Monday, May 31, 2010

Chalukyan trail..

Badami or Vatapi (Sanskrit form) was the capital of the early Chaulukyas.Pulakeshi1, one of the early kings of this dynasty built a strong fort at Badami & made it his capital in the year of 547 A.D., & from that time onwards the later kings of this dynasty built rock-cut & structural temples here for about three hundred years .
Me& my cousins decided to visit Badami museum & fort. Last 2 times when I visited I had missed this place.First we visited the Museum but as luck goes it was closed, so we decided to finish Fort Mountain, we started to climb in a very beautiful path which was surrounded by red mountains.
After few minute of walk one side of our way after few steps path just ended between 2 big rocks, squeezing through that narrow path, after a small adventure we were able to reach next part of that rock.
There we could see 2 beautiful 1 & 2 stairs towers at a very small distance, it was really a paradise even 2-3 new couples relaxing proved my guess. Without disturbing them we climbed 1st tower which was little risky & relaxed for a while.
After spending some time in this place we returned back & joined our old pathway. Once again after few minutes’ walk we took one more left deviation which ended near a ruined single temple. The location of this temple was enchanting as it is built on a spur of the rugged hills which overlooked the town of Badami.
Next we entered another part of the fort, we were little scared because one big group of monkeys were sitting in our path we put all cameras, bottles inside our bags & picked few sticks and started to walk, sensing that we were not disturbing them or harm them they were enjoying their afternoon nap.
After crossing monkey’s terrain we reached another side end of the fort. There we could get the clear view of one of the oldest & beautiful temple Malegitti Shivalaya (Early 7th century) in Badami.
Finally we reached top of the hill. There we could see many old ruined houses & temples. One beautiful ruined temple was on edge of the peak. We almost burned because of extreme heat so planned to spend our rest of targeted time in this temple. This temple consists of 2 parts namely Garbagriha & Mukhamantapa.
The basement consists of molding one of which is thicker & has Ganas carved on it. The wall of the temple consists of plasters at regular intervals. Inside the Garbagriha was empty. The tower over the Garbagriha is a typical Dravidian Sikhara & by its small size looks elegant.
We all climbed the top (Sikhara) of the temple sort of escapade .Sitting atop of the temple & watching an amazing beauty of the valley, the scenic view of in front Big lake & Cave mountain was mesmerizing we almost traveled back in time to Chalukyan era .................

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Devaragundi Waterfalls and Irpu waterfalls

It was end of the rainy season, and that year monsoon also was fantastic so our Mangalore YHA decided to visit some Waterfalls. Mr. Dinesh Holla, Sudheer Kumar & Rajesh Naik, these 3 team members selected several known & unknown waterfalls & planned a 2 days trip.
As usual an early Saturday morning with slight drizzle we started with Mr.Mohan our regular vehicle from Mangalore. A Devaragundi waterfall is situated between thick forests near Todikana temple. The Todikana temple is dedicated to the deity, Mallikarjuna, here is revered highly by the people of surrounding villages and it has a rich history. With an unspoilt, charming waterfall in the vicinity, a pool for shoals of fish and an astounding view of the high hills of Kolikkamale, Thodikana qualifies as much as a place of great natural beauty as a destination for the devout. The Mallikarjuna temple itself is not imposing, with short walls all around and a pyramidal tower above the sanctum. The high flagstaff is plated with copper. There is no sculptural extravagance either. But the outer walls of the shrine do have a series of colourful frescoes depicting the legends of the temple. As we took a walk around, he explained episodes from mythology around which the paintings are woven. According to him, the temple has been in existence for 3,000 years. This spot was in the middle of the forests of Thodu and Kana and got the name, Thodikana.
We parked our vehicle near the temple & started our walk in the rain. Some of our team mates didn't carry umbrella or a rain coat to protect themselves from rain, I also happily joined that group & enjoyed the rain walking in the rain was a pleasure,
At a kilometer and a half towards the south of the temple is the Devaragundi Falls, an undoubtedly stunning spectacle. We a group of 3-4 were a little ahead from our main team and because of heavy rain and as we were engrossed in nature's beauty we missed to take right deviation in the thick forest, After a lot of confusion and some adventure we able to join our group. After crossing one small stream we reached one side of the waterfalls. Devaragundi in Rainy seasons flows in a full volume & After December its flows very low. Everyone spent some time in this place & we moved on. According to mythology, the temple was a true abode of nature with pristine rivers, waterfalls and rich wildlife. Sage Kanva, who was in search of a secluded place for his penance, made this place his own. The legendary Pandavas, during their exile, also stumbled on this place. Arjuna who needed the mighty weapon of Pashupathastra to overcome the Kauravas thought this was the ideal place to perform penance. Installing the linga at the foot of the waterfall, he observed a rigorous penance when Shiva and Parvathi appeared with Vishnu in the form of a fish and bestowed him with a boon. Mythology also has it that the place was sanctified by the visit of gods, Hari and Hara, giving the falls the name, ‘Devaragundi’, meaning ‘a waterhole of the gods’. The temple was well maintained during the times of Ballala rulers and much later by the kings of Coorg. An important spot to visit here is the Shastara Vana forest and the stream flowing next to it called Mathsyatheertha or Meenagundi, teeming with hundreds of large fish. They are considered sacred and are well protected.
Devaragundi waterfalls
 On the way we spent some time in Devarakolli waterfalls also as one part of our plan. A Devarakolli waterfall is located between Mangalore - Madikeri State highway. Whenever i travel in this route I usually will spend some time in this place as approach is very easy because it’s near the main road. This is a small especially rainy season waterfalls. We left this space within 10 minutes Because of limited time. Next we reached Madikeri stepped forward to Abbiyala waterfalls in Chattalli village.
This is also especially rainy season waterfalls &also situated on the road side only. Here water fall cascades from nearly 70 feet height. We spent night at Gonigoppa & next day morning we visited the famous Irpu waterfalls & later visited Chelavara Waterfalls & Kakkabbe view point.
Kakkabbe -in early morning...
Totally we had a fine memorable trip in the rain. After watching so many waterfalls every fall at its best during monsoon it was a real treat for mind and body.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Banashankari Temple-Badami

