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Saturday, December 12, 2009

Exploring Chitradurga

It’s been a lot of traveling over the past few weeks and when more travels line up…there are more reasons to be happy. :-) A common friend’s wedding reception is what took my friends and me to Hubli. An overnight train journey with lots of talking; early morning hunt for an economical hotel; breakfast number one – tea, kesari bath and amazingly tasty, hot poha; a walk around the hotel; Breakfast number two at cities famous Hotel, Krishna Bhavan – Idly-vada, Poori and tea; bus journey to a wrong address and hunting for the wedding hall which apparently was a mere 3km walk from where we were; a moosumbi juice and then a long walk to the hall; breakfast number three – Poha again and delicious bason ladoo at the reception; meeting all the wonderful relatives of my friend; nice lunch and then…and then?

Well Subbu and I are always okay for more travel so we had planned a detour during our backward journey – Chitradurga. Thanks to our friends Mak and Swamy for their valuable inputs on the city. Our plan was to explore the fort and any other interesting place. So we boarded a bus from Hubli at around 3:00 PM and reach Durga at 9:30 PM. We quickly booked a decent hotel and had dinner at a Kanavali. Kanavali’s are small mess that you will find plenty in these parts of the state which serve great home cooked food such as chapathi, rice, sabji and sambhar. After that we took a short walk to the fort and got informed by the guards that the fort would open at 6:00 AM. We bid goodbye to another friend who had to leave to Bangalore; back to hotel; crash to bed.

Next morning, at around 6:30 AM I took a short walk around the hotel as always to watch the town wakeup. Everything seemed very slow and quite. At 7:30 AM, we were ready to leave to the fort after a very nice breakfast at a nice hotel by name Mysore cafe.

We booked a Government authorized guide for the tour within the fort for Rs 250. The fort was built to have 7 spirals with 7 entrances out of which the first two, now lie as ruins encroached by the city. Huge door hinges, a huge gun powder grinding setup, temples, mutt’s and of course the famous Onake Obava kindi where she killed the Hyder Ali soldiers entering from the cave with her Onake (Masse) not to disturb her husband during his lunch time.



We climbed a huge rock (Thupada Kolla – Pond of ghee) and relaxed at the summit for a while overlooking the town and surrounding landscape.


Back at the fort entrance we met Jyothiraj alias Kothiraj who is known for his free climbing. On Sundays he usually comes to the fort and performs for the visitors. He climbed the walls very quickly and smartly with absolutely no modern equipments but arm strength. Everyone applauded to his skill and he shared his story of struggle and how he still lacks proper aid to buy the necessary equipments for rock climbing. He has traveled around the world but still feels that our country never shows interest in promoting several sports or skills.


We next walked to the Laxmi tiffin room, a very famous and old restaurant in the town where we tasted some amazing masala dosa, kali dosa and extremely refreshing and uniquely tasty tea. We thought of renting out a bicycle but we did not find good cycles and even if would have, renting out to tourists would have been a difficult task. So we took an auto to Chandravalli, which is about 3Kms from the main busstand. A small shrine and a cave is a major highlight. We decided to enter the dark cave with the torch light from the cell phone with reducing battery life. A few minutes and we felt too deep into the cave, but we finished the entire stretch as the cave turns back to the same entrance.


During a walk around the place we met a group of villagers who were partying at the place with hot drinks and open air kitchen set up that was cooking some flesh. They invited us to taste some food and believe me even though I liked their friendliness I have never been so happy to be a vegetarian. The sight of badly cooked chicken and beef made my stomach churn. They requested for a group photo and wanted it mailed to them. After politely declining their request to have mutton Biryani we walked into the forest where we met an old man, a forest guard who was very delighted to see us and gave us the entire mythological importance of the place.

I have heard stories of Bhima, Bakasura and Krishna so many times in my life but believe me never ever was it told, this passionately and interestingly as the old man did. His way of narration was amazing and very expressive with frequent pauses for a laugh or a sigh. “Bandbitlu Kunti vapas Siddapura’ge, illey pakad uru” (So kunti returned back to Siddapura, here, the next village) “Enu odda nodi bheema, bakasura na.” (You must have seen the way Bheema kicked Bakasura) so he went on and on, one story over another and surprisingly both Subbu and I did not try to stop him, we listened to it with lot of interest but then it had to stop at some point, we had to leave. So we thanked the old man and returned back to hotel and packed our bags. After lunch at the kanavali we headed back to Bangalore at around 3:00 and reached the city at 8:30 PM.

The trip was amazing, I think because it incorporated all aspects of a travel; a beautiful place with historical importance; a hike; a taste of local cuisine at towns old and famous restaurants; a good interaction with the locals; unplanned, last minute decisions and most important of all a like-minded company. If I said – “let’s climb the rock” Subbu would start looking for the route and if he said- “Let’s have food” (which he very frequently does. :-)), I asked him to order two plates, whatever it was. :-) All in all a great trip with some true explorations.

13 comments:

  1. Hi Ajeya...

    Neevu Chitradurga bandidu thumba santosha annisithu...
    naanu nanna Engg mugisiddu alle ..
    kote, chanravalli, jogimatti,aadu malleshvara,muntaada sthalagalu ide
    matthu nodalu sundara...

    After reading "Exploring Chitradurga" it made me nostalgic.. nice post..
    Have a great day..

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  2. I always fall for pictures with reflections.

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  3. Have you given some effect to 2nd & 2nd last photo?

    And your description leaves me wanting to go there.

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  4. Ranjit - oh ok..had i known earlier would have collected some info from you.:-) anyway i plan to visit there again.

    Mridula - Thanks.

    Nisha- Well only reduced the contrast slightly. nothing else.
    :-)

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  5. Ah machan... yet another brilliant trip. Great food... brilliant sights to visit... a little bit of folklore from the locals... bliss... pure bliss. Really enjoyed reading it. :)

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  6. nice pics..never been there and its one of those in the planning stage

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  7. Lakshmi Tiffin Room, eh? Mouth-watering dosas! Wait till I tell my mom, she'll be pleased to bits!

    Haven't been there in five years almost - have to head back now! Thanks for some brilliant writing. As always, Ajeya :-)

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  8. Ajai- Thanks. :-)

    Lakshmi - Sure...I havent seen everything yet. there are more nice places around.

    Sush- Glad you could open the blog in China. Using some proxy server? :-) Both Mysore cafe and Laxmi tiffficn room are awesome.

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  9. one of the things that I love abt travelling is FOOD, one gets to taste so many foods of that particular area.

    Wonderful post indeed!

    Anu

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  10. Ajeya......I love the food here especially their fish n chips :) Sightseeing in London was fun. All things gud minus the ppl here....cold hearted

    Anu

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  11. Ajeya,
    That first photo is wonderful! Quite the journey you had to attend the wedding and the extra time for touring is always a bonus...I love the photo with the monkey and the wall climber is quite impressive, too ;)

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  12. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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  13. ajeya..beautifully expressed...i love my home chitradurga, my home town..

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