Archive forItinerant

Trek to Avani Betta

Participants:

1. Pranab K. Deka
2. Nabanita Sarmah
3. Mother-in-law
4. Wife (Chumki)
5. Myself

Date: 30th June, 2013

Mode of Transport: Tata Indica

Ramalingeshwara temple complex:

The Ramalingeshwara temple complex consists of around 7 shrines that of Ramalingeshwara Temple, Lakshmanalingeshwara Temple, Bharateshwara Temple, Satrughnalingeshwara Shrine, Subrahmanya Temple, Bali Temple and Sugriva Temple. Out of this, the temples of fours sons of Dasaratha gains prominence.

Avani_Ramalingeshwara_Complex

Ramalingeshwara Temple:

The shrine on plan has a garbhagriha, and antarala and a navaranga. The pillars in the navaranga are of the ornate type resemble to manastambha design. the adhistana has mouldings decorated with kirthimukas and lions. The walls have pilasters surrounded by Dravida towers. The linga is of dark stone and is smaller when comared with the linga of Lakshmanalingeshwara shrine.

Lakshmanalingeshwara Temple:

This is assigned to Nolamba period of 10th century AD. The shrine is most ornamented in the complex. The temple on plan has garbhgriha, an antarala and a navaranga. The navaranga has four pillars with ceiling ornamented with Uma-Maheshwara surrounded by dikpalakas. The linga at the garbhgriha is the largest in the complex. The walls are relived by pilasters and sculptures of Yakshas, Dwarapalas, Shiva, Bhairava, Bhairavi, Vishu, Ganesha .. The brick tower is from the late Vijayanagara period.

Bharateshwara Temple:

The shrine is smaller when compared with others in the complex. The pillars are octogonal in shape facing the small natural pond.

Satrughnalingeshwara Shrine:

This shrine is nearly the same size and shape as that of Lakshmanalingeshwara Tempe, but its basement has three corners one of which is rounded and the other has rows of poorly carved lions. It’s doorway is of dark strap stone and ornamented bonds of Gajalakshmi on the inner. The upper wall is similar to that of Lakshmanalingeshwara Temple, the pillars of which are sixteen side shafts with floral hangings.

Avani_Steps

Avani_Boulders

Just besides this temple is the betta wherein lies the Sita Parvathi Temple. This temple is located in the premises of Valmiki Ashram. Sage Valmiki is said to have lived in this harsh terrain of large boulders. Even today one can find this cave in good condition.

Avani_Balmiki

The Sita Parvathi is quite different from the other temples in every aspect. Couple who wish to have children should undertake a small hike to reach the temple and on the way you find people pilling up small stones on top of one another. There is a small water tank on the way to the temple called Danushkodi.

Avani_Danushkodi

Route Information:

Avani_Team

Avani_View_From_top

Avani Betta is around 100 kms from Bangalore(Hebbal). One needs to take the road towards Mulbagal of Bangalore-Tirupati Highway. Once you cross Kolar you would find the Vasudeva Addigas on the right. Once you cross this, take the first right just after the first Indian Oil petrol bunk again on the right. Though it is a village road once you move out of the NH, there is no cause to complain about the road condition as it is very good all through out.

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Shravanabelagola Gomateshwara and Chandragiri

Participants:

1. Pranab K Deka
2. Wife (Chumki) and Myself

Date: 17th Feburary, 2013

Mode of Transport: Tata Indica

Gomateshwara (Bahubali):

Shravanabelagola Gomateshwara Bahubali

The colossal monolithic statue of Bahubali is carved out of a single block of granite and stands majestically on top of a hill. About 17 m. (55 ft) high, it is regarded as one of the largest monolithic statues in the world.

Shravanabelagola Entrance

Shravanabelagola Stairs to the top

Shravanabelagola Temple Courtyard

A climb of 607 odd steps leads you to the temple courtyard. Palki’s are also provided for the old but at a cost.

Shravanabelagola Carring Chair

As you climb up, one would see the footprints of different Acharya’s who had either visited the place or attained salvation, along with the different places of importance. Note-able among them includes,

1. Odegal Basti

The Odegal Basti is so called because of the stone props against it’s basement. Built of granite stones, it occupies a commanding position. All the pillars in the main hall are circular while the side walls are very simple. The temple dates back to 14th Century A.D.

2. Tyagada Kamba

The elaborately carved pillar was erected in the late 10th Century. It is believed that the minister Chavundaraya distributed gifts to the needy and deserving people from here. The simple scroll designs, elegant workmanship shows the best of the period.

3. Chennanna Basti

Shravanabelagola Stumb Pillar

Chandragiri (Chikkabetta):

This hill is located just opposite to the Gomateshwara hill. A gradual climb of about 150 odd steps leads you to the temple. The Kalyani located at the base separates both the hills.

Shravanabelagola Kalyani

The 24th Theerthakana is popularly known by the name Chandragiri after the name of the great Mayuran Emperor Chandragupta. There are about 14 preaching rooms inside the whole courtyard. The earliest temple to be built is dated at 4th Century BC.

