Post Trip Mail - Hampi on Wheels - 14th & 15th September, 2013

Saturday, November 9, 2013
Post Trip Writeup Priyanka Ramakrishnan

I was at home surfing through the channels and my phone started buzzing . It was Nivya , the organizer . She said she was waiting outside my apartment in her scooter to take me to the post trip meet up and as i hurried downstairs to the parking lot , i wondered whether it really has been two weeks since i came back home . As i was longing to meet them all , i remembered how nervous i was when i first met them all in the central just two weeks before . 

I was walking towards higginbothams along with my mother , yes with my mother . As this was to be my first trip with CTC , she wanted to make sure i wasn't making it all up . She left only after interrogating Nivya and Bharathy . We made our way to our train and found our compartments and took our seats . Changed trains later on in the night . As we were in a hurry , we were literally running with all the baggage . We had our dinner in an empty berth . And i couldnt help smiling the way they fought over the food , i understood how alien i must have seen to all of them . And everyone went back to their respective compartments . And as for me , i shared my compartment with Bharathy , Navanee , Muthu and Murthy sir . I was wide awake through out the night . Got down at Hospet and found the van which was waiting for us . As we went we saw people emulsifying Ganesha idols , which i have seen only in tv . And reached our hotel soon after and it was just as i had thought for it to be . Went to the terrace above the restaurant and had a cup of milk looking at the beautiful sight of the Virupaksha temple and the Tungabhadra river on the other side . And after getting fresh , had a delicious breakfast and started out on our respective cycles to explore . 

And made our way to the Virupaksha temple where our guide Ravi was waiting . And then went to the Kadlekalu Ganapathi (which was the most enormous , i have ever seen) . And continued exploring other temples like Krishna temple , Badavi Linga , Ugra Narasimha , Secret chamber and the underground Siva temple . And unfortunately , i fell ill that i had to excuse myself and went back to the hotel . After they came back in the night , they told me that they went to the Pushkarni . That was the place i was looking forward to go the most . I had my dinner rather quite and slept off as soon as i reached the room . Others had planned to go up the the steepy hill for clicking pictues of the sunrise , which i opted out as i thought i should rather reserve my energy for later on in the day . I understood what a great mistake i had done as i saw some of the pictures clicked in the morning . Had a yummy breakfast and started early to the Vittala temple which had the most beautiful pillars and statues . And moved on to the Achutaraya temple , which was another spendid work . 


And then we went to the King's balance , Lotus mahal and the Queen's bath . We bid adieu to Ravi who had been a great guide . And , finally we went back to the hotel to have lunch . And after having a satisfying lunch , we boarded 3 share autos . And it was a long journey to the Tungabhadra dam , at least tht's how i felt . I was left dumbstruck when i saw the dam with a glimpse of the sunset's reflection . Tht's when i admitted to myself that registering for this trip was the best ever decision i have taken in a long time .

I wish to thank everyone who were a part of this wonderful trip and also going easy on me and caring for me like one big family . Thanks to Raji and Bharathy for being so supportive , for Dominic and PVS sir for being such a great inspiration .Thanks to Prabhakar sir for making sure that the last person was still following the route , which was me on both days . I don't know how long i would have taken to reach the top of the steepy hills without the help of Muthu , Deepak and Mohan .

And finally i would like to thank the organizers - Nivya and Navanee for executing such a well planned trip . I was very much afraid as of how they (Nivya , Prabhakar and Navanee) would react if i told them that i need to go back to the hotel . But they were very understanding which was a huge surprise to me .

And a special thanks , once again to Muthu , Navanee , Bharathy and Gowtham for putting up with me on the chattering part on the train to and fro ..

Write up by Dominic 
Finally the calendar showed the date as 13th Sept 2013.....the day has finally come... 90 days of waiting and years of yearning to see HAMPI has finally come..... The trip “HAMPI ON WHEELS” was organized by CTC, that means everything will be double !!! double excitement !! double fun !!! double masti !!!

As usual CTC organizers plan everything well in advance and also execute it to perfection, this trek was no different ....I joined the group who were waiting near Higginbotham’s book stall near platform 3 (stressing this as I knew of only one stall which is near to platform 9 or 10). 

By 4.30pm, the group was on its way to Tirupathi to complete the first leg of the trip. The train to Hospet got delayed by an hour and we didn’t have any other option but to pace up and down the platform but that also became boring and starting to pulling each other legs and crack jokes to while away the time.

Finally, the train arrived and we all got in and found our allocated berths. Thanks to Nivya, the pains she took to book the tickets, ensured that we all got his/her perfect berth.

