Hampi & Badami – Part 1

Estern Hemigway said that never go on trips with anyone you do not love. Well, this was my first and certainly not the last trip with two people I am closest to. How could I be not excited! Long phone calls discussing the details, listing the things we want to do and of course the selfies we want to take and photos we want to click. Endless planning for a perfect trip. We were going with 30 unknown people and that’s all we knew till the trip day and luckily the cities we choose has an awe-inspiring history and that added the dramatic flavor to this whole trip. Every feeling was new in an old but ruin city.

We were to leave on 21st December 2017, at 4:15 AM and the timing itself stated that we wont be sleeping well for that night. We had to reach Pune Railway Station around 03:30 and since my place is very far from station I decided to stay at my friends place. To my surprise, most of my packing was done by my mom, since it was very hectic day at office and also, my whole family came to drop me at friend’s place. Perks of having a loving family, I guess.

When we reached Pune Junction, we met the volunteers of these wonderful organisation, who help people to explore different forts and destinations, called “Gadvede”. And like their organisation, they were wonderful. To be honest, at first, I had this impression, that it is going to be just three of us, enjoying our little time off in our own little world, but I am so glad that somehow the world expanded and we were able to welcome many amazing people in our world. And all thanks to four people who made that process enjoyable. Rohit, Shantanu, Prasad and Ashwini our managers, as shall call them, made sure that everyone got along, well almost everyone.

It was a morning train so instead of sleeping we decided to stand in train doors, feeling the fresh cold breeze and watching sun come up. It was a sight to behold. I even managed to capture a perfect sunrise as my journey photograph.

Remaining train journey was all about getting to know co passengers, playing games and capturing some train photographs. We were to get down at Hospate around 8:00PM, which is around 12 KM from our first destination Hampi. The day was tiring and after completing our dinner, we went for short walk which ended with us having pan.

There was a time when I used to travel by train every 3 months just to meet my granny or masi, but then we started travelling by car. Now that I have traveled by train again, I realised how much I missed the train travels.

Our Day 2 started with authentic South Indian food, Upma and Shevai. So mandetory local food eating was off my list and it was time to take another destination off my bucket list – Hampi The Ruin City. Everyone has a bucket list of places they want to travel and hampi was among top 5 in mine. I had read sooo much about this place and had seen soo many beautiful pictures of this city. It was very difficult to stay clam. I was excited beyond anything.

Our tour started with Mr. Hussein, our tour guide for the day. First place he took us to was Sasivekalu Ganesha Temple in Hampi. One thing you should know about the Hampi is that, though once it was the second largest city in South Aisa, all you can see now is a lost glory of the city. Every monument built out of giant granite rocks could have been a grand wonder but the rivalry with the mughals lead to the down fall and destruction of the city, now all you can see is a ruin city. Same is with the Sasivekalu temple. A grand broken Ganesha murthy depicting the glorious and ravaging history.

Sasivekalu Ganesha Temple

It is said that, near sasivekalu temple there was an university of architects, where students were taught to build temples and other structures. Hence you can see the small demo structures leading to the grand monuments & temples and all are ruined. The techniques they used such as the rock balancing techniques and stone cutting techniques were very modern for their era. It made me wonder, were they more developed in 15th century than we are now? Or just because we could click a picture of their work made us more developed?!?

The next stop was at Virupaksha temple, one of the very few temples who survived destruction of the city. The Shiva temple was built in 7th century. You can google its history. The temple has beautiful carvings inspired from Chinese and Roman style and not to mention it has an enormous Pravesh Dwara. The real beauty of this structure can only be felt. No picture can describe how you feel when you touch a 13 centuries older pillar or when you look at a painting which is that old. But at least I can give glimpse of its beauty.

Virupaksha Temple

Inside Virupaksha Temple – Pillers inspired from Chinese and Roman Architect 
15th Century Painting inside Virupaksha Temple

Another big temple is now considered as a statue, because it was broken during the trashing of the city, known as the Narsimha statue, It is one of the biggest sculptures in the city.

