My desired destination today was some place else, but I was unfortunately unable to locate it :( But since I was out anyway, I ended up going to the The Square at Novotel instead. This is of course one coffee shop that every Hyderabad resident has been too, if not for any other reason, then for the fact that being located in a five star, it is open at all times :)
I ordered a cup of filter coffee. The coffee is good, and it is served in utensils which reflect how filter coffee is actually had by South Indians (supposedly!) :) While it is supposed to be poured out into a bowl to help cool the coffee, the coffee was not hot enough to require any such cooling :D
I did however come out poorer by 175 bucks!! :(
Pattadakal is a small village in Karnataka, India. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, located about 22 kms from Badami. It has a collection of ten temples from the 8th century, built by the Chalukya dynasty.
The temple complex
Puja in one of the temples
Aihole is a small town , about 50 kms from Badami. The interesting thing about this place is that the village settlement is sprinkled amongst the ruins. Various temples and structures are located behind the villagers’ huts, and it’s easy to find locals sitting in these ancient buildings for a leisurely chat :)
Villagers in Aihole -
Our local guide, who went by the name of Prabhu. He wasn’t really an official guide, but then he was very eager to show us around :)
Prabhu and his friend Nagarjuna -
Trying to show us something called “Ulta Pulta” :D Still can’t figure out what that quite was…
Rock cut caves in Aihole -
Structural temple architecture -
Met a great set of kids on my recent trip to Badami :) Though they spoke only Kannad, making any conversation very hard, a helpful Kannad lady willingly translated in which standard was each of them studying :) A very happy and enthu lot overall :)
Looking at the monuments in Warangal does leave one wondering about the tremendous patience those workers must have had back then to carve out such intricate forms in stone! Here are some examples of what you see in the ruins of Warangal Fort -
Recently I’d gone to Medak (some distance from Hyderabad). Got these inside the kitchen of one of the roadside restaurants there. While taking shots with a DSLR, I had to clarify I wasn’t a reporter :)
Chilkur Balaji Temple is located on the banks of Osman Sagar Lake, near Hyderabad.
Quoting Wikipedia: “Approximately, 75,000 to a lakh devotees visit the shrine during the week, but on Fridays and Saturdays, the temple gets close the cumulative of a week. Many of whom come to pray to Balaji for visas to travel or move to the US and other Western countries. And its head priest Gopala Krishna is instrumental for the temples popularity as Visa God.
It is also the only temple in India that does not accept any money, does not have a hundi, from the devotees, no green channel or privileges for VVIPs and it fought and won the right to stay out of government control.”
Apparently if you go around the inner shrine 11 times and make a wish, that wish will definitely come true. When it does, you’re supposed to come back to the temple and go around the shrine again, but 108 times now!! As you go in, you can see a big throng of people going round and round the shrine:
Quoting Wikipedia: Chowmahalla Palace or Chowmahallat (4 Palaces), was a palace belonging to the Nizams of Hyderabad state. It was the seat of the Asaf Jahi dynasty and was the official residence of the Nizam.
Posting some last remianing shots of Bhongir Fort…
Bhongir Fort is about 70 kms from Hyderabad (from Gachibowli area). It’s pretty much a single structure that’s the remnant of what-was-a-fort, built atop a massive rock. While the fort itself is okay-ish, the climb up the rock to get to the fort is pretty nice.
Here’s what Wikipedia has to say: Bhongir Fort was built on an isolated monolithic rock by the Western Chalukya ruler Tri-bhuvana-malla Vikram-aditya VI and was named after him as Tribhuvanagiri. This name gradually became Bhuvanagiri and subsequently Bhongir. It has a unique egg-shaped construction with two entry points protected by huge rocks, so the fort was considered practically impregnable by invading armies. The Bala Hisar or citadel on the top of the hill gives a bird’s eye view of the neighbouring area. According to legend, there once was an underground corridor connecting Bhongir Fort to Golconda Fort.
Posting some last remaining photographs:
Hampi is scattererd with half burnt structures – buildings that were destroyed by invaders, leaving only a few traces behind as reminders of the glorious structures that once stood there. Posting some snapshots.
I have some more pictures of Temples, but I can’t seem to remember the name :) Even so, posting them here (This may have been Varaha Temple, but I’m just guessing here). Hampi is a wonderful place and I would definitely like to go back there sometime.
Also posting photographs from the Zanana, which housed the women’s quarters (for all the king’s wives and her lady companions)