Shravanabelagola Chandragiri Temple

Shravanabelagola Chandragiri Temple Courtyard

Shravanabelagola Chandragiri Stumb Pillar

Bhadrabahu attained salvation in a cave and Chandragupta also attained salvation from the same cave following his teacher. Bhadrabahu was the last Shrut Kevali (who possessed total knowledge of the soul by studying 12 Ang Agams)

Shravanabelagola Chandragiri Bhadrabahu Footprints

Acharya Kundkund provided a system of scriptural knowledge(first of it’s kind) for the inquisitive. He presented the fundamental concepts relating to the path to salvation in a comprehensive manner.

Shravanabelagola Chandragiri KundKund Footprints

Route Information:

The place is around 140 kms from Hebbal. A drive through the excellent Bangalore-Mangalore highway and left at Hirisave will lead to Sravanbelagola. Good food at KSTDC Hotel Mayura on the way (both for lunch and breakfast).

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Black Buck Conservation Reserve, Maidanahalli

Participants:

1. Ritumoni and Biswajyoti
2. Wife (Chumki) and Myself

Date: 23th December, 2012

Mode of Transport: Swift Dzire

A lot have been written about the place but still we had not had a chance to visit to the place. But alas, D day arrived and we had a chance to visit the place.

Jayamangali Blackbuck Conservation Reserve is Tumkur District’s only notified protected area. It neighbors Maidenahalli, a small village in Madhugiri Taluk, at the north-eastern tip of Tumkur district of Karnataka state, India. It is a 798-acre (3.23 km2) patch of grassland with Eucalyptus and Acacia auriculiformis. It has the largest contiguous population of Black buck (Antelope cervicapra) in Karnataka, apart from Ranibennur Black buck Sanctuary.

The open grasslands is an ideal habitat for a lot of reptilian species and birds as well.

Open Grasslands at the Jayamangali Black Buck Santurary

Route Information:

There are two ways of visiting the place, but in either case 40% of the roads are very bad. Not sure due to rains or what. This had consumed most of our time. We explored both the routes in order to get good roads.

Hebbal -> Yelhanka -> Doddabollapur -> Tondebavi (ACC Cement Factory, Take left) -> Alipur -> Chikkapalya -> Kodagadala (Take right here).

From there it is around 8.9 kms to the mud road which leads to the entrance. From the main road it is again 2.5 kms to the entrance.

Way to Jayamangali Black Buck Santurary

Entrance to Jayamangali Black Buck reserver

Kodagadala (Take left) -> Holvanahalli -> Koratgere -> Devaranyadurg -> Dobbaspet -> Tumukur Highway

Best time of the year: Winter seasons or on cloudy skies.
Best time of the day: Mostly around morning hours (7am – 9am) and later in the evenings (4pm – 6pm)
Nearest source for food: No food source near the place. It is good to carry own food.
Must: A good camera and a pair of binoculars.
Camping: Camping inside the forest area is possible but you need to take prior permission from the forest office. There is a forest office out there.

Watch Tower inside the Black Buck Reserve

Black Buck Footprints

Black bucks are very shy animals. They move at the very slightest noise and movement. Unless you have a good vision/binoculars, it is very difficult to site them. We were able to notice only 2 herds from a distance of about 50-60 meters. As we tried to reach near they moved away behind the thick bushes with their athletics spring jumps.

Courtesy:
http://arunthetraveller.blogspot.in/2011/09/blackbucks-in-vast-grasslands.html
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jayamangali_Blackbuck_Reserve

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Day on Hills, Basadi Betta and Nijagal Betta

Participants:

1. Srinivas R
2. Wife (Chumki) and Myself

Date: 7th October, 2012

Mode of Transport: Tata Indica

Basadi Betta (Mandharagiri):

Basadi Betta is also know as Mandharagiri as written on the whole rock surface of the hill. There are well carved steps, around 437, which would lead you to the top of the hill from the base. A small Jain temple is located above the hill top. Said to be around There are around 4 temples inside the premises fenced by barbed wire and huge brick walls. We were able to go inside the priest who was kind enough to hand over the keys to us. One can inquire at the office, which is located at the base of the hill. There seems to rooms for the pilgrims which visit this place.

Mandharagiri (Basadi Betta)

Mandharagiri Temples inside the premises

You can find art work on most of the single rocks top of the hill.

Arts on the rocks of Mandharagiri

One can also view lake Maidala from the top of the hill. Though it looks muddy, we were not sure as viewed from distance.

Maidala Lake as viewed from Basadi Betta

Just as you reach the base, one would come across a status of Jaina Chandraprabha Theerthankara.

Chandraprabha Theerthankara Statue

Panaromic View of the temples Mandharagiri

Nijagal Betta:

Nijagal Betta is a hillock which consists of ruined temples, forts, caves, bee hives and striking rock formations. There is a well defined pathway up to the top partly rocky terrain and partly sand gravels. The hillock makes itself unique by having hosted both a temple as well as a dargah.

Nijagal Betta

Nijagal Betta Temples in ruins

Nijagal Betta Fort Walls

The whole place is buzzing with people from the nearby villagers who have carried hen’s for sacrifice’s and people going to the dargah. The temple is located below a rock (cave) while the dargah is behind this. There is a small water pool just besides the dargah. You need to climb to the top to have the view of the fort walls. One can follow the electric light polls to the top of the fort.

