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To Hassan

Part 2: The Short Journey

When a long weekend looms up, we generally plan a short get-away. So also it was last week, and we decided to go to Hassan, specifically to visit the Hoysala temples scattered across the district. It almost feels shameful to admit that being a native of Karnataka, we hadn't yet seen the grandeur of the stone carvings. We had just about 1.5 days excluding the drive, since extending the weekend by a day or two was not possible owing to prior commitments; thus we had to plan well to make the most of the available time. Quick surfing on travel websites made us decide to book a stay at Hotel Mayura International. I drew a rough map with all the distances to refer to, whilst there. 
And we set off…..
We start well before sunrise, and we cover a good part of the distance without too many hassles. This is important, since the route to Hassan is via the B.M Road (Bangalore-Mangalore Road), and the traffic on this road is quite heavy, progressively increasing through the day. Plus there's a ghat section on the way that has to be driven through with caution. Unlike the NH 17, we’re not so familiar with this route. We have already had bread and chai at home, so we save time by not stopping for breakfast en route.
The roads are very good. We drive on to reach the foot of the ghats by about 8:00 AM. And the ascent begins. The roads have been re-constructed last year at a total cost of over 69 crores, for a 13km stretch under Phase 1; Phase 2 is set to begin soon. The quality of the work has to be appreciated; I remember going to Bangalore last May when the roads were horrid, and there was no tar at all in certain spots! Plus the vistas as one goes higher are very good. At one spot you can see the railway bridge at a distance, and the sight of a train chugging along looks very nice.
We also spot huge voluminous pipes stacked by the roadside, probably as a part of the controversial Yettinahole Project (which could end up sucking the soul out of the lifeline of Dakshina Kannada district, the river Nethravati). I'm no expert at all in environmental studies and ecology, but to a layman’s eye the amount of digging and the heavy work, in the fragile ecosystem of the Western Ghats, does look quite scary. Is a path to Uttarakhand Part 2 being paved in the name of development, we wonder, and we drive on.

A large part of the way has roads with trees on both sides (unlike NH17), and we don’t feel the heat much. Also, there are a lot of plantations of areca, cocoa, coconut on both sides of the road, and we can’t stop admiring how pretty everything looks. The route has a lot of heavy vehicles including tankers carrying inflammable fuel; many of them are kind enough to signal when it is safe to overtake, and let you pass. We pass Sakleshpur, a sleepy little town, and many other smaller villages, thereby learning a lot of new names. Just as the toll road to Bangalore begins, a deviation to the left takes one into Hassan, and we finally reach our destination.
Our first impression of the place isn't very nice; it’s dusty, chaotic and the driving is disastrous! There are vehicles, tractors, and animals alike, on the roads; the concept of using the indicator before taking a turn seems to be unheard of! We scout around for Hotel Mayura, and find it after driving past the very same building, twice. I know it’s wrong to judge a book by the cover, but this place doesn't seem inviting at all. The reviews on TripAdvisor have been okay though. A quick discussion, and two minutes later we are back on the road looking for a place that looks a little more inviting. We spot a white neat-looking building in a compound of its own (with good parking) named Hotel Raama, and we decide to check-in. The reception area is clean, and the staff are courteous. We are taken to our room; we’re quite surprised at how spacious it is. The bathroom is also big and neat. We drop our minimum luggage, sit for a while and go to the restaurant in the basement.
Since this is supposed to be a short visit, I haven’t spent time trying to find the places-one-must-eat-at. Plus expectations are low, to avoid disappointment later. But as with the room, we’re in for a surprise again. We order different snacks as it’s too early for lunch. Everything is excellent. The masala dosa deserves a special mention- a red chutney is smeared inside making it quite spicy and tasty. The tea is strong too. Having had our fill, we set off to Belur. The original plan is to go Belur-Halebidu-Javagallu, but owing to a sudden severe cold I've developed and the unrelenting heat, we decide to skip Javagallu. 


Read also: Hoysala Grandeur: A SnapshotTo Hassan (Part 2)Chennakeshava Temple, Belur (Part 3)Inside the Chennakeshava Temple (Part 4)Chennakeshava Temple, the Flamboyant Walls (Part 5)The Old Town: Halebidu (Part 6)The Drive to Mosale (Part 7)Mosale banthu Mosale (Part 8)Lakshmi Devi Temple, Doddagaddavalli (Part 9)Wall Art at Doddagaddavalli (Part 10)

Comments

  1. I didnt know such a place existed... :-p sigh...
    it's lovely Piyu.. great pics :-)

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    Replies
    1. Thanks Archie! Apart from the architecture, there's nothing much to do there though.

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  2. beautifully written. wish pics could be bigger in size.

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    Replies
    1. Thank you! Taken your suggestion, have increased the size of all pictures.

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  3. What a beauty of nature !!!! amazing.

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  4. Nice post Priyanka. Agree with Mahesh... bigger the better :-)

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  5. Lovely scenic sights through the drive.

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    Replies
    1. Thanks Indrani. That's the part I liked the most, driving through thick foliage at most places.

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  6. Interesting narration and beautiful pictures.

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    1. Thank you Magiceye, I've just put down the thoughts shared during the drive :)

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  7. Lovely lush green sights ...you had a good stay with good food served. Good for you while not in the pink of your health. Hope you feel better now :)

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    Replies
    1. Oh yes, I felt much better the next day. Thank you :)

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