The trip started at 5 am from C’s place and driving in the clock wise direction to pick up myself, A and B on the way and hitting the National Highway 4 or Asian Highway 47 towards Chitradurga. The forecast was showing cloudy, windy and showers. And all through the drive it was alternating between frequent peeks from the Sun God, occasional drizzling and heavy winds. And since it was the first time ever that I told them to be prepared for rains because weather.com had forecasts for showers, I got blamed for either the sun showing up or the rains showering in between the whole day. They all just wanted a cool and windy climate for the day. They had a fun time blaming me for the weather. Good job guys, good job 😉
As usual B had done his research and we were supposed to stop for the breakfast at Pavitra’s Idly hotel in Tumkur, but once we reached that place, we found a notice that it is closed for Ganesh Chathurti till 3rd Sept. B had built up the anticipation of that place so much that we were indeed a little bit disappointed. We also saw quite a few cars coming to the same hotel and then turning around. Since it was still a little early, we did not find any place open in Tumkur and we decided to go for Kamat Upachar. The next one was in Sira. We managed with the snacks we had got (as usual, it was quite a lot and not even half of it was finished during the trip). There was a bit of confusion with the GPS because the map wasn’t updated with the proper roads and it was showing service roads which were done earlier, I guess. It took us an hour or so extra to go around and come back to the hotel and then get back to the NH again.
We also stopped for a photo shoot of a sunflower fields along with the wind mills in the background very close to Chitradurga. We walked into the empty fields filled with the flowers for some close up shots. It was very cool. The roads that actually lead to the fort (even the inner roads which the GPS pointed us to) are not very good. Add the recent rains and it was a horrible mess. And some roads are just too narrow. Finally arrived at the fort at 10.30 – 10.40 am. From the outside it pretty much looked like the Golconda Fort in Hyderabad, but after the trip now, I would say that it is maintained better and is much less warmer/hotter than Golconda Fort. 5Rs entry fees for Indians and 25 Rs for video cameras and no charge for digital ones unless it is a professional camera.
Thank God I had the sense to wear a shoe. I expected walking but didn’t expect almost 4 hours of it inside the Fort to view almost all the places. There are 25 places that are listed there as is seen in this photograph.
We covered almost all of them except for the ones in the very extremes like the 24th, 17th, 4th etc. Only 6-7 such places were left out. We did not hire any guides to tell us the stories, but you can see them at the entrance waiting for any tourists. We saw the guides being used mostly by the group who had kids with them so that they can explain the stories associated with each of the place there. For e.g. the legend of Onnake Obava (the brave lady). With the strong winds and the lush green carpet and the brown all over, the place was a beautiful sight. We went from one place to the other looking at the descriptions of how they were built and what it meant etc. There is this one place called Tuppada Kola Bateri, which has a set of small carvings in it for you to climb that rocky hill to go to the top. A and myself opted out and as usual the two guys went ahead. It was so scary to watch them go on all fours using those small curves to go to the top. I would never do that in my life. It is a steep climb to the watch tower above. There were lot of women, kids and old people climbing and slowly crawling or sliding with each step down. Whatever. I surely don’t want to risk it. The photographs my friends took from above were so amazing. So if you are interested in climbing rocks or want some adventure you can do a lots here. We saw people go even to places that were unmarked and it did look scary.
We had snacks in a small cave we found near the Palace complex. And then went on our way to climb another small hill (which had steps even if it is in stones) on the other side. The only break we had was when those two went up the watch tower for almost 15-25 mins. Rest was all walking around, climbing up , climbing down those stones and rocks. It is a pretty interesting place and we did not even feel the pressure or strain. Time just flew by and it as around 2.30 pm when we decided that we were done and had completed almost all the important ones. Since we had plans for the dam (Vani Vilasa Sagara) and had to return by night, we didn’t want to extend our stay there. Outside the fort, on the right hand side from the entrance, if we go a little further (and almost at the end of the road) we can find KSTDC’s hotel with restaurant there. We had our lunch there and that is when it rained properly. Thank God I had my jerkin with me to save my camera. Others got a little bit drenched. It was a simple and good restaurant. The only bad thing was that people had littered all over with bottles and plastic and junk. It is not easy to maintain such a huge one but it will be handy to have dust bins at all the specific places for the people to dispose their garbage. We had to carry a plastic bag (which B always manages to have one in his bag) to collect our garbage.
After that we started our way back at around 3.45 pm to Vani Vilasa Sagara Dam also known as Marikanive for which we have to drive back in NH and then take a right to go to the dam. The internal road was not that great and in some places it was too narrow that we had to wait for some time to let the cattle and the goats coming on the other direction to go through and then proceed. But the dam was a surprise. It was built around 1890’s or so it said and it had a very old style of it and is rather very small. But it was in a very quiet place. There was a huge family who had gathered there for their outing and the entrance is on the side of a temple downstairs near the parking lot.
The only problem we had there was, after climbing all the way , we found that there was a route on the other side by which we can travel by car almost to the top of the dam (which the GPS did tell us, but we ignored it and thought it was showing us the route to the lake or the water body instead of the dam) and the guy who was manning the gate didn’t want to open because it is too late (it was around 5 when we reached there after our leisure lunch and drive back) He wanted us to give him 70 Rs to allow us inside. Finally the deal was set at 100 Rs for one hour and we entered. It was such a nice one. And it was tooooo windy. The gushing sounds of the water, the wind, the clouds, the occasional peaks from the sun- a lovely evening. On the other side, there were steps to go to a top for a better view but after 2 levels I opted out because I was too tired and wanted to sit for a while. That is when some kids came up and I had fun taking their photographs, the post on which will come tomorrow in my other blog. My friends went up and came down after a while to see me crowded with a bunch of kids and me taking their photographs 🙂 We found another entrance to the dam on the other side of it which is unmanned and is open anyways. So in case you don’t want to pay that guy, you better use the other entrance. It is directly in the way of the parking lot, which we failed to identify because we saw people coming from the other end and assumed that it was the only way up. We started back at around 6 pm towards Bangalore. I drove for almost 50 mins or so and had some high adrenalin energy filled ride (for everyone) at 120km/hr (B said later that he burnt more calories that one hour than he did the whole day…. and I don’t believe him) but yeah, I was high on energy and wanted to race everyone on the highway 🙂 which scared everyone else in and out of the car. But when it started getting darker I wasn’t very confident and we stopped for coffee break in Sira in the same Kamat Upachar and after that C overtook the driving for the rest of the trip.
It was a pleasant, fun and nice day trip.
Photos are posted here