Nijagal Betta Hanuman

Nijagal Betta Temple

Panaromic view from top of Nijagal Betta

It is said that the fort is built by Chikkadevaraya Wadiyar in the mid-17th century and later on taken over by Hyder Ali. One can see the remains of the fort walls on top of the hill. The view from the top of the hill top is breathtaking. One can also see the railway line track making it’s way like a snake.

In case you are an ornithologist, you would love this place, since the the rock caves and the food available, makes it an ideal habitat for nesting and breeding.

Route Information:

Basadi Betta:

Catch the highway NH4 to Tumkur from Bangalore. The place is around 10 kms before Tumkur. Look for a arch on the right hand side once you get site of the hill wherein Mandharagiri is written. Take a right through the arch and cross the railway track, Once you cross the track, travel around 500 meters till one takes the left until you reach the base of the hill. One can park directly at the base of the hill or near to the temple office. The place is around 65 kms from Hebbal.

Mandharagiri Arch on the right of NH4

Nijagal Betta:

Catch the highway NH4 to Tumkur from Bangalore and cross Dabaspet. Look out for Reliance Petrol Pump or Kamat Upachar (Adjacent to the petrol bunk). It would be around 3-4 kms from Dabaspet. The way to the base of the hill is just opposite to the petrol bunk. You need to pass the underpass to reach the base of the hill. In case you are travelling in a 4 wheeler you can park it at the petrol bunk or in hotel premises. 2 wheelers can go upto the base of the hill. The place is around 60 kms from Hebbal.

Courtesy:
Trek To Nijagal Betta

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Gudibande fort

Participants:

1. Kapil Saxena and family
2. Wife (Chumki) and Myself

Date: 16th September, 2012

Mode of Transport: Tata Indica

The fort is located in a dry and dusty town of Gudibande of Kolar district. Located at a distance of about 95 kms from Bangalore of the NH7 the fort does not seem to generate a lot of interests to the visitors.

Gudibande fort, built by local chieftain Byre Gowda some 400 odd years ago in the 17th century. It can be said as a concise replica of the Madhugiri fort. The fort has seven levels with interconnecting escape routes which would help soldiers to flee in case of emergency.

On the top of the fort is a Shiva temple, which is believed to be one of the 108 Jyotirlingas. The strong pillar with a square base has well sculpted images. One can also have a good view of the Byrasagara reservoir.

The fort’s main feature, is the rain water harvesting. It is said that there were around 19 rock ponds at different levels of the fort, but we were able to get a view of only 4 of them. The rest were either covered with green bushes or else being empty, hence difficulty in figuring it out.

Gudibande Fort

Gudibande Steps

Gudibande Entrance Top

Gudibande ByraSagara Reservoir View

Gudibande View from Top

Route Information:

Though a small town, Gudibande is well connected by roads from Chickbalapur, both public as well as private transport being available. In case one is planning to drive across from Bangalore, one needs to hit the NH7 till Peresendra Cross. Just as you reach Peresendra cross (500 meters) you will hit Aruru from where you can take the service road till the cross. Once you reach the cross, take left. The road straight goes to the Gudibande town. As you go on the road, you will see a lot of beautiful green grape yards, flower farms and the grey hill fort which blends hazily with the sky. The road also passes through Amani Byrasagara water reservoir which is the main source of water for the town.

Gudibande Grape Yards

Gudibande Group

Courtesy:
http://www.deccanherald.com/content/55589/legacy-gudibandes-robinhood.html

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Agumbe-Jog Falls-Murudeshwara-Gokarna-Yana-trip

Participants:

1. Srinivas R.
2. Chakrapani and family
3. Kapil Saxena and family
4. Wife (Chumki) and Myself

Date: 18th – 20th August, 2012

Mode of Transport: Toyota Inova

End minute discussions/inclusions and last minutes changes to the itinerary, where all to go, where to stay etc. and it was finally agreed to go to Aumgbe-Jog Falls-Murudeshwara. Lodging, did we book in advance any time before we moved to a place? We all decided that we leave Bangalore at 0500 hrs the following day.

Day 1:

45 minutes already late to what was decided. We left for our destination at 0545 hrs. So where is our first destination?

1400 hrs: Gajanur Dam

Agumbe Gajanur Dam Waters

The the dam is built across the Tunga river. There is also an elephant training camp on the right hand side just a kilometer ahead of the dam, called “Sakkarebaylu”. Though we did not go this place, you can have view of the dam waters from the road side itself. With the sun playing hide and seek through the thick forest, the view of the serpentine road is awesome, as it makes it’s way through the hills with the river flowing on the left side and the forest on the right.

Agumbe Road View

1500 hrs: Jogi Gundi Falls

Agumbe Jogi Gundi Falls

We reached Agumbe and started to look for places where to go to. We decided to go to Jogi Gundi Falls. This is around 5 kms from the sunset point. Small road wherein in some places, only a single vehicle can pass at one time. We parked the vehicle on the base and trekked for about 500 meters to reach the falls. The whole area is barbed wired fenced. It is said that there are naxalites in there, not sure how true is this.

