Author Archives: Srinivas Kulkarni

About Srinivas Kulkarni

Wandering Thinker, Pondering Writer, Communications Professional, Aspiring Author. Travelogues @ http://srinistuff.com, Personal Blog @ http://srinistuff.in

Route to Kalipokhri Village

Kala Pokhri (3186 m) is a small Himalayan village inside the Singalila National Park in the Darjeeling subdivision, Darjeeling district in the state of West Bengal, India. It lies on the trekking route from Mane Bhanjang to Sandakphu (the highest peak in West Bengal), and is roughly halfway between the steep final stretch of the trek from Gairibas to Sandakphu. “Pokhri” means “lake” and “kala” means “dark” in Nepali, and the village is named after a local lake with dark waters.

It is also the second camps en route the Sandakphu trek in the North Eastern Himalayas where you traverse across Darjeeling and get into some small villages of Nepal and head back into Darjeeling via Gurdum. And yes after you’ve crossed Tumling, you have entered for the first time in Nepal.

Now, for those who have done the trek, would know that the route to Kalapokhri has to be the steepest and one of the higher climbs as compared to any other, until of course you carve your feet out of the Himalayas from there on towards Sandakphu.

This journey is as beautiful as it could get. We started early in the morning, foggy and misty with a lot of silence across this journey. With ocassional rainfall, we did take some small stops before we decided to briskly climb up this route.  Some pictures from that trek.

Kalapokhri, West Bengal, Kanchenjunga, Sikkim, Darjeeling, Nepal, Himalayas

As soon as we left Tumling, we left behind these siblings

 

Nepal, Kalapokhri, Sandakphu, Darjeeling, HImalayas

Following the misty trail across Nepal border

 

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You can see the Indian villages down from up top in Nepal

 

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As you reach Kalapokhri, the ascend gets tougher

On the left side is India and on the right is Nepal

On the left side is India and on the right is Nepal

 

By the time you get to Kalapokhri, you’d be quite tired, but at the same time admire the fascinating and very quiet village, some of them playing Nepali songs on the radio and small huts with people sitting near the fireplace seeking some warmth that you’d end up getting relaxed all by yourself right there… One of the best routes on this trek for sure…

Seeking peace and serenity in Tumling

On one of our trips in the Himalayas, I remember how lines across various borders fade away and depict a path that just goes on beyond just the territories hazed within the minds of people caught in a rut, one that fails to distinguish a beauty of the nature so vast, and enchanting that we always tend to look at terrains as boundaries keep blocking us and our minds.

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Sometimes I wish for that as a traveler to do away with. Most often than none, whenever I take a trek to the Himalayas, an important thing that is always on my mind is to leave behind the clutter and the chaos that this urban mind has always carried around with it’s mundane inglorious life. I try to devise a plan and then I stop and tell myself that it’s not a strategy that I have to pitch to a client, I usually end up thinking twice about things when I’m out here in the city. Out there, I let the nature guide me by it’s own destiny and help me make a better choice with every step that I take in the wilderness of the mountains.

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One such trips was on the way to Sandakphu, where our first pit-stop was a glorious beginning into the Nepal bordering, crossing over Darjeeling and Sikkim the Himalayan regions of Tumling. A small village would be very popular among trekkers who are treading slowly towards Sanadkphu and Phalut. Both destinations which on a clear day, give a peek at the Kanchenjunga and the Mt. Everest, if you’re lucky.  One of the most interesting things that you’ll notice on this path is how serene everything is right from the time you start the trek from Mhanebhanjan, the base camp, usually for all the trekkers who head up to Sandakphu or Phalut.

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The occassional villagers going about their tasks, once in a while the sunlight taking a peak through the dense forests with maple and deodar trees. The ocassional Land rovers shipping food and gas cylinders and other than that there is complete bliss and total serenity. One can only feel an underlying divinity in this path across nature that cannot be described unless you actually go and witness the same.

