Category Archives: Karnataka

Travelling around my home state

Across the brook- Bridging two Worlds

<Dated: Sometime when I was three or four>

Every girl has a Superman in her life.. For some it could be her father or in some case- a distant uncle.. And for me- it is “My Super Grandpa”.The wooden bridge layed across a brook in my hometown is one of the many reasons for which he is immortal in the memories of the nearby villagers even a decade after his departure. So, now I get down to how this happened: 

Introduction:

There are three ways to reach Abbi falls:

  1. A motor able asphalted road- about 8kms from Madikeri town. The most comfortable one if you have own transport from the town.(Lots of details are available on the net)  
  2. A partially adventurous one- about 8kms from Madikeri. One needs to take a private bus from Madikeri to Kootpole. And hike for about 4 kms to reach the falls.
  3. The most adventurous route(difficult)-  trek through thick jungle lined by deep valley on one side and thorny bushes on the other side.(Will write about this one some other day) 

There are moments in life, when the heart is so full of emotion That if by chance it be shaken, or into its depths like a pebble Drops some careless word, it overflows, and its secret, Spilt on the ground like water, can never be gathered together  Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

I choose to write about the 2nd route- The closest to my heart..!!

It is in this route, that one has to cross a brook in order to reach the waterfalls. When I say a brook- it is not a small stream that you can jump across; especially during the monsoons. One needs to walk over a carefully laid wooden bridge holding tightly onto nothing more than a thin steel wire..!!

The Bridge across the brook
The Bridge across the brook

This is a bridge which is not meant for the tourists and that is why it continues to remain unknown. This bridge is actually one single tree kept across the river carefully. It was laid across with a purpose of providing accessibility to the nearby villagers who could not afford a taxi for daily commutation.

And among these villagers, the one who stands out is “The Superman- My Grandpa”. He is the sole man behind the existence of this bridge. From selection of the finest tree(neeredithakai Mara- in Kodava Thakk), to gathering labourers to pull it all the way up from his estate to the river bank and putting it across the rivulet(about 60 feet wide)- he is the only mastermind behind it all..!!

I recollect faint memories of sitting by the side and watching all this action as a little girl… Some 25 odd men pulling the tree up the sloppy estate, I lending a squirrel’s help with my tiny hands to my grandpa in his mission, getting a pat on my back for my hard work.. And once the bridge was done, I remember the days when grandpa used to hold my hands tight and teach me how to cross the river.. It just fills my heart with coldness…

Walking over the wooden bridge
Walking over the wooden bridge

This bridge stands strong till date- even after bearing all seasons for more than two decades now.. It is become a part of the villagers’ everyday life… Though it was built with the idea of having easy access for grandpa to reach his estates every day, he did not restrict it only for himself. It was open for the public too, helping all the villagers living around this area. This truly stands out as a symbol of his greatness… And I miss him so much every time I walk this way or I hear of people speak of this great man..!!

Monsoon retreat- Jog falls

The whole purpose of this trip was to see the Jog in all its might..!! And this could happen in no better time than the monsoons..

So mom, bro and I boarded a KSRTC on Saturday night such that we could reach Shimoga by 6.00.a.m. From there a jeep’s ride was awaiting us to reach Sagar town.

The entry to Sagar
The entry to Sagar
Sharavathi by the road side
Sharavathi by the road side

Firstly, we wanted take a chance to go check out the Hydroelectric project , take a cable car ride down the hill which unfortunately we couldn’t do as we were stopped due to security reasons.

Nevertheless, the view of the Linganamakki dam and the scenery around almost evened up for the miss.

Linganamakki dam
Linganamakki dam
The valley view from the dam
The valley view from the dam

And then.. Six kilometers uphill- we reached the place which was the sole motive of our trip. “The Jog”..!!

But, when we reached there, it was something that caused total dismay..!!! The clouds paired up with thick mist had enshrouded the waterfalls completely.. And were all just blanked out..(literally..!!) there was absolutely nothing infront of us except the mist mist mist and more mist.. To top it all, it was raining cats and dogs..

We turned our backs and decided to walk towards the jeep with a heavy heart .. As we did, I just happened to turn towards the falls to check on our luck.. And yes…. we were LUCKY..!! The mist was slowly clearing out.. And we could faintly spot the Sharavathi streaming down in full action..

The Jog
The Jog

2 minutes up and the view was all clear: The Mighty King (Raaja), the Graceful Queen (Rani), the Thunderous Roarer and the Storming Rocket – YES… We did it..!! We felt a great sense of achievement very contrary to what we felt a minute ago..

