The day started, for us at least, @ 6 am. (I know I know — totally shocking). There was no hot water available and the Arien was ready to throw one of his tantrums but I prevented it by opting to get ready first. By the time I was ready, we had hot water (Phew!!). The water was not cold but the Arien has this thing with hot water and we end up creating scenes wherever we go – This time I was determined to not let that happen. We finally left at 7:40 am. Thats the cute lil cottage we were staying at, at the resort. The exterior looks nice but the interiors left a lot to be desired. Anyway, after we went past the bridge and reached the river-side – we spent half an hour cooling our heels because the boatman refused to leave until a few more ppl joined us. Grrr.. On the other side, the auto man was waving at us. I opted to have hot Chai and just wen we got the hot cuppa in my hand – the boatman was ready to leave – a group of 10 ppl had suddenly come and I had to stand with a cup of brimming with chai on one hand, the camera and bags in the other. Ufffo!! The Arien took everything so that I did not end up falling on my face 😀
The Auto driver gave us gyan ’bout our being late as he rapidly wove through traffic to take us to the first of our many sight-seeing spots of the day. The first spot of the day was the Sasive Kalu Ganesha and this was followed by the Kadale Kalu Ganesha. They are both monoliths – carved from a single stone. According to the Auto driver, they resemble mustard seed and gram seed respectively and thus the name. The Auto driver parked his Auto in the shade and had breakfast while we walked around the place shooting pictures. You have a fundoo view from the place and because it was not yet sunny, it was awesome.
While we stood there, a bunch of school kids arrived and they started yelling — their teacher was very patient but whenever he showed them a statue, they yelled “Haalu Hampi” meaning Hampi in ruins. The kids kept running around like this was their day of freedom while the master walked along showing them stuff and never losing his cool. I felt very depressed as I saw how the kingdom had totally fallen into ruins. We got back into the Auto and proceeded to the next stop. As we bump-bumped along, the Arien mentioned that maybe we could have taken the car instead of taking this auto. I was of the same opinion because firstly there were so many tourist friendly boards all over the place. Secondly, the place was crowded, we could have followed a group of tourists and checked out the entire place.
The next place we were visiting was the Lotus Mahal and the Elephant Stables. I have used a simple shot of the stables as the banner for my web-site. It was so difficult to get a shot of the stable with nobody around it. After sitting on the grass, which was not really comfortable, we finally managed to take that shot. Just as the Arien took the picture, two women walked out of the stables — the Arien has this Uff!! expression. The whole place was hugeee and it was a warm day – we had spent a lot of time walking, bumping into an astonishing number of tourists, school kids, and taking photographs.
On the right is the picture of the Lotus Mahal – taken as one group of tourists leave and a bunch of students arrive. Oh yes — it was really tough trying to get a good shot that also did not have too many people in it — but we managed. The building was so good-looking with its archways and domes. It is supposed to be called as the Lotus Mahal because of the architecture of the domes – which resemble a lotus bud.
There was also this amazing watch tower at the end of the broken wall enclosure and the Arien really wanted to take a shot from inside the watch tower but you cannot really climb the watch tower. So, he settled for this long-distance shot. You can also see the hose used for watering the plants and maintaining the lawn in ship-shape. The height of the watch tower was impressive. It was getting quite warm – it was after 11 am. We really wanted to take a break plus we had not had breakfast and so the Arien was likely to get cranky in a few minutes and I really wanted to avoid that at all costs!
After another drive, we reached a place where the Automan was determined to have lunch — it was not really suitable for us. A lady had these steel plates and she was serving rice, sambhar etc. The Arien was actually very hungry but even he was not sure if he wanted to try that. So, we had bananas, chips, and Maaza or Slice and proceeded. The Automan wanted to be done with the trip by now and his impatience was pretty obvious — I was worried tht the Arien would get really wild – thnx to his hunger which was not assuaged by bananas et al – and I decided to get the Arien away from the Automan asap. It was at that time that the camera’s battery died – Phut!! – There I was worrying ’bout the Arien losing his temper – I lost mine pretty badly. The fact that restroom facilities were far and in between and I was unsure ’bout the cleanliness and hygiene added to the pressure, I guess. Anyway, we managed to get new batteries and there were some restroom facilities and we were able to get going sooner than I thought… More in Part 2.