Monday, September 04, 2017

Visiting Hassan, Belur, Holenarasipur and Shravanabelagola

May 13 - May 15, 2017 

The summer holidays for Pooja and Ruchir were coming to a close and Souji also had to start working at the Montessori at the end of the month. So it was the last week before things would get busy and our thought were that it would be good break to go out for a couple of days. And that led to the quick 3 day trip to Hassan, Shravanabelagola and nearby places.

May 13 - Saturday:
We left Bangalore by 7:00 AM and took a quick pitstop at 'Kadamba' restaurant on the highway. A beautiful hotel with spacious interiors and the food was good too.

We touched Hassan by about 11 AM and then then reached 'Hoysala Village Resorts'. One of the most acclaimed resorts in Karnataka, located at the outskirts of Hassan. Harish had gotten this resort booked for a couple of days, with some discounts from his company.

We have been to many resorts, but we had always wished that we stayed overnight in a resort, and what better place than the Hoysala Village Resort. 

As soon as we entered the resort, each one of us were welcomed with flower garlands, Vermilion, and with a Sarangi playing in the background. Quite an enjoyable entrance I must say!

A towel dipped in tepid water with exotic fragrance was given for each of us to freshen up before we were taken to our cottages. The neat, clean and winding narrow tiled pavement covered with beautiful flowery trees on both sides took us to our Cottage.  Our Luxury room was very well furnished with all the latest amenities, a huge double bed which accommodated all of us. The interiors were very well done , very upscale and made us feel royal. We spent a good time exploring the luxury of our room and the resort in general.

The Swimming pools were quite close to our room and the kids could not wait any longer to jump in. An ovular large pool for the adults and a nice and comfortable kids pool, with Crystal clear water. 

The kids had a whale of a time, dipping themselves and had a merry time. We spent the whole afternoon at the pool. By the time we returned the sun was already dipping. And we were a bit tired as well. So we all got a deserving nap.

In the evening we strolled lazily in and around the resort, playing Badminton, Criket and checked out the club house and other things. We then took the car out for a stroll to check out Hassan city and also visited a Hanuman temple. We spent a couple of hours checking out the town and had a good dinner at the Kamat Hotel. We reserved a double-bed room in a decent hotel for the next day evening as well. We returned back to the resort. We spent some time watching TV and then went to bed.

May 14 - Sunday:
The kids got into the pool early in the morning and spent the next couple of hours enjoying the aqua blue waters. Thanks to the kids pool, it made us more comfortable. By 9:00 AM, we had a delectable breakfast at the Cateferia, a spread which had pretty much everything one can think of. Salads, Assorted breads, Cakes, Idly, Poori, Dosa, Parathas, Upma, Kesari Bath, Cereals, Juices, Milkshakes, Coffee, Tea. The best was the the Corn Appetizers, Mashed Potatoes and baked beans. Wah - Mazaa aagaya!

The sun was up bright and shining. We checked out the hotel by 10, and drove towards Belur. Our resort was anyways on the way to Belur, and somehow we had always wanted to visit Belur because the Jackfruits are very famous there and the last time we were in Belur, we missed enjoying them and this time, we couldn't lose!

An hour's drive we reached Belur on empty roads. The Sun was hard and the temple's stone flooring had become a Tawa. We probably ran the fastest 100 meter dash from the entrance to the temple.

Even though we been here 5 years earlier along with Sanjeev and Sudhir, there was still so much to see and enjoy. The intricate carvings inside and outside the temple are just so magnificent. Souji and I explained to Pooja on the story of 'Amara Shilpi Jakkanachhari' - A movie made on Belur's temples.

On our way back, we visited Mango Gardens where Ruchir was delighted to see Mangos hanging in hundreds, that he could easily pluck. We took a little de-tour on our way back to Hassan and got to know that there was a Water-Park that had recently opened. The Yagachi backwater Adventure Sports! 

And Yagachi is a small rivulet across which a Dam has been built that I believe supplies water to Hassan and other places. The Water Sports were at the backwater area, and offered Jet Scooters. Souji and Pooja did not even blink before getting their tickets for the ride. And Ruchir was not to be left behind.

Each one went on their own Jet Scooter rounds and had a gala time. Rain or Shine, Adventure is mine was the mantra. We spent quite a while there are the backwaters post which we drove down back to Belur. On the way, we purchased 2 huge Jackfruits that were a steal, when it came to what we paid for them. 

It as about 4 PM when we had our lunch at Kamat. We then left to the hotel we had booked the previous night and took a little nap and recharged ourselves.

In the evening, we drove to Holenarasipur - A quaint little temple town about 40 Kms from Hassan. The drive was just perfect as it was drizzling all the way through. The temple too was just as beautiful, peaceful as we hoped it to be.

We drove back by about 8 PM and had dinner on the the way. We got back to our little hotel and spent the night there.

May 15 - Monday:
We checked out by 8 AM had a good breakfast and left towards Bangalore, via Channarayapatna.We then took the road to Shravanabelagola and reached the Vindhyagiri hill (A.k.a Indragiri) of Gommateshwara by 9 AM.

The weather was just perfect as it had rained overnight and that brought down the temperature down, making it easier for us to climb the hill. All the while we were concerned if Ruchir would be able to climb the steep hill (3350 feet) which has 620 steps (one way). 

To our delight, Ruchir and Pooja climbed the hill faster than us, without a sweat! Soujanya and I were huffing and puffing while we got up, but these two kids made us feel old for the first time. 

What a beautiful sight it was to be able to see the lush green fields in and little town of Shravanabelagola as we climbed the peak. The ascent was hard but the view from the top was just awesome. 

Over the top, we visited the gentle giant of Bahubali Gommateshwara, all of 56 feet and so neatly carved out of a monolith. After recently watching the movie Bahubali 2, it was such a good time to discuss with Pooja on who the actual Bahubali was and how he became Gommateshwara. It was good learning for her and appreciated the character. 

Apparently, the Mahamastabhisheka of Gommateshwara is due in Feb 2018 and work is already in progress in carving a second set of steps for ascending, considering that the current capacity will be far less considering the crowds that would be landing here for the big occasion that happens once in 12 years.

We spent a good time, taking photos, watching the scriptures on the mountain side, and then watching the beautiful greens from over the top.

Getting down was a little harder than we imagined and we took time to get down slowly especially the section of the hill that has an acute vertical slope at one point. Overall, we were immensely pleased with Ruchir's ability to climb the hill up and down without any issues as if it was just nothing. This is despite the fact that he throws tantrums walking a few 100 feet, in Bangalore asking to be piggy backed all the time.

It was time for us to drive back to Bangalore. The sun was hitting hard. We took the road to Hiriyur from Shravanabelagola which took us through thousands of acres of Mango and Coconut grooves. It was a beautiful drive. 

We had lunch at one of the roadside Hotels and then drove back non-stop to Bangalore. We were home by 4 PM after a wonderful 3 days of pure freshness. A break that the kids needed, Souji and I wanted dearly.

Here are some photos and videos from our trip.

Hassan, Belur, Holenarasipur and Shravanabelagola