Friday, October 31, 2014

On The Road Diary - Day 2, Badami at sunrise

October 24, 2014, Badami
Woke up and hit the caves parking space by 640. The parking attendant was there already. Good work ethic. We walked through the gate that leads to the other side of the Badami town, and into the slum. Small lanes, pigs, children, people with mugs heading out into the hills. But there is some quiet dignity about this survival of the pigs, the filth, lack of space. Its theirs you know, and that feeling seeps through. They are not occupying someone else's space. Anyway we walked through the slum full of women washing clothes, utensils and through soapy water until we hit the other side of the horseshoe. The walk is about 10 minutes from the caves.
Sunrise over the Agasthya lake

First up comes the museum. This is below the Badami fort on the Northern side (the Southern side fort called Ranamandalkote is on the rock cut caves side which looks more daunting). This fort is called Bavanabandekote or the 52 rock fort.
The museum is shut on Friday
It was shut because it was a Friday and anyway it opens only at 9 am. But they say its worth a watch if you have the time. We didn't.
Beautiful banyan witnessing much beauty
Then we walk onto the ghat by the side of the Agasthya lake. Tranquil. At the bottom end of the Agastyateertha lake are the Bhuthanatha temples. They are spectacular standing in the lake as they are. Pic below.
Fine temple beside the ghat
They are not live. After a few minutes rest at the ghat steps we headed back. To the right was the 52 rock fort and the temples atop it. Temples on the Northern fort include Upper Shivalaya temple, Lower Shivalaya temple and Malegitti Shivalaya temple. Get it - these kings were more into Shaivism in their later stages.
The Bhuthanatha temple in the lake 
The walk would have taken an hour. And consumed much of my energy. I needed to see Patadakkal and Aihole and then speed off to Amboli in the western ghats for the evening rendezvous.
Entrance (and exit) to this part of Badami's cave temples
We chose to save our energies and come back some other day.

We headed back to Mayura and ate a hearty breakfast. Toast and omelette. Idly and vada. Never tasted so good. Is it to do with expectations? Or just good service? Checked out of the hotel and bade warm good bys to Mr. Sankh and headed straight towards Patadakkal. On the way we stopped at the Mahakuta temple for 15 minutes. Its 16 kms from Badami.
Nicely decked up vehicles for Diwali
It’s a live temple but most unusual. There are almost no restrictions. People walked in with chappals right up to the sanctum sanctorium. The temple is famous for its Mahakuteshwara temple dedicated to Lord Shiva.
Courtyard outside the temple, really ancient stuff

Diwali crowds landed up in colourfully decked up vehicles.
Steps leading into the temple
We went in saw a fine Nandi and the shiv linga which everyone was praying to.
The imposing temple chariot
I stayed outside. It’s a beautiful temple, tranquil and non commercial. Just like how temples ought to be.

Don't take that road to Patadakallu!
We had the sense to check with a rickshaw guy about the best route to Patadakkal though there was a road with a sign that said Pataddakal 17 kms. The driver told me not to take that road which was in really bad condition. He told me to take a less bad road some distance ahead. It was pretty bad mind you and took a longish while to cover the 10 kms. After 45 minutes or so we entered the Patadakkal village and headed straight to the main temples.

But that is another story.

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