Friday, 18 October 2019

Dear Darjeeling !

Dear Darjeeling!

Hello All!! Back again with another trip which is very special to me. A very short trip bagged with lifetime memories. Let's start then!!

Planning and Booking: 

A break was much needed and I started planning for a small trip nearby my home town as I was approaching Dussehra vacation. After one week of tight search I listed down few places which were fulfilling my criteria. Darjeeling was one of them. Without delaying much I started my booking. As I was a bit late to book my tickets so couldn't get bookings in train but as a traveler any thing and everything is fine for me. I booked bus tickets from kolkata to Siliguri and vise versa.The bus fare is approx 1400 for one way. The bus starts from Esplanade bus terminus (Kolkata) and last stop is Tenzing Norgey Bus terminus (Siliguri). Off course it takes more time than train but I had no option left. 

Once the transport is done I started searching about hotels and while searching though of exploring something new and found a hostel named - 'Hideout Bagpackers Hostel'. Believe me I made the best decision by booking this hostel. A truly and ideal hostel for bag packers. You can easily book this hostel from, Tripadvisor and other booking websites. I chose a dormitory and per day it was only 600 INR which is very economical. 

My love and passion for travel always leads me with great hope and positivity. That gives me courage and motivation to complete my trip. Being independent in travel not only help you to achieve a complete trip but also increase your self confidence and adaptation capability in all situations.

DAY 1:

The overnight journey was a bit tiring and due to heavy rain the bus got stuck and took a different route. I reached to Siliguri around 7 A.M in the morning (5.40 A.M was the right time) and it was raining heavily. I had to look for the ATM as I was not carrying enough cash with me. With the help of locals I found an ATM and then thought of warming my self up with a cup of tea and some breakfast. I went to a roadside tea stall. They were so humble and helped me out with my bag pack, umbrella and everything. I always prefer interacting with locals rather than googling. I was trying to find out the share taxis and the fares then they introduced me with a person who runs many local taxis there. I felt so happy and he charged 200 INR from Siliguri to Darjeeling. It was a Tata sumo where 10 people can easily adjust. 

    On the way to Darjeeling

The road towards Darjeeling was mesmerizing. The weather was cloudy, foggy, moistened and gloomy. These all made the surrounding more mystical and ethereal. 
It takes almost 4 hours from Siliguri to Darjeeling including few halts for refreshments. I reached Darjeeling around 12.15 P.M and as it was a sharing taxi so the driver dropped me by the nearest landmark. I set my GPS and started walking. The road was very stiff and it took almost 30 minutes by walk as I lost my GPS track in between.  Finally I reached to the hostel around 1 P.M. The hotel is in hideout truly. One can barely notice it . I got my room and as it was a dormitory They showed my bed and table. I liked the room a lot. The arrangements were quite comfortable.

View of hostel room @Hideout bagpackers

I got ready quickly and as I was starving I decided to treat myself with some pure English cuisine in Keventers which is almost 150 years old and they still maintain the British dining manners. So I ordered some meatloaf sandwich, Omelette and coffee. While enjoying the delicious food my mind was wandering that would I be able to see the the mighty peak of Kanchenjunga for which I traveled from far!!

View@ Keventers, Darjeeling

Surprisingly the weather started getting better and the mercury level of my expectation was rising up for one glance of Kanchenjunga. I was gazing outside and still there was no sign of it. I started consoling myself saying that I have more three days so wait and have patience! But it says when you want something with all your heart the universe works toward it. I saw the tiny white peak over the cloud and couldn't believe my eyes that I am witnessing the 3rd highest Peak in the world. My heart was pounding and slowly the gorgeous milk white snow capped mountain ranges started showing up themselves over the clouds. My heart filled with joy and I witnessed the excitement among other tourists as well. The view quenched my thirst more than the delicious coffee. I remember I was gazing at it without blinking and thanking to god for my life as a human who can realize and admire the grand beauty of his creation. It was like a grand show for 15- 20 minutes where the cloud curtains unveiled the view and covered up again. 

I had a great welcome in Darjeeling.

I planned to explore the local markets as it was late for that day to plan any other visit. The Darjeeling mall road is very famous for its shopping zone. There are multiple shops of handcrafts, antiques, folks, garments etc. I visited the Oxford book store which is 200 years old and totally well resourced and equipped. I loved the shop and interacted with the owner. The lady was very humble and kind. She gave me permission to click pictures of her store as it was restricted officially. I was founding myself very lucky and looking forward for the great next.

