Tour of Hampi – The Badami Chronicles

We left at 7:00 am from the hotel after a disappointing breakfast of upma and sheera. The bright light and clear air lifted our spirits along the way. A particularly beautiful stretch of shady gulmohars caught our attention and begged for a photo session. After idling away for twenty minutes or so under the trees, we moved on further to Pattadakal.

Pattadakal is a tiny village, about 20 kilometres from Badami, situated on the banks of the Malaprabha river. Its primary attraction are its historic temples from approximately the 7th and 8th centuries, most of which are located inside a UNESCO World Heritage site complex. A solitary Jain temple is located some kilometres away, but built in what looked like similar style. Pattadakal has the unique distinction of being the only spot where temples were built in both, Dravidian and Nagara styles of architecture. After the Chalukya capital was moved here from Badami, royal coronations of the kings were held at the Virupaksha Temple at this site. The road from Badami to Pattadakal is prime back-country. You’ll probably see more goats than humans en route.

By the time we reached here, tt was later in the day than I might have liked. But irrespective of that, the light was still tender and the place not crowded. We took our time to idly browse through the exquisitely carved monuments.

Close to three hours later, when we were finally packing up, the crowds began to flow in. Being holiday season in India, most visitors were families, although we did see some of what looked like college or senior school class groups. The heat had begun to sting by then. We were both unwilling to suffer our way to Aihole in this weather. And by now, I was pretty sick of seeing stone temples. Concrete is where it is.

We turned back towards Badami, calling an end to our sightseeing activities on this trip.

The evening was spent with a leisurely walk through the Badami bazar, ending with idlis and dosas at Geeta Darshini restaurant. This place is not exactly the epitome of hygeine and quality, but the food was surprisingly much better than what we had at any of the star-rated resorts at Badami. Travel continues to surprise me. An early lights out ended the day by 8:00 pm.