Once you are back from the falls, you can go down the road ahead for another 4 kms and trek for another 4 kms to have a view of the Barkana Falls. It is one of the highest falls in India.

1700 hrs: Sunset Point

Agumbe Sunset View Green Canopy

Agumbe Sunset View Point Clouds

Agumbe Group Photograph

An ideal place to see the sun going down at the backdrop of Arabian sea. But for us, there was no sun, nor the sea, as it covered with thick layer of clouds. It was beautiful which cannot be explained by mere words. The view of the green tree top canopy is just awesome. It is considered to be the best sunset point in Karnataka.

Day 2:

00:30 hrs: Reached Jog Falls

We reached Jog at midnight. Sagara was all too full to accommodate us. So to save time, we went ahead to Sagara. The ghat section to Jog was awesome. Visibility has dropped to about 10 ft. We moved inch by inch. Kudos to our driver for driving in such a harsh conditions.

We checked both the PWD Guest house as well as the KSTDC Guest house located at Jog Falls but was unable to find a place wherein we can re-fresh ourselves. What was left was the open sky above and the open grounds below. So be it. We all slept on the floor of a market (we came to know about that in the morning, by the sounds of brooms).

06:00 hrs: Jog Falls

Jog Falls

Created by the Sharavathi River and falling from a height of 253 m, Jog Falls is the second highest waterfalls in India. Jog falls individually consists of four distinct falls, Raja, Roarer, Rocket and Rani, The Raja Falls pours in one unbroken column sheer to the depth of 830 ft (250 m). Halfway down it is encountered by the Roarer, another fall, which precipitates itself into a vast cup and then rushes violently downwards at an angle of forty-five degrees to meet the Raja. A third fall, the Rocket, shoots downwards in a series of jets, while the fourth, the Rani, moves quietly over the mountain side in a sheet of foam. The Tourism Department has built steps from the view point till the bottom of the hill where the waterfall can be seen at the opposite side. There are approximately 1500 steps built to reach the bottom of the hill.

10:00 hrs: Talakalale Reservoir

Talakale Balancing Reservoir

Water from Linganamakki dam flows to Talakalale Balancing Reservoir through a trapezoidal canal with a discharge capacity of 175.56 cumecs. The length of this channel is about 4318.40 m with a submersion of 7.77 sq. km. It has a catchment area of about 46.60 sq.km. The gross capacity of the reservoir is 129.60 cu m. Most of the submerged highland areas has formed islands wherein vegetation thrives.

We were able to take a boat ride through a round about of one such island thanks to the care taker of the dam, Mr. Venkateshan, but at some cost to our pockets.

12:00 hrs: Linganamakki Dam

Linganamakki Dam

Located at about 9 kms from Jog Falls, the Linganamakki dam was constructed by the Karnataka State Government in 1964. The dam spans across a catchment area of 1991 km², submerging 50.62 km² of wetland and 7 km² of dry land. The dam has a length of 2.4 km, stretching all across the Sharavathi river. There are power generation plants also which are heavily guarded.

14:00 hrs: Honnavar

Finally booked a hotel to have ourselves freshened up. A quick lunch followed by a quick bath.

16:30 hrs: Murudeshwara

Murudeshwara Gopura

Murudeshwara Shiva Statue

While on the way to Murudeshwara, you go through Idagunji Vinayaka Devasthana, which is dedicated to Lord Ganapati.

Famous for the world’s second-tallest Shiva statue, Murudeshwara is a town in the Bhatkal Taluk of Uttara Kannada district. The statue is 123 feet (37 m) in height and took about two years to build. The place derives it’s name from the Hindu god Shiva. The 20 storied Gopura is built on the Kanduka Hill which is surrounded on three sides by the waters of the Arabian Sea.

Murudeshwara Beach

The beach which lies just besides the temple, is beautiful. The beach runs around 200 meters into the sea. Good beach wherein you can spend the whole evening watching the sun go down by Lord Shiva. The whole place including the statue is highly illuminated.

Day 3:

09:30 hrs: Gokarna

Gokarna is a small temple town located in the Uttara Kannada district of Karnataka. The main deity is Lord Mahabhaleshwara, a form of the Hindu god Shiva. It is an attractive town with two main streets having shops and traditional tile-roofed brick houses. Gokarna is a hippy paradise with drums, guitars and hammocks.

Gokarna Beach

Situated in the western end of the main street, The Mahabaleshwar Temple is a famous Shiva Temple and houses the ‘Atmalinga’. The idol of Lord Mahabaleshwara is called Nagabharana. It is so named becasuse of the Lord rests under the head of Naga (serpent). The floor of the hall in front has an intricate engraving of a giant tortoise.

Om Beach:

The beach got its name because it is shaped like the auspicious Om sign, a spiritual Hindu symbol. Om beach is naturally shaped. There a lot of resorts which has sprung up just besides the beach to let you spend your time relaxing watching as the sea hits the rocks.