    View@ Oxford book shop

This is very important to remember that most of the restaurants in Darjeeling get close by 7- 7.30 P.M. So after exploring the mall road I went to Glenary's Cafe for dinner and completely fell in love with Darjeeling.  

The hostel gate closes at 10 P.M but as I was dead tired I went back by 8.30 and started making my sleeping arrangements. The comfy bed and blanket gave me a very good sleep.

Day 2:

The second day was quite exciting for me. I got up around 5 A.M early in the morning by on of my roommates call. I opened the door and couldn't believe my eyes ....I could see the huge ranges of green and blue mountains in a bright sunlight. There was no sign of rain and clouds. What a beautiful day!! yes, again I could see the Kanchenjunga peak along with other Himalayan ranges. I was spellbound with the view and a great positivity took over my mind which was more than enough to look forward. I went out for a morning walk and had a cup of tea in mall road area. There were hardly tourists but I could notice the locals jogging and walking.

    View from my room@Hideout bagpackers hostel

I had several plans lined up for the day. I booked a joy ride in toy train which was most exciting for me. This joy ride takes two hours with two halts. It goes up to Ghum Junction, recognized as the highest heritage railway station in the world. The tickets can be done through IRCTC and it has multiple fares starting from 1000 - 1500 INR. While enjoying my tea the shop keeper told me to walk little further to experience the best morning view . I walked straight crossing over the mall road and found the picturesque beauty of the valley.

    View from Mall road@Darjeeling

This dazzling beauty of the valley froze me and I thanked God again for giving me eyesight to capture this beauty. The calm and silent morning with this gorgeous beauty filled my heart with excitement.  Holding that excitement tight I came back to the room and ordered some breakfast. I enjoyed Darjeeling tea and instant noodles with my friends over there. They all were making their schedules as most of them were from abroad and came down to India for Trekking and mountaineering. Their amazing experiences were worth listening. 

Joy Ride in Toy train:

There are two types of trains like one is the heritage one with steam engine and the other one is with diesel engine. There are only two compartments in each train and it travels in between the town so you can see the local life while riding the toy train. My train was at 9.45 A.M in the morning from Darjeeling railway station (DHR). Again I set my GPS and it showed 15 minutes walk from my hostel. I walked happily and reached there on before time. I got my ticket checked with the station master and he told me to wait in platform no 1. The railway station is very well maintained and this place is under UNESCO world heritage area since 1881.

 Darjeeling railway station

The train started little late. I was more like a spectator watching a film. The train took several turns in between the town and finally reached to the Batasia loop. This place offers breathtaking view of the town. It stops 10 minutes there and also you can see the War memorial which was built in the honor  of Gorkha regiment who sacrificed lives. There are few stalls of woolen garments are there.  you can take picture in the Batasia loop garden which is very well maintained.

    Batasia loop garden@Darjeeling

     War memorial@Batasia loop, Darjeeling

The next destination was Ghoom Junction, the highest heritage railway station in the world (7407ft). I felt contented seeing all these and was waiting to arrive Ghum. It took 30 minutes to reach there and believe me the place has something different which takes you to the British Colonial era. Here the train stops for 30 minutes to visit the Darjeeling Himalayan railway museum. The museum is in the station premises so easy to locate. The display of the ancient railway engineering tools, route maps, instruments, letters, compass, photographs are perfectly showcased. The highlight here is the first toy train engine- The baby Sivok. The museum is small and well maintained. The artistic manner of displaying pieces are much appreciated. 

Inside view of museum@Ghum Junction, Darjeeling

After Ghum the train too the same way back but didn't give any halt in Batasia loop. I reached at station around 12.15 P.M and was very hungry so straight went back to the hostel and ordered some lunch.

Dali Monastery: 

I was thinking what is next and then heard the others in the hostel are planning to visit Dali Monastery to attend the prayer. I joined them gladly and the prayer time was 4.30-5.30 P.M in the evening. The prayer hall opens only two times, once in the morning from 6.30-7.30 and in the evening. It was my long term wish to attend the Buddhist prayer and felt cheerful thinking of another tick mark in my list. 

It took 45 minutes by walk to reach the monastery and the weather started getting bad. The fog started taking over the view and so soon it became dark. Through the GPS we located the load and reached to the monastery by 4 P.M. It was a huge monastery and very well decorated and clean. The view of the town from monastery compound looks truly beautiful. Around 4.20 they opened the prayer hall and invited us in. There were few other people as well. 

