For my first unsupervised adventure outside of Hyderabad, a few of my friends and I took a recommendation from our Hindi teacher and traveled to a city called Bidar. Bidar is a small city in Northern Karnataka, the same state as Hampi but has a much different feel. Like Hampi there were lots of ruins in the area, the largest of them being the Bidar Fort, but you could tell immediately that this city was much less of a tourist destination. This allowed us to get a really good feel for the people who lived there and also made the experience more relaxing because there weren’t a lot of people around.
Taking the bus is an adventure in itself. Inside of the bus we boarded was a sign that read, “Recently Refurbished 1976 by The Government of Andrea Pradesh”, which was a little frightening. We experienced the bus ride with no mishaps although traveling on a bus for an extended period of time without a bathroom can be a little uncomfortable. We arrived safely and found our hotel with no issues and fell asleep pretty quickly. Six hours on a bus will do that to you!
The next morning, we weren’t in a hurry to get going, probably because of the fact that we were enjoying the freedom of not having to stick to a tight schedule, like we had to do on our trip to Hampi. After eating masala dosas for breakfast, which are similar to crepes but filled with Indian spices rather than chocolate and bananas, (which was quite the burst of flavor for morning), we hopped in a rickshaw and told him to take us to the fort.
The fort was huge. It even had a moat! We explored around the ruins and eventually came across a huge tower that allowed us to look out over the entire area. Because it is the monsoon season, it is extremely green and misting so I got the feeling I wasn’t in India but Scotland, except for the fact that it was a good 20 degrees warmer! On the top of this tower, we also discovered there was a lake and a small village below us so we set off through the overgrowth down through the village to the lake. Although the weather wasn’t really on our side, it still felt so peaceful to be so removed from the chaos of Hyderabad.
After climbing back up from the lake we started walking out of the fort and down into what we thought was a neighborhood but ended up being a massive bazaar. There were hundreds of stores filled with fabric for saris, stands overflowing with fruit and of course shops filled wall to wall with bangles. We had a great time just wandering around looking at all the things people were selling. The colors and smells were so vibrant and uniquely India. You definitely can’t get this feeling anywhere else in the world.
After spending a few hours wandering around the bazaar, we set out to find a temple that one of our Indian friends had recommended to us. It ended up being a massive Sikh temple, which was absolutely beautiful. It was all white with massive domes and it even had a swimming tank on the premises for cleansing! There was also a school, which was filled with children and once one of them spotted us we were swarmed with kids asking for pictures. When we finally were able to get away we came across some small shops with more beautiful gold and silver bangles and I actually found a pair that fit over my massive hands! The rest of the day we spent relaxing and woke up early the next morning to start our journey back to Hyderabad.
Although the travel wasn’t exactly comfortable, Bidar was definitely a relaxing and enjoyable experience and it was a good first trip without any guides. My next big adventure is the Taj Mahal, which I am thinking will be a totally different experience!
peace, love, laughter