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One beautiful thing about this place is that it has an arduous look about it the moment you reach the small village. As you settle down and look up at the mountains you will feel the ease of the mountains and the beautiful path that holds a great canvas in front of you, one as a trekker or a mountaineer, you’d be raring to have a go at, painting your journey across the beautiful terrains of these North Eastern Himalayas…

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To the people of Uttarakhand

A couple of years ago, my travel trails took me here…

Rudraprayag

Rudraprayag

Badrinath

Badrinath

Near Badrinath

Astounded with the beauty of the mountains, coupled by the flowing multiple confluences  of the river Ganga along with other rivers such as Alaknanda, Bhagirathi, Mandakini, Pindar this place has an aspiring sense of tranquility and most serene and yet roaring its guts out to engulf you into its madness. Every bit of the road that we traveled back then from Rishikesh to Joshimath to Govindghat to Ghagaria and later on towards Badrinath, we remember being surrounded by the mighty confluences and the flowing water all along. The gutso this river shows as it emerges from the Vishnu Prayag on the Alaknanda river covers a major part of Uttarakhand. We were of course during our journey told that there will be times when we might be in the midst of landslides and we will have all that is needed with the help of the Indian Army / BRO who keep a close watch on such landslides. In fact, there were a couple of occasions when we were stuck and had to make our way walking across the mountains and board another bus to move forward. Another occasion I distinctly remember is our bus swaying while the landslide commenced and narrowly escaping while I could see some rocks and smaller boulders fall down upon the mountains.

Landslide Landslide 2

Today when I look at all the devastation in the NEWS channels and all across the newspapers, my heart goes out to the people, who’re stranded, lived or who passed away in this enormous region of Uttarakhand! They live there knowing this is certain for sure and this is something they won’t be easily able to escape, come the time of such a natural calamity. Yet, to these people and their villages, they have no other way out.  Truly there are very few words to describe this wrath of nature that has happened. As much as possible, we can try to salvage the fact that the brave Indian Army and relief workers are trying their best to help folks out there. To many sitting on their couches or inside the comforts of their homes, it would be a trivial endeavor and of course many could just pray for the situation to be handled to its best. While some of us of course would try to help out in whatever way they could as we sit here and watch the devastation in horror.

 

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Reminds, me of how, such beauty that I encountered was always and will always be at the disposal of a world, a world that keeps deteriorating time and again all because of human need and that’s where nature decides  to give it back. It’s very sad, but us humans need to understand that this is just the beginning. Unless we strive towards making a better earth or a better planet this is going to keep on continuing.

Words fail me in that endeavor but as I sit here in front of my laptop, helpless to do much, I tell myself only this… Look for a better tomorrow, for the nature around you is just an encompassing mirror of what you do and how you show your beliefs, for it can come back real hard and bite you where it hurts the most…

P.S: If you want to contribute towards relief efforts of Uttarakhand, check out http://goonj.org/  Something I looked up and went ahead and contributed too. You can donate, food, clothes or if not, you can donate any sum of money if you’d like. The least you can do to help relief, rehabilitation ‘To the people of Uttarakhand.’

Mountains Calling

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The time to wander off in the valley is here. Every year, around this time there is a deep calling that rakes within my heart and reaches out to me saying, it’s time. I have a strong feeling to always go with the flow and decide to challenge myself to walk those huge mountainous paths and whisper to myself in an enchanting manner, “How I wish I’d always live here and never go back to the buzz of the world.” It’s time that I listened to my heart and gave in to the beauty of the wondrous Himalayas.

Somehow, for the last four years, I’ve always been pulled into it’s gazing destiny and hope to keep getting attracted time and again, for the fascination will never end. An amazing amount of solace and brilliance is always breathtaking in a literal sense, that I cannot forgo that attraction and cannot choose to ignore it. So, whenever the mountains call me, I’m there… I have to find my way, fix myself a ticket to go up north in India and take the same old routes across these mountains with my backpack treading towards what I’d like to call an eternal ritual towards redemption from the routine.