Broken Narsimha Statue

A city that big, has to have kings palace and queens palace. Unfortunately all you get to see is their base. After the attack sultan burned down the entire palaces and other structures, leaving us with more imagination. But a fine structure survived. The structure is built like a lotus and from there it derived its name ‘Lotus Mahal’. A masterpiece which was used by the queens as socializing area. It is a two storied mahal, the base is of Islamic style architecture and the 1st floor was of Dravidian style. The mahal had an unique air conditioning system which consist of use of clay pipelines. Who wouldn’t want to take picture in front of such amazing structure? And so we all clicked picture standing in front of the mahal and then on the beautiful lawn in front of the mahal. I almost have around 200 photos of this place. Different people and different angles and different life-time memories.

Lotus Mahal

Step Well Near Palace Area.

IMG-20171226-WA0002
A Memory

Our Last stop for the day was the famous Vithala Temple. This place was my main attraction for the trip, I was very exicted to see the musical pillers, which produce the music of 10 different musical instruments. It is said that when the piller were is good condition, there music could be heard from the distance of 200 meter. Then the second attraction was Garud Ratha, a huge chariot,with fine sculpturing. The wheels of this ratha rotated around but due to damage and hampering, it has now been cemented to the ground. The sculptures of temple consist of different stories of Mahabharata, Ramayana and Panchatantra. Some sculptures had its own specialty. You could see a angry bull from one angle and a roaring elephant from another. And when you see a masterpiece of brilliant architect and creativity, you wonder, THIS PEOPLE WITH LIMITED RESOURCES COULD ACHIEVE SUCH EXCELLENCE LIKE PRODUCING MUSIC FROM STONES AND ALL WE DO IS PLAY LUDO! Its good to see something astonishing in you life. It does have some kind of soothing effect on you. I love such moments.

Garud Rath of Vithala Temple

The Famous Musical Pillers.
Inside Vithala Temple – Pillers inspired from Chinese and Roman Architect  

Ruins of Vithala Temple

The day ended with a golden sun setting by the Tungabhadra river and a cup of Chai.

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What we are going to take away?

We always try to look at things, with fog of negativity. Everything we learn, everything we see, is a direct filter of our suffering. Everybody is suffering from something or someone, it is a never-ending cycle. And almost every time, we miss the point. Yes, we are suffering right now, but the future we create, may have a different picture.

It is like, every person you meet, or every person you leave behind, teaches you an important lesson of what you want in your life. Some give us the gift of appreciating others, while others teach you to avoid certain things in life. And yet we never realize, having those bad experiences in our life, makes us the person that we are. Generally, a person is measured in terms of black and white; but there is a shade for every situation in his life which alters is thinking and actions.

We have so many stories to support this! First one is of Hitler. In his childhood he had some bad experiences with Jewish people, later that turned him into a menace he was. He could have learnt his lesson and instead of torturing, he could have been good to everyone when he was in power, so that no one would feel what he felt. But as we all know he choose revenge over forgiveness.

King Ashoka was devastated after his brothers tried to kill him, his loved ones were killed while protecting him. He also went on a revenge spree which concluded with the Kalinga war, killing more than 3,00,000 people. And that massacre made him realize, you cannot heal your wounds, with other’s flesh. His change of heart made him one of the best kings, in the world known to mankind.

My personal favorite is of Karna. Pandavas treated him badly but Duroudhana treated him as a friend (for whatever reasons may be, those reasons were unknown to Karna). He had seen what bias combined with power can do, and he wanted to change that. A bad experience inspired him to make a change. After knowing all the aspects of the story, we know he choose a wrong side. But can we say, the changes he made were bad?! He had every reason to dislike Pandavas, and make the change, which he did.

The basic reasons behind all these stories is that all these people were treated badly. Some learned from their feelings others choose not to. And the rest is history. Just because someone was bad to you, does not mean you must treat others in a same way. You can make sure, that others do not feel the same humiliation or misery.

Bad things happen to people all the time. The way we perceive it, decides our future and in some cases future of mankind. No one is good or bad. They are just reflections of what choices they have made. It is impossible to predict the outcome of the course you have chosen and the effect it could have on others. May be that is why the journey worth. It is totally up to you, what to take and what not to. But, I do want people to choose, love over hatred. The courage to maintain peace over fear. As you do not know, what effect your actions would have on people’s mind. Kindness is the solution to all the horrors we are facing now a day. Just a smile can convert someone’s bad day into a better one.

