance party 🙂

Next morning we were to start early for a trek. But none seemed to be enthusiastic about it… due to exertion of the previous day and also the hot weather. So we settled down for a leisurely morning! Some warmed up with a game of badminton while few others sat at the carom board. After breakfast, we were taken to a ‘view point’ which offered a magnificent view of the valley surrounded by the ghats! Though it felt quite hot and humid, we explored a bit and took turns posing for photographs 🙂

The dining area
Game anyone?
At the carom board..
Tiny wild flowers..
On our way back, we stopped at an old temple.
The temple.. silhouetted against the blue sky!
An artificial tank beside the temple..
After lunch, we had a small break and then packed up for the return journey. On the way we had a scheduled stop at the
neighbouring Kelagur tea estate. Going in..we were surrounded by beautiful landscape. Walking through the tea plants, we were
mesmerised by the beauty, and again went click..click ..click 🙂
Tea garden!
Little boys posing for a picture!
Serene view
We were treated to bhajjis and tea at the Kelagur tea point; it was a nice send off gesture by the hosts!
On the journey back, most of them just wanted to relax. The rest, had fun with cards for sometime. After dinner though, we were all just eagerly wanting to reach home and tried to get some sleep. I have mostly observed that, no matter what fun you have on a trip, once you set on your return journey, you want nothing but to get back to sweet home as fast as possible!!
All in all it was a fun trip, in the midst of nature!!
Pretty..pretty!
P.S: One person from the homestay accompanied us on all our tours. He was a guide as well as a photography enthusiast! All these pictures were taken by him using a DSLR camera. I had a tough time selecting these out of the 800 odd, high resolution pictures, that he shared with us!!!

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