I’ve been thinking of doing the Himachal this year, hoping to get a break maybe sometime soon. Hopefully if I do, you’ll certainly get to read about my plans and once I come back, about the escapade that I encountered. In the meantime, here are some fantabulous pictures of my earlier treks.

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Cruise through Asia…

One of the things that I haven’t yet done and is certainly on my travel bucket list is to cruise! Set sail across the sea and enjoy wilderness into the oblivion like never before. Of course sailing alone would be on the top of that list, however, to begin with a cruise would be the most imperious way to spend a time of my life letting my hair down and relaxing all the way for a week without the hassle of the world. Leaving behind all the worries I’d love to enjoy something that would help me feel rejuvenated again.

So I decided to check out what are some of the best Asia cruises and this is what I’d recommend to be on top of your list.

 

Far East

One of the best things about Asia is that on the Far East cruise you’ll get to see Asia in all its shades. Just last week Cherry Blossom in Japan happened and that is something you shouldn’t miss especially during April. This cruise offers just that. Far East, cherry blossom, buzzing markets in my hometown Mumbai, raving sunsets across beaches in Thailand.

Asia is best known for a wide variety of it’s beauty. The best thing about Asia is that it has diversity to the best of anyone’s reach. There are places that you can’t even imagine and you’d get to cruise among these beautiful views across the sea and cover various landscapes at it’s ports.

If you have trouble deciding where to begin then let size be your guide. Covering an area of more than nine million square kilometres, China has to be a splendid pick as part of their collection of Far East cruise holidays. Certainly beautiful from a cultural stand point too. The country has a history that dates back to more than 4,000 years, making the 15th-century Forbidden City in Beijing an infant as far as the timeline is concerned.

Next in the size line is India, a country of chalk and cheese sights. Anyone with stars in their eyes should head to Film City in Mumbai to perform in a Bollywood movie. Foodies can try a real-deal curry in Madras. Sunseekers, meanwhile, can loose track of time on the beaches of Goa.

Thailand is a smaller country as far as the list of Far East cruise stops. However on the beaches of Koh Samui, the sand is truly white and the water is crystal clear. Then you’ve got Bangkok, a city where twelve-lane motorways and skyscrapers go hand in hand with old ancient temples.

Moving on,  you’ll find Japan. This country has a beautiful mixture of past and the future, ancient and cultural as well as modern and technological. Villagers plant rice in the paddy fields in various perfectures at the same time as cartoon-like Harashuku girls try to out-vogue each other in the cosmopolitan cafes of Tokyo.

Once you’ve ticked off the biggest countries in the Far East cruise collection, you can move onto the more pint sized places. Sip jasmine tea in the teahouses of Ho Chi Minh City and worry the bank manager during a spree at the world’s largest department store in Busan, South Korea. Alternatively, spread yourself like butter over the beaches of Penang in Malaysia.

Something worth doing especially if you are in love with Asia! What say?

Enchanté Singapore

As soon as I came into the Changi Airport, I could feel the amazing beauty of the country. The spaciousness and the amazing transit from Airport’s Terminal 3 to Terminal 2 to catch the MRT was the beginning of an amazing journey. I entered the train with some more folks and some  air hostesses who had arrived via Air Canada flights and were probably heading to their respective hotels. The train just took me in a jiffy to the Terminal from where I got the MRT to go to Pasir Ris. After a bit of struggle operating the MRT card system, I managed to get my ticket and board the MRT. That was something I was going to get used to soon :)

The place was so vacant and felt so amazingly clean and neat it wasn’t even funny. As soon as I arrived in Singapore on Saturday I checked into my hostel at Costa Sands! As soon as I arrived in Singapore, I truly was Enchanté (French: Delighted to Meet You) Indeed, the country/city/island has a beauty that mesmerizes anyone… The most amazing thing about this place is its penchant for a certain meticulous way of life is what caught my attention. Yet it brings quite a certain delight for first time visitors especially with it’s multitude of cultural diversity and to be able to bump in with almost any kind of people from the world and for that matter to be able to visit places and eat food which is in the truest sense, ethnically and worldly different. Out of the world is the phrase to best express myself in this context.

