I had taken two days off from my work to utilize my mandatory leaves. Though it actually meant four days of holidays, I had to do be home on Saturday due to some personal work. So, that left 3 days for my vacations.
Having had an overdose of historical temples, I thought of visiting some beach and checked out Kanyakumari, Pondy, Kasargod, and Vizag. However train tickets were not available for any of these places. I finally decided to visit Badami, Aihole, Pattadakal and Bijapur. The possibility to cover Bijapur along with the other three worked in its favor.
Other reasons to finalize these places:
- Even though they are historical temple places, they are in ruins. So, as Karnataka Tourism department calls them, they are heritage sites, full of old monuments and loads of stories of wars and demolitions. And just in case I lose interest in visiting these places mid-way, I had a Plan B of making a dash to Mangalore from Hubli and visiting Kasargod from there.
- I always wondered how big the world’s 2nd largest tomb Gol Gumbaz looked like in real. Its whispering gallery was definitely something to be tried.
- Having seen Bidar, I thought covering Bagalkot and Bijapur will complete my North Karnataka trips. I know there are Gulbarga and Raichur. But still…
There are whole lot of buses from Bangalore to Hubli. So, getting a ticket on a Saturday night was not an issue. I made a conscious decision to travel by Rajahamsa Executive coach and not Volvo on my onward journey. Apart from the cost factor, I felt I can manage without “club class” benefits in this 8-hr overnight journey.
I reached Majestic bus stand (I prefer to call it that way, though the official name is Kempegowda Bus Stand) by 9.30 p.m. I had not booked my ticket in advance. But still managed to get my preferred seat (1st row behind the driver).
Finally, my trip started at 10 p.m. 15 mins later than the scheduled start.
As the bus made its way out the bus stand, my mind went wandering. Plan A, Plan B, whatever I read about the places I will be visiting, my mobile battery, dinner break, empty seat next to me, my next trip,…
Venue: Majestic Bus Stand.
Scene: Conversation between a passenger and a pan-chewing driver.
Driver is sitting in his seat, happily chewing his pan. A passenger approaches him at the driver-side window.
Passenger: Saar, does this bus to go to some-place?
Driver nods his head sideways to say no.
Passenger: Where can I get the bus to some-place?
Driver directs his hand to indicate “go further up”.
Passenger waits for few seconds and thinks of some other place (probably the alternative place).
Passenger: Does this bus go to some-other-place?
Again, the driver nods his head to indicate NO.
Passenger: Where can I get the info?
Driver (super-annoyed at the passenger, peeps out of the window, spits his pan right at edge of the passenger’s feet and says): Go and ask the TT there.