Monday, August 31, 2015

Rain in the Ruins [Part 2]

First read the Part 1 before continuing here.

That was basically our first day at Hampi, now let me start with the details of Day 2. One of the auto drivers had promised that he would be taking us to the Anjanadri temple in the morning. This place is considered to be the birth place of Lord Hanuman whose mother is Anjana. He wanted us to see the temple and the Sun rising from the mountains. After climbing 575+5 steps (he had claimed 575) to reach the temple, we realized that we were late for the sunrise by 10-15 minutes. The first rays of the Sun had already brightened the Earth.

Late for Sunrise   Anjanadri temple

But we did enjoy standing atop the mountains and watching the ruins of Hampi. We met many monkeys here.

Monkeys enjoying   Monkeys shrugging away

There were monkeys of all kinds as expected. No, I didn’t expect anything of such sort. Of course not. Who do you think I’m? A primatologist? Or maybe I’m. Most of the monkeys were young and naughty (I like naughty ones). Some were mothers teaching their kids. Some were old and a few of them were handicapped. A monkey and I sort of connected emotionally and we spoke to each other for a while. I guess he tried telling me his hardships and I could do nothing but listen. I wonder sometimes why my mum was always scared if I would pick up kids from the street and call them my siblings.

Discussing hardships

While I was doing this serious discussion, He and Marcos were doing wonderful photography on the mountains. They were also jumping from one mountain to the other, meditating, exercising, taking pictures and discussing Physics (maybe not!). To me, it was a nice noise in the background.

Meditating   Taking pictures

Panoramic view from Anjanadri hilltop

We came back from the temple and finished our breakfast with a few monkeys roaming around the shed where the breakfast was being served. The plan for the rest of the day was to go to Badami, Pattadakal and Aihole. We had requested a taxi to take us to these places. It arrived so late to pick us up that by that time, we had roamed around the hotel at least twice. There were fountains, a lake and an empty swimming pool. And a lot of monkeys who chased us all the time (as if you needed reminding of them any more).

Water fountain

Leaf house

Scared to walk

It was very hot when we started our day but our taxi driver was quite entertaining and he didn’t allow us time to think of the heat. He told me that he is a huge fan of Salman Khan (have heard of his huge fan following but after listening to him, felt it too!) and watches his movies many times and he was looking forward to ‘Bajrangi Bhaijaan’. What a masala Hindi movie that is but I liked it. Smile Both of us recalled all the good Hindi movies from the 90’s. He spoke in a very funny accented Hindi (dialect). He asked me who this foreigner was (looking at Marcos), what was he doing with us and whether he was married and had children. I guess he wanted to share his personal story, the fact that he was married and had a daughter. He had a very nice collection of songs in his taxi. He handed over a small remote asking me to change the songs whenever I find them boring. And so, in a short time (it felt that way), we reached Badami.

A Salman Khan fan

After a quick lunch, we headed towards the famous cave temples of Badami. The caves were divided into four regions and were carved out of Sandstone. It was necessary to climb stairs to get to the caves in each region. The first (lowest) cave was dedicated to Lord Shiva and his beautiful incarnation as Nataraja. The next cave was dedicated to Lord Vishnu.

Inside cave 1   Cave 2 (probably)

Dharmesh and I didn’t climb up after these first two caves as we felt too full after lunch. We sat there enjoying the games those omni-present monkeys were playing and the lake situated beside this unique temple.

Monkey - Planning   Monkey - Analyzing

Lake near Badami caves

Marcos went ahead to the caves higher up and came back to report that the 3rd cave was again dedicated to Shiva and Vishnu but the 4th one was dedicated to Jainism. It apparently has one of the oldest Jain monuments from 6th-7th century. He was treated like a celebrity here too and people asked us to take their photos with him.

Inside cave 3 (?)   Inside cave 4 (Paraswanath?)

We then left for Pattadakal. After a bumpy ride to the place, we reached a group of temples there. We were able to comprehend and appreciate the differences between Hampi, Badami and Pattadakal’s architecture by now. It was interesting to know how the architecture changed with each passing city.

Wondering me   One of the many temples in Pattadakal

Panoramic view of Pattadakal temples

It goes without saying that we had some light-hearted moments here too… Have a look at what Dharmesh was doing here:

Open air house   Trying to hide in a stone house

As you can see, we were going inside and coming out of different temples when all of a sudden the weather changed and it started raining in the ruins (again!) of Pattadakal. We waited for a long time inside one of the temples for the rain to stop but it didn’t so we dashed for the exit and got drenched. At least our driver was smart enough to bring the taxi right in front of the gate when he saw us running towards it.

We did pass through Aihole but there was no time left to go inside the temples so we just admired them from outside. We had a simple dinner on our way back to the hotel in a highway-side restaurant, which didn’t have anything substantial on offer apart from rice! But it had A/C and we didn’t have much of an appetite so we had whatever they could arrange and landed in our hotel a bit late. We agreed we had a great time (partly thanks to the driver; more of his contributions coming up in Part 3!) and that now was a good time to sleep marking the end of our second day at Hampi.

A very special dedication to the squirrels at the Anjanadri temple:

Adorable Squirrel   Attentive Squirrel

Animated Squirrel