While we got some nice clicks, the mist enclothed the falls again.. and we waited for it to clear out to capture a few more photos because this time we knew that the action was repetitive..

Jog - a side view
Jog – a side view
Jog- where the descend ends
Jog- where the descend ends

After a while we walked around to get different views of the falls- we went to the top, almost till the bottom area, sides… and so on.. It was a difficult task considering the heavy rains and the slippery path-thanks to the moss and algae; But totally worth the risk 🙂

Roarr.r..:)

Roarr.r..:)

By late afternoon, we visited a nearby zoo and also went on a lion and tiger safari.. Not a typical safari in the wild.. It is more like a fenced enclosure.. Also we spotted deers, sambars and peacocks..

And it was all the time we had with us. We had almost reached the end of a funday-Sunday..

We boarded the bus back to Bangalore at night and we had to gear up for the crazy week that was awaiting us..

Art Attack @ Belur and Halebeedu

It was Sunday morning and our trip was fixed: to cover Belur, Halebeedu and Shravanabelagola.

I prefer to write less in this post because I choose the pictures to speak for themselves.. One among the very few well maintained monuments in Karnataka- The Hoysala Style of architecture is a treat for the art-buffs.

Wikipedia Extract for Hoysala architecture describes: ‘Hoysala architecture (Kannada: ಹೊಯ್ಸಳ ವಾಸ್ತುಶಿಲ್ಪ) is the building style developed under the rule of the Hoysala Empire between the 11th and 14th centuries, in the region known today as Karnataka, a state of India. Hoysala influence was at its peak in the 13th century, when it dominated the Southern Deccan Plateau region. Large and small temples built during this era remain as examples of the Hoysala architectural style, including the Chennakesava Temple at Belur, the Hoysaleswara Temple at Halebidu, and the Kesava Temple at Somanathapura.

The Hoysala Symbol- with founder Sala and the Tiger

Itinerary: We started from Bangalore at around 6.00.a.m to Belur in a KSRTC bus. Then to Halebeedu in a local bus. Then to Channarayapatna from where we took KSRTC to Shravanabelagola.. And back to Bangalore in KSRTC.

So.. Over to the photos to do the talking…@Belur- Chennakesava Temple

Belur
Intricate carvings on the temple wall

Belur (31)

LakshmiNarasimha Statue
LakshmiNarasimha Statue

Belur (31)

Belur (31)

Belur (31)

Madalike
MadalikeThe  Kesava TempleThe Kesava Temple

Shantala- the wife of King Vishnuvardhana was so mesmerised by the Sculptures of the dancing ladies carved here in different postures, that she used to dance with these Madalikes or ShilaBalikas in her dreams.

View from the entrance of the temple complex
View from the entrance of the temple complex

@ Halebeedu: Hoysaleswara Temple

Hoysalas founded their dynasty with Belur as the capital initially. Later, the capital was shifted to Halebidu.

Halebidu (27)
World’s sixth largest monolithic Nandi statue

Halebidu (25)

Halebidu (15)

Halebidu (8)

Halebidu (2)

Belur (31)

@ Shravanabelagola

This is one of the most important pilgrimage places for the Jains. Also, this is considered to be the largest monolithic stone statue in the World. ShravanaBelagola has 2 hills- Chandragiri and Vindhyagiri. Chandragiri hill gets its name from Chandragupta, one of the greatest emperors of India who converted to Jainism, gave up all his worldly pleasures and passed away on this hill. The statue of Bahubali/ Gomateshwara is situated on the Vindhyagiri hill.

The Gomateshwara Statue

The Gomateshwara Statue

A view from the Vindhyagiri hills

A day out… at Kaiwara

Wake up….!! Wednesday morninggg…. A weekend when the rest of the world is working their asses off half way through their week.. n I sat wondering how I was going to kill the rest of the day amidst the four walls of my house, all jobless….

Some old place I was told about, by my friend who had done her internship at- popped in my mind- “Kaiwara”. I jumped out of my bed and began to google for it.. With lot of information available online, I was able to jort down the list of places to see in and around Kaiwara along with a rough route map.. n that’s it.. I dragged my mum along, pulled the car out of the garage n zooommm we went…….

We started from Bangalore at around 9.a.m and reached Devanahalli in a while. From there we took the Vijayapura bypass road. A good 45min drive from the airport at an average 60kmph speed is what it took us to reach Kaiwara.

I ain’t a good photographer, but definitely these photos might be of interest for those of you planning for a weekend exploration.

As soon as one enters the Kaiwara town, a small lane on the left leads you to the Narayanapa Mutt. This is a mutt managed by M.S.Ramaiah trust. This is where Saint Narayanappa attained “Eternal Bliss or jeeva Samadhi”.

