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Bidar, Bijapur and Bagalkot Trip

Bidar had been in my 'to-visit' list for last few month after it was suggested as a photography destination innumerable times from by my colleague cum fellow enthusiast Nagaraj, who's native of the same place. Since the place is 700+ km from Bangalore, it was inconvenient to cover the place in a weekend. For this Diwali on account of five days holiday, I had pro-actively booked one-way ticket on then newly introduced Yeshwanthpur-Bidar express(thanks to Mr.Kharge, lot buzz was their in the state w.r.t Railways).  For the exploratory trip I got on board my long time travel companion Jatin who joined me without any second thoughts. As we were traveling so far from Bangalore, we decided to cover other important places which were around 200-250 kms from Bidar.

Day-0: Departure from Bangalore
In order to avoid traveling on roads, I took 6:10 pm Hindupur Passenger from City station to Yeshwantpur. Fortunately, the passenger train was not that late it left the city station at 6.30 pm and I was in Yeshwantpur by 6.45 pm to catch my Bidar train which was scheduled to depart at 7.30 pm. The train which was flagged a month back was relatively clean and neat in comparison to normal trains. 

Entrance of Bidar Fort
Day-1: Bidar, Bidar-to-Bijapur
The train reached Bidar slightly late at 9.45 am. Firstly, we enquired a few hotels from Lonely Planet Guidebook but all were beyond our shoe-string budget. Then we waited for Nagaraj's brother - Prabhakar to guide w.r.t. accommodation and transportation. After breakfast we were off to explore the city on an autorickshaw. We started from the Papashiva temple, then to Gurudwara Jhira Sahib and later to the Bidar fort. We had a lunch break at a canteen inside fort premises and then explored rest of the fort on foot. The last site of day was Bahamani Tombs at Ashtur. We winded up Bidar sightseeing by 5.30 pm and and took immediate bus to Bijapur. Since the direct bus was scheduled a little late we took direct bus to Gulbarga and planned to take connecting bus from there to Bijapur. Enroute to Bijapur from Gulbarga in bus, I had a marathon conversation with a young person by name Somashekar, a localite from Bijapur (he was traveling to his hometown from Chennai for Diwali vacations). In between our conversation, he suggested us sight seeing locations other than Gol Gumbaz and gave pointers for accommodations. 

Gol Gumbaz
Day-2: Bijapur, Bijapur-to-Bagalkot:
We arrived around midnight in Bijapur and checked-in at Madhuvan International Hotel as suggested by Somashekar. After a decent sleep overnight we started the day's proceedings by visiting Barakaman, Gagan Mahal, Ibrahim Roza a few other small landmarks. For lunch we came back to Madhuvan Hotel and headed to the great Gol Gumbaz after that. We explored gallery of the dome with help of a guide who demonstrated us all salient features of the structure. Then around 7.00 pm we packed up from Bijapur and headed towards Badami by taking a bus to Bagalkot. Since we reached pretty late to Bagalkot we could not get connecting bus to Badami. We stayed overnight at Bagalkot itself and had a sumptuous North Karnataka meals at a Khanavali

Group of Temples at Pattadkal
Day-3: Aihole, Pattadkal, Mahakoota and Badami:
We had a plan of covering the places around Bagalkot for 2 days, but due to Jatin's health condition we cut-short the trip covered all places in a taxi in one day. We started sightseeing from Aihole, then covered Pattadkal around lunch hours. On the way to Badami we covered relatively unexplored Mahakoota and we concluded the day by visiting Badami late in evening. We took the night KSRTC non-AC sleeper bus from Bagalkot to Bangalore. Since it was an amavasya day and many were celebrating Diwali, we managed to get the seats(berths) on the spot. 

Retrospect: 
  • If you're on budget, then it's advisable to travel during diwali, even though you may need to struggle for getting train/bus tickets, the accommodation hunting/barganing on-the-spot will be a cakewalk as many prefer to stay at their home for the festival. 
  • Sometimes flagship locations may not present you best photo opportunities. For us Bidar Fort and Gol Gumbaz were a disappointment w.r.t photography.
  • Lonely planet guide was handy again ! Got to appreciate the people the lovely guidebooks who  have taken all effort to put together relevant information in a precise manner.
More details about the places in respective posts.

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