    Dali Monastery@Darjeeling

The grandeur of the hall is worth noticing. The incarnations of Buddha are presented in sculptural forms. The walls and the ceiling are well painted and shows different mandalas, Buddhist leaders (Drama gurus) and inscriptions about Buddhism. Photography is not allowed inside so couldn't take any pictures. The prayer started with chanting mantras and there were 40 Lamas involved in the prayer from different age groups. They were playing different musical instruments in the prayer. The loud meditating sound, dim light and the echoing chant froze me in the moment. The whole ambiance was so influencing and captivating that you can't think about moving yourself. It is amazing to see their discipline, dedication and coordination in the prayer. They offered us tea and biscuits which was the part of ritual.

I was spellbound and numbed, completely shaken up. I realized that there are so many small things around us which can be experienced so easily and promised myself that I will never stop exploring. 
We came back to the mall road and had dinner. Day 2 ended well.

Day 3:

With a great expectation I woke up around 5.30 in the morning to capture the view from my balcony. I opened the door and guess what did I see!! 
There was no sign of light. The weather was dull and due to heavy fog the sight was completely gone. Soon it started raining and I was disappointed. I canceled the 'Tiger hill' visit plan which is very famous for Sunrise. There was no sign of sun rays so started thinking what to do ? I didn't want to waste my time and wanted to make something productive. I went up to the cafeteria around 7.30 A.M and ordered tea and noodles. 
While seeing the cafeteria closely I got an idea to paint something on the wall. I asked the hosteler for permission and they encouraged me so much to do so. I asked them if they have any paints. They showed me some and I asked them where to get paints so that I could buy some. They told me not to worry and bought a new set of poster paint set for my painting. I was so excited and soon started my painting on the wall. I wanted to give something to the hostel as a token of appreciation. Something permanent that they will remember always.

    Painting on the hostel wall@hideout bagpackers, Darjeeling

It took almost two hours to finish the painting. While finishing the painting I noticed the changing weather from fogy to sunny. I started planning again and thought of visiting my favourite and most wanted place - world famous mountaineering institute''Himalayan Mountaineering Institute''. 

Himalayan Mountaineering Institute (HMI):

I set my GPS and it showed 40 minutes walk from my hostel. I started around 2 P.M and the road was mostly descending so it was not tough at all and I reached to my destination within 25 minutes. The road leads to HMI is beautiful. one small narrow road with tall green pine trees on both sides was like a never ending path. I can walk on such road throughout the day. While walking I was reflecting upon my journey. I was thinking how slowly I became independent in doing everything. It was satisfying me thinking that I could do things by my own. 

It was my long term wish to pursue mountaineering training from HMI but due to the heavy demand and unavailable slots I had to enroll in a different institute. I was so excited to see the HMI campus as it leads the glory and history of  Sherpa Tenzing Norgey. He was the first man to step on the mount Everest with Mr. Edmund Hillary. Sherpa Tenzing was from Darjeeling and later he got actively associated in HMI and served various roles. 
This institute was established by none other than Pandit Jwaharlal Neheru and current principle is GP CAP JAI KISAN (air force officer). This institute is one of the premier institute for mountaineering in the world.

    HMI@ Darjeeling

I could not believe my eyes that finally I am standing in HMI campus. The above picture is the entrance and office area. Beyond that the entry is prohibited as there are hostels and training fields. I insisted few admin staff present over there to give me a chance to see a glance of the campus. I remember I was literally begging and they took my phone and said you can see the campus up to a certain point and gave me 10 minutes. I happily handed over my bag and phone and entered into the campus. I was overwhelmed and my heart filled with curiosity and excitement. I saw the hostels and how well maintained they are. There are different buildings named by different leaders. Those 10 minutes are my life time memory.

                      Me in HMI campus, Darjeeling

Museum at HMI:  

This is the best part in HMI, the museum. Along with Himalayan species they have a mountaineering section and in that one special hall named as Everest. I ran into that hall first. I remember I spent 40 minutes in that small room seeing each and every thing minutely. The display shows the gears, training routine, instruments, prestigious badges and off  course the honor wall of the leaders from past to present has completed the summit. There were two sections separately dedicated to Tenzing Norgey and Enmund Hillary. It shows all their original gears they have used for Everest expedition. I was amazed to see those.   
There was a bonus again waiting for me. I saw there is a poster of adventure film screening. I rushed to the ticket counter and bought ticket by 30 INR. The documentary name was 'The Fall' and it showed the real expedition about two alumni from HMI and they were the first to climb the frozen water falls in Spiti and Ladakh region, India. I learnt so much from their experiences and also one thing which moved me the most is their minimal approach towards life. They always maintain a very low profile which makes them noble and humble.  I must say that I had my best time in HMI throughout the trip.

