Dadu Aur Madak

Bijapur & Hospet
We were trying at this point to choose a route that was not necessarily chosen because there was any thing we really wanted to see, but rather that it had reasonable lengths between destinations for which we had at least some information about the accommodations. Unfortunately, the guidebooks will often leave out information about rather large cities if they are not major tourist destinations in their own right, or rail or bus hubs for people trying to reach another tourist destination. Bijapur does have a few places of interest, but we had planned to skip them and just spend the night and move on early in the morning.

But just a short distance before reaching Bijapur Karen had her fourth flat on the rear. This time it was a blow-out of an old patch, and it happened when she was at speed. She did all of the right things and was able to get the bike slowed down enough to get off the road onto the shoulder. She also lucked out in that the bikes forward progress was checked by a pile of really soft dirt. She still ended up coming out of it with a sprained angle (that is just getting back to normal after a month) and a few bruises. At that particular point, though, we had been experiencing some decent driving conditions and I had gotten lulled into not checking my rear view mirror every five seconds. By the time I realized she wasn't behind me I was close to four kilometers down the road. Fortunately a couple of guys on small motorbikes had stopped and helped her get the bike up. Until I returned, although her helpers spoke little English, they busied themselves commenting on the "high quality" of Karen's riding  jacket. Needless to say, "high quality" has become something of a buzzword for us even weeks later. When they saw that there was no major injuries they took off after indicating where we might find a tire walla. This time I had to remove the wheel, toss it onto my bike and take it to the tire guy, then bring it back and replace it. Just as I got the tire off one of the motorbike kids came back and told us where there was a closer tire walla. Karen and I had no problem finishing up the tire change by ourselves, but we decided that we needed an extra day to recuperate. At any rate, we had been on the road everyday now for four days straight, and a rest day sounded like an attractive option. Bijapur is an unusually bustling place for a town of its size, and we were lucky to find a nice quiet place with a pool by the highway on the outskirts of town.

Bijapur's two most famous monuments are on opposite sides of town. Both date to bijapur's fluorescence as an Islamic center, and both were designed as mausoleums. The similarity ends there, the Ibrahim Rouza above is recognized for its elegance while the Golgumbaz across town is amazing for its sheer size. The tall minarets on the Ibrahim Rouza are said to have inspired those on the Taj Mahal. We had hired a rickshaw driver for a half day to give Karen's foot a rest and to help us get some errands run more quickly. We arrived here just as it opened, and swarms of school kids were already lined up at the entry booth. We had a lot to cover that day so we decided we would forego seeing the inside of this one and press on with our errands. One of them was to purchase some new spare inner tubes so we could toss the patched ones we had, and another was to find a new headlight bulb for Karen's bike. It seems that when she went down she lost her low beam, and the spares that Lalli had given us were for a different model bike.

We also had to take care of some other little items that we had been neglecting. The handsome and extremely polite young man from this tiny shop above helped us with our toiletry needs.

What struck us about both sites here was the understanding of the need for green space. Baroda was an excellent place in terms of beautifully manicured parks, but elsewhere in India it did not seem to be much of a priority. Unlike a lot of the scrubby looking places that pass as parks, the well manicured lawns of the Golgumbaz above invited visitors to relax.

The rectangular building in the foreground in both photos is a museum associated with the Golgumbaz. We had no time to visit it, but I figured I had just about enough time to go register a very vocal objection to being charged extra for the museum when we had already paid 40 times what the locals pay just to get on the grounds.
 The photo at left above gives a good look at one of the seven story hexagonal towers that stands at each corner. Once on the roof level you can get the reverse view (shown right) that gives you an idea of what I was saying about greenspace.

At the roof level the odd mix of architectural styles continues. From the top level of the attached towers you can go on to the flat roof that surrounds the dome (left), or you can go inside to the 'whispering gallery' seen in the photo at right shot from the buildings floor. The dome is said to be the second largest on earth after Saint Peter's in Rome, and from the floor inside the people above appear quite small.

From on the gallery (above left) it is claimed that a person on one side can face the wall and whisper, and be heard by someone on the opposite side. They also claim that every sound will be echoed ten times. It is unfortunately impossible though to test the former because of the scores of school children shouting to test the latter. In the shot at right looking down on the structure's floor you see the vaults that represent only the occupants of the Golgumbaz, who are actually interred in the crypt beneath the structure. I rather doubt they are bothered by the shouting.

s I have mentioned earlier, many of the towns that the guide books mention are there solely because they are a transportation link for another site nearby. This is pretty much the case with Hospet. Hospet is a link for the southern circuit travelers going to nearby Hampi. I of course looked at Hospet solely because we could get info on lodging. My objective was still to keep pushing toward Pondicherry, which was still a fair distance away. Karen, however, had read a little about Hampi, and we thought it was worth a look. It was also a good opportunity to give Karen's ankle another day of rest. We couldn't get our first choice in Hospet because of a huge convention of mine safety engineers that were in town, but we found a nice enough place and decided to stay two nights so we could have a look at Hampi the next day. We also found that the place we had originally chosen had a great restaurant, and in the two days we were there we ate there at every opportunity. Hampi was just thirteen kilometers out of town, so we took a little run out there the next day just to take a look. Now, I don't suppose I need to remind anyone, but we have seen a lot of temples, ruins, palaces, and the like, but nothing quite like Hampi. Everything about it seemed inviting. We put a deposit on a room that was full on that particular day, but would be available the next morning.