Friday, August 12, 2011

Saundatti - Sanctified Pearl of North....

The whole trip was planned in a short time by dividing all responsibilities among each team member and finally by everyone’s support it became a beautiful and memorable trip. Keeping in mind with our hectic schedule, we left Hubli. On the way we had breakfast hastily and after about 90 minutes of uneventful journey, we reached Saudatti one of the oldest town in Belgaum district.
There was a beautiful Fort welcomed us at the entrance of the village which is about 5 kms before reaching Yellamma temple. The road was being unsealed in sections. The History says Saundatti fort was actually built by Jayappa Desai of the Navalgund Sirasangi Samsthan in between 1743-51 with 8 bastions. Later the fort was designed by Hyder Ali of Mysore and the Desai had to transfer his allegiance over to him.
Saundatti fort is one of the biggest fort in north Karnataka. The outer walls and bastions of the fort are still intact after all these years and are a testimony of its strong construction. First we visited Kadasiddheshwara temple which situated at the middle of the fort, surrounded by four bastions. Around the Kadasiddheshwara temple in the inner Prakara there is a row of beautiful carvings of geometrical patterns with over two hundred designs, some painted.
The temple premises looks wonderful and the view of the village from the top is breathtaking and its worth the effort spent in climbing around 20 steps. We explored every bit of the temple and had the aarti done by the priest. There are lawns and gardens created at every corner of the fort. There is also a playground created for children. We explored every nook of the fort watching Saudatti city from top of the fort was eye-catching.

Later we visited Satyamma temple & Siddarakolla a dry waterfalls on the way to Yellamma temple.The century-old temple is situated atop Yellamagudda, amidst picturesque Ramalinga Hills about 5km from Savadatti. I always avoid crowded places, temples included, but I do not know what made me visit Yellamma temple. We got Devi's Darshana, and went around the temple and car-street.
Yellamma is a very popular and potent goddess in North Karnataka and south Maharashtra, and majority people visiting are devout followers. Trance women, men and even kids are a common sight. A large number of folks also appear to be festival time. There is also a dark side to it. A lot of young girls are married off to gods. Devdasi is the term used to describe them. It means female servant of God. Unfortunately, a lot of these girls end up doing prostitution.
Worse, on the festival day, young girls used to be dedicated as Devadasis, a practice which used to drive them into prostitution. With a ban on the practice imposed two decades ago, the dedication has now gone underground, away from the gaze of the law and disapproving non-governmental organizations.
In the recent past, activists tried to persuade the devotees not to follow these superstitious practices and check Devadasi system and even succeeded to a certain extent, in cajoling the women to wear the bangles, instead of breaking them. However, the practice was resumed with vigor.
The rituals, including the dedication of young girls are observed on the sly. We missed few places like Puradeswara and Ankeswara temples Naviluteertha dam, Parasghad fort because of several reason. After completing the Saudatti we forwarded to our next holy destiny point...


Aravind GJ said...

Wow!! What a nice place. I never thought Saudatti was so beautiful.

Team G Square said...

visited this place long back . Should revisit it

malati said...

Very beautiful place... really tremendous job.

Mahantesh said...

Nice article. I studied in Soundatti for 3 years..So you brought all my memories back about it. Though only once I visited the fort :(-