Being a backpacker, I booked a Youth Hostel (Hosteling International) reservation online well in advance, and here I was at the Costa Sands Resort in Downtown East… One of the most interesting things I felt after staying here in the hostel is that, it wasn’t actually a hostel at all… It was more like a four star hotel with three people staying in one room… Surprisingly, no one was checked in for the first three days and later on, Sam from Taiwan came along… He was here for work and mostly out during the day… But yeah, the overall feeling was great… Loved the discipline and the meticulous way Singapore has built itself. Being quite a small place and with population round about 4.5 million, I guess it’s easier to do… But overall the feel was pretty good as soon as I entered.

Since I’m on the go I’ll go ahead and share my Photo Travelogue for now… I hope you enjoy the beauty of Singapore through my blog and most certainly once I get back home, a beautiful story about the sojourns of Singapore is in order and you shall certainly receive it.

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My dorm at the Costa Sands Resort @ Downtown East

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A view from my dorm room

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My first meal in Singapore – Mixed Vegetable Garlic Chicken rice… Ate it to my tummy’s fill and yeah, with Chopsticks… :)

Post lunch I met up with a friend who’s just got a job here recently and started working in Singapore… We strolled around the Marina Bay Area and checked out some amazing sights at the River HangBo festival that was happening.

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The view of the other side of the Marina Bay from the Helix Bridge

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The amazingly beautiful, Lotus Shaped Arts & Science Center

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The beautiful and colourful Hangbo River festival

We strolled around and checked out various interesting installations and walked a bit to the different installations of the astrological signs that were present there… Very beautiful and decorated nicely, this truly showed how much significance the Chinese New Year has during this time of the year in Singapore. In fact, we were lucky enough to get a few chocolates from the Giver of Fortune…. Usually it’s tradition amongst Chinese to give oranges, gifts, red envelopes filled with money, bonuses to the employees by the employers and in this case some chocolates were being distributed by someone dressed as the fortune giving man. (Don’t exactly know what he’s called yet.)

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The Chinese giver of fortune

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These are actual moving installations, which were moving as if they were playing music, the birds wings were actually moving.

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Paper puppets installation at the Hangbo River Festival

Once we were done visiting the place, we headed to grab some food at a local old hawker center… Before that I couldn’t resist but to get a glimpse of the beautiful night by the bay…

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Interesting collection of old / antique items found in the Old Hawker center near Marina Bay on your way to the High Flyer…

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The Buddha Tooth Relic temple near Chinatown

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A beautiful sculpture outside this temple

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Chinatown at night… Beautiful lanterns especially since its The Chinese New Year

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If you are a Tintin aficionado then this is the place for you to be… From keychains, to mugs, to merchandise to comics to DVDs they have almost everything… A bit expensive of course, but you can take your pick….

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If you enjoy partying, and you’re a night crawler, then Clarke Quay is the place to be in Singapore!

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Generally on Chinatown, you can go grab a bite at any place… Plenty of them good food places especially on Pagoda street. But one of the best you can find is Chinatown Heritage…. Do go there if you are around Chinatown…

I also happened to check out this amazingly spacious, minimalistic Zen like joint at Tanjong Pagar Rd… A Thai Vegan / Veg food joint… Brilliantly healthy and tasty food that I could eat.

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If you like Thai and Veg food, then Whole Earth near Tanjong Pagar is the place to be…

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The other side of Clarke Quay is Boat Quay… This place is very popular for its sea food… This is near the Parliament House / Arts House…

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The Parliament House

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The Arts House

This is the place where you’ll find screenings of great artistic shows and collection of brilliant artwork and something that you’ll enjoy if you are a fan of any form of art.

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That’s a Half a century old Morris Minor near the Arts House.

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And that’s me standing next to it… My undying love for vintage cars is truly undying… Couldn’t resist… ;)

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Some really cool graffiti at the underpass around the Boat Quay / Parliament House area..

