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Monday, December 23, 2013

IMG_7704When I saw this event on the BASC group, to be honest, I was elated. We are getting a chance to go to Hampi, which in itself is a great place to visit and that too on Bike. It is like a cherry on top of cheese cake. So I registered immediately and luckily got shortlisted.

We got enough preparatory mails from Deepak as to how to get ourselves and our bikes ready for the long trip. And finally the day (or night) of the journey arrived. Usually common to BASC treks the pickup point is Majestic, but this is not a regular trek and that was apparent when the journey start place was set at TAJ Vivanta near Yeshwantpur on Tumkur Road at 2.30 am(yes, it was am and it is not a typo). All of us gathered on time for the amazing adventure that was to follow.
Before we started Deepak shared a small incident. Apparently Rakesh called him at 2.30 am the previous day and asked if people have already started. So you can feel the excitement, people can hardly wait to start on this trip.
It was decided that Deepak would lead the group and Vijay would sweep the group. Being my first bike trip, I and some of the folks were riding a bit slow and soon we were left behind by the regular bikers like Deepak, Devansh and others who were literally flying past us.
Soon we reached the 1st toll post, re-grouped and continued. This time I was determined to not lag behind. Soon we were riding at 80+ kmph, stopping occasionally for tea/coffee and regrouping. As the night progressed, it became chillier and riding at such high speeds became difficult. I could feel the wind gushing and howling past and even with two jackets, it was cold and we had to stop for fire to warm ourselves.
IMG_7707 It was decided that we would continue on NH4 till Chitradurga and then take a right onto NH19. It was a different kind of sunrise that I saw that day, riding on my bike and on a National Highway. We could see windmills all along the way. We reached Chitradurga almost at the break of dawn and took a right to reach NH19 as planned.
Unlike NH4 which did not have much locality along, NH19 was different as there were a lot of small villages all along the route. We zoomed past most of the sleeping villages. It was an amazing road meandering along towards Hampi and riding on it was truly an amazing experience. We stopped for breakfast or just to enjoy the view and rode steadily towards Hampi. Soon we started seeing the ruins of the Vijayangar Empire on both sides of the road. At around 10.30 am we reached the temple town of Hampi.
DSC_5566 Deepak had booked accommodation across the river in a place called Hampi Island. So we parked our bikes near Virupaksha temple and crossed the Tungabhadra onto the other side, kept our luggage, freshened up.
For those who are not familiar with Hampi, it is a village in northern Karnataka state, India. It is located within the ruins of Vijayanagara, the former capital of the Vijayanagara Empire. Predating the city of Vijayanagara, it continues to be an important religious centre, housing the Virupaksha Temple, as well as several other monuments belonging to the old city. The ruins are a UNESCO World Heritage Site, listed as the Group of Monuments at Hampi. It is situated on the banks of Tungabhadra river. Hampi formed one of the core areas of the capital of the Vijayanagara Empire from 1336 to 1565, when it was finally laid siege to by the Deccan Muslim confederacy.
IMG_7685 We decided that we could complete the local sight-seeing. We crossed back onto the Hampi side, picked up our bikes and went for a local tour. Deepak had arranged for a guide and with his explanation it seemed as if the pages of history book are coming to life right in front of our eyes.
We saw places like Elephant Stables, Statue of Ugra Narshima, Shivlinga, Zanana Enclosure, Stepped Tank, Lotus Palace, Queens Bath, Hazara Rama Temple, Stone Doors, Dasara Dibba, Sasivekalu Ganesha Temple, Pushkarini, Vittala Temple etc. IMG_7694 Both architecturally and sculpturally each one is better than the other. In the buildings we saw instances of Konarak architecture, muslim architecture, jain architecture, hindu architecture, Ceylonese architecture and even chinese architecture. Being situated on the banks of Tungabhadra the region is extremely fertile and the hills on three sides provide a natural fortification, thus making it ideal for a prosperous empire. I was truly amazed by seeing the aqueduct system build at that time to provide water throughout the city. It is truly amazing.
