Being a roadie; I love the long drives and this time we had planned an elaborate one. We hit NH4 and our first destination was Chitradurga. Having a good childhood memoirs of Durga, wasn't really able to spend quality time there. This time around was able to make the most of it.
Check out an account of Chitradurga here and birding here
After our stay in Chitradurga we were again on NH4 and took a deviation near Harihar towards Hampi. It turned out to be a good decision as we found that NH13 is not really in good shape, it might have taken longer time for us to reach Hampi via NH13. After taking deviation in Harihar, reached hampi through Hagaribommanahalli. This road finally connects to NH13. A few kms of drive on NH13 was really horrible. I guess we managed to reach Hospet @ right time as later I was told that post 7 PM, the mining lorrys rule the road and it takes hours for traffic to clear.
Check out an account of Hampi here and birding around Hampi here
Drive from Hampi to Gadag was OK but with lot of bad stretches in between. After a brief stop at Gadag and a visit to Veeranarayana temple next destination was Magadi kere. Gadag to Magadi Tank and to Haveri the drive was not so good but motivation for seeing bar headed geese kept me driving all through the way.
Veeranarayana Temple at Gadag is one of the 5 temples that were built by Hoysala king Bittideva post his conversion to Hinduism. This temple is also the place where the Kannada's famous writer/poet Gadugina Narayanappa a.k.a Kumaravyasa wrote "Karanataka Bharatha Katha Manjari" entire narration of Mahabharatha in Kannada. Good part of the temple is now restored and old glory was missing, nevertheless makes a good visit from the historical view point.
Bar headed geese were calling loud and our next stop was at Magadi Tank. The road from Gadag to Magadi is not so good and it took quite some time to reach Magadi. Birds were all around there and we had a great time. Click here for an account of Magadi Kere experience. Sun was about to set and we had quite a distance to travel, we decided to move on to Haveri. Keeping Ranebennur in mind, we thought of staying at Ranebennur.
With marriage season around, we had a difficulty in finding accommodation in Ranebennur. Ranebennur has decent hotels but are limited in number, next choice was only Harihar and we could manage to get some accommodation here. Having spoken to local RFO earlier, we had planned for a visit to Ranebennur Black buck Sanctury, next morning we headed back to Ranebennur from Harihar.
As we had already taken the permission from Forest department there wasn't much fuss. Infact we are very greatful for the RFO who was waiting for us at 6 AM in the morning. Had a decent outing in the scrub jungles around Ranebennur for later part of the day. Though, The Great Indian Bustard are extinct now due to loss of habitat, Indian peafowls were quite a few in number so as shy grey francolins. May be we were tired and so were the birds too :-) we didnt have a great birding on that day and headed back to Harihar.
Harihar boasts of Harihareshwara temple - one of the master pieces again from Hoysala era. With traditional Hoysala style of architecture this temple brings together two different philosophies of shaivism and vaisnavisam. Apart from Belur and Halebeedu temples, Harihareshwara temple stands out as another example of Hoysala era. There was again another pit stop at Chitradurga before we headed back home.
Itenary: Bangalore->Chitradurga->Hampi-> Gadaga ->Magadi Kere -> Ranebennur -> Harihara/Davanagere -> Chitradurga -> Bangalore
Duration: : About a week
Places of Stay: Hotel Naveen Residency@ Chitradurga : Santosh Guest House @ Hampi;