The Narayanappa Mutt
The Narayanappa Mutt

Half a kilometer away from the Mutt is the “Bheemeshwara temple”. This is where the mythology has it that Bheema killed Bakasura during the exile period of the Pandavas. There is a group of small temples there, each named after the Pandava brothers within the same premises.

Bheemeshwara temple
Bheemeshwara temple

Overlooking the Mutt, is the Bheema baana Betta or Kaiwara Betta. We thought of giving it a miss considering the number of steps we had to climb up and the time we were left with, to cover other places around. Or rather, my mum thought it would be impossible for her to scale it up 😛

The Kaivara betta
The Kaivara betta

One kilometer further ahead, we reached “Tapovana”, the place where the saint used to meditate back in the days. There is a small garden around there, which can be given a miss. Few yards uphill from there, we reached the “Vaikunta Betta”. At the base of the hill is the “Amaranareyana Temple” dedicated to Lord Vishnu built by the Hoysala king Vishnuvardhana. Climb upstairs (which more looks ignored by vistors)- we reached the “Yoganarasimha Temple”, the cave temple, believed to be the place where the Lord appeared infront of Narayanappa. The temple terrace gives an excellent view of the entire town. A word of caution though: Too many monkeys around there.. it was no monkey business.!!

Entrance to Vaikunta betta
Entrance to Vaikunta betta
A view from The Vaikunta temple
A view from The Vaikunta temple

Then started the best stretch of the drive. 5kms uphill…. It surely made us wonder how beautiful Mount Kailash(in the Himalayas) could be if the lesser known “MahaKailasaGiri Betta” is so beautiful. Atop the hill is a set of newly chiseled man made caves, home to 3 temples.

Enroute to Kailasa
Enroute to Kailasa
Another view of the Kailasa giri
Another view of the Kailasa giri

Food is provided unlimited to every pilgrim/visitor at KailasaGiri temple and the Mutt between 12.30.p.m and 3.00.p.m. So we decided to hog some yummy temple food at Kailasa giri itself.

By this time, we had covered all the places I had googled to visit in Kaiwara. But it was still 2.30.p.m and we had a lot of time left. While coming downhill, we decided to follow a signboard which indicated the way to “ChenaKeshava Cave Temple” but once we reached it, it was quite a disappointment.

Enroute to Channakeshava guhantara temple
Enroute to Channakeshava guhantara temple

Someone had mentioned about “Venkateshwara Temple” in Alambagiri- about 10kms from Kaiwara. This place is supposedly famous for Paper made handicrafts. So we decided to explore this place too. But, some renovation work in this ancient temple was in progress and there were absolutely no shops in that place (forget handicrafts stores) left us saddened.

Alambagiri Venkateshwara temple (1)
Alambagiri Venkateshwara temple

Oh and by the way.. Kaiwara is famous for silk rearing & weaving. May be you should try to pick up some silk stuffs while you are there.

Google told me that “Ambaji Durga Cave temple” was 7kms away from Kaiwara, but nobody seemed to have heard of it. So we thought it was time we returned back to where we belong to- Bengaluru. It was still 4.00.p.m but done with the day’s outing.. Though it was a small trip, totally unplanned- it was worth the visit..!

Devanahalli- The town within a Fort

On a casual weekday off, dad and I decided to take a train trip to some place nearby.. So, We bought 2 tickets of Rs.4 each for Ypr-Devanahalli Passenger and headed to the platform. We boarded the train with 5 bogies with 5 passengers for a round trip. That makes it 1 passenger per bogie 😛

We passed through more of a green route- considering that the train still plies well within Bangalore. And soon after arriving at Devanahalli Rlwy Stn, it was time for some exploration…

Devanahalli railway station
Devanahalli railway station

As we started walking towards the main town area, we were welcomed by a large pond(we could say that there once existed an old temple) which was all dried up now… And here onwards- we came across numerous temples along our way.

An Old temple pond
An Old temple pond

Next we arrived at a small mantap- This is the Birth place of Tippu Sultan. Not a very exciting architectural monument considering the fact that Tippu was born by the road side (or so it seemed).

Tippu's Birth place
Tippu’s Birth place

And then… we enter— Fort Devanahalli..!!

At the first glance, it seems like a neglected piece of history with rain water stagnating by the side, excavation waste from the city dumped at the entrance, unpaved dusty roads…

Entrance of Fort Devanahalli
Entrance of Fort Devanahalli

As we passed through the super narrow entrance of the fort- We decided to walk along the fort walls for the rest of our exploration..

