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Hampi Visit- I. Preludio: Allegretto ma non troppo
My decision to visit Hampi was an impulsive one – the act now, think later sorts that I usually make first thing in the morning while I am still coming to terms with abrupt end of a pleasant dream. I broached the idea of a weekend trip with friends and colleagues alike but as all of them claimed preoccupation with one thing or the other, it became obvious to me that I would be going solo. Thus began a frenzied search on the net, for more information on Hampi, first hand accounts of other visitors (such as one wonderful photo-essay here), and most importantly for means of getting there. After some contemplation I settled for a Karnataka Tourism packaged tour. The deal offered by KSTDC (Karnataka State Tourism Development Corporation) looked fabulous – for just 1,045 Rs, I could visit Mantralaya, Hampi and Tungabhadra Dam; accommodation included! That Mantralaya is a place of great religious significance in Andhra is something that I learned only much later (more on that and other theological matters a little later) – the bus was to go to Hampi and it was all that mattered!

I slunk out of office after lunch on Tuesday to the KSTDC Corporation Circle office and procured my window-seat bus ticket for the 3 night 2 day whirlwind tour. The balance working days were soaked in anticipation and anxiety (and occasional display of braggadocio and my bus ticket to friends who had refused me company ;-)). Friday introduced some jarring notes into my cantabile sonata. My piano class was cancelled. An important meeting at office (which unlike the piano class I did not look forward to) was cancelled. I began to take these events as portents that my trip too would shortly meet with same fate. And indeed, thanks to all the hoopla surrounding the evangelist Benny Hinn’s visit, it came frighteningly close to that. At five in the evening however, having been reassured on phone by the good folks at KSTDC, I began packing in right earnest. The trip was still on and on on-time!

A little evening snack, and a rushed auto-ride later I was at the KSTDC office once again, this time for boarding the bus with other passengers.

Having recently heard a spectacular account of KSTDC’s Tirupati tour, I had begun to fancy that my journey would be in a plush comfortable vehicle. The bus I shortly found myself in, was anything but that. The overhead bin above my seat was occupied by defunct air-conditioning gear, forcing me to share my already capacious quartes with my backpack. It was a little warm inside, so instinctively I tried to open the seat’s window. But alas, it was jammed so badly that even after application of my entire mortal self to the purpose of sliding it asunder, I could only manage to push a little crack between the glass and the window pane – large enough to allow passage of air sufficient for keeping a mouse from being asphyxiated. The chairs would recline but only after a tricky maneuver involving reasonable force. Overall the conditions were just marginally better than an economy class flight. I say better because I not only had my own supply (whatever little) of fresh air, I would also be spared airline food! (These buses halt for fresh meals at road side eateries, which, as I found out, serve fare which is both delicious and economical).

Ten minutes after the scheduled departure time, the engine of our bus roared to life. We began our crawl to the national highway outside Bangalore city limits.
posted: 26.1.05

12 Comments

my parents had recently been to tirupati and they liked the facilities provided by the kstdc. on their recommendation some of our relatives planned a trip through kstdc but we were badly disappointed. i think they should really improve the lodging facilities.
hey i just came back from a party and the first thing i did was to check ur blog but u have ended it abruptly at an interesting point. hoping to read about ur trip more.

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 26.1.05  



Hi! I agree, their lodgings need a lot of work but overall I am happy, especially because there were no food and water problems anywhere.

Once I sat down to write, with my pictures and notes for reference, I realized that I won't be done with the entire travelogue in just a day alone. So I decided to divide it into 4 or 5 parts - just like a symphony :-). This was just the first movement, another 3 (or perhaps 4) will follow.

And in case you are wondering what "Preludio: Allegretto ma non troppo" means - "Prelude - little fast but not too much". [In western classical each piece has directions for players to indicate how a piece is to be played or interpreted. For some reaons, they are always in Italian - its one of those traditions that've stuck along]. In context of my write-ups I hope they'll convey my mood and pace of events.

By Blogger Deepak, at 26.1.05  



deepak, good to know you made it to hampi! look forward to reading your travelogue and of course, your pictures. we were warned before hand that the best time to do photography is very early morning and evening. otherwise, you get very harsh sunlight and shadows, which does not work so well, so we tried to keep that in mind... it's not as easy as it looks, we realised! anyway, we should compare notes sometime :) btw, we are also planning for a quick and small meet-up, probably on monday. if you're free, send me an email: anitabora5 at rediffmail dot com.

By Blogger Anita, at 26.1.05  



Hi Anita - it definitely looked lot easier than it actually was! Besides lightening conditions, I struggled even with composition (I don't use a tripod), unknowningly I've introduced an awkward tilt in a lot of pictures :-(. I think interiors of some of the temples should come better when the sun is at its brightest (I have a couple of pictures where I was clicking the details of the sculptored stones indoors - and they came out very nice - serendipity of course ;-)). I will definitely go back again, perhaps in 2-3 months, it will be very hot - but hopefully I'll get longer mornings and evenings!

I'd be glad to join for the meetup. Dropped you a mail

By Blogger Deepak, at 26.1.05  



Packing a (little) backpack and taking off after this post itself... you'd better update if there's some reason one shouldn't go! :)

By Blogger Ink Spill, at 27.1.05  



No reasons why you should not be going! And as they tell you in Hitch Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy - don't forget the towel :-)

By Blogger Deepak, at 27.1.05  



i think it will take you more than 5 parts. ya i know that it takes time to write down ur entire travelouge but then i was so excited to see it that i lost my patience. i saw the photos posted by anita. they are really good too. i made a lot italian friends at stona last year. they tried to teach me italian but it was of no use. i really wasn't interested. i sent u a mail. hope u got it. my friends loved ur blog too.great work. u know safin and federer's match is going on. i thought i will logon after the match but then i got so tensed that i loged on to the net now itself. hope safin wins.

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 27.1.05  



:-) You really *are* into sports! So who are you cheering for?

I really don't know Italian... but I do try to keep track of all the Italian words that I come across in Western Classical :-)

By Blogger Deepak, at 27.1.05  



Sorry, I overlooked your comment - you are cheering for Safin!

By Blogger Deepak, at 27.1.05  



Hey I was just blog surfing amd I found your blog! Looks Great!

I also have a philadelphia airport
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You should check it out if you get a chance!!

By Blogger freestuff2, at 2.10.05  



Hi Deepak, I got your blog by searching on google. I'm not sure, how was the overall trip? I ask as I'm planning to take my parents. We'd taken 1 trip to Coorg-Madikeri-Nagarhole (2days), which was pretty good (lodging incl). The sole problem was stopping at joints serving thaali meals! For 2 senior citizens (North Indians), it's not nice!

So, pls tell me on the bus (Volvos available?), food, lodging.

Thanks,

Arnab
arnab.acharya@gmail.com

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 13.3.06  



Came across your blog, and found entry to Karnataka tourism. Great blog, keep it up.

Great website for Karnataka luxury coaches.

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 18.5.07  


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