35 to Badami

Badami has single-rock sandstone caves carved into temples (near Hampi – around 160 Km). That was my motivation to get there and after seeing Malegatti Shivalaya (Badami)the Hampi ruins, I thought it best to get some positivity back. It so happened that the road to Badami had much more to say than probably the place itself.

The road from Hampi to Badami is kind of nice until you follow a state highway that leads you all the way until the last 35 Kms to Badami are left. This 35 Km journey was very interesting. The road is broken and slows you down completely. It’s a single lane road, meaning you can either come or go if you have the road for yourself. That doesn’t mean that there’s no oncoming traffic. Mini trucks would still ply there forcing you and themselves to go off the road on one side of the axles.

That ain’t all. It was around 7.30pm in the evening and I saw a bunch of folks walking towards Badami on the same road. The highway was converted into a single lane footpath-cum-road. It wasn’t until I saw the milestone with 35 on it (and the mention of Badami) that I realized that there was quite a bit of travel left. What geared me up was the fact that I was in a car, while these people were walking – in the dark – on a broken road for a journey as long as 35 Kms (around 22 miles).

There was ample time to wash down, since all I could do was a meager 30 Kmph on that road and I knew it would take me another hour or so. Thinking on these lines, it struck me, why was the 130 Km highway suddenly changed into a broken footpath? There’s a well paved out two lane road with cat’s-eye markers, 2 ft shoulders and signs that tell you to keep under 60 and suddenly it goes dud!

The slowdown angered me so much that I felt what the people living out there could do. There are only a couple of transport vehicles plying on the road because of the very condition of the road. Due to the bad condition, you cannot even ride a cycle there, the humps would break your knees. I wondered, what if they became violent one day in protest? Will that make a difference? Well, that’s what turns into naxalite activity. This very frustrating 35 Km stretch could well become a seed for naxalites there – people who fight for simple things and fight so hard that they forget what they were fighting for. Things Chhattisgarh, AP and Bihar are facing for a long time.

It’s not just Badami – the story is same for Karmala to Bijapur¬† (MH),¬† Lucknow to Bareilly (UP) and Shirdi to Aurangabad (MH). Bad roads are everywhere – and there are long ways to go.