A view of NH7 from a view point along the fort wall
A view of NH7 from a view point along the fort wall

We soon realized that it is one whole town that actually exists within the walls of the fort. But apart from the walls, there was nothing much that spoke about Tippu’s valour that is often spoken about in history books..

Remains of the old town
Remains of the old town

We walked till evening and were able to cover one half of the Fort- and we had already exited from the other end of the town. From there we boarded a BMTC bus back to the city.

Gold Market to Gold Fields in a Railbus

One Saturday off in a month and the crunch for exploration was at its peak… Dad and I decided to board the train to sit in a bus that runs on rails.. I mean.. We wanted to travel in the “RailBus”. There are only 2 railbuses still running in the country, one runs on narrow guage and the other runs on broad gauge. While the former is a part of the Kalka-Shimla mountain railways, the latter is operated by the South western railways. And we were interested in the one closer to home i.e. in South India. It plies between Bangarpet (literally translates to Gold Market in Kannada) and KGF a.k.a. Kolar Gold Fields.

Bangalore Cantonment Railway Station
Bangalore Cantonment Railway Station

It leaves Bangarpet at 9.00.a.m and returns by noon. Again leaves Bangarpet by 5.30.p.m and returns before its dark. So, technically we wanted to reach Bangarpet before 9.00.a.m. But the laziness that had set in because of a hectic work week, we woke up late and boarded the Bangarpet-Bangalore express at 9.45.a.m from Cantonment railway station. So the entire idea of railbus travel flopped even before it happened. Jeez..!!!

Once at Bangarpet, we walked from the railway junction to the dusty town and boarded a private bus that took us to KGF which had passengers 2.5XFOS (2.5 times the Factor of Safety) the bus was designed for..!! And our arrival at the destination was rather fast considering the time we had before we died of suffocation due to the availability of very little air to breathe(forget Oxygen) in the completely choked up bus 😛 (I seriously don’t know how to put our plight in words..!!)

The Cyanide Dumps
The Cyanide Dumps

KGF.. The road welcomes you with a continuous stretch of this really awesome looking hill on one side and an old dusty town on the other side. It is dusty because it is a mining hub and it has a hill because of the same reason.. These hills are called cyanide dumps- the slurry left over after gold extraction from the mines using Cyanide based alkalis are dumped here and this has hardened over time making it look like a hill. It reminded me of the formations in the Grand Canyon for some reason.

Kotilingeshwara Temple
Kotilingeshwara Temple

From here, we again boarded a bus to reach the “Kotilingeshwara temple”. This place is said to have more than 1 crore Shivalingas, all donated by people. Though I’m not a very religious person, I wanted to visit the place for the history it unfolded. It was soon pack-up time for us as the scorching sun had sucked out most of our energy. But, most importantly, we had to return to Bangarpet before we could miss a glance of the sole reason of our trip..!! And.. We were back at BWT junction as per schedule.

The loner was resting in the shade of a tree. And the loco pilot obliged to open the door and let us have a look inside of the train. It felt nice to see the last one left in the country but the trip ended soon. Ofcourse, it was with a heavy heart that we could not travel in it 😥

The RailBus
The RailBus

Railbus- Driver's cabin

Have you been in a bus that travels on railway lines???? Do share your experiences below. I’d love to hear them!

A Green University Campus in the City – GKVK

This is quite an old story… nevertheless, worth writing about…

GKVK: Gandhi Krishi Vignana Kendra a.k.a. University of Agricultural Sciences(UAS)

My cousin who was studying there at that time had informed us about the “Agri-Mela” happening in her campus sometime in November. I was back early from college that day.. And so, dad and I went for a ride with an idea of getting some fresh air and some agri-info..

The whole campus is lit with bright colours – with various fruits and flowers which are in full bloom in the month of November. We had lots and lots of gyan on agriculture, horticulture, farming, etc..

@ The Cattle farming stall
@ The Cattle farming stall
@ The Hog farming stall
@ The Hog farming stall
A man who drew my attention outside the "Rice cultivation" stall
A man who drew my attention outside the “Rice cultivation” stall

Once we finished checking out the stalls put up there, we thought of just walking around the 1000 odd acres of farm… This is an excellent place for bird watching too..

The red gulmohars in full bloom
The red Gulmohars in full bloom

The number of plants on the cultivation list goes on and on.. So, I prefer to keep it short: 

Any experiment with plants = it is there at UAS
The best stretch in the city- The Gulmohur Avenue
The best stretch in the city- The Gulmohur Avenue

All in all- An afternoon well spent J

One can go here for a drive if one wants some fresh air without going too far from the city on a lazy evening…This is on the way to Yelahanka from Hebbal- just before Jakkur aerodrome.