Saturday, June 25, 2011

Warangal The Kakatiya Capital: 14th March 2011

Thousand Pillar Temple

We had planned to start for Warangal early at 6 am. The excitement of the tour helped me wake up really early however this is India and after several follow ups the car arrived only at 9 am. We were now on the move to Warangal our destination.

On the way we stopped for brunch to taste the MLA pesarattu. It is a complete meal of moong dal dosa with upma stuffed in it and sprinkled with onion and tomato shreds. The accompaniments of Potato Masala bhaaji, chutney and sambhar. Yummy with an excess of ghee. One MLA pesarattu stuffs you until dinner time.

We reached Warangal city at 11.30am and decided to see the 1000 pillar temple first. This is a small temple in the heart of the city. The pillars are carved from black granite.

The locals suggested I visit Ramappa temple which was about 75 kms from the city center but before that we decided to go to the Bhadrakali temple instead. It turned out that going there in the afternoon was a wrong decision. The temple was closed but since this is a huge complex we enjoyed the surroundings. The location of this Bhadrakali temple is simply awesome and it made up for not being able to get darshan of the Devi. The lake is such a scenic backdrop. We almost hopped around on the hot paved floor of the complex finally resting ourselves under some shade to take in the views of the lake and the boulders around. Perched on the hillock were Shankar and Parvati idols that overlooked the visitors.

From here we proceeded to the Ramappa temple. This temple dates back to 1213. If you are in Warangal you can't miss the Ramappa temple. It gets its name from its builder. The exquisitely carved temple was under restoration when we visited. Each pillar, ceiling and the brackets supporting the roof are intricate and ornate.

Before we were on our way to Bhadhrachalam for the night halt we just had to visit the Warangal fort which gives the city its identity. Warangal fort is home to the Kirti Torana or the Gates of Victory famously constructed by the Kakatiya rulers. They stand proud over the time even today in the four directions of the ruined fort. The other ruins too are interesting, like the huge stone throne fascinated me. The temple and the platform in front of it too has amazing details but everything there indicated that the race there was really short.

Enjoy the more of the beautiful Warangal captured in my camera...

Saturday, June 18, 2011

The Bastions of the Nizamshahi: 13th March 2011

The next morning we had plans to visit Golconda fort. Sunil made tea for everyone in the morning and followed by breakfast of upma. At 10.30 am we left for the Fort. The fort is near the Defense area. We parked the car and bought the tickets and started exploring the vast bastion of the Nizam. It is said once upon a time there was a moat surrounding it. The entrance pavilion has been built to acoustic perfection. In the days of the Nizam a message would be relayed by clapping hands in the pavilion and it would be heard at the top of the fort.
We saw the ladies palace, the jail where Bhadrachalam Ramdas was detained, the masjid etc. Here we met Cdr. Finally we climbed to the top and from the terrace took in the views of the city nestled in the foothills.
Then Cdr. took us for lunch to Boulder Hill Golf Course. After a sumptuous lunch we relaxed on the sofas, on the pavilions that overlooked the 12 hole golf course (I hope I got that right!). At 4 pm it was time for us to move from there as Sunil needed to drop off Gurunath Uncle at the bus stand as he was returning to Blr that night.
Cdr. then took us to Indian School of Business just across Boulder hill golf course. ISB has an aura of a university and the architecture is so unique. My guess is it is the work of Charles Correa, Can some one validate? While at the coffee shop called up Shalaka to tell her, I was "walking the corridors that she once walked". She squealed and requested me to post pictures.

Later we returned to Sunil's for a quite evening. This day was amazing meeting the Cdr. and spending an entire day together.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Darshan of Bhatji Bapu's Samadhi: 12th March 2011

Sunil had informed us that we should ask for KPHB colony  which is 1 km ahead and he would come to pick us up from there. As promised there he was with his Ford Fiesta at our disposal armed with cool bottles of mineral water a welcome for us after the all night journey.

Hyderabad, our first impression is dusty busy city and there was traffic even at 6.30 am. We drove to Sunil's home through quaint little defense colony of Jalavayu Vihar. His home is a little inside and cut off from the hustle bustle. We reached his home got fresh and meanwhile he made tea and had arranged for a breakfast of fresh idli with 2 types of chutneys, green tomato chutney and the regular peanut chutney.

After breakfast we had bath and relaxed after the night's journey. Sunil had to go to office so saw him off. Dad and Gurunath uncle sat on the sofa singing bhajans and discussing their spiritual experiences. I was feeling left out.

While I waited for Sunil to return from work so that we could lunch together I was just reading and chilling out. Gurunath Uncle was hungry so gave him a fruit sandwich and a pickle sandwich. I got the fruit salad ready and made masur dal and rice. Sunil came home with chapatis and curries bought from the hotel. He insisted on making sevayi kheer. It was an enjoyable lunch. The AP style bhindi was crisp and crunchy, a bit chewy but enjoyable as it was different. The sevayi was laced with nutmeg and I loved it as Sunil made it with so much love for Dad.

We took a longish nap in the afternoon as the sun rose to its peak and shone in all its glory. The plan was to go to Upuguda to visit Bhatji bapu's temple and Samadhi in the eve. We drove past Charminar to go there. I was quite surprised at the Maharashtrian population surrounding the temple. There are more than 2000 families and unlike in Karnataka here they speak pure Marathi with not a trace of Telugu. Got to know that they have couple of Marathi medium schools here and the school gets enough students to run successfully. The temple complex is large clean and peaceful. The Pujari spent some time inquiring about us, he was very non commercial is what struck me most. It is a legend that Bhatji Bapu was a great proponent of Annadan. Shree K.V. Belsare has mentiond about Bhatji Bapu several times in his discourses.
We returned home and Sunil refused to let me cook. He made broken wheat khichdi and phodnicha bhat from the leftover rice from afternoon. It was still a lot of food for the 4 of us. I was given a separate bedroom and I had all the privacy I needed. Sunil is an excellent host!

Saturday, June 4, 2011

The Unexpected Andhra Pradesh: 11th March 2011

On 11th Mar we left home at 5.30 pm for BTM water tank and boarded the Kesineni pick up coach. This coach collects all travellers to AP from across the city and transports them to Kalasipalyam to hop on to the sleeper coach. The sleeper coach consists of a bus of about 36 sleepers, 4 in each coupe. The sleeper is just right for a short person like me but a taller person like Gurunath uncle find it difficult to move in and out of the bunker. The bus started from BTM at 6.30 am and reached Kukatpally at 6.30 am after a rocking ride.

As usual before I began this road trip I had done my homework thoroughly. Booked the best suites in APTDC resorts, hired an a/c India Vista for 2500 kms/10 days and we were set for making memories a many. 

On the agenda was spending 2 days at Sunil Kulkarni's home along with Gurunath Kulkarni and then moving on to the road trip starting with Hyderabad - Warangal - Bhadrachalam - Rajahmundhry - Vizag - back to Hyderabad. Follow me on as we discover The Unexpected Andhra Pradesh...

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