Bhopal-Sanchi-Bhimbetka

Bhopal

Day 1         8th Apr 2012

08:00 P.M. : Reach Habibganj station near Bhopal. Catch a bus to M P Nagar

Day 2

09:00 A.M. : Catch a bus to Bhopal main station. Change a bus to Sanchi

Sanchi is 30 km from Bhopal and is connected by rail and road.

The Stupa no 1 was believed to have housed the remains of Buddha, however the remains were not found. The remains of Buddha’s principal disciples Sariputra and Mahamogallana were found in the Stupa no 3 which were taken by the British museum and later returned after Independence. A beautiful Srilankan Stupa near the Sanchi Stupa houses these remains and are opened for public on the day of Buddha Purnima.

04:00 P.M. : Catch a return bus to Bhopal.

Sanchi

The Udayagiri caves in Vidisha, 10 km from Sanchi, is another place nearby worth visiting. However locals advise against travel with the Rang panchami in a 2 days and the local tradition of celebrating the holi with mud extending up to the 5th day.

05:30 P.M. : Visit the Upper lake.

Bhopal is also known as a city of lakes. The MP Tourism has water sports and boat rides on the lake and is a splendid view from atop the water research centre.

Day 2 Bhimbetka

09:00 A.M. : Catch a bus to Obedullahgunj, 50 odd km from Bhopal

11:00 A.M. : Reach Obedullahgunj.

On Reaching, I Come to know that Bhimbetka is another 10 km from the place. Buses do not ply frequently on this route. Villagers travel by hitching rides in trucks. I hop on a truck myself.

11:30 A.M. : Get down 3 km off Bhimbetka

Cave-paintings at Bhimbetka

Bhimbetka is 3 km off the highway, of which 2 km are inside the Ratapani Tiger Reserve. I walk for 2 km then get a ride by a family visiting the Mata temple.

12:30 P.M. : Visit the Goddess temple near the caves. The original temple is believed to be 5000 years old, though what is seen today is a small ceramic tiled temple. A cave on the top is where the Pandavas were believed to have lived

01:00 P.M. : Explore the cave paintings at Bhimbetka

03:00 P.M. : Start back, hitch a ride from Bhimbetka to Obedullahgunj.

From there I take a bus upto Mandideep and from there an auto to Bhojpur.

04:00 P.M. Reach the village of Bhojpur.

Shiva temple in Bhojpur

I visit the gigantic temple dedicated to Lord Shiva, built in the 10th century by King Bhoj.

However, while the temple was still under construction, Bhoja was killed in a war. The temple was never completed. However, it is still a living temple and sees a large number of devotees.

06:00 P.M. : Take a tempo back to Mandideep

07:00 P.M. : Catch a bus back to the city of Bhopal08

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Jog-Sitanadi-Chikamaglur-Belur-Halebidu



Day 1           1st Sep 2011

6:00 A.M. : Reach Shimoga

8:00 A.M. : Catch a bus to Sagara

We missed the direct bus to Jog that runs at 7A.M and instead caught the connecting bus from Sagar. Sagar has a better infrastructure from the tiny village near Jog and is hence preferred by tourists to stay.

10:30 A.M. : Reach Sagara and take bus to Jog falls

When we reach Jog its pouring. We can hear the loud roaring of the grand waterfall, but we do not see it till later, it is completely covered in clouds. We have our lunch and check in at the KSRTC Guest House where we have made prior reservations. The rooms are damp, there are slugs on the wall and water is trickling through the walls.

02:00 P.M. : Descend the 1500+ steps to view the magnificent sight of water gushing from the second tallest waterfall in the country. After we spend 2-3 hours at the pool formed at the base of the fall, we hire an auto for 200 bucks to take us to the source of the falls, the Devil’s rock at Raja falls, Rani falls and the dam which is in vicinity of the guest house.

06:30 P.M. : We decide to explore the nearby places on our own. Today is Ganesh Chaturthi and there is an ongoing celebration just across our guest house. Unlike in most other states where the celebration lasts upto 10 days, here the Visarjan is performed on the same day.

Day 2

05:00 A.M. : Find a bus to Sagara to catch the connecting bus to Hebri at 6.

We wake up and start to proceed to King’s cross, 500mts from our guest house, where we would get bus upto Sagara. The route is through dense jungle area and the sun is not up yet. It is pitch dark. There is no auto or taxi nearby. At 5:45, the first bus comes to Jog to drop off passengers. We are able to convince the driver and conductor to drop off us at King’s cross. The conductor agrees to give company on the lonely road till we get the bus to Sagara.

06:00 A.M. : Take the first bus to Hebri.

Our rafting instructors agree to pick us up from there to go to the rafting base camp. In the bus, we cross the dense rain forests of Agumbe. A dense fog descends as soon as we enter Agumbe.

10:00 A.M. : Reach Hebri.

We wait for the other groups to arrive for rafting. The stretch is 22 kms long on Sitanadi and takes about 4 hours. The rapids are low and it feels like a pleasurable ride.
06:00 P.M. : Catch the bus to Udupi for a night halt.

In Udipi, we visit the famous Krishna Mutt temple.

Day 3:

10:00 A.M. : Catch the bus to Chikamaglur

Chikamaglur is a coffee estate in the Western Ghats of Sahyadris. FACT: The Indian coffee chain Cafe Coffee Day started from these coffee estates.

03:00 P.M. : Reach Chikamaglur

We hire an auto to show us the coffee estates, Mulleyengiri(the highest peak in Karnataka), Sitalayangiri and BabaBudangiri for 600 bucks. It is very chilly on the way to Mulleyengiri with a strong wind accompanying the rains. At the peak, we get off the auto to climb the last few steps to the top. The force of the wind stops us 10 steps short of the peak. When we return, we get to know that the wind had almost blown off the auto down the cliff, if not it were for the four boys who held on to it until the wind subsided. We visit Sitalayangiri on the return. It is too late to visit Baba Budangiri, but we stop to see a mahout with his elephant in an estate. The mahout tells us the elephant needs its dose of brandy to pull the timber.

Day 4

08:00 A.M. : Take the bus to Belur

The 42 wall brackets of Shalabhanjikas(female beauties) in the outer wall of the Chennakeshava temple in the Triyambaka style represent fluid movements. We hired guide for 200 bucks to learn more about the place and it was definitely worth taking one.

12:00 P.M. : Take bus to Halebidu

The Halebidu temple though similar in style to the Belur temple, is more magnificent with intricately carved Gods and Goddesses and various scenes from Mahabharata, etc. on the outer wall. The temple dedicated to Lord Shiva took 119 years to complete.

03:00 P.M. : Take an auto to the Jain temples at Halebidu.

The pillars are known for their mirror finish. The place turned out much in need of maintenance; it was dark and smelt of bat faeces.

04:00 P.M. : Take the bus to Hassan

As our bus neared the outskirts of Hassan, we come across open drains and filthy outskirts of the city. The greenery of the villages is replaced by the clutter and filth of cities.

05:00 P.M. : Take bus to Bangalooru

And with that, our eventful four-day trip of the Western Ghats in North Kannada comes to an end.