Heritage Sites - Badami and Pattadakal

Have been too busy to write about this trip. Here is a short recollection.

 Friday - Bangalore to Chitradurga ( 224 kms) , Stay at Hotel
 Saturday - Chitradurga to Badami ( 220 kms)
                  Site seeing in Badami and Banashankari
 Sunday  - Badami to Mahakuta and then Pattadakal. We ran out of time , otherwise Aihole comes right after Pattadakal.

Route and Conditions
 Bangalore to Tumkur - excellent Toll road
 Tumkur to Chitradurga ( 4 lane) - excellent road ( lookout for diversions for flyover/underpass construction)
 Chitradurga to Hospet ( not right upto Hospet but Tungabhadra Dam) - 2 Lane but excellent condition

About 5 kms near Hospet is a mess. Bad roads and that leads to heavy traffic.
Hospet to Kustagi ( 4 lane) - Beauty of a road, good cars can make 150+ on this stretch , but considering erratic driving conditions like two wheelers riding on wrong side, sometimes even bigger vehicles or a hump or two suddenly created by some one. Hence drive safe.

Kustagi to Badami - Village roads , good condition, but need GPS or some capability to talk in local language to get directions.

Again on entering Badami , there is a bypass which must be taken to avoid some strange condition near the Banashankari temple.

Plenty of hotels in Chitradurga and Badami. We did not book anything ahead but got rooms. Everyone may not be so lucky so book ahead. I have found www.tripadvisor.in to be good.
Chitradurga - Hotel Aishwarya Fort ( Charged Rs 800 for a double bed non-AC room and Rs 100 for an extra bed and somehow after tax that arrived to Rs 936)
Rooms were clean , bathroom was okay and soaps/towels were provided. Perfect for a night's stay. Hotel is in a nice safe area and hotel staff pretty prompt. Doesn't have the premium feeling inside the rooms as it has from outside the gate. Hence the rates are okay , could have been a bit cheaper too.
Hotel has a bar restaurant with a garden which seemed to be busy at night. Everyone we spoke to in Chitradurga recommended this hotel.
Parking available for travelers with cars.

Badami - KSTDC Hotel (Charged Rs 1500 for a 3 bed non-AC room. Seemed like double bed room with an extra bed also arrives at the same amount)
Rooms were very clean , bathroom was also perfect but only towels ,no soaps. Good for long time stay also as the hotel complex is nice and has gardens. Food is available in a bar restaurant but variety is less. Service is a bit sluggish but okay. Tea / Water bottle charges are slightly higher than one would expect in Badami.
Highly recommended for a good stay and parking available for travelers with cars.

Places to See
Chitradurga - Chitradurga Fort
Badami       - Badami Cave Temples ( Parking available, entry fee applicable) , Agastya Lake (Shares same complex with the cave temples)  and Museum
                   - Banashankari Temple and associated Lake and Market complex ruins
Mahakuta    - Mahakuta Temple
Pattadakal   - Unesco World Heritage site Pattadakal Group of Temples
Aihole         - Durga Temple                  

Beautiful Windmills on the route , valleys with blooming sunflowers , nice people , north karnataka style meals

Two of the things I must say about the tourism places of India that I dislike

- Different entry fees for foreigners ( It is a racist policy and must be done away with)
- Charges for cameras/ video-cameras ( I do not understand , almost every other mobile has a capability to take a photo and a video. How much does it help to charge video graphy /photography)
- Parking charges ( where its clearly mentioned at 'Owners Risk'. Okay if its a means for the locals to make some quick money)

A uniform tourism guide and policy will help a lot.

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