We executed this itinerary from Mumbai during the Christmas break of 2019, and had a great time, with young cranky kids, mind you!😁
The itinerary allows enough time at each of these places to appreciate the ‘must-visit’ ruins, and other significant places of interest, and should suffice for anybody who wants to appreciate the ruins and temples, but not the ones with deep interest in archeology, ancient Indian cultures, or devoted students of history or archeology.
The plan was impromptu. Owing to the CAA protests erupting in Gujarat, our original destination, we chose to go down south to Hampi, a long held bucket list item. And we were sure to have issues with hotel bookings since it’s technically the peak season there. And good hotels in that part are few and generally overbooked. Most people end up staying at guest houses and home stays, including, and especially, foreign tourists who throng to Hampi in droves during Christmas break.
Sunday: drive from Mumbai to Pandharpur (Google maps showed the route through Kolhapur to be busy and taking about 1:15 hours longer than the one through Pandharpur), and overnight in Pandharpur. Next day morning we had Darshan at the main temple and then visited the Iskcon temple, spent some time at the new Ghat they are building on the banks of the Chandrabhaga river. A work decidedly in progress, but the work done so far gives an idea of the magnificent ghats that will come up!
Monday: drive to Hampi after visiting Kudala Sangam. Nice place and an easy detour on the route. And also good place if you happen to reach there during lunch time with lots of neer dosa, and other quick eats available there.
Same day we went to Hampi to have a leisurely stroll in the main Hampi Bazaar. And a good long dinner at the Mango Tree restaurant. As expected the music was divine, literally, with trance-like recitation of Om Namah Shivay in Amitabh Bachhan’s voice, and lots of foreign tourists keeping the floor level lounge sitting busy.
Hampi: we didn’t get any guesthouse in Hampi or in Hospet either. So we chose to stay in Rock Regency in Torangala.
Tuesday: we spent the full day at Hampi. With a guide we were able to cover all the important places this side of the river.
Wednesday: Anjaneyadri and Sanapur lake. The early morning coracle ride in the Sanapur lake is probably the best kept secret of Hampi!
We left and drove to Badami through rural roads dotted with lots of beautiful farms, and charming settlements. This is a route where you are well-advised to carry your own food. There are places where the only food we could get was the girmit, a local version of bhadang/kurmura.
We checked in to Clark’s Inn in Badami after visiting the Badami caves. Too many visitors there due to that day being Christmas and lots of school children visiting too.
Thursday: Didn’t get a guide in Badami through the hotel, but chose to visit Aihole anyways. We had very good experience with the local guide at Aihole we picked up next to the ticketing counter.
And then drive back to Pattadakal after lunch at the KSTDC hotel Mayura in Aihole.
Pattadakal – beautiful, well-preserved complex of 9 Shiva temples. The Virupaksha temple here is live with daily prayer offerings.
Friday: drive back to Pune via Kolhapur for a night stay with family in Pune at relatives place.
Of course it wouldn’t be fair to go so close to Kolhapur without trying out their famous Kolhapuri thali, complete with tambda-pandhra rassa!
Good fun trip!
Any questions, feel free to drop me a line, or put in a comment below!