Badami, Aihole and Pattadakal

A trip to heritage towns of Badami, Aihole and Pattadakal Badami, (and the surrounding Aihole and Pattadkal,) are well-known for the historic Chalukya dynasty rule between 6th and 10th century. The places have almost equal doses of history and mythology behind them. Boasting of several UNESCO world heritage sites, Badami is famous for its rock-cut temples made right out of huge monolithic red sandstone boulders. This and several other historic remains that were left behind during the Chalukyas rule, beckons all avid travelers towards Badami. When Darter announced a travel photography workshop at this destination, I had no hesitation in signing up immediately. The idea of traveling with a group of like-minded individuals, focused on photography is a novel one. And add to that, a chance to meet and interact with people from potentially diverse backgrounds is intellectually stimulating. Having traveled and enjoyed a similar travel photography workshop at Hampi with Darter’s Arun Bhat last year, with his experience in travel and photography, one could be sure that this would be a fruitful travel opportunity photography-wise and one is sure to be at the right place at the right time to create good photographs. The tour started with us checking-in to the Heritage Resort on Jul 5. We had a leisurely session on photography and some basic guidelines on making good images from Arun. More than concentrating on the technicalities of the image-making, emphasis was given to the creative part of the process. Armed with some new-found knowledge, we headed out to put them to effective use – at Aihole. Aihole was the first capital of the Chalukyas. They built several temples here and have experimented with various styles of  temple-building. The experience gained from building temples here would help them build the grand temples that now adorn Pattadakal. Here are a few images from Aihole. After finishing up at the temple complex, we stopped at a nearby village and tried to capture the scenes from a typical village life. I don’t have images ready yet – perhaps I’ll post them separately, recording my attempt at capturing people and their lives in a village. We reached our hotel around 8pm, had a modest dinner and retired for the day. We had an early start...

Learn More

Chikmagalur – The land of hills, lakes and coffee

Chikmagalur Travelogue It was quite some time since I made a leisurely trip someplace. The Ladakh trip in June was awesome but not too long after that, I wanted to get out of the city again – someplace calm, serene. Chikmagalur was a destination I always had at the back of my mind. Ever since I last made a trip to Kemmangundi, the place has kept beckoning me to come back again. I had told my wife about the awesome time I had during that trip to Kemmangundi, not just once but many times over and over again. That had got her ever intrigued and she made sure we picked Chikmagalur as the destination this time. So, we were headed out on a fine Thursday morning, only to return back the following Sunday evening. We had 3 full days at our disposal. An ideal trip, for me, would be made of equal parts of excitement and relaxation. I always am on the look out to visit new places, during the wee hours of a day when there’s not too much crowd thronging all over the place. We had not made any concrete plans as to what places we would visit. But we did book a homestay, a little away from the town’s bustle. On all the 3 days we had, we were out exploring places in one half of the day while we relaxed at the homestay in the other. On the way to the homestay, we saw a beautiful lake. But being tired of the drive from Bangalore, we let it go thinking we’d come back later in the day during the evening. After resting a while, we got back to the lake by around 5 in the evening. There was an old rusty board by the lake telling us its name – Hirekolale Kere. Accessible by a narrow bund, one can either walk or (the more adventurous can) drive a car over the bund to explore the lake as it presents layers of hills behind it. As the sun started to go down for the day, the play of the angular light and the water was spectacular. At one end of the lake was a garden like boulevard and late in the...

Learn More

Hesaraghatta Grasslands and Nrityagram

Situated at an arm’s length from Bangalore, one would not expect to see the surroundings transform from the bustling urban to something completely different on the way to this place – the Hesaraghatta Grasslands. This is (sadly) the last surviving grassland near Bangalore. After escaping the urban jungle limits, one can see rustic villages, farms, vineyards and grasslands. In monsoons, this area is lush with vegetation, hues of green in every direction. Even having started really early in the morning, the sluggishness was gone and I was wide awake in no time, thanks to the air that was clean, crisp and invigorating. The grassland itself is a vast expanse of plane land (almost 2 sq kms). There are lots of trees which seem to be restricted to the periphery of the area. It is highly advisable to go there early in the morning for various reasons – that’s the best time for watching birds, that’s the best time for photography and as the day goes by, there is not much protection from sun/rains. Nrityagram is situated very close to the grassland. Its a unique dance Gurukul. They have tried to keep the premises natural as far as possible. One can get in with a entry fee of Rs. 50. The area is serene with lots of flowers and stone paths amidst trees. We could witness dance lesson sessions when they started. Below are a few more details of the place: Location Directions Best time for a visit Food Photography http://goo.gl/maps/NaeWg From Yeshwantpur, head towards Nelamangala until you see a traffic signal showing Hesaraghatta on the directions board. Take a right turn here and proceed towards Hesaraghatta village. En route, you will pass via Chikkabanavara railway station. After the Hesaraghatta village, proceed till you see a Jnana Bharati institution. (If in doubt, ask for Dasenahalli) Take a right turn immediately after this. Drive on till you see a large gate at what would look like a dead-end from a distance. Go till the gate, the road curves left. After this, the second right turn leads you into the vast grassland. For Nrityagram, take the same way out, as you came in from the grassland and turn right. Follow the directions to reach Nrityagram    Again...

Learn More

Bhoganandishwara Temple

Situated quite close to Bangalore, near Nandi hills, this ancient temple is a less known, but nonetheless a very picturesque and peaceful historical monument. After having learnt of this place, a visit was on the cards. Me, my wife and a couple of my friends made plans to visit this place on a Sunday. We started after having an early breakfast, at 8:00 am and reached the place by 9:30 am. The small quaint village – Nandi grama – seemed to be waking up rather late on a lazy Sunday morning. The temple itself was open and we spent a good two hours exploring it. Coming to some historical snippets regarding this temple (sourced from info got at the temple and from here): It supposedly has tell-tale signs of architectural styles from 5 different dynasties. Believed to have been built almost a thousand years ago, it seems to have got modified and developed by successive dynasties over the period of time. The temple has three sub-temples (garbha gudis) – Arunachaleshwara (childhood form of Lord Shiva), Bhoga Nandishwara (youth form of Shiva) and Uma Maheshwara (Goddess Parvathi and Lord Shiva). The other salient structures in this temple complex are the marriage hall, with stone pillars having celebratory carvings and the large kalyani (water pond). The stone shelters supported by symmetric pillars offer a tranquil, cool place where one can sit endlessly. Not being a widely known place, it is not too crowded even during the weekends (of course, being there early definitely helps). For me, this is exactly the kind religious place I’d love to visit, having a peaceful, calm atmosphere. Below are a few more details of the place: Location Directions Best time for a visit Food Photography Near Nandi Hills, Off NH-7 – http://goo.gl/maps/FBxY1 As one would do while going to Nandi hills, take a left off of NH-7, drive till hit a ‘T’-junction. Taking a left here would get you to Nandi hills. But one needs to take a right turn here. The temple is situated about 3 kms from this turn. Any time of the year should be fine. There might be festivities during festivals and some marriage ceremonies too every now and then. This just adds to the flavour of...

Learn More
Page 2 of 212