Gokarna Om Beach

1400 hrs: Yana

Yana Rock formation

Yana is a village in the Uttara Kannada district of Karnataka, India that is known for the unusual rock formations in its vicinity. Yana is famous for these two massive rock outcrops known as the Bhairaveshwara Shikhara and the Mohini Shikhara. The huge rocks are composed of solid black, crystalline limestone. Bhairaveshwara Shikhara is 120 metres (390 ft) in height, while the Mohini Shikhara, which is smaller, is 90 metres (300 ft) in height. Yana is also well known as a pilgrimage centre because of the cave temple below the Bhairaveshwara Shikhara where a Swayambhu linga has been formed. Water drips from the roof over the linga, adding to the sanctity of the place. A stream passes by the side of the trek route.

Day 4:

Reach back safely in Bangalore at 0400 hrs.

Thanks all my travel-mates for the wonderful trip and best wishes to Kavitha Chakrapani.

Courtesy:
http://en.wikipedia.org
http://wgbis.ces.iisc.ernet.in/energy/water/paper/Cumulative/studyarea.htm

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A trip to Ranganathittu Bird Sanctuary

Participants:

1. Ritumoni and Biswajyoti
2. Wife (Chumki) and Myself

Date: 24th June, 2012

Mode of Transport: Swift Dzire

After going through the beautiful travelogues on various blogs, we decided to go to Ranganathittu Bird Sanctuary. Checked with Google, whether this would be a good time, and yes it was.

Ranganthittu Bird Sanctuary is located in the Mandya District of the state of Karnataka in India. It is a very small sanctuary, being only 67 sq. km. in area, and comprises six islets on the banks of the Kaveri River. It is located three kilometers away from the historic town of Srirangapatna and 16 kms north of Mysore. The islets came into being when a dam across the Kaveri river was built in the 18th century.

Route Information:

Take the Bangalore-Mysore state highway and after crossing the Srirangapatna town take a right deviation. The same road carries on to go to KRS/Balmuri Falls. It is about 133 kms from Hebbal, Bangalore.

Big Banayan Tree at Ranganathittu Bird Sanctuary

Bird Flock on tree tops at Ranganathittu Bird Sanctuary

Crocodile at Ranganathittu Bird Sanctuary

Birds rest at Ranganathittu Bird Sanctuary

Group Photograph at Ranganathittu Bird Sanctuary

The seasons for visiting the park are: June – November (during the nesting season of the water birds).

Ranganathittu Bird Sanctuary Entry Timings: 0900 hrs – 1800 hrs
Ranganathittu Bird Sanctuary Entry Charges: Indian National – Rs. 50/-, Foreign National – Rs. 200/-
Ranganathittu Bird Sanctuary Boating Charges: Indian National – Rs. 50/-, Foreign National – Rs. 200/-
Ranganathittu Bird Sanctuary Parking Charges: Four Wheeler – Rs. 30/-, Two Wheeler – Rs. 20/-

A great place to spend a weekend and carry a good camera maybe a DSLR.

Courtesy: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ranganthittu_Bird_Sanctuary

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Kushalnagar-Madikeri Trip

Kushalnagar-Madikeri trip

Participants:

1. Chakrapani and family
2. Wife (Chumki) and Myself
3. Mom and Dad

Date: 6th – 8th April, 2012

Mode of Transport: Toyota Inova

My parents stay in Bangalore has not being quiet fruitful since they have hardly visited any place this time. Reasons being, no long holidays for me, work and weather is too hot to travel out. So, basically house arrest :-).

A long weekend came by and it was decided at least go somewhere to a nearby place. Destination still not decided but a vague plan in making, till the last moment. After lots of searching it was agreed to go a hill station wherein the weather would be comfortably cool compared to Bangalore. So be it, Coorg it is.

Day 1: KushalNagar

We started from Bangalore at around 1500 hrs and reached Kushalnagar at around 2000 hrs after 1 pit stop at Maddur, wherein we had our evening tea/coffee.

Since we have not made any prior booking, we started looking for a place to to rest ourselves. To our luck we were able to get our lodging at Hotel Kodagu Plaza which is located just opposite to Atithi restaurant. Since it was already late we decided to have food at Caravan Restaurant and off to bed for a bright tomorrow.

Day 2: KushalNagar

Tibetan Monastery (Golden Temple):

The Tibetan Monastery is located around 6 kms from Kushalnagar towards Mysore. It is said to be the second largest Tibetan settlement outside Tibet. The settlement consists of a lot of monastries, educational institutions and hospitals. Major attraction of this place includes the 40 ft tall golden statue of Buddha, Padmasambhava and Amitayus. The walls of the temples are decorated with colorful paintings depicting gods and demons. A blueprint of the Tibetan monastry that exists in Tibet is also placed therein.

In case you plan to stay nearby to this place, there are a lot of hotels/lodges to serve to you. Near to this place is a shopping centre, wherein you can buy some Tibetain goods.

KushalNagar Tibetian Monastry

KushalNagar Tibetian Temple

KushalNagar Tibetian Idols

Nisargadhama:

Located around 3 kms from Kushalnagar, Nisargadhama is a river island formed by the river Kaveri. The island hosts to thick bamboo groves, sandalwood and teak trees along with a beautiful deer park. The island is accessible through a hanging rope bridge. One can get into the water and play all day. The forest department runs a guest house therein.

