Tuesday, May 3, 2022

Symphony of heritage in Ramanathapura, Hassan

Ramanathapura, was an ancient religious centre located on the bank of the river Kaveri and is considered as one of the famous pilgrimage centres in Hassan district. It formed a part of Chola, Hoysala & Vijayanagara kingdoms.Traditionally famous as the Dakshina Kashi and Agasthya Kshetra. This place because sacred and it was the natural choice of the kings to perform the various spiritual activities in ancient time, however it is famous as a sacred and pilgrim place because of the River Kaveri and Sri Rameshvara Temple.

There are many temples on this village of Rameshwaraswamy temple, Prasanna Subramanya Temple, Agasteshwara temple, Pattabhirama Temple, Lakshmi Narasimha Tempe, Anjaneya Temple, Durgarameshavri Temple which are prominent. All the temples are built in Dravidian style. The best part of this village is that you can explore many other holy shrines around the vicinity that are well-connected to each other through walking distance. This is the reason the place is also known as the town of temples. This ancient Ramanathapura village is also known by various names such as Samvartakapuri, Vahnikapura and Tretapura.
According to Hindu mythology, Lord Agni Deva (Vahni) performed a prayer in middle of the river Cauvery to wash off the curse of sage Bhrigu. The place is called Vahni Pushkarini. This Thirthasnana place is situated in middle of River Cauvery so that it became the holiest and the greatest of all Thirthas in South India. Devotes used to take a holy dip in this place before visiting the temples. The reason being, they believe that doing this will wash away all their sins. Devotees are also seen performing various rituals on the bank of the river Cauvery. There is a place like Kapila Shil where, saint Vishvamitra performed a prayer, it is said that chanting one Gayathri Mantra is equal to 1000 times in this place. There is one more place called Bhogarbha in this river were Kamadeva disturbed Shukracharya’s meditation and cursed him and made him as a stone
Sri. Vyasaraya swamy from Sosale Muth has established Vyasanjaneya Swamy Temple at bank of River Kaveri, Agasteswara Temple situated on left attaching to this temple. This is 560 years old Anjaneya temple constructed on a small area the main building of the temple has one Garbhgriha with 6 feet height Anjaneya idol.

Agasteswara Temple:
Agasteswara temple is believed that it has been constructed by sage Agastya. When Kaveri left sage Agastya, he followed the river from Bhagamandala and reached to Ramanathapura. He established this temple and worshiped God Shiva here. Inside the second Prakara there is a separate beautiful shrine for Mother Kaveri.   

Like a diamond inside the star this temple sits in the center of a majestic star shaped platform, the temple faces east and consists of a mandapa, navaranga and antarala or sukanasi. It is constructed in ekakuta style, consisting of one Garbhagrha (sanctum) which is provided with antarala. The temple has one entrance and a grand compound wall. 

Pattabhirama temple:
Pattabhirama temple is just a plain structure with beautiful Rajagopura. It is situated at heart of the village, 1km away from the Rameshwara temple here Lord Rama siting with goddess Sita on his lap. Bharat and Shatrughan behind holding with Chamara and God Hanuman on right side and Lakshmana on left side. There is no other idol in this kind exists in India and also three temples in India where Sita sat on Ram’s lap including this.

The idol of Pattabhirama temple is believed that it has been constructed by a sage Saubari the son of Kanva Rishi. Soubhari lived under water for twelve years when a king Mandhata was ruling the area. One day, Soubhari came across the king when king playing in the water with his children and grandchildren. This made Soubhari to feel that, he too should get married and to have children and grandchildren. He then married all the fifty daughters of Mandhata and settled. 

The car festival of this temple is on Mrigashira Ramanuja Saptaha. The Dwarapalakas at the entrance of the Gopura are beautifully sculptured. They stand tall to add grandeur to the hall.

Lakshmi Narasimha Tempe: The Lakshminarasimha temple was built during the reign of Chikkadevaraja Wodeyar. The ground plan of the temple is slightly peculiar. The temple has undergone a lot of reconstructions and has lost its original look. From the inscription it becomes clear that Rameshvara was a great Shiva centre. Sri Adi Shankaracharya and Ramanujacharya and later Dhvita Saints also visited this holy place. 

Prasanna Sri Subramanya Swamy Temple: The Subramanya Temple has an interesting tale. 460 years ego Vibhudesha Theertharu Swamiji of Kukke Subramanya Matha started to travel towards Coorg to spread Madhva philosophy. During this tour he established Subramanya Temple at Sorlabbi. Then he visited Ramanathapura and stayed there for meditation and pooja. After completion of his pooja and meditation, he stayed at Sankranthi Mantapa. When he slept in the night, Lord Subramanya swamy appeared in his dream and ordered to construct a temple here. At the same time God Subramanya swamy appeared in the dream of Holenarasipura king Narasappa Nayaka. The God ordered him to give all support and co-operation required for the establishment of the temple with an assurance of male baby.

