Last weekend we went on a short road-rail trip. First, we took the overnight train from Bangalore to Hospet, which is the gateway to Hampi – i.e. the ruins of the Vijayanagar empire. This is also the historic Kishkinda area -- the kingdom of Bali and the birthplace of Hanuman. The realm was handed over to Sugriva, Bali's brother, by Ram after he killed Bali.
After Hampi, we went by SK’s 4WD up NH-13 and SH-26 from Hospet to Badami, via the Tungabhadra-Sagar Dam, Kustagi and Hungund. The capital of the Chalukyas, Badami is situated at the mouth of a ravine between two rocky hills, into which are hewn syncretic cave temples dedicated to Vishnu, Budhha and Mahavira, the earliest dating to the 6th century.
To return, we bumped over country tracks to Gadag; catching there NH-63 to Koppal and Hospet. ("If you're driving in South India note that NH 63 appears on the map, but does not, in fact, exist" – a helpful note from the indiamike web site.) Finally, we retraced NH-13 to Chitradurg; and took NH-4 back to Bangalore.