Tour date: 30th September & 1st October 2012
For the record of my travel in India, the last place of interest that I've been before my demobilisation back to the headquarters was in North Karnataka. It is located in arid plateau from 300 to 700 metres elevation in Karnataka State of Southwest India. It is drained by the Krishna River. The neighbouring states are Maharashtra and Andhra Pradesh. There are 13 districts altogether in North Karnataka and I have been to 2 states, Bellary where Hampi, a Groups of Monument is situated and Bagalkot district to visit Aihole, Badami Cave Temples and quick stop at a Group of Monuments Pattadakal, another UNESCO World Heritage Site.
If English and Hindi (close to Urdhu) are the most widely spoken languages in Delhi, the official language of Karnataka is "Kannada". The language was the second factor why Phani, my driver made his excuses. He found difficulty when we were in Chennai as Chenai (formerly known as Madras) is a capital city of Indian State, Tamil Nadu, hence peoples in Tamil Nadu speaks their official and spoken language, "Tamil". Phani only speaks Telegu as he is from Andhra Pradesh. When I was in Pune @ in the Maharasthra state for 4 months, the common spoken language is "Marathi". So, India is a very unique country.
Historically, Karnataka was once under the Chalukyan Empire when Pulakesi I conquered the area in 550 CE. The Chalukyan had built the World Heritage monuments in Pattadakal in 7th and 9th centuries as the coronation place for Chalukyas as well as their capital city. Aihole, another important temple town with over 140 temples belonging to both early and later Chalukyas time. Both Pattadakal and Aihole continued to be an important centres under the Rashtrakutas and the Kalyani Chalukyas when the Chalukyan was overthrown by them.
I strongly encourage for those who had spent time in Hampi should make a point to visit Badami, Aihole and Pattadakal as I was. I put a night in a small hotel before proceeding with a tour to the 3 places on the 3rd day of my tour. We left early morning on 1st October 2012 to look for the Cave Temples Badami, which I have shared in my previous entry, "Karnataka State - Badami" on 29th October 2012. Of all the temples that I visited in Karnataka, Badami is most beautiful as it was crafted on the red cliff. It was an awesome arts and high technology to built a temple in the cliff rock.
|Durga Temple, Aihole|
|Durga Temple, an angle from Lad Khan Temple|
|Some details inside Durga Temple, Aihole|
However, I was a little bit disappointed with what I discovered in Aihole temple town. The temple compound is being taken by the villagers who may not appreciating the important of historic monuments. They occupied the old city and further ruin a bit of history, a pity to witness those sad events. Furthermore, the city is not being properly taken care of, so dirty beyond my imagination (3 photos below was an evidence that I snapped that day). Well yes, I know, I was sad for no reason.
|The villagers encroaching towards the protected Aihole temple, adjacent to Lad Khan Temple|
|Becoming a local centres|
|The old monument being occupied by local residents|
Despite what I wrote above, I would not had the opportunity of taking lots of photos of the sunflower farms, should I not insisted to visit Aihole at the first place. You may share my excitements over the discoveries in my previous entry, also written in the same month I returned from the Karnataka trip, "Sunflower, Sunflower".
Important note: Hampi was not under the Chalukyas empire as it was once a capital of the Vijayanagara Empire from 1336 to 1565. The first historical settlements in Hampi is date back to the 1st century.