KushalNagar Nisargadhama Rope Bridge

KushalNagar Nisargadhama Kaveri

KushalNagar Nisargadhama Path

Dubare (Elephant Training Camp) :

On the way to Dubare, the rain gods were felt pity on us and it started raining. The weather was awesome. We were not able to go to for the training as we were already late (reach before 3 pm, else it will be closed). People were enjoying boat rides and dipping in water, since it is shallow.

KushalNagar Dubare Kaveri

Chiklihole Dam:

The dam forms from one of the tributary of Kaveri. With rain coming puring heavily, the view of the dam was very picturesque. The rain drops hitting the water even made it looking awesome. We were able to go near to the water courtesy our driver, who handed over a huge umbrella to us. The area surrounding the dam is very attractive with a lively thick green forest on the background and an island formation in the middle.

KushalNagar Chiklihole Reservoir

KushalNagar Chiklihole Dam Path

KushalNagar Chiklihole Dam

Harangi Dam:

Harangi Dam/Reservoir is located near Hudgur village at a distance of about 9 kms from KushalNagar. The reservoir is formed by a masonry dam built across the Harangi River which is a tributary of Kaveri. As informed by locals, going inside the dam is restricted since last 5 yrs. Water is released only in the evenings/late nights with prior intimation to the villagers, since the path leading to the village is sub-merged in water due to the water.

KushalNagar Harangi Dam

Day 3: Madikeri

Omkareshwara Temple:

Built in 1820 and located at the heart of the town, the temple depicts the architectural view of both the Islamic and Hindu culture. The small pond in the front, as in case with normal hindu temple, the mantap in the form of a mosque and the Lingam in the centre is all well mixed.

It is said Lingarajendra killed an honest and pious Brahmin to fulfill his political ambitions. That Brahmin became a Brahmarakshasa and started troubling the king. The king got rid of the so called Brahmarakshasa only when he brought a Shivalinga from Kashi and installed it after building a temple. The shivalinga was named as Omkareshwara and regular rituals were performed. The bars of the windows of the temple were made of Panchaloha and an alphabet ‘lim’ has been placed in between the bars.

Madikeri Omkareshwara Temple

Madikeri Omkareshwara Temple Wall Paintings

Madikeri Omkareshwara Group

Abbey Falls:

Located between private coffee plantations with stocky coffee bushes and spice estates with trees entwined with pepper vines, the falls appear suddenly, the water cascading over rocks into calm pools. A hanging bridge constructed just opposite the falls comes in handy for the tourists for photographs. There is a Kali Mata temple on the other side of the bridge and coffee and black pepper trees on the other side. One needs to walk down around 500 meters. for viewing the falls.

Madikere Abbey Falls Path

Madikere Abbey Falls

Gaddige – Raja’s Tomb:

Though, we have not visited this place, I had a glimpsed while on the way to Abbey Falls on the right, through the city. I had to a Google search before coming to know, what place that was. No photographs for this.

Madikeri Fort:

Madikeri fort was first built by Mudduraja in the last quarter of the 17th century. He also built a palace inside the fort. It was eventually rebuilt in granite by Tipu Sultan who named the site as Jaffarabad. In 1790, Doddavira Rajendra took control of the fort. The palace was renovated by Lingarajendra Wodeyar II in 1812-1814. It has been renovated again to host a lots of government offices. No photographs for this too.

Bhagamandala:

Bhagamandala is located in the upstream stretches of river Kaveri and is joined by two tributaries, the Kannike and the mythical Sujyoti river. It is considered sacred place and is a common practice for pilgrims to take a dip in the triveni sangama. The Bhagandeshwara temple is located at foot distance from here. KSTDC has a hotel nearby where both food and lodging is available.

Madikeri Bhagamandala

Madikeri Bhagamandala Temple

Talakaveri:

Talakaveri is generally considered to be the source of the river Kaveri, though, there is not a permanent visible flow from this place to the main rivercourse except during the rainy season. A tank has been erected on a hillside, at the place that is said to be the origin. It is also marked by a small temple, and the area is frequented by pilgrims. The river originates as a spring feeding this tank, which is considered to be a holy place to bathe on special days.

Madikeri Talakaveri Entrance

Madikeri Talakaveri Origin

Madikeri Talakaveri Temple

One can climb a further more and have a good panaromic view of the distant hills place as well as of the Talakaveri Forest Range.

Madikeri Talakaveri Climb to Top

Madikeri Talakaveri Panaromic View

Madikeri Talakaveri View from Top

Raja’ Seat:

Raja’s Seat is a small pavilion with a garden surrounding it and a musical fountain and offering a view of the green valley below. Though we went there to see the sunset across the stretching blue mountains, we were greated with rains and clouds passing by. The view down below to the valley was awesome.

Madikeri Raja Seat

Madikeri Raja Seat View

Madikeri Raja Seat Views

Overall, it was a good trip. Thanks to the driver also who maneuvered the vehicle very nicely through the curves.