ओळख

​आपल्याला बोलायला ओळख लागते. ओळख वेगळी वेगळी असू शकते, कधी व्यक्तिशी तर कधी मुद्दयांशी. दोन माणसं जेह्वा भेटतात, तेह्वा ओळख शोधतात. काहीतरी साधर्म्य शोधतात. कारण आपल्याला अनोळखी गोष्टिंची, माणसांची भीति असते. ओळखीच्या ठिकाणी जायला तेवढी भीति नाही वाटत. तसाच काहितरी अनोळखी व्यक्तिशी बोलताना होत. जेह्वा एक ओळखीचा धागा सापडतो, तेह्वा त्या व्यक्तीची भीति कमी होते आणि संवादाला सुरवात होते. अर्थात बोलणं ओळखीला धरुनच असतं. त्या धाग्याला धरुन आपण पुढे जातो आणि जाळे विणायचा प्रयत्न करतो. म्हणूनच कदाचित, विचार ज्या व्यक्तिशी जुळतात ते आपल्याला जास्त जवळचे वाटतातं. कारण त्यांच्या विचारांचे सगळे धागे आपल्याला माहित असतात. 

ज्या लोकांशी विचार जुळत नाही, त्या लोकांच आपण जास्त ऐकूनपण घेऊ शकतं नाही. एक भीति असते, आपल्याला आपला comfort zone सोडावा लागेल, आणि त्याच्याहून जास्त भीति असते की, त्या comfort zone च्या बाहेर आपल्याला जास्त आवडेल. स्वतःच अस्तित्व त्या comfort zone ने आपणच ठरवलेल असतं  आणि जर तोच सोडला तर अस्तित्वालापण धक्का लागतो. अर्थात स्वतःच्या अस्तित्वाला स्वतःहुन धोक्यात घालण सगळ्यांना जमातच अस नाही.

VISAPUR TREK

This trek was a journey for me in a sense. I was delighted that this trek happened. Not in a life changing way but it was definitely a life enriching experience.

For this trek, I was merging my two groups. And if that doesn’t go well, trust me your life is screwed. These two groups have their own place in my life and obviously I wanted them not to hate each other, if not like each other.

As all the historic places of our country, hold huge historic significance, even this fort has its own glorious ups and downs. It was built during 1713-1720 CE by Balaji Vishwanath, the first Peshwa of Maratha Empire. And later, in the 18th century was conquered by the British for its feasible location to attack Lohagad Fort. And for all the history lovers, please visit Wikipedia.

Fort
Visapur Fort
Visapur - 1
The lushy green landscapes and beautiful waterfalls.

We had decided to catch the local of 7:30 am but later found out that it does not go to malavali at all. So like every group, plan was changed even before it started. Finally we reached our destination and the journey began, from malavali station to Visapur fort.

The total hike was of 9-10 km. It seems as a huge number for not-doing-any-exercise-at-all-teenagers (like us). But as they say, your company decides the actual journey and not the distance.

Right after you enter visapur village there is a beautiful Visapur waterfall. Right next to it there is a way for Bhaje Leni or Bhaje Caves, which we decided to skip due to time constrain.

Visapur Waterfall
Visapur Waterfall

The start was exciting, and as soon as I started enjoying a dramatic change of events happened and my ankle was sprained while climbing that waterfall. I had two choices, either go back or continue with sprained ankle, for next 15-16 KMs and that does not include the steep rocky waterfall climbing. Needless to say I choose second option. And boy! I am grateful to myself for taking that decision. And I am grateful to my friend Anagha kale, who made sure that my veins are not blocked, which most of the time cause the swelling.

The best part about this trek is that it is a water fall trek. After reaching the base of the fort, you have to walk for about 1.5-2 KM approx., where you get a free pedicure (if you are not wearing shoes). Then the real fort trek start. Half of it is in slippery mud stones and half of it is in cold waterfall. If the rains are in your favour, you would be lucky enough to see the stepping stone. I don’t have any picture of this route, since it was raining. It is about 30-40 Meters high and pretty steep. And that’s why it is way more fun to climb. Make sure you wear shoes with nice grip, have a windcheater with you.

My journey till the waterfall climbing was bearable or I guess I ignored the pain. But when I saw what I had to climb, that to with a sprained ankle, I had my doubts, and I even considered staying back and waiting for my friends to return after completing their trek. But if you have good friends, they will not leave you behind, even when they know that you are going to be difficult to handle. I am blessed to have such people in my life.

