December 23, 2014

Pokhara in Pictures

Pokhara is the second biggest city of Nepal (after Kathmandu). Sprawled around the fabled Phewa (Fewa) Lake, mirroring three of the worlds top 10 highest mountain peaks - Annapurna, Mansalu and Dhaulagiri, the place is a retreat like few others. 

The pin point peak of Macchepuchere (Fish-tail), few dark-long caves (including a bat-cave - literally having thousands of bats hanging upside down from the roof) and a world peace stupa perched atop a hill (providing the panoramic view of the white mountains) are the prominent treats to the eye here. The place also serves as the base for several sought after trek-routes and adventure sports like white water rafting and paragliding.

Machherepuche (Fishtail - from another angle you can the twin peaks shaped like a fish tail - or like the Sauron's eye)

Seti Gandak - The river along with another dozen rivulets and lakes split the valley by deep gorges created by them

Ukulele by the brook - family song

Entrance to Mahendra cave

Entrance to the Bats-cave (not to be confused with batcave - secret hideout of the Batman)

Devis Falls - Underground water fall

Fewa Lake during sunset

White mountains turing golden in setting sun

Owl Cap - because monkey caps are too mainstream

View from the World Peace Pagoda

World Peace Pagoda

Lakeside road by night

And more mountains...


December 09, 2014

Your Side of the River

The Tungabhadra splits Hampi into two; in more ways than two - culturally, historically, geographically and more importantly in terms of what you are looking for.

On one side lies what you (probably) already know of - the great and splendid spread of boulders and ruins. While the other side sleepily hums along that Bob Marley rhythm and the rustle and hustle of the shacks alongside the flowing river.

TungaBhadra at Hampi
Its almost a 380 km ride from Bangalore to Hampi. The round trip on a bike will turn your ass to stone. It could even blow up an (un-serviced) engine. But it can be worth the effort. I saw my two day trip turn into three. I believe you could even stay there for a month (and still end up paying less than what your average 2BHK costs a month). Yes, there will be mosquitoes, and a couple leeches might creep up your sock, or a crocodile might snap you up as you dive in for a swim (no warning board there would make you wary of the chances of drowning, but crocodiles - check). Apart from all this and a little bit of midday heat, the rest would keep your heart, mind and soul at rest.

Sanapur Lake

The only catch is getting to the other side (with a bike). Ferries ply carrying people and also bikes. Getting the bike on the boat is a whole new level of effort itself. The alternative being a 40 km maneuver that can cost upto 2 hours.

Anagundi Ferry Port

Once in Hampi, you will find boulders all around. Even the hills and hillocks are nothing but boulders stacked up. Some so precariously arranged that mere wind would seem capable of toppling them over.
The men of past carved this city out of these boulders and they did so so very magnificently. The wonder that it is, is literally set in stone, forever.

After a heartful of stone sojourn, the other side of the river becomes ever so more welcoming to a trek-tired self. With the place brimming and buzzing with people of all skin tones, restaurant settings allowing 180 degrees of feet spread and the dim cacophony of different languages, strings of guitar, people reading and give or take a bakchod waiter - you could settle in your own virtual cocoon.

Two other sites to behold enroute Hampi are the wind-farms as you cross Chitradurga and the endless reservoir (Tungabhadra Dam) just before entering Hospet. Looking at that expanse of water, stretching right upto the horizon, it might as well appear that you have reached the coast, for you will see no land.

TungaBhadra Dam & Reservoir
Then there's Sanapur lake just a little off the boulder'ed hills and valleys. And a path slithers along and then follows a canal emerging from it. All together setting it up for a cool walk, ride, loiter, jump or anything else that you might prefer.

More or less, in Hampi, you will find a side of the river that would hold you, and at the same time, flow on.

Because Crocodile
Sanapur Lake

Sanapur Canal

Laughing Buddha


Rolling in the net

Illad Stoning
Illad Stoning 2

Illad Stoning 3

Rights to exaggeration and bragging reserved.
Its not how it happened; its how you remember it.
No characterisation intended
Data and information may have been skewed to suit the storyline
Everything is relative to your perspective