Padmaja Naidu Himalayan Zoological Park:

I was so excited to talk about HMI and I forgot to mention that HMI is situated in the campus of this Zoological park. This Zoological park is something different and it is quite different than the traditional zoo. I liked the concept of meadows and highlands where the animals are nested. Their locations look quite natural and the animals are not directly exposed to the viewers. Though I do not like the concept of zoo because I feel that animals are not meant of entertaining us. In comparison to the other zoological parks This one is much better as they are kept into a bigger campus with a minimal fencing.

    Animals in Zoological park, Darjeeling

The day was quite well spent and I returned hostel back around 6 P.M. The sadness was slowly taking over my mind as the next day was my departure to Kolkata. I had to pack my things and was still thinking where to visit next morning as I will have 4 hours before leaving. I believe that you should travel in way that it satisfy your mind and soul. If you are making so much of effort to visit a place then you should left no stones upturned.  I had my dinner and planned to visit Andrews Church, Observatory Hill and Lloyd Botanical Park next morning. 

DAY 4:

Woke up around 5 A.M and got ready for morning walk. I had tea in the mall area and the weather was not that good as I expected. It was not raining but cloudy. I set my GPS and saw the Observatory hill and Andrews church are nearby and the botanical garden is a bit far. The observatory hill is situated in a temple call 'Mahakal' which is very unique in terms of it's worshiping practices. Here Hinduism and Buddhism two religions practices take place. You can notice the Hindu priest along with a Buddhist lama praying for god. The Hindu idols are placed next to Buddha Avalokiteshvara . I liked it very much and there were no priest insisting you to pay money and worship. You can see the view of the town from here quite nicely but due to the fog it was not clear.

I wanted to see the peaks again for the last time as it was my last day there. The weather was not supportive but I was hoping to get it better. I walked up to a point where some sitting arrangements are placed and the panoramic view of the town looks brilliant. I sat down there and gazed to the sky to get it better. I noticed few more groups gathered there in the hope of Kanchenjunga. I decided to wait for some more time as I had some time left in my hand before visiting Church and Botanical Garden. 
There was no improvement in the weather and I bought another cup of tea to engage myself. I was calculating time that how much more I should spend here as I am not done with my packing. 15 minutes passed away and I saw some heavenly rays are appearing tearing the thick clouds. Within 5 minutes the whole sky got cleared and no one could believe that it was completely murky sometimes before. I stood up and rushed to the end of the point to occupy the best place to notice my beloved Kanchenjunga. After few minutes I could see two small tiny white dots appearing over the clouds and my heart filled with joy. I waited for more to appear. Slowly the show stopper started appearing by splitting the clouds apart and I saw the shiny, gorgeous milky white mountain ranges. My pounding heart impacted my mind strongly. My eyes filled with tears and I wiped my eyes and thanked god for fulfilling my wish. 

    Kanchenjunga, Darjeeling

With a heart full of satisfaction I left the place and set my GPS to reach the Andrews church and Botanical Garden. I saw that the church will come on my way to Botanical garden. I reached the church around 9 A.M though it was closed because it opens around 10.30 A.M. It's a small church which was built in the year 1843. I liked the architecture and they have maintained it nicely.

    St. Andews Church, Darjeeling

Now it was time to head towards Lloyd botanical garden.  It took 20 minutes walk and completely descending order. The entry ticket is 30 INR and I loved the place as it was a complete forest and in between there are few glasshouses where the species are kept. The whole garden is very well maintained and well labeled for individual species. I could notice hardly 4 to 5 visitors along with me and the whole ambiance was very peaceful. One can hardly imagine that a place like this is hiding very close to a busy town. 

    Orchid from Llyod botanical garden, Darjeeling

I loved the whole surrounding, so peaceful and calm. The nature is the best therapy for everything. I spent almost an hour over there and realized that I should go back to hostel now as I should leave by 1.P.M. I reached and meet all my roommates over there and spent some good time with them. I had some noodles and tea and went back to my room for packing.

I was a bit sad and dull thinking so many things. I couldn't even realize that these three days went so fast and finally the home time came. I had to catch my bus from Siliguri in the evening. I got a share taxi around 1.40 P.M from Darjeeling and reached to Siliguri around 5 P.M as it took halt due to heavy rain. I contacted the bus supervisor and confirmed my ticket. I was all set to come back to kolkata but I realized that I left a part of self somewhere there in a mountain.

This trip was even more successful than Hampi and I found myself more confident and focused about my traveling. The sweet pain you get when you leave a place makes you more passionate about the next travel. The same thing happened with me and now I am planning my next trip.

Bye Guys!!!Stay tuned .......

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

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 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)

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 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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  :

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.