Friday, April 26, 2013

Trek to Haddina Bare Peak

Haddina Bare is nestling in the heart of the Western Ghats, where the grass remains greenish and the trees do not shed their leaves even in the harshest of summers which is in cool clean mountain air some 700 meters above the sea level. As the sun climbs higher with summers onward march stepping outside an air conditioned environment is almost unbearable. So here's a brilliant option for the adventurous soul in search of cooler climes and beautiful vistas.
We started fairly early in the morning from Agumbe so that we can sight wild animals and birds. There were absolutely no one around and enjoyed the peace and quiet. But we could hear the sounds of nature - wind, leaves, some creatures moving around. The initial trail passes through thick evergreen forests, meadows and mountain passes which offering an incredible array of biodiversity to appreciate. Actual our plan was to cover Haddinbare, Meenagundi and Karadigudda in a day time but our senior guide said its not possible to cover all the three places in a day time so we chose to take the Haddinbaare first. There were neat jeep track half track it was fun and a workout. The first 3kms are the casual easy walk throughout the fine jeep track but the minute we crossed the stream it turned grotesque and deep chested inside the woody.

It was an absolute treat to our ears. Our hike was made even more special when we entered in more deep. Our 4½ hours hike winds through evergreen forests, the stunning Someshwara Wildlife Sanctuary Trails allow access to different parts in pristine, community owned evergreen forests.

I got excited because I encountered many spiderwebs and spiders everywhere! spider's web that spanned the width of the walkway. I stopped and turned around and went another way I didn't want to disturb the web and destroy one of Mother Natures most beautiful food-catchers. I really felt bad about wrecking all of the spiders hard work and meticulous attention to detail and symmetry. Spiders build intricate webs of various kinds to trap their prey and wait in the web. Some wait outside the web! Some just lay a small single line trap. Some others just jump around and catch their prey! They are simply ingenious!!

 On few places we were facing the sun and could see the iridescent shimmer of the thousands of webs. Almost all spiders spin silk. Spider silk is a fibrous protein. On the abdomen are located the spinnerets, used in secreting silk. While I knew that spiders spin webs to entrap their prey, I known that some spiders live in silk-lined burrows and leap out to capture passing insects.

 Some lie in ambush on plants, tree bark on the ground or under stones. Others are hunters that go in search of their prey. Most spiders are lone predators. They live for about a year or so. Most spiders can inject venom to protect themselves or to kill and liquefy prey. The bite of some spiders are dangerous to humans. Spiders feed on live prey, digest them outside and suck in the fluid. Spiders are the largest group of predators in the world!
Gaint Wood Spider is a Large Spider. Huge webs made by these spiders and it is very colorful and large spider. Many we saw had only seven legs. I read that spiders do give away a limb or two in order to save themselves! Large webs built next to each other by these spiders made a huge canopy about 6 to20 feet above the road below. The internet has a plethora of information on any subject so also spiders. I did some browsing and soon found myself finding names and information on the spiders I was shooting.

The grandness of this hike is that much of the trail is in the shade of covered woods. Walking through forest and shade is very pleasing and less exhausting. The entire area is full of thick evergreen forests and therefore totally devoid of grasses. We completed hike in 5 hours stretchy walk.
A continuous breeze caresses the skin and brings relief from the heat and dust of the plains. And the pretty, green and undulating landscape uplifts the spirit like nothing else can. The highest point of Haddinabaare, which gifts an uninterrupted view of rolling hills in three directions. It's almost too much to take in at first. Below the clouds, waves of ridges line up one after other as far as the eye can see, their colors changing from lush green to a gentle blue until they blend completely with the horizon.

We had our individual pack food and rested for few more time on top. Few years back on top of the Haddinabare a wireless network with a repeater was established but its destroyed by the Naxalites and hence not working condition. We took some snaps on top and headed back with different shorten root.
The sanctuary consists of tropical evergreen, semi evergreen and moist mixed deciduous forests rich green clothing to the slopes of the Western Ghats. Machilus Macrantha, Lophopetalum wightianum and Artocarpus hirsuta are some of the species of flora found in this sanctuary. Mammals in the Someshwara Wildlife sanctuary include Tiger, Leopard, Wild Dog, Jungle cat, Wild Pig, Sambar, Spotted Deer, Common otter, Wild Dog, Jackal, Gaur, Barking Deer, Lion Tailed Macaque, Bonnet Macaque, Palms Civet and Common Langur. Reptiles are represented by King Cobra, Python and Monitor lizard. Someshwara Wildlife sanctuary also houses some interesting birds like Malabar trogon, Ceylon frog mouth, Malabar pied horn-bill and Malabar whistling thrush.