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Some really interesting building structures on the streets of Singapore

On board the flight to Singapore

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My first time on an international flight… Sitting in the plane looking outside the window… Yes, I always knew this day was going to happen, sometime or later… But NOW, it’s happening NOW!! And I can feel it as I type these words sitting in a still plane, gazing across the window…

Having enjoyed wonderful journeys across Incredible India, this experience will probably be one of my most enchanting ones as I look forward to a destination unknown, unexplored and yet so close to a lot of aspects of our Indian culture and yet so different and I mean flabergastingly different and a lot lot more advanced than the way we share our lives with each other.

Funnily, never expected some mosquitoes to join me as well… Ahh what the heck :) Let them also enjoy their ride to Singapore…

The feeling as I type this on my iPad is surreal. Surreal as I bid goodbye to the city of dreams to move onto unchartered enchanting territories and fly beyond horizons that will bring a different level of maturity, shades of some exploration that I have yet to carve out as a travel blogger.

This feeling of the journey of life, being truly begun is sinking in… Hope the city of another dreams also has a lot in store for me. For some reason, with the soothing and serene music that’s playing in the background is kind of giving me an inkling… An inkling of something great in store for me, even as I am yet to begin the journey.. Like an alternate, similar universe waiting out there for me… :)

So, let us see where this heads… For now, signing off… Oh and yeah, also the Mosquitoes on the plane say Hi to you all… ;)

Will blog about my escapades once my trip’s over…

For the Live Blog please follow http://srinistuff.tumblr.com

Cheers
@srinistuff

Singapore – Here I come…

Well, pretty soon, I’ll be on my way for my first international trip. Yes, the calendar is blocked and the itinerary is about to be made… Looking out for hostels / hotels is already done, sending right emails and checking with people is done. Being a traveler and an avid one within the country has been by far one of the best things to have happened to me. So that’s something I cherish a lot. I have certainly traveled far and wide when it comes to the boundaries of India and its diverse terrains. So, this is something I was looking forward to for a while and that’s when this  moment came along.

The destination? – Singapore!

Singapore

I’d be down in Singapore in the 3rd week of February and I know there are plenty of places within the city to visit.

So now that I’m gonna be there the planning has become quite the pain, but I know soon I’d be on my way. What’s most important though for me is that  ‘THE TICKETS ARE BOOKED!’ The hustle and bustle, the packing and booking… Everything will become a major chaotic affair. But now there’s no stopping me! Hopefully I’ll do some sight seeing on the two weekends that I’ll get during that week.. A week which will be mostly spent in being with Social Media Professionals and a lot of interactions to happen at the Social Media Week Singapore 2013  and maybe  meeting a couple of friends out there, I’ll spend some of my time visiting a few places out there!

Any specific places that I can go to over the weekend? And maybe if there’s any tourist bus service that you can recommend? For a change, I’ll not research and let the plan take its own course… What say?

Also when I’m down thre stay tuned on My On The Go –  Tumbleogue Travelogue

Lisbon – A destination to enchant…

“The world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page.” – St. Augustine”

Yes indeed, one of these days I need to start reading more pages of this book. Its almost about time that I start going international on my travel. Yes I have a bucket list and there are certainly some places that I’ve bookmarked already and need to plan my travel accordingly.

One of the things that I want to do in Lisbon is take a road trip! And what better way than get a cheap car hire than DealChecker:)