IMG_7697 Since Hampi is a world heritage site, it is frequented by many foreigners, so the village has adopted itself with the ways of life of the foreign visitors. You get anything from German bakery, to French, Italian and anything you can think of. Our sightseeing ended with a visit to the famous Vittala Tample. And after that we retuned back to the main town. If you are thinking that our adventure ended for the day, you couldn’t be more wrong. The best part was still left.
IMG_7672We wanted to see places on the other side of the river the next day, but the problem was that going across to the other side was a ~44 KM ride and no one was willing to ride another 44 KM now. IMG_7721So we decided we would cross our bikes across the river in the small boats in which we ourselves cross in. We were scared and excited at the same time as this was an experience none of us has ever experienced before. The boats were just fit enough to carry humans, we had no clue how they would carry bikes as heavy as the Bullet. We reached the crossing place just in time before they close for the day around5:30. God only knows how we managed to cross the bikes without any mishaps and finally all of us along with our trusted rides were on the other side.
We took rest for some time and then headed out for dinner. You get variety of food in Hampi and you can get almost all world class cuisines.
An interesting thing happened during our dinner, in the restaurant some foreigners were celebrating birthday. Suddenly they came and offered us the birthday cake.
After dinner we all went and slept like a log, as we all were really tired after such a long and eventful day. Next day some people wanted to go and see the sunrise from hanuman temple. Most of us opted to sleep instead.
IMG_7845 Next day morning I woke up long after sunrise. We decided that we will have breakfast and go and see places on this side of town. We realized that the people who went in the morning were not back yet. When we were able to contact them we found that one of them had a flat tire and were getting it repaired. After everyone was back and had breakfast we started on our sightseeing. We went to the Sanapura Lake and it was just beautiful. While we were riding past the Dam at one place we saw few foreigners standing on a bridge and then they suddenly jumped into the water below. We were all very excited and wanted to do this stunt. All of us who knew swimming stood in a line on the bridge and jumped. It was truly amazing, frightening and exciting experience culminated into one single moment. The water down was cold and it had strong current.
After our morning adventure it was time for us to leave. Again time to cross the river. This time we crossed from another point and it was relatively easy.
We followed NH19 on our way back. We rode together till Bellary and then we split up into two groups. One group that would have people who want to ride fast and another group with slow riders. As always I was in the slower group, with Sanjay as our sweeper and Subrata as our lead. We decided we would regroup near Hiriyur. It is an amazing road to ride at night and all of us had a wonderful time. When I reached Hiriyur I was shocked to hear that Subrata met with an accident on the way. Luckily nothing major happened and he too reached Hiriyur riding his bike. From Hiriyur we arranged for a transportation of his bike. Then we continued our journey back to Bangalore along NH4. The journey was uneventful. We took small breaks and had dinner along the way in one of the roadside dhabas.
IMG_7715 Finally we reached Bangalore nearly at 2 in the night. It was a truly memorable experience, riding nearly 800 kms in 2 days and with some of the best fellow bikers for company, it cannot get better than this.
Like all good things, this wonderful trek also came to an end. I enjoyed it fully and could not have asked for anything more. Thanks Deepak for arranging such a wonderful trip, and thanks to BASC for letting me experience my first bike trip to such a wonderful place. Finally thanks to all the fellow riders who made this a truly memorable experience.
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Written by: Rajdeep
Date: December 21st and 22nd, 2013
Composed by: Swetha Padakandla
Event organized by: Deepak Saran
Image Gallery: Devansh, Subrato
The Crew: Deepak Saran, Sanjay Kumar, Rajdeep Mondal, Raghavendra, Devansh Patel, Subrata, Krushi Deep M, Vijaya Raghava, Rakesh MK
Read the other post of the same event written by Devansh at Bike Trip to Hampi – Post 1

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