I started my climb with the help of Arjun (a friend of mine), he was there on every step, helping me to climb one step at a time. And when I need someone else’s help, like always, I had my best friend Swapnali by my side. If you have gone on any such treks, you know people are always ready to help, if you have some problem. And so they did, I received so many helping hand through my journey to the top. Out of all these unknown people, I only know one name, a guy called Siddhesh, who helped me like 7-8 times. But through this blog, I want to say thank you to everyone who, knowingly or unknowingly helped me to climb. It is every strange though, I don’t know their names, but I still remember their faces. And probably, I will always remember their faces, because they have helped me when I needed it.

Carry a lot of food, because once you reach the top, you will find yourself famished and there is no scope of getting any food over there.

And after all this, when you finally reach your mountain top, you know for moment like these, you live. For moment like these, which defines your attitude, which helps you to break your comfort zone, which makes you stronger and which makes you believe in your capacity. Moments like these offer you the real freedom. In those moments you live only for yourself. Yes, the climb was not that difficult but the sprained ankle made it difficult for me. And true, everyone helped me to reach there, but the pain was mine and completely mine, so was the whole satisfaction. May be that was my Everest, at least for time being!

मनातलं अवकाश

​सुनिता देशपांडे ह्यांच ‘मनातलं अवकाश’ हे पुस्तक वाचल्यापासून, कदाचित मला माझ्या मनातल्या अवकशाची जाणिव झाली आहे. दिवसतून एकदातरी विचारांच्या अवकाशयानाला इंधन मिळतचं, आणि काही करायच्या आत ते अवकाशात पोहचतं. तिथून बाहेर पड़णं खूपदा अवघड असतं, कारण जस जग विज्ञानाच्या नियमांनी बांधलेलं असतं, तस मनाच्या अवकाशाला बांधणारा कोणताच नियम नाही आहे.

हे अवकाश खूप मोठ असतच पण, आपलाच भाग असुनदेखील, किंबहुना आपणच तयार केल असुनदेखील, आपल्यालाच त्याची व्याप्ती माहित नसते! कितेकदा आपण एका ठिकाणी जाऊन आलो आहोत, हे देखील आपल्या लक्षात नसतं. जर आपण तयार केलेल्या अवकाशाचा आपल्यालाच ठावठिकाणा नसेल, तर तो दूसऱ्याला तरी कसा लागेल?

जगात जितकी मनं, तेवढे अवकाश! कोणाच्या अवकाशात काय चालल आहे, हे कळणं केवळ अशक्य.. आणि कदाचित तेच बरं आहे, कारण जरं आपल्याला कळलं असतं दुसऱ्याच्या मनात काय चालू आहे, तर आयुषातल्या बऱ्याच चांगल्या क्षणांना आपण मुकलो असतो. आपल्याला माहितदेखील नसतं आणि आपण कोणाच्या तरी अवकाशात मुक्काम केलेला असतो. आणि बऱ्याचदा ज्यांच्या अवकाशत आपलं खास स्थान आहे असं आपल्याला वाटत असतं, त्यांच्या खिजगणतीत देखील आपण नसतो! 

ह्या न दिसणाऱ्या जगात जे काही घड़तं, त्या प्रत्येक गोष्टिचा आपल्यावर खोलवर परिणाम होत असतो. कदाचित बाह्य जगतलं आपल स्वरुप, हे मनातलं अवकाशच ठरावतं. आपल्या क्रिया व प्रतिक्रिया हे अवकाशचं ठरावतं. जे जे मनाला महत्वाचं वाटतं, ते ते ह्या अवकाशात साठवालं जातं. म्हणूनच प्रत्येकाच अवकाश वेगळ असतं. दोन व्यक्तिंसाठी एका गोष्टचं महत्व कधीच एकसारख नसतं, आणि म्हणूनच त्यांनी स्वतःसाठी बांधलेल जगहि कधीच सारख नसतं. आपल्याला आयुष्यात जे काही मिळतं, आपण ते त्या अवकाशत, आपल्याला हवं तसं बसवतो. तिथे कोणी आपल्याला चुक किंवा बरोबर म्हणणार नसतं. आणि म्हणूनच कदाचित काही लोक त्या अवकाशत जास्त रमतात. तिथे आपण आपण असतो, बाहेरच्या जगतल्या प्रत्येक बदलाने बदलणारे, तरीपणं स्वःत्व  जपणारे…