Why Lisbon?
One of the most amazing destinations that are already on my bucket list is Lisbon, Portugal. Yes, the capital of Portugal. Why Lisbon though? Well, there are plenty of reasons why I’m pretty much attracted to this destination. Most importantly because of its  contemporary culture that is alive and thriving and making its mark in today’s Europe. Perched on the edge of the Atlantic Ocean, Lisbon is one of the rare Western European cities that face the ocean and uses water as an element that defines the city.
So with that in mind, I thrive to take a look at one of such beautiful cities soon and hopefully add this on my bucket list.
What would I do in Lisbon?
There are a several things that one could do in the largest city of Portugal and my list would probably be endless if I think of it. So let me narrow it down to one of these amazing locations that I’d love to go to.
The Famous Se Cathredal
A solemn-looking cathedral that reflects the Romanesque style of the 12th century. Built on the grounds of the city’s main mosque, the cathedral was raised to celebrate the Moors’ defeat in the mid-1100s. If you are an admirer of sacral architecture one needs to visit this church, the monastery and the treasury. It has a very particular calm, dark atmosphere. The monastery is quiet and somehow comforting. The style(s) of architecture are interesting to study and very inspiring.
Lisbon
Walk through Alfama
This again is an enchanting experience for a traveler like me. The backpacker unknown traversing the dreams of destinations across the universe. One should take this opportunity to walk through Alfama, a beautiful neighborhood and go up to St George’s Castle. Built in the 6th century, it was a royal castle for the Moorish until it was captured by the Portugals’ first king. It is now famous as an ‘oasis of peace’. Enjoy the majestic view of King Afonso’s statute at the main door and then a series of cannons.
St. Georges castle
Belem Tower
The UNESCO World Heritage Site, Belem Tower is a fortress built in 1515 to guard the entrance to Lisbon’s harbor. Commissioned by King John II, the tower is an important example of the Portuguese Manueline style. Other places to visit while in the neighbourhood are Jeronimos Monastery, Monument to the Discoveries, Coach Museum, housing the world’s largest number of coaches and royal vehicles, and Statue to Afonso de Albuquerque.
Belem Tower
Jeronimo Monastery
Jeronimo Monastery is the sleeping place of one of the most famous travellers and explorers the world has seen – Vasco da Gama. It is also the place where sailors in the olden days would pray before embarking on a voyage. The church is beautifully designed with ornate portals, pinnacles and gables. It has been declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO.
Jeronimo Monastery
Quinta Da Regaleira
Besides being in Lisbon, a short trip to Sintra would be also very nice… One of the prime attractions of Sintra is the Quinta da Regaleira, located in the historic centre of Sintra. The estate consists of a palace and chapel, a park featuring lakes, grottoes, wells, benches, fountains, and a vast array of exquisite constructions. The Regaleira Palace features five floors with a living room, dining room, billiards room, balcony, bedrooms, some smaller rooms and servants rooms.DSC01327
The Pena National Palace
The Pena National Palace and the surrounding Pena Park, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, which is also one of the Seven Wonders of Portugal. The Palace is an interesting mix of Romantic,  Neo-Gothic, Neo-Manueline, Islamic and Neo-Renaissance styles.  The construction of the Palace and park started in the middle ages with the erection of a chapel, however the earthquake of 1775 reduced the monument to ruins. In 1838, the King Consort, Ferdinand II, commissioned a palace to be built on the ruins.
Pena National palace
These are some of the top destinations that are on my mind. But of course, how can I forget the most enchanting scene in Lisbon city itself. Perch myself on top of one of the resorts or hotels on the mountain top or generally go on top of a building and click something like this at night…
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What do you think? Ever been to Lisbon? Any tips for me there, when I do go…
Mahanamavi Dibba

Hampi Ruins – Vijayanagara Empire with Friends

I’ve probably written about three or four posts up until now on Hampi! A lot of these contain the historical relevance and the places that one can see and visit as travellers. A lot of times whenever I’ve been to Hampi, I’ve travelled alone and come back to write my experiences and my journey in the historical and archaeological realm of the empire. Some things that I always have cherished and realized about my relationship with this magnificent place was my Kannada roots and of course more recently my understanding of ancestral connections to this place through Late. Shri N.S Rajpurohit, my great grandfather who was part of excavations of the Talikota battlefield, the place where the Vijayanagara empire marked its death.

This time around, during Diwali, with a couple of old friends and a few new ones, we decided to set foot in the Vijayanagara Kingdom… It was quite a bunch of us friends. Some writers, thinkers, some travelers like me, some who were just like me fascinated with Hindu mythology and its symbolical association with historic cultures especially here.  So this blog will be more about the journey and some photographs which embellished quite a memory on this entire trip, making it truly special for reminiscing old friendship while building new ones and some very special ones too.