Then King Narasappa Nayaka met Swamiji and started to construct a new temple for Sri Subramanya swamy as per the directions given by Swamiji, thus a new and beautiful temple was constructed as wished by Subramanya Swamy. From this achievement the Swamiji becomes cheerful and satisfied hence he called the temple as Prasanna Subramanya Swamy Temple.

At the same time wife of Narasappa Nayaka blessed with a male child, finally Sri Vibhudesha Theertharu continued to worship the god until the end of his life. This temple is very famous and sacred as similar to Kukke Subramanya. The installed deity is made from black Saligrama stone. The idol consists of seven hoods. Soil taken from anthill is the main Prasadam here.

Rameshwaraswamy Temple: Ramanathapura is also connected with the story of Ramayana. Another interesting story linked to Lord Rama and Anjaneya himself visited this place and worshiped Shiva here. After killing Ravana on his return from Srilanka Lord Rama offered prayers to lord shiva to remove all his Brahmahatya sins by killing Ravana. 

The name of the town has however been derived from the famous Rameshvara Temple of this place. A portion of the historical Rameshwaraswamy temple tower has been damaged due to the incessant rains in 2019 due to this temple was closed for public visits. Rameshvara Temple stand as testimony to the architectural magnificence of the Chola and Hoysala ages in the history of medieval India. The temple also excels in artistic sculpture. Besides the finely carved pillars inside, the ornate gopura and intricately latticed walls with rows of parakeets above Mantapas are eye-catching. 
The familiar sight here is the children offering beaten rice and groundnuts for fish in the water. Village Panchayat, Local Youth Club and Society for Advancement of Aqua culture have created awareness among general public about the importance of protecting the sanctuary. Tor khudree one of the endangered fishes are found in the area.  The whole area is declared as a protected zone H.H, the Maharaja of Mysore, under the ‘Provisions' of Section 5(1) of the Mysore Game and Fish Preservation Reg. 11 of 1901, declared it as ‘Fishing Prohibited Area. 
During monsoon, the river floods the area and during summer, there shall be very low water level as a result of which distress conditions prevails for the fishes in the sanctuary. The construction of Harangi dam has reduced flow of water in the river and in summery months, it reaches a very low level. The depth is reduced due to siltation and also on account of accumulation of debris. When the water level reduces in the river, certain body parts of the fishes get exposed and are subjected to injury and disease which has proved fatal on many occasions.  Larger sized fishes have declined and population wise too, they have reduced in numbers. Torkudree are very much on the decline and Neolissochilus hexagonolepis are in large numbers in the sanctuary; in the interest of protecting the endangered, it is necessary to replenish these from other areas of the river.

Monday, November 6, 2017

Vishnutirtha, the beautiful step well of Savanur

Savanur albeit a small town has a rich history ruled by Nawabs and later bone of contention between the Maratha's and Tippu Sultan, The town ended up in the British suzerainty. All that remains today is this Fort wall and the Nawabs residency, which houses the government offices.
The town had three main entrances, which are the only remains of the fort. These entrances are located at Gadak Horalikoppa road, near Bunkapura cross and near Ganpathi temple, which are still intact and the only remains of the fortified town. The walls are decorated with art and Islamic inscriptions.
There is a beautiful step well located hidden somewhere in the agricultural fields near Savanur town known as Vishnu Teertha. It is a hidden gem which cannot be found on the tourist map, hidden from the crowds but it is a haven for history and architecture enthusiasts. The construction style is simple and similar to the stepped tank at Lakshmeshvara. 
Stepwells also called stepped ponds built between the 5th and 19th centuries are common in North Karnataka. It suggests it was built in 15th century there is no inscription in VishnuThirtha to ascertain its age.  Such step wells were once integral to the semi arid regions of as they provided water for drinking, washing and bathing. These tanks are constructed in different forms, plans and structures and designs with steps leading to the water level. In the modern wells, a brick parapet wall surrounds the well shaft. Water is drawn by a pulley system. These step wells not only fulfilled the need for water but also acted as cool retreats. 
Stepwells are also found in more arid regions of the subcontinent to collect rain water during seasonal monsoons. While many such structures are utilitarian in construction, they sometimes include significant architectural embellishments as in the Vishnutirtha stepwell.