After sometime call for dinner came and we all assembled near a vacant berth to have dinner, which was mostly bread, jam, butter etc. This was first time probably I was having bread sandwiches for dinner, but didn’t care as the company was more important than the food.

The train reach Hosepet by 5.30 am and we all boarded a minibus waiting for us at the station and we all on our way to Hampi which is about 30min drive. Also, on the way,we got to see the auspicious occasion of Ganesha idols immersion....a pulayar suli for our trip what do ya say??As written before the organiser have taken care everything, the breakfast too was planned to perfection, aloo partha with curd along with yummy spicy chutney was served ....a welcome break from idli, dosa, pongal, vada etc.

After finishing breakfast it was time for “HAMPI ON WHEELS”, everyone got into his/her bicycle and we were off to see the magnificent temple and palaces accompanied by our Guide , Mr. Ravi an extremely charming and courteous person.

Our first Stop was the imposing Virupaksha temple, were we spent the forenoon going around and clicking the huge and massive work of Dravidian architecture.  We came to know from Ravi really interesting facts like fictitious animals which are combination of 6 or 7 animals and painting on the temples ceiling which are about 500 years old.....also clicked the every flowing, cool Tungabadra river.Also we got see monolithic statute of Kadalekalu Ganesha (biggest one ever found), Trikutachala Temples etc.
We returned for lunch and we were about to doze off that call came that we are moving for more sightseeing then came the biggest challenge of the day to climb an steep stretch by cycle which only three in group made it. Rest of us have to make it only by walking up and pushing our cycles

If the climb made us breathless the temple architecture and amazing monolithic sculptures made us speechless. We were taken around Krishna’s Temple, Balavilinga, Lakshmi Narasimha, secret chamber, underground siva temple and finally got to see the fabled STEPPED TANK.

 Our Guide Ravi was very co-operative and would answer all our questions patiently and gave answers for almost everything and at one point he seem to be a walking encyclopaedia about Hampi, so I decide to test him showing a picture of a strange sculpture which I clicked in the underground Shiva temple which of a sage like person in mediation sitting on a fish for which Ravi replied “department is doing research to find out who that person is...”. we may not score many, but when we score we score big !!!!

Mostly, Ravi will start his description with “this was built in 13th or 14th century by Krishnadevaraya of Vijayanagar Dynasty .......and end with destroyed by invaders”
 We got back our rooms exhausted and had a quiet diner and hit the sack but rest of the group were in high spirits and were chatting, I was told till wee hours of the night.

Next day, the group got up early and went for sunrise photography, pity I could not join them as sprit was willing but flesh was weak!!!  felt real bad I was not there... when I saw the pictures which were clicked ....really missed this one.
At the breakfast table, idlis made their appearance finally, anyway it was delicious and we were off to Vitthala Temple which had amazing architecture notably a monolith nandi statute and later we went to click the sculptures of Achyutaraya Temple.
We walked on banks of the Tungabadra river and got to see Kings balance, Stone Chariot etc and then did the same back breaking climb by cycle to see the Lotus Mahal, Queens Bath etc.

 Nivya was constantly urging to wind up as time was running out and the group was not finishing its clicking and as we still have one last monument left, the Tungabadra Dam.

Being Organizer, one need to be strict sometimes but poor Nivya during these two day the only two words she spoke was “wanga pogalam” . So others have no other choice but to listen to her.

We all board 3 share auto after finishing a sumptuous lunch and we were off to see the Tungabadra Dam. Really awesome to see such a large body of water almost looked like sea...and it seems the when the dam was build many people from Tamil Nadu came to build it and eventually settled down there in nearby vicinity, hence you can see many signboard having Tamil names.

After clicking the breathtaking view of the dam and taking group pictures we started back to our guest house to board the 10pm train from Hospet to Tirpathi and from Tirupathi to Namma Chennai.
 Through this writeup, I wish to thank each one of you especially who joined the group for the very first time Navaneethan, Priyanka, Deepak, Prabhakar, Varun, Dr. Ashok, Raji, Santhosh, Senthil and PVS Kumar (is not new but not old) for making this trip a very memorable one.

Many thanks to Navaneethan and Prabhakar for their co-ordination efforts, and before I finish this write-up, I wish to express my most sincere appreciation for the efforts  taken Ms. Nivya to organize such a well planned trip which won’t have been possible if she had not sacrificed her personal time.

Also, from my side I can only say that my co-operation will always be there and will participate willing in any activity assigned to me.  And looking forward for more Heritage treks.

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