Sep 142012

My Visit to Hampi in a Volvo Bus

Travel and Photography are Siamese twins. I have not been able to figure out whether I started clicking pictures as I wanted to capture my travels or I started traveling so that I could capture pictures of distant lands. Anyways the debate is useless as you cannot separate the Siamese twins, and not that they want to be separated.

The latest jaunt of desi Traveler was to the erstwhile capital of the Vijayanagaram empire in Hampi, in Karnataka a town that is more than 1000 years old on the banks of river Tungabhadra. The trip was organized by TCPC and Rahul Basu was the skipper. Our bookings were on the Volvo buses, semi sleeper coach, but due to some strange fate the semi sleeper coach was canceled and we were upgraded to the sleeper coach. We were very happy, soon to realize all upgrades may not be what you are looking forward to.

Configuration in sleeper coach in a Volvo bus, (at least the one we traveled), is such that one side you have a normal birth like in the RAC side of Indian railway, but the other side is like a proper bed which two people  are  forced to share. Now it may be a good idea if you are amorous honeymoon couple with surging hormones diminishing your ability to think straight behind a thin curtain. But if you have to share that bed with a stranger you start wondering what you have got into. So be very careful if you are booking sleeper coach in the bus as you are not sure with whom you will be asked to sleep.

As I have always been a back bencher I chose the last birth on the single side and decided to lie down.  Our bus drivers real job actually was to test vehicles to  rove around on mars and he would make sure that the bus jumps every single pothole on the road to Hampi, making be airborne above seat for a good amount of time. So this was the second upgrade that I got, first from Semi sleeper to Sleeper and then free air travel at every pothole when the driver tested the Volvo’s ability to run on Mars.

Around 1:30 in night we realized that the bus has stopped and I and Sundarr another Desi Traveler in our group still awake decided to explore the reasons for the unscheduled halt in the middle of nowhere. The NASA test pilot was sleeping blissfully and the conductor was humming a Bollywood song though his snoring obstructing the exit ( I guess this was his way to ensure no body leaves the bus). When we go down climbing over the conductor the driver suddenly screamed don’t go anywhere as I will leave you. We just laughed how he will leave us in this traffic jam in the middle of nowhere. Anyways investigations revealed that a truck full of coal excavated from one of the mines involved in Coalgate scam was blocking the way as its wheel was stuck in to a large crater. (Are they planning to give coal contracts on mars and moon also?) Fortunately the crane was there to try and get it out, but was unable to lift the truck full of scam coal as it was very heavy. An excavator was trying to remove coal from the back of the truck to make it lighter, but was taking too much time. Somebody suggested to burn the coal in the back of truck to make it lighter, the idea was rejected as the politicians who were to get a cut from this coal would have never agreed for burning their ill-gotten coal.

traffic jam on indian highway
Sundarr Lifting Truck
So Sundarr decided to pitch in and helped the crane driver to lift the truck as you can see in the picture attached. This cleared the path and everybody started their vehicles at the same time leading to further jam. In this hustle bustle we entered the first Volvo we found and settled down, only to realize a once it started moving that this is not the bus we originally boarded but some other bus going somewhere else. We had to use all our athletic abilities to jump from the same, fortunately our Volvo was still struck in the Jam and we were able to board the same, trying to understand the abuses the NASA pilot was darting in our direction in  a language that only bus drivers can understand. Soon we were on our way to Hampi flying for most of the journey.

Fortunately the rest of the trip was pleasant and will mention more in the next few episodes. I was able to click some good pictures along with the group and I am sharing one of them here to give you some idea what is in store in the coming posts. We clicked pictures of birds, boulders, temples, pilgrims and priests. A very fulfilling journey I must say both for the traveler and the photographer in me. Hampi is a town that has lot to offer, from hiking to the birthplace of Hanuman, birding to boat cruise, to bouldering to visiting the temples and ruins and the dam to tame the Tungabhadra. One post is too less to cover all so I plan to write a few more posts covering some of these topics.
ruins of hampi
Ram With The Main Temple Behind  Him

Other posts in Hampi Series

  1. Exploring Hampi
  2. Temples of Hampi
  3. Under The Mango Tree in Hampi
  4. Sacred Center Of Hampi
  5. Pilgrims in Hampi

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  4 Responses to “A Bus Ride to Hampi For a Photography Trip”

Comments (4)
  1. Thanks a lot Pattu Raj, I would strongly recommend visiting Hampi.. .it is one of the finest heritage we have got.

  2. I love the truck episode and how Sunder rescued (read as – pose for a picture) the truck

  3. Smile when troubled, is the advice of Thiruvalluvar. And you did that!

    Looking forward to great posts for your trip. Hampi is on my Bucket list, so all the more eager.

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