Our first day began when we left Mumbai in a bus to Hospet. We had decided to stay at Hampi Gowri guest house this time around. This is across the Tungabhadra river on the Anjaneya mountain side. From the minute I had started speaking to Mr. Srinivas, my namesake, I had decided to go and stay there. The very helpful and polite manner that he spoke on the phone sounding very helpful and accomodating was something that made me pick this venue in not more than a few minutes of speaking with him.  He also offered to pick us up from a destination enroute Hospet, which is towards his side of the town.  When we reached there we mostly freshened up and took a walk to the Sanapur Lake, which was nearby and pretty much chilled out. waiting for the day to get over, finish our wonderful home cooked dinner made by Mr. Srinivas’s wife and crash…

Second day began when we set off in our mini van to take the tour of the city. It was very well spent with a guided tour, by me of course ;) visiting the ancient ruins of Hampi and the various places that we ended up taking great pictures and spending some good time talking about their historical and archaeological significance from the standpoint of ancient India. Our day mostly touring and grabbing a quick bite of Chitranna and some mirchi bhaji was very fruitful especially after witnessing the Stone Chariot, our last and the most infamous and quite enchanting monument in this UNESCO World Heritage site. After we returned, thanks to the wonderful arrangement of a camp fire and a barbequeue! A fitting day to a tiring and yet very fun day!

Third day was mostly chilled out. It began with a late rising in the morning and eating our breakfasts, finely cooked Idlis, very tasty and certainly ones that you could gulp down as many as you could and yet feel the craving for more. We had decided to relax a bit since the second day was quite tiring and hectic and probably start slowly to end the day by climbing the famous birthplace of Hanuman, the Anjaneya temple on top of the mountain.  We started off by heading to boating point, to cross the river in the famous round small boat of sorts, the coracle or putti as it’s called in Kannada. This was something one of our friends, Rahul wanted to experience and I had to ensure it was done! And quite an experience it was, for me for the second time, but all the more fun especially with good friends around. We also recorded a video, which I’ll upload later! So after which, we visited the Virupaksha temple and returned to the other side to have our lunch and head towards the Laxmi temple and Anjaneya mountain. Climbing the mountain just about the time the sun was setting, was a great experience. Once out there, witnessing entire Hampi, filled with boulders and mountains as if God himself had thrown mountains from the skies was quite overwhelming. Sitting with close friends seeing the sun set, added a perspective to this. On our way back at the foothill of the mountains, we stopped by to drink some coconut water, which I’d say was one of the best out here in the entire trip. We also happened to meet some really down to earth, humble and truly loving family who ran that shop, Govindappa Cold drinks house. Govindappa, his wife and his daughter ran the place. They were very hospitable, friendly, in fact really good people who offered us some bananas also for free. They were decorating the place as the next day was Diwali and we helped them out in some ideas. They really enjoyed it and thanked us as well. It was quite fun hanging out there as it gave us another perspective of how life is. How people like them still exist and how life is more than the materialistic living that most of us pursue out in big cities like Mumbai… Such was the ending to our 3rd day at Hampi. Surreal but true.

With all this amazing experience over a period of 3 days of staying in Hampi, gave us a lot of time as well. A lot of time to talk amongst each other and get to know each other more. A time to share stories of their own, anecdotes from their lives or the books that they read, was certainly an experience that we all enjoyed thoroughly. Some special moments, some fun, a lot of PJs being cracked, and some profound wisdom and knowledge shared amongst all of us friends. It was something that made the trip even more memorable. It gave us time to introspect on our own life and share some of those with each other to learn something remarkable about each other. Our final day was going to be the one where we explored some of the Anjaneya side of Hampi. We decided to rent mopeds, from Mr. Srinivas. They were reasonably priced as well! We set forth towards Anegundi, the old capital of Hampi. On our way back we stopped by at a place nearby the road. There were open fields staring across the horizon for acres and acres of land. Deepika my friend, had suggested that we go walk  in the fields. Quite a good idea, I wondered to myself and decided to stop by. We asked a guy who was sitting near the field, he said it wasn’t his, but he told us to go ahead and take a look and that no one would mind. He had a smile on his face and was very happy that we wanted to explore these beautiful fields within his lands. And so we went, played around with the crops in the field, took some good DP worthy pics and went back on our bikes to go towards the other side of the river to explore the Monolithic bull area and probably do some last minute shopping. While the last minute shopping didn’t happen, we had quite a time in yeilding our mopeds on to a motorboat and taking it to and fro. But we managed to catch some really stumptous meal at Geeta River View…