Banashankari Temple is a highly revered shrine situated at Banashankari,Badami - the historic capital of Chalukyas.. The temple was originally built by the late Chalukyas of Kalyan. The present temple, built in17th century, reflects typical Dravidian style of architecture, the temple has been considerably modernized in the present times. First we had a grace of goddess Banashankari The presiding deity of the temple is Goddess Banashankari, an incarnation of Goddess Parvati.
This was the second time I was visiting this place, previous visit of mine was futile due to the place being very crowded and i didn't get to see much around the place, so this time i planned to visit Badami and places around me and my brother left from my uncle's place quiet late as it was extremely hot we reached the around 5 in the evening though it was evening the sweltering heat was unbearable.
We had Masala Soda(Goli Soda) a thirst quencher which reminded me of my school days where it was a regular refreshing drink but long forgotten, due to many soft drinks and cola flodding the markets these days our good old soda is long forgotten.
The temple enshrines a black stone idol of goddess, seated on a snarling lion. The goddess is depicted with eight arms after spending some time we came out, Me & my bro climbed nearby beautiful Mantapa which stands opposite of Harida Teerth pond. Harida Teerth is a large pond in front of the temple, is enclosed on three sides by stone Mantapas with inner colonnades.
We climbed that Mantapa sort of help of small holes & supporting stones. This is a 5 stage Mantapa during the festival time lamps are lit. The annual festival held here in January-February is a major draw. During the festival, the temple deity will be placed in her chariot to ride in procession around the vicinity.
We climbed top level of this Mantapa & spent some time till dark, sitting atop the temple and & taking into the beauty of surrounding was really a fantastic experience in this environment where you can meditate for some time and pray to the God peacefully, in case I visit this place again I thought I would sit atop and spend more time in this place, finally on our way back we had our masala soda and tender coconut again and returned home still dazed by the superb architecture and beautiful surroundings....

Wednesday, May 12, 2010


A trek or even a thought of going out in the sun during summer is a distant dream sweltering heat the thirst and tiredness would make us just laze around or be under the fan constantly, but last weekend one of my dreams got fulfilled it was a wish of many days Kamath Sir(Ramesh Kamath) forced me to go trekking to this beautiful place in this peak summer.
So after lots of confusion we decided to go somewhere near Mukambika range & finally once again decided to go to Ambaragudda ,even after many attempts to this place I still wanted to go once again just to complete the great trail from ‘Ambaragudda to Galigudda’.
Till Saturday evening I was not sure we were going somewhere, there was no proper plan simply in our preliminary discussion we had chosen 2-3 places & decided to go in the evening. I had almost lost hope till I received phone call from my friend Mahesh. He reached Mangalore with his cousin at 8pm & joined Kamath sir & started their journey to my place in Kamath sir's car.
We were all together 6of us when we started from my place around 9.30 & informed one of our teammate Ashok to his old roommate Raghu & he arranged our night stay at his place which is near this mountain. We reached this place very late in the night and slept, early the next morning after a good heavy breakfast we thanked his family and started towards Ambaragudda.
We identified the routes easily & parked our car near the mountain and started to walk in the mud road which lies to the other side of the mountain. After climbing half of Ambaragudda Mountain we had 2 options, one was to finish Ambaragudda peak or to take adventure in next trail of this beautiful range & to find the routes to Galigudda if possible.
All of us wanted to take adventure first so without much information, without food and just 2liter of water we stepped forward. First our target was to cross one deep valley & reach to next mountain. Climbing down a steep & very slippery mountain was not easy &we also had to find an easy way to the next Mountain with less effort.
One more thing in our minds was to ‘Keep silent’ because we were looking around to spot few wild animals, in this area during my last visit to Devkunda we saw a large groups of Gaurs in Maduvanthi range. So we were expecting the same this time too so were very silent.
During our early morning journey it was almost very pleasant, but later again humidity and heat was increasing, but that didn't affect our spirit. We were simply enjoying each moment, we felt like we are walking towards paradise.
We were able to find some wild fruits which gave us temporary strength as we had not carried food or enough water these dates were a blessing. First time I ate so much of the wild Dates (Eichala) which was very tasty & we saw so many Wild Date trees across our journey.
Our final 1hour stretch was amazing; though we were exhausted it was worth the effort after 4 hours of nonstop walk we reached the peak of the Madumaga-Maduvanthi Betta. From the top of this peak we could see clearly Meghani village on our left side, Galigudda & Devakunda on the other side & beautiful valley on right side we spent nearly 30 minutes on the peak. There are no words to describe this beautiful experience
Madumaga-Maduvanthi Betta
Due to lack of time and energy we dropped our plans to climb Ambaragudda because we had already seen it twice before. Finally on our return we visited Sharavathi backwater in Tumbri which was again another beautiful place though a very exhausting trip this time it was worth all our efforts for a refreshing mind and memorable summer trek .