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Kallare Falls :A Mystical Natural Wonder

We ate breakfast enjoyed every sip and aroma of our coffee even our conversations were deeper. We all took our time that morning because we were about to face challenge, exploring the majestic Kallare Falls.
We set out on the roads to feel the mountain wind in hair spent most of the drive in silence completely overwhelmed by the beauty around us. It was a breathtaking drive after long ride we finally reached the village we reached the Gaddehall village at the heart of the Western Ghats, it was such an amazing experience to get a glimpse of the people’s lives there, the kids and the elders were some of the warmest people ever met. 
Then we started to walk through narrow village roads and crossed beautiful vast paddy fields left us speechless. I’ve never imagined that mornings in Gaddehall village could be this beautiful. After walking for a bit we entered forest zone. It was so green and lush and I could hear a small creek nearby. This forests are kind of magical local villagers believe this and I think I’ve become a believer too. The way the sun hits the tree tops, the leaves, and the stream, if it is not magical, I don’t know what is. 
After 30 minutes trek the trail reached to top of a nice little waterfalls. It was a small waterfall with a vast pond. We freshened up ourselves and spent enough time on that serene place. 
We carried on our adventure, I had No idea how many pools and cascades we were traversing and climbing, I honestly felt like I was in a constant state of awestruck. Each area was different every part had its own challenge and some parts were actually technically challenging. 
We came across the massive boulders and small small waterfalls across the upper stream walk, at one point it was almost 70 feet down, we reckon. Cool and refreshing water flows down like a fast-creeping carpet from there we took a different rocky and mossy trail to get further down. Kallre top followed by an exhilarating trek but what waited at the end of it was a sight for soar eyes! 
Abundant earth colors splashed all over, distinct forest scent and refreshing cool breeze stole all the weariness. The gorgeous large pools below the cascades and tons of bedrocks made it a beautiful place. The height and the inclined rock can sometimes scare the hell out of you. But I just put in my mind that I’ve actually waited for this moment to happen, so it was time for the adventurous side to turn on.
After the top, the next part of the hike was actually easier as the trail was more relaxed filled with grassland hills and slopes. This is the part where I really enjoyed the most. The sceneries were just amazing, it was so beautiful that I was beginning to let go of exhaustion that the first phase of the climb has caused me. 
We then trekked down going to the village and then hike going up to a ridge, we continued following a village trail but soon it was time to take a diversion and go off-trail, a point where we faced another exhausting walk down to a valley where Kallare Falls is located. 
One of the hardest things about trekking down a steep slope of staircases and uneven pieces of rocks and soil is straining knees. Once we reached the ridge or the point before going down to the falls, we rested for a while before we start deep descend to the fall. Finally we made way ourselves to reach base of the falls and after tiring hike.
The moment my eyes witness the waterfall spiraling down a cliff of around a hundred meters I knew we hit a jackpot of an unspoiled waterfall that very few people at that time experienced. It is a classic plunge type that beautifully pummel down in a huge rock as if eagerly waiting for its embrace. If I am not a mistaken a lovers myth can easily be told between the two because I am just amaze of how the rock perfectly placed to receive the flow of Kallare Falls.
The best thing about this waterfall, it is secluded and still unspoiled. No connection and mobile phone signal, so people actually interact, talk and bond. If you’re looking for a place to just unplug from the city life, well Kallare is definitely for you. It has this majestic appeal that leaves you breathless by its beauty.
For me this life is way better instead of staying in the city and doing the same routine each day the physical pain, struggle and adventure makes me better and in a world full of wordily things, going to waterfalls makes me feel more alive.
Once we finished the food we decided to explore more waterfalls. There are numerous waterfalls in different directions. The large trees piled up about 3 times my height showed the power o this stream. I could hear lots of rushing water; of course I had to investigate. It was a beautiful setting on little creek. We have seen several snakes along the trail, most of which are completely harmless.
Rounding the bend, on top of the first waterfall, we followed a shallow stream that is bordered by tall, forest-covered unclimbable cliffs, a wild roaring part of the stream where the current was considerably strong. In these noisy canyons our real adventure began. 
I knew there is hidden paradise here on Earth. The water falling on the side is like a curtain trying to limit your sight of the beauty which lies beyond that water. And on the center is the roaring plunge waterfall making a statement of power. There is so many rewarding things to do hear one of my favorite is floating in the water and admiring the vegetation & beautiful rock formation above me while keeping watch of the graceful flow of water towards me. Above that waterfall is an untold beauty waiting to be explored and the rainbow which appears late in the afternoon will put you in a picture frenzy.
The beautiful green foliage around made the spot surreal and perfect as well for a creative shot. Ultimately, it was an another beautiful experience for all of us waterfall chasers which fuels our aspiration more in search of such spectacles in nature. The water glows from an emerald to sapphire hue depending on where you are standing. This phenomenon probably made possible by the minerals in the water or the rock which surrounds the Waterfall. I surely have no way of explaining such beautiful occurrence in nature.

That moment was worth it. And it reminds me that in life, there are times when we are willing to go through hell because we know it’s worth it, that we know in the end everything is going to be alright.  Damn, this made me think of how deep and profound my learning’s and realizations through travelling. That’s why I truly believe that we all must travel; we must find a way to travel. It was around 5 PM when we all started to climb back to the village.