Courtesy:

http://www.gocoorg.com/
http://en.wikipedia.org/
http://www.coorgtourism.org/

Shanthi Bites,
Opp Nisargadhama, B.M Road,
Kushal Nagar, Coorg
Ph. No. +91 8276 27 12 07
Mobile. +91 9481 07 07 07
www.shanthibites.com

Kodagu Plaza,
1-405, Kodagu Towers, B.M. Road,
Kushal Nagar, Coorg
Ph. No. +91 8276 27 33 18

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Saklespur (Donigal-Yedakumari) railroad trek

Participants:

1. Subhasis Ray
2. Neelima Sharma
3. Somya Mani
4. Srinivas R.
5. Myself

Date: 4th December, 2011

Mode of Transport: KSRTC Bus

The Green Route “Trek on the Railway Track”, as it is well known, is a trekkers paradise, stretching from Sakleshpur to the Subramanya Road Station. Though the track was being abandoned some years agao, it has become active with with replacement to the tracks and goods train plying through the track. The trek forms a part of 56.80 kms stretch from Sakleshpur to Kukke Subrahmanya, which is dotted by 58 tunnels, 109 bridges and about 25 waterfalls.

Since we had only one day at our hands we decided to start the trek from the Donigal Railway Station to Yedukumari Railway station and be back, a distance of about 17.20 kms one way. This stretch has around 17 tunnels with around 24 bridges (not the exact count).

Time: 21:56 hrs

The tyres finally moved towards our destination. A pit stop in the Hotel MTR at 00:47 hrs.

Time: 03:00 hrs

The bus reached Sakleshpur. We were in two minds of whether we should continue on the same bus or take a local bus. When contacted with the bus conductor, they informed that they would drop us near Donigal Railway station.

Time: 03:30 hrs

But to our good/bad luck, we were dropped near a group of small tea stalls, after around 20 minutes ride from Sakleshpur bus stop. We decided to have a cup of tea on the small stall and also inquire about Donigal railway station. There the person informed that we have to walk around 3-4 kms to reach the station. So, be it. We all decided to walk. With torches in our hands, fog/mist all around, the screeching sound of vehicles passing by, smell of burning tyres, we en-devour the journey on the Bangalore Mangalore Highway on foot. As we travel, we have the sights of the coffee estates, Shentha Estate on the right and DoddaMane Estate on the left.

Time: 05:00 hrs

After moving for around one and half hours like nomads we were finally able to get to our first destination, Donigal Railway Station, from where we planned to start the trek. We had to walk back for almost half a kilometer, after consulting a local, to reach the road leading to the station. We reach the station only to find it empty. Even the station master was in deep sleep. Since it was still dark, we plan not venture out of the station, but gave some time to revive ourself by taking a small nap under the open sky.

Where is Donigal Railway Station?

Donigal Railway station, located in the outskirts of Saklespur is a small railway station, which caters the needs (signaling only) for passing good trains. It is located just around 1 kms from the passing NH 48. One has to cross the Muthappeswar Seva Trust on the right and just after crossing the bridge get down (in case you are taking a bus/cab) and go on the right (broken tar) muddy road. In case you plan to trek from Sakleshpur itself, Donigal would be around 4 kms from there.

Time: 06:30 hrs

The short nap was quiet reviving for us as it make ourself feel fresh. We went hunting for the station master but still he was not to be seen. We thought of going ahead instead of waiting for him, since we would loose valuable time if we don’t start early. We went ahead and started our trek from the station. We planned to reach Yedukumari Station and move onwards to reach the highway from there through the jungle (though it did not materialize later). We started from Donigal at 50/0 as the railway mark.

Start of the track at Donigal

Morning view of the railway track

As we move along the trek, we came across a series of bridges and tunnels. You can see the beautiful ridges, canopy of the far forest from the bridges. The view from the top is breathtaking. As we moved into the first tunnel, it was all dark. My first on foot experience on a railway tunnel. As we enter the second tunnel, there is a small opening and as you move out you hear the loud roaring of a stream flowing down, as it makes it ways across the stones. The view is very beautiful.

View of flora by the side of the track

Stream flowing by

Time: 10:45 hrs

We reach 59/400, where we got into another station. I don’t remember the name of the station. But we took some time to rest in there. We inquired to a gentlemen, about the distance to Yedukumari station to which he informed that it would be another 8-9 kms from the current location. We had to pass through one of the longest tunnel which was about 592 m and one of the longest bridge over a stream. The tunnels were a marvelous piece of constructions dated that time around the 1950-1970’s.

View of a bridge over a stream

One of the longest tunnel 592 m

Time: 12:35 hrs

Finally reached Yedukumari. Milestone 67/200. It was a quiet a relief to see the the station name on the board. We have walked a continuously for 2 hrs without any break. Much needed lunch break. There is also a canteen in there. We had omelette’s and rice. It was nice speaking to the gentlemen from Delhi who serves you in this canteen.

P.S: Try avoiding meeting the station master Mr. Rakesh Singh there. Seems like a troublesome person, as we experienced.

Group at Yedukumari Station

Time: 14:20 hrs

We decided to head back to Donigal itself since the route through the forest is not convenient. As informed by the people therein, the forest homes to a lots of tuskers and leeches. And from the station, it would be around 5 kms to the highway. We asked for assistance but since it was Sunday there was no one around to take us through the forest area. We had to make it on our own. With sun going down by the hills, we decided to head back on the same trek.

Tunnel opening

Sakleshpur Bridge

Time: 16:30 hrs

Reached back 59/400.

