The Yokozuna did a 1400
+ kms trip from Pune to Hampi and back. The beast did not grunt at 100 kms/hr speeds and given our unpredictable highways, I did not try my luck beyond 100 Kms/hr. During the hot afternoons, the dual A/C proved to be a boon. No issues observed, except (a small niggle) - the rear window does not]
roll down via the driver’s power window console. It does roll up !! The individual button to operate the window (rolling up & down) works just fine. I estimate the mileage to be at about 15 Kms/litre.
Back to the trip. The roads are great (smooth) all the way on NH4 from Pune until Hubli-Dharwad and then on NH-63 from Hubli to Hospet via Gadag and Koppal. It takes about 12-13 hours with multiple breaks & safe driving from Pune to Hampi. The roads in Karnataka, as always, are much better than those in Maharashtra. In fact on my way back from Hampi to Pune, the road from Wai/Mahabaleshwar exit and all the way until Pune's Chandani Chowk was a big a 2-lane mess. The NH4 on this stretch does not have good (or any) service roads, the restaurants and shops on the side of the highway straddle into the highway, you have vehicles taking a right or left turn - causing interrupted traffic flows. And I think we sorely need an additional lane on each side.
Back to the Hampi trip, where the Yokozuna performed it’s duty with a breeze. Hampi deserves at least 3-4 days
- if not more. Our sightseeing itinerary in Hampi was from 8.30 AM - 12.30 PM and then from 4 PM - 6:30 PM every day. The hot afternoons can sap your energy and enthusiasm very quickly. We stayed at the KSTDC
Mayura hotel at Kamlapura
which is about 4 Kms from Hampi. To enjoy Hampi, read about it's history - so that you can imagine how the ruins would have been 600 years back. For the history of Vijaynagar empire, I would recommend "A Forgotten Empire Vijayanagar: A Contribution to the History of India" by Robert Sewell
. During the sight-seeing, "Hampi Ruins" by A.H. Longhurst
is a great tactical companion. And finally, if you carry a smart phone, the Hampi. India! | Everything about Hampi!
is a great & useful reference. If you like to trek, there are couple of good options – the Matang hill and the Anjaneya hill – both will reward you with great views of sunrise or sunset – once you reach the summit.
Here are some photos (of the 700+ I took) from the trip.
The Vithala temple - and the emblematic chariot that defines Hampi !!
The Vithala temple is always crowded - this photo is was taken at 9 AM. Try to get to this temple as early as you can to avoid crowds.
The Sumo just below the gateway (arch) on the way from Kamalapura to Vithal's temple
The Virupaksha temple and the Hemakuta monument
The Sumo near the Chandikesawara temple
The beautiful HazaraRama complex
The Yokozuna just outside the Octagonal bath complex
The Octagonal bath complex