With heavy hearts we bid goodbye to the Kingdom of Vijayanagara as the first day of Diwali came to an end with the brigh orange sun which we could see on our drive back to Hospet. It was an end to this trip, but a beginning of an alliance of a group that is going for some more travels of this sort and of course raring to come back to this beautiful ruins of Hampi…

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The Photo Journey
Day 1
View of Hampi

View of Hampi

Reaching Hampi

Reaching Hampi

Hampi Gowri Guest House

Hampi Gowri Guest House

Hampi Sunset Day 1

Hampi Sunset Day 1

Day 2

Stone Chariot at Vittala Temple

Stone Chariot at Vittala Temple

Underground Shiva Temple

Pondering...

Pondering…

In conversation with Uday

In conversation with Uday

Carving Inside Hazara Rama Temple

Carving Inside Hazara Rama Temple

Uday and his Politician Pose

Lakshmi Narsimha Statue

Lakshmi Narsimha Statue

Virupaksha Temple From Hemakuta Hills

Virupaksha Temple From Hemakuta Hills

Kadalekalu Ganesha

Kadalekalu Ganesha

On Hemakuta Hill

On Hemakuta Hill

Mel & Rahul with some kids we met inside

Mel & Rahul with some kids we met inside

Chandikeshwara Temple

Chandikeshwara Temple

Watchtower in the Zenana Enclosure

Watchtower in the Zenana Enclosure

Lotus Mahal in Zennana Enclosure

Lotus Mahal in Zennana Enclosure

Krishna Temple

Krishna Temple

Hampi Bazaar Pillars

Hampi Bazaar Pillars

Me outside Krishna Temple

Me outside Krishna Temple

Bal Gopal inside Krishna Temple

Bal Gopal inside Krishna Temple

Barbequeue

Barbequeue

Day 3

Coracle Ride

Coracle Ride

Banks of Tungabhadra

Banks of Tungabhadra

Calf feeding from her mother near the Virupaksha

Calf feeding from her mother near the Virupaksha

Virupaksha Temple

Virupaksha Temple

Inside Virupaksha

Inside Virupaksha

Idranna a local kid at the Lakshmi Temple

Idranna a local kid at the Lakshmi Temple

Lamani Woman with her kid near the Lakshmi Temple

Lamani Woman with her kid near the Lakshmi Temple

View of Hampi from Anjaneya

View of Hampi from Anjaneya

Monkey climbing down Anjaneya

Monkey climbing down Anjaneya

On top of Anjaeya...

On top of Anjaeya…

Govindappa and his family

Govindappa and his family

Day 4

All set to ride

All set to ride

Entrance to Anegundi

Entrance to Anegundi

Fields of Gold

Fields of Gold

Riding away...

Riding away…

Villagers of Anegundi

Villagers of Anegundi

In the fields...

In the fields…

Sadhu Baba outside Anegundi

Sadhu Baba outside Anegundi

Mr. Srinivas and his family from Hampi Gowri

Mr. Srinivas and his family from Hampi Gowri

Picture Courtesy: Deepika Gumaste, Uday Mane, Niha Khan, Rahul Wakude & Melanie Joe :) Thanks guys for the clicks….

Thanks to Mr.  Srinivas for his hospitality and kindness. His wife for the awesome food, and to Harsha his son who served us and helped us out very diligently. I’d reccomend this place as a must stay and next time I’m down there, it’s going to be the place to stay :)

Contact details:  www.hampigowri.com