Sandur landscapes

As I mentioned in my previous post, Sandur, as a place, is bit of a surprise. On the otherwise barren, flat areas typical of Ballari district, Sandur stands out as a mini collection of hills and a valley between these. The hills come alive after the rains, perhaps prompting Mahatma Gandhi to coin the now famous “See Sandur in September” adage.

As a landscape lover, there is much to see and explore around Sandur. These are not places well marked on a map. There may not be well-known names to these places. Yet, to a discerning eye, much of these will look outstanding – both through the camera and of course to one’s eyes as well.

Having researched a bit about the place, I had found a couple of places to visit, routes to take. This apart, the “plan” was pretty simple. Drive around, stop and take photographs whenever it warrants. The place is still a hot bed for mining activities. The daytime sees a long line of trucks on the roads around Sandur. The roads themselves carry a tinge of red, which almost seems seeped into the very concrete surface!

A Chalukyan era temple sits atop a hill called Krauncha Giri, about 10 KM from Sandur. The Kumaraswamy temple dates back to the 10th century. The temple is said to have been discovered by the Sandur royal family and became better known post that.

The drive to the temple is breathtaking. The view from the higher reaches – Villages/settlements visible from atop the hill with greenery all around and hills in the background – looks stunning.

Reddish roads snaking through green fields on both sides. Also keeping us company on this route is a pipeline/track which is probably to carry the mining produce from the hills to factories. A villager I meet along the way, rues there may not be much of these hills left for his grandchildren to see. This is most likely going to turn out true in the future. For now, though, I tell him how beautiful his village is – we can cherish what we have today, and hope to try and preserve the same for future generations. It starts to rain a little and a faint rainbow starts to appear on the other side.

There is one well-known view point close to Sandur. I had seen people thronging the place while driving by. I chose to visit the place in the morning. As expected, I was alone – well, almost. There were a few monkeys for company. They decided not to bother me thankfully. With no people around, and a stiff morning breeze rattling an old, half-broken metal sign-post, the place seemed eerie. But, the view from atop, was gorgeous.

There is one disappointment I had from this trip. One of the places I had read about, and was so eager to photograph, was the Narihalla backwaters. With the crazy amount of rains we had this year, and given that the nearby Tungabhadra reservior was overflowing just a couple of weeks before my visit, I had hoped that Narihalla would be filled with water. It was not – in fact, it was near empty. This was heartbreaking for me – I just could not understand why. The staff at the Shivavilas hotel said that there were rains, but not enough. I could also see small settlements had cropped up on the reservoir bed. Whether they were temporary or not – I could not say. The only image I took here was of the mining pipeline track snaking through, carrying tons of mining raw materials every single day.

Nevertheless, Sandur is like a neat little place tucked away in a small valley surrounded by hills in an otherwise barren Ballari district. Whether you decide to make this a base for exploring Hampi, or take it easy and relax at the luxurious Shivavilas palace and venture out to savour the stunning landscapes around, you won’t be disappointed.

Have you visited Sandur? What did you think of the place? Would you want to visit Sandur after reading this post? Let me know!

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