Sakleshpur Hill View

Sakleshpur railway track

Time: 18:30 hrs

We were able to get on to the highway just after the underpass. There is a small trail which leads you to the highway. We tried stopping some buses, but in vain. Finally we had to walk for some more time on the Bangalore Mangalore Highway before getting a lift by a private jeep. They dropped us at the Saklespur KSRTC bus stop, from where we planned to take a bus back to Bangalore.

Sakleshpur goods train

Time: 21:00 hrs

Hungry and dying for some food, we managed to grab food in a small veg restaurant in the bus stop itself. Our feet and shoulders were all giving up now and there is no point waiting for Volvo/Rajhamsa, since those would only ply after 23:00 hrs. So we went ahead and popped into a KSRTC bus to Hassan.

Time: 22:50 hrs

The bus dropped us at Hassan, from where we took another bus to Bangalore. We dozed off just as the bus started to move towards Bangalore.

Time: 02:50 hrs

Reached Majestic bus depot, which marked the end of the eventful day in the lush green mountains and and the stony railway treks of Sakleshpur.

Looking back, at the end of the day we walked around 43 kms. I would like to thank my fellow trekkers for having such a wonderful/unforgettable trek.

Courtesy:

http://bmcindia.org/events/sakleshpur-railwaytrack-trek.html

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On top of Madhugiri fort

Participants:

1. Harsha
2. Srinvas R.
3. Chakrapani and family
4. Shrikant Gaikwad
5. Myself

Date: 27th November, 2011

Mode of Transport: Bajaj Platina 125 cc, Unicorn, Hero Honda Passion

Time: 9:30 hrs

It was a bit of yes/no, since it has been drizzling all these days and climbing the rocky surface can be a bit tricky. But as the weather forecast showed some(Sun) rays of hope we decided to go on the ride. We all assembled at the Nelamangala Toll Plaza at 9:30 hrs to start the journey. After crossing the toll road, we decided to have breakfast at Kamat, which is on the left (just before the Dobbaspet flyover).

Route Information:

As you go on towards Tumkur from Bangalore, one needs to take a right at below the Dobbaspet fly-over to go to Madhugiri. It is around 56 kms from the fly-over. This is a straight road till you reach Koratagere, where you need to take a right. The left goes to Tumkur. The same road takes you to Devaranyana Durg and Siddara Betta. The road condition after Koratgere is not so good. Though it a tar road but you can just see the pebbles in it. The total distance is about 114 kms from Heball (one way).

Madhugiri Fort:

The Madhugiri Fort, nestled in the steep slopes of the Madhugiri Betta in Tumkur District, was built around 1678 during the reign of Raja Hera Gowda during the Ganga period. Further fortification was done by Hyder Ali, to whom it is credited the most. Looking up from the base of the hill, Madhugiri Fort looks like a maze of randomly built series of strong walls on the slopes. There are a number Mantapas located in various parts of the fort overseeing the base. There are several water tanks along with granaries on top of the hill to serve to the needs of soldiers. It is one of the beautiful fort of the era. The fort looks like a maze of randomly built series of strong walls on the slopes.

At 3930 feet elevation, Madhugiri is a single hill and is the largest in Asia and second largest in the world.

Madhugiri Fort View from base

Time: 12:15 hrs

We reached the base of the fort and after parking our bike’s we started the climb at around 12:25 hrs. The initial climb was pretty easy with ASI doing some renovations and building up some good stone steps. As you pass the first guard wall you can view the glimpse of the 4th majestic fort wall.

Since the rains have just pass by in some months ago the greenery in the rocks is still alive. We had some nice photo shoots in an around the first fort wall.

Madhugiri Fort Mantap

As we move upwards, the steepness also increase but the small steps carved out on the rock made it look easy. There was a place where the water was flowing making it very slippery. The worst part was when we had cross a stretch with right side to the cliff and the other side is the fall. Thanks to the railing support, it was helpful to overcome this. It would have been a night mare without the support.

Railings for support

From there on there is no support, though now the climb is not so steep. For once you would feel that you are on top of the fort, but not to your wishes, you have to climb more. You could hardly see the fort walls from there. After taking some break some photo shoots we moved ahead to our destination. As you gasp your breath, you think what is next? How much more? But you would reach there in another 40 mins of walk from there.

Madhugiri Fort Climb without railings

Madhugiri Fort

A small fort welcomes you on the top. Though the walls are worn off, you can still figure out how good it was. There is also a small house, I assume it was for the soldiers, with natural lighting.

The view from the top is awesome. It can’t be described but should be felt.

View from top of Madhugiri Fort

Panaromic View of the surroundings

Time: 15:35 hrs

Fully satisfied with the view/scenery at the top, we started the decent to reach the base at around 16:50 hrs.

Time: 21:00 hrs

Reached home after having dinner at `Maruthi Panjabi Daba`, some 30 kms from Bangalore (on the right in case you are coming from Madhugiri fort).

The trekkers group

Total Odometer: 228 kms

Courtesy:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Madhugiri
http://www.bmcindia.org/events/bmc-madhugiri-trek.html
http://www.filmapia.com/published/places/madhugiri-fort

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