Spotted deer, Mouse deer, Barking deer (Muntjac is timid and shy animal), Sambar, Gaur, wild boar, Indian Hare, Langur, Lion tailed macaque (This is an endangered primate found only in dense evergreen forests of mid western ghats and It is found in groups of 5 to 10. They are reported from the Agumbe Ghats and Balmane section The Lion tailed macaque population in Someshwara WS is the only largest viable population among the protected areas.) King Kobra are found all over the sanctuary. Jackals are the chief scavengers of the sanctuary. Seethanadi, Golihole and some of the other big streams form the aquatic habitat of the sanctuary. They contain the rare Mahasheer fish and otters. Gaint squirrel is an arboreal mammal normally restricted to the relatively undisturbed areas of the forests. Flying squirrel, Land monitor lizard, Tortoises also occur in the sanctuary. Cane turtle a rare species, which is on the verge of extinct, is seen rarely.

The sanctuary covers western slopes of Western Ghats. Terrain is hilly and very undulating. Ghat forests are principally of gneiss composition interspersed occasionally by quartzite, mica-schist and granite, out crops of which, occur in long stretches along the sharp edges of the ghats. Upper reaches of ghats, which form eastern boundary of the sanctuary consist predominantly of rock precipices and are completely inaccessible from Agumbe up to a place called Hosaghatta, a distance of 10 kms. These rock cliffs are very steep and exposed over long stretches. Wild plantain and grass slips are nested in them.

Weather is cooler during monsoon and up to December. It becomes increasingly hot and sultry from January onwards till the onset of southwest monsoons. Due to the proximity to sea, the diurnal changes in temperature are low and extremes never occur. Climate is humid and warm throughout the year because of the proximity to sea. In the ghats and foothills, weather is usually misty during the early hours of the day. Trees are very tall and majestic. Crowns are narrow. The boles and trunks are swathed by a mat of mosses, orchids, ferns etc. Someshwara Wildlife Sanctuary is home to a wide range of wild animals generally found in South India.

Bird life is plentiful here and the avian denizens of the forest put on a splendid show. On the drive to the sanctuary, you can spot restless babblers, flocks of oriental white-eyes in search of flowers and scarlet minivets whose crimson plumage stands out brightly amid the greenery. Bea eaters scout for dragonflies, suddenly darting to catch them mid-flight and then returning to their perches with their prized catch trapped in their beaks.

The sanctuary has a good population of a variety of birds typical to the western ghats of Karnataka. Avifauna found in the Sanctuary include Jungle myna, Peafowl, Common fowl, Common myna, Red vented bulbul, Little cormorant, Cattle egret, Little egret, Black drongo, Jungle crow, Crow pheasant, White cheeked bulbul, Brahminy kite, Grey jungle fowl, Pea fowl, White breasted water hen, Red wattled lapwinger, Spotted dove, Bluerock pigeon, White breasted king fisher, Malabar gray hornbill, Great Indian Hornbill, Golden backed threetoed wood pecker, Scarlet minicret, Ashy swallow shrike, Paradise fly catcher, Magpie robin, Taylor bird, Purple sunbird, White backed munia, Golden oriole.

 On return I spent few time in nearby huge lake which adjoins Agumbe village is a 10-minute away from the town and catches the flow from the nearby hills to form a large reservoir. Its deep, placid waters reflect the greenery of the surroundings in surprisingly vivid detail, its beauty further enhanced by the last golden rays of the sun as it goes over the undulating hills. Here we spent quiet in meditative evening at this picturesque lake, a perfect antidote to the end of the day's exploration.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Basadi Halli Jinalaya's,Halebeedu

Halebidu Heritage trip Part -(2)
A just few steps away from the Kedaresvara temple is Basadi compound south of Basadihalli, located close to the Hoysaleswara Temple where there are of Adinatheswvara, Shantishvara and Parshvanatheshvara Jain Basadis with agleam black stone pillars is considered as a part of the group of the Jain cloisters is considered as the most important Jain temple. Hardly a stone’s throw away but cut off from the tourist circuit is the nonchalant hamlet of Basadihalli with three Jinalayas dating to the period of King Vishnuvardhan who was earlier a Jain called Bittideva.

Halebid is said to have originally contained no less that 720 Jain Bastis but now there are only three of them remains. This Jain temples at Halebid of which are believed to have been built during the reign of Hoysