Sunday, 18 August 2019

Rain,Ruins and Remembrance


Rain, Ruins and Remembrance 


Hello All.... This one is the 'special' one. It took me too long to decide a place for travelling solo. I was little hesitant to choose a place from southern part of India as the July end was approaching monsoon but my strong will and passion for traveling made me to choose the beautiful ruins of Hampi. 

I always wanted to visit this place but was not very sure about the success due to the uncertain rainfall. It says when you want something from all your heart you make the most out of it. It happened for me. Lets start the journey or more like a time travel. 

Tungabhadra from Hampi
Photo@sahelibasu
    

Hampi is a small ancient village in the south Indian state of Karnataka. This small village got the holy Tungabhadra river, beautiful mountains and the mesmerizing ruins of Vijayanagar Dynasty. Ninety percent of the village is covered with the scattered pieces of ruins. The whole ambiance will freeze you in that time and your 'seeing' would fall short in quenching your thirst.
  

Routs, Booking and Hotels:

Let me start with the routs. Hampi is very well connected with other parts of India. There is no airport in Hampi. 
The nearest airport is Hubli (HBX) which is 144 km away from Hampi. 
The nearest railway station is Hospet Junction (HPT) which is 11 km away from Hampi.  
There are few bus stops like Hospet, Kamalapur and Hampi . Kamalapur is the closest one .



As a resident of Hyderabad I took a bus to travel Hampi. It took almost nine hours to reach Hampi. The bus booking can be done easily through redbus, yatra and makemytrip. If you are traveling from Hyderabad then choose Go tours and travels . They are best in business and believe in hundred percent customer satisfaction. I enjoyed their service.



As far as the booking is concerned You will get several sites to book hotels and home stays. I prefer home stay while traveling alone. So I referred booking.com and booked 'The Riverside Homestay' which is situated at the heart of Hampi. The location is fantastic and one can witness the Tungabhadra river and Birupaksha temple from the rooftop of the home stay. This home stay runs by a humble family.  They are very caring and professional. I had a very good stay over there. There are several home stays and hotels in Hampi. Price varies from season to season. Try to visit hampi in off season to experience the solitude and peace it offers.


Places to visit in hampi

It is completely your own choice how you want to travel in Hampi. The easiest way is to hire a two wheeler or a bicycle to experience the extraordinary sites of Hampi. As I do not trust my driving I booked an auto to cover the places which are far from Hampi. The person was very helpful and more than that he took me to the places from where I could experience the best views of Hampi. His phone number could be shared in personal request. Lets start the story of  temple Hopping.

Krishna Temple : 
 Krishna Temple
 Photo @sahelibasu
   


This outstanding temple was built by the king Krishnadevaraya in 1513 AD to celebrate the conquest of eastern kingdom of Udayagiri of Orissa. The mail idol was Balakrishna (Lord Krishna as infant) but at present the idol is displayed in the state museum of chennai. This is a must visit because this rare piece of architecture holds the epic stories carved on walls of tower. This is truly an intact specimen of Vijayanagara dynasty. Just opposite to this temple you can find the ruins of Krishna Bazar. 



Ruins of Krishan Bazar (one of the five bazars of Hampi)
Photo@sahelibasu
    


There were five famous bazars (markets) in Hampi. people used to sell gems and jewels in this market. How amazing !! 


Lakshmi Narshima Temple

This piece of art is the largest statue in Hampi. Narshima( half man- half lion) is sitting on a seven headed coiled snake which is known as 'Sesha Nag'. The ferocious appearance of Narshima made this known as 'Ugra Narshima'. The sculpture of lakshmi is missing here as it got completely destroyed due to the fall of Vijayanagara. Standing in front of this huge , powerful sculpture reminds our small entity and force you to stitch the missing pieces of myths to reveal the story behind it. 

 Lakhsmi Narshima 
 Photo@sahelibasu
   


Badaviling Temple

This is a three meters monolithic stone carved Shiva linga situated in a water bed inside a small ruined shrine . It is huge in size and really gather thoughts about the expertise it requires to build a free standing sculpture like this. The room is quite small with a closed entrance. People can view it from outside. 


Shiva linga of Badaviling temple
Photo@sahelibasu
                                                 

Underground Shiva Temple (Prasanna virupaksha temple)

This is another attraction in Hampi. There are many small ruins and shrines are scattered throughout Hampi. This underground Shiva temple got maintained very nicely though the main idol is missing here. You need to walk through the woods and take steps down to access the entrance . Though there is not much to see here but a bit of adventure to see how does an underground temple looks like?


Underground Shiva Temple 
                   

Lotus Mahal and Elephant Stable

Hampi tour is incomplete without visiting this beautiful temple. This temple is situated in Zenana enclosure which manifests the beauty of Indo- islamic architecture. This segregated royal temple is under renovation and was used by the royal women of Vijayanagara dynasty.

lotus temple, Hampi photo@sahelibasu


       


















Elephant Stable, is another marvelous 15th century architecture situated in this premise . This is more like a rectangular elongated architecture divided into many small sector/ cabins were used as elephant stable. Its is unbelievable to see that the royal dynasty did not miss a single chance to show the grand gesture and royalty.  It has eleven dome shaped interconnected chambers with a front open courtyard. The domes shows different styles such as circular, octagonal, ribbed and filled with patterns. This is an remarkable example of Indo-Islamic style of Vijayanagara dynasty. 

 Elephant stable, Hampi
 Photo@sahelibasu
    

Mahanavami Dibba and Pushkarini

This is the tallest structure one can notice when entering in the royal enclosure. From distance it appears more like a tall rectangular stone platform but as you go close the beauty emerges. This giant structure has three layers. There are two staircases which leads to the top of the platform. The front one is highly decorated with elephants both sides and other royal animals carved on the railing and beams. King Krishnadevaraya made this to perform war games, army march, sports and musical performance during Navaratri festival most importantly. Once you reach to the top you can experience the vast ruins around. It feels more like a ruined territory where you are alone standing between two era and trying to unveil the mystery, myth and mechanism. Each and every corner of Hampi will surprise you because they do not look similar.

 Mahanavami Dibba, Hampi
 Photo@sahelibasu
   

Another marvelous example of an well executed artistic construction is the great Pushkarini (Stepped tank)of Hampi. It has mesmerized me with its symmetry and synchronization. It has multiple steps in each platform. Square in shape this stepped tank was the main water source in the temple compound. The whole structure is stone carved and it is breath taking to see the organized repetitive patterns. It is said that the royal queen used to fetch water by herself during the Navaratri festival. It is considered as one of the most sacred tanks exists in Hampi.  

Pushkarini(stepped tank), hampi
photo@sahelibasu
    

The next two destinations are quite modern and I did not like much are the 'Queens bath' and 'Hampi museum' where most of the things they have plastered and in the museum the statues are not original but they have a huge collection and records of the time periods. 
I will end my blog mentioning the three giant and best architectures which makes the Hampi worlds open museum.

Vijaya Vittala Temple (UNESCO heritage site)

This is the most spectacular and enchanted architecture in Hampi.  It has so much of variety in style which can't be found anywhere in Hampi. This temple is situated in the north eastern part of Hampi, near the banks of Tungabhadra river. The whole temple compound is spectacular but two architectures which are making this site inevitable is the stone chariot and musical pillar temple. 
Quick facts:
Visiting times: morning 8.30am- 5.00pm all days
Entry fee: 40 rps for Indians(same ticket can be used in Hampi museum, lotus temple and Vittala temple) 
Photography: Allowed
Video: allowed
Once you enter in the premise you can find a small station with a queue of visitors.there are small shuttles which will drop you to the Vittala temple gate as the distance is 1.5 km. you can take a walk and reach by yourself as well. 
This temple is dated back to 15th century and made by the kind Devaraya II. later on most of the parts are extended and beautified by the famous king Krishnadevaraya of Viajanagara Dynasty. His contribution played an important role in the present look of the temple.

Musical Pillar temple:  

 Musical pillar temple, Hampi
 Photo@sahelibasu
   

This temple is presumed to be the finest example among all ruins of Hampi. This musical pillar temple is the example of the dynasty's marvelous creative and architectural excellence. This was built in Dravidian style and it has 56 musical pillars. They sound the basic notes of 'SA RE GA MA PA ' when tapped gently. At present visitors are not allowed in this temple as there are instances of damage. This temple is under renovation. The cluster of pillars are curved out of a single monolithic stone. The emission of musical notes from the pillars is mystery and it fascinates people from decades. 

Stone Chariot:  

The stone chariot is situated in the courtyard of the temple. This is one of the famous rathas between the three rathas in India which are situated in Konark(Orissa) and Mahabalipuram (Tamil Nadu). This is actually a shrine designed in a shape of chariot dedicated to the Garuda. As per Hindu mythology Garuda is the carrier of lord Vishnu. This temple is dedicated to the lord vishnu and Vittala is one of the incarnations of Vishnu.  This marvelous chariot is a supreme example of the creative thoughts and curving. 

 Stone Chariot, Hampi
 photo@sahelibasu
   

Virupaksha Temple:

At present this is the only temple where the idol get worshiped. This temple is dedicated to lord shiva. This temple was constructed under commander Dandesha in the empire of King Dev raya II. This was started in form of a little shrine but later on it expanded with a huge temple campus and several small temples inside. The eastern gateway is the greatest among all. It is 50 meter in height which mesmerize the visitors with its grandeur.  In the courtyard there is a pillar monastery where one can pay the holy visit to the lord Shiva. There are numerous paintings on the ceiling but most of them are hard to recognize but still they are so artistic which will catch you sight definitely.  
At the main chamber photography is prohibited and visitor needs to join the queue to notice lord Shiva. There are gangs of monkeys in the temple premise but they are not harmful. This is a must visit.
Virupaksha temple, Hampi
Photo@sahelibasu

Achyutaraya temple:


This is one of my favourite temples in Hampi. This has always less visitors and situated in little remote this temple will give you a different feel of solitude. This marvelous piece if architecture was made in 1534 AD. This temple is situated between Matanga hills and Gandhamadhan Parvat(Mountain). This temple displays the Vijayanagara architecture style but unfortunately it is in ruin stage. 

Timing: Any time throughout week
Entry fee: no
Photography: Allowed

Temple view from far
Photo@sahelibasu


I suggest to visit this place early in the morning to have best experience. Hardly you will get people around you and you walk freely to the each corner of the temple. The temple premise holds many small shrines and mandapas . All of them are beautifully carved and gives true sense of artistic gesture.

Temple courtyard
Photo @sahelibasu

Last but not the least my trek to Matanga hills. It is not possible to complete my trip without an adventure. Matanga hills was very close to my home stay in Hmapi. This place is famous for the Sunrise and Sunset view. I started from 5.15 am in the morning. It took 30 Minutes to trek up. The mesmerizing view of sleepy Hampi is unforgettable. Trails are marked but have to be careful because there are no proper steps. By taking the support of other rocks one can climb to the top. Do not miss this small adventure to fulfill your memory jar of Hampi. 

View of Hampi from Matanga hills
Photo @sahelibasu

Here it comes to an end. My solo Hampi trip was really successful. I meet good people and felt more confident than before. Always travel solo to understand the new place and discover yourself and your capability.


Bye Guys!! See you soon ...





      
                                                                        






Sunday, 28 April 2019

Don't Hesitate! Travel Solo.

 Don't Hesitate! Travel solo

''Solo travel not only pushes you out of your comfort zone, it also pushes you out of the zone of others' expectation''
                                            --Suzy Strutner


There are myths about traveling solo specially in India. It is said specially for women that safety is a big issue which I agree and disagree at the same time. I believe that the safety lies in travelers hand. This article will give you an insight about the safety tips for solo female travelers.
Lets start with the most common thought -

What is solo traveling?
Solo traveling means exclusively traveling alone with all necessary arrangement done by you. Solo traveling has become like a fashion and hobby in these days. I found bulk solo travelers while browsing social media but don't understand how do they take fancy stylish photographs when they travel solo. Solo traveling is not always picturesque and photogenic moreover it faces challenges and obstacles.
    Photo credits to tales of a backpacker

Why do we need to travel solo?
   Picture credits to adventure nation

First and foremost it is not a necessity that we need to travel alone . for male travelers it is very simple to travel alone or in a group but when it comes to a female traveler the so called taboo of traveling alone stand out prominently shunning the capability of a female traveler. 
As a female traveler I suggest that all female enthusiasts should give it a try to understand the 'Self' better. To discover the potentiality and make yourself confident you should travel alone. It will not only help you to boost your personality also somehow you will know more about yourself and off course your strength and challenges. 

What are the preparations for traveling solo?
photo credits to time management ninja

The preparation is everything when it comes to solo traveling. There are few things which we need to prepare before starting the travel -
1. Research well -  Make sure that wherever you are going you are aware of that place . The basic research is very important for a solo female traveler. You should jot down the transport facility, timing of public transport and names of the places and hotels. Have a basic idea about the local culture which will help you to understand about the food habits, clothings and modes of communication.

2. Say yes for a social accommodation-  This is most important. For a female solo traveler the accommodation must be a safety question. Do not choose a lonely or remote place to stay. Choose a place in a populated location with a verifications and survey done through ratings. Always try to connect to the fellow travelers have already been to that place to develop better understanding.

3. Try to dress like Local- This is very helpful at times when you visit the religious places. Do some research before traveling . Like,  If the locality demands a full sleeve cloth then go for it or if the demand is to cover the hair then do that willingly. there is no harm in showing respect to different practices. Also it will not draw attention when you are left alone.

4. Do not act limitless- It is very important to have control on your behavior. This can result a successful trip or else things will fall apart. Traveling alone tends to make you feel liberate and your soul act like a film scene where you get drunk and find your self by staying alone on a sea shore or on a street side. These wont work in real life at all. Act responsibly after all our safety is on our hands.

5. Do not disclose your address and personal details- While traveling you will be meeting different people and some you will find really easy going to share about you but control your instinct and do not share where you are staying, your phone no and any other details. Stick to the purpose and enjoy in limit. 

6. Use technology-  There are many advance application which can help you in some sticky situation. Always share your location with your friend and family to keep a record. Check this website for better understanding  : http://thetruthspy.com/top-phone-tracker-apps/

7. Able to read the situation- The most most important thing is to understand the situation. This is the most important where you have to trust your instinct. If you feel any discomfort or scruple in the situation get the hell out of there at any cost. Act maturely and always be mentally strong to face challenges. 


At the end I would like to say that traveling alone is completely safe if you research well and stay connected with other fellow travelers. After all we all should live our 'Me and My' moment. Isn't it?

Thanks for reading guys!!! See you soon.






































































Friday, 19 April 2019

Happy Travel With PERIOD


­čö║Traveling with Period ­čö║

The most common saying - 'Health is wealth' stands successful when you really take care about your heath in all circumstances. This blog I am going to dedicate to all my female travel enthusiasts considering it would be a valid topic to discuss. 

Being a female traveler one thing which always bother me is my period dates. Whenever I plan any tour I need to calculate meticulously about the travel dates with an exclusion of period dates. If you can avoid the dates and plan your trip then it's not a problem but sometimes it's unavoidable due to the tickets, resuming job and many more things. 

Those who are really passionate for travel and do not want to compromise then this blog could be helpful. 
Let's Start!

First leave the misconception that you could not trek with your period. It is completely okay to travel and trek with your period.
You are more strong than you think. 

Things you need to choose!
  • Menstrual Cup - Its a great option but used very infrequently in India because we are still doubtful about it or we don't want to opt for new things!! This is a healthy practice which will make your travel safe and hygienic. The most fascinating thing is it's reusable for many years. For first few times it would be little uneasy but after two or three times it would be smooth . It's the same when we started using sanitary napkins and became habituated. 
Image result for menstrual cup
Photo credits- slate.com
  • Made of Flexible rubber which can be sterilized  for 3-5 minutes.
  • Comes with variety of sizes which suits your age, flow amount and childbirth history. so it's easy to choose.
  • You can wear it up to 12 hours.
  •  Wash it with clean water, wipe it and let it dry for the next use.
  • It's completely easy, hassle free and cost effective.
Best in business - Diva cup (Eco friendly, BPA, latex, plastic, chemical and dye free)
To learn the usage, click on the link: https://divacup.com/

  • Tampons for better hygiene - This is a better option than pads which is more hygienic and made out of cotton. 
Image result for tampons
  • Sometimes it comes with the applicator which helps you to put it properly.
  • Don't leak. 
  • Can be worn in rain, river crossing and while having water sports easily.
  • It's easy to take out as there is a string attached to it.
  • You can wear it up to 8 hours. Try to change it frequently and you can use it overnight.
  • Budget friendly. These comes in various prices so it is easy to afford.
After all it is all about your practice. Give it a try !
For better understanding and video manual visit this website:

Maintain proper hygiene: In this let's focus on some basic hygiene tips and how to pack those for your journey.

  1. Things you need to carry - News paper (cut it into small pieces).
  2. Double Zipper lock plastic pouches (to carry used sanitary napkins in case you are not using the above options).
  3. Never ever throw the used products in the wild as they are made of non biodegradable materials and can cause serious pollution. Be responsible by wrapping it properly with news papers and put it in a zip lock pouch. Through them where you found a disposable bin. 
  4. Carry Hand Sanitizer (use it wisely to clean you hand), tissues and easy cramp relief roll on.
  5. A soft kerchief.
  6. Talcum powder.
  7. Keep your travel pack easily accessible. 
At the end it is completely on you how you want to maintain or what ever is convenient. My personal experience was smooth with these products. Remember, Nothing can stop you from travelling. These above options will help you to not compromise  with your exciting travel plans. After all we all deserve a clean and happy summit. Don't you think so??
HAPPY TRAVEL!! Feel free to write back.

Thank you for reading!! See you soon guys.







Saturday, 13 April 2019

YAYAVAR Club - A leading community for travelers.


YAYAVAR Club 
 A leading community for travelers.

     Yayavr club

You all must be wandering why all of a sudden I am talking about a travel club when I prefer to travel solo!!


Well, Yeas! I came across with some amazing facts about this club and their vision about responsible and sustainable tourism. I thought of sharing a glimpse. Let's take a look.

What makes their ‘VISION’ unique?
Not only they have preferred to unveil the rare destinations also they are very keen towards preserving the local cultures and practices while traveling. Few things which I liked the most about the nature of this club are -
 1.  They give platforms to the new start ups and travel enthusiasts to make travel plan, guide treks, promoting travel companies and hotels etc which rarely we found in these days.
    
      2. They give the open access to the travelers to reach out to the locals which benefits in both ways. The travelers experience the unique cultures and habits of locals and prevents from losing their ethnicity.

      3.  They always engage local people to plan trips so that they get benefits after all locals are the best to guide you about their places.

      4.  Overall Yayavar club will provide you to live like locals being in their places which stop affecting the local community.

Isn't it amazing!! Their strong vision helped them to achieve a great number of followers and a family of 10,000.

Are they ‘DIFFERENT’?
Oh yes! They are completely.  Otherwise in these present days with the competition of million travel clubs they are growing with a tremendous pace with a decent number of followers.

Being a Non profit organization they work on No profit no loss technique. As part of their exploration group they divide all costs equally which directly benefits the locals with an extra effort of wellbeing of the ecology of those places. Apart from this they are on their way to develop a complete self help/guide platform to give a first and fresh experience which other travel clubs barely gives.

Now when it comes to me I thought of why not to give a try when I personally believe in sensible, sustainable and responsible tourism. Sometimes when you really can’t make it alone you need some encouraging souls to take it forward and inspire you to be a part of it.
So my dear travelers, It’s time to make your choice! Your choice can make a difference and you can be the integral part of a responsible travel community.


For more information click on the below links


Thanks for reading! See you guys soon.


Wednesday, 10 April 2019

Twin Monolithic architectures: Udayagiri & Khandagiri Caves


Udayagiri & Khnadagiri Caves
                                              ----Symbols of religious diversity in India


Hello Friends!!! have you ever thought about a city which is rooted and drowned in Hinduism but responsible to protect the diverse religious characteristics of India by preserving these twin caves call 'Udayagiri & Khnadagiri'. 

    
    Udayagiri caves
    Photo@sahelibasu

Situated in Bhubaneswar these heritage architectures are the major tourist pooling sites. While going home to Kolkata I had a 6 hours break in Bhubaneswar. So, as always I pulled out all possible information about the near about side scenes.

I decided to visit Udayagiri & Khnadagiri as I am very passionate towards historical and religious architectures. lets take a quick look about the history of it. The exact location is in Bhubaneswar, khurda district. These two are the earliest rock cut Jain caves which were curved by Jain monks and artisans from the times of king Kharavela.  These two monumental caves are not only manifests the genius architectural sense of ancient India but also shows the early inscriptions of love, tolerance and religious description.


   Udayagiri cave view
   photo@sahelibasu

The Udayagiri and Khandagiri caves are believed as wonders among all the monumental architectures from first century BC.  There are multiple caves located in Udayagiri premises. Udayagiri means - hills of sunrise. The main purpose of these caves were shelter, meditate and prayer in solitude. The different caves depicts various scenes like royal procession, hunting expedition, court scenes etc.

The most beautiful and largest cave is 'Rani Gumpha' or Queens cave.  There are other several caves as well like 'Haaati gumpha', 'Alkapuri Gumpha', 'Jaya vijay Gumpha' etc. They all are numbered clearly to avoid any confusion.

Part of Udaygiri cave
photo@sahelibasu22

All the caves are carved in sandstone and each one is different in character also their rooftops are very low in height. You can experience the silence and sacred feeling of the place. This gives you an unique feeling like the whole evidence of history or a spectacular architecture of first century BC is standing still between a full fledged on growing metro city. the site was giving me a feeling of changing time, progress, urbanization and a lost past. These monumental heritages bridged the history and time together. These helps us to remember the glorious past of India and an endeavour to cherish the diversity which signifies our beloved India.

You may experience a spectacular view from the top of Udayagiri cave. The thin white line of urban architecture from a stone carved cave builds a connection between centuries of history and religion.

View from Udayagiri cave
photo@sahelibasu

Khandagiri : Its very close to the Udayagiri cave. From the main road one can see the easy trails. They are marked very clearly from the entrance to the summit.  The caves of Khnadagiri are located at the height of 118 ft. There are several caves resides in a single premises. 'Khandagiri' means broken hills. There are 15 caves in Khandagiri.

A heritage of 2000 years old was the shelter of many Jain scholars. The caves are beautifully carved with inscriptions, motifs and relief sculptures. These caves presents the first occupation of Jain and Buddhists.
    Khandagiri cave 
    Photo taken from Tripoto.com

These two twin caves are the primary attraction of Odisha tourism. Good to see the maintenance and the security provided by the state government. Hope it remains same.

Thanks for reading!! See you soon guys.




Thursday, 28 March 2019

Digha , A sun shining weekend gateway


DIGHA
A perfect weekend gateway


Digha : A perfect weekend gateway for family and friends. If you love beaches and want to spend your weekend with the sea and sand than You must visit Digha . It's a coastal resort town in the east Indian state of West Bengal, border of West Bengal and Odisha. 
It's easy to reach Digha from all parts of India by train and flight. For flight one need to book it CCU(Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose) from there head to Howrah railway station to access trains. There are five trains which one can avail for Digha.

     Digha beach
     Photo @sahelibasu

1. Tamralipta Express (train no: 12857)
2. Paharia Express (Train no : 15722)
3. Howrah - Digha super AC express ( Train no: 12847)
4. Kandari Express (Train no: 22897)

All train takes more or less 4 hours to reach Digha from Howrah. As it's a very popular vacation destination so there are many hotels with different budget. In these days through OYO you can get great deals on single occupancy or double occupancy. If you really want to avoid the rush and crowd then avoid the festival times. Otherwise this place has much more to offer and you can experience the best view of Bay of Bengal.
Digha beach
 photos@sahelibasu
                                                                                                                               

Places to visit: 
1. Shankarpur: A small beach village with an wide open view of Bay of Bengal. It is a regular fishing harbor located 14 kilometers in east of Digha.  Do not miss the red crabs on the beach. It looks mesmerizing when millions of them are out on the warm yellow sand bed. 

2. Talasari: It is approx. 8-10 km from Digha. It is the conjunction of Subarnarekha and Bay of Bengal. The place offers the lush forest of palm trees and mangrove forest. once you cross the mangrove you can access the beach.
















Mangrove forest in Talasari beach
photo @sahelibasu

















Subarnarekha river in low tide
photo @sahelibasu
















Talasari beach
photo @sahelibasu


There are other two places for beach lovers . First one is Mandarmani and the other one is Taaj pur. These two can be traveled separately. Otherwise if you are planning for a long trip you can destined those places by giving one day gape in between.

Ending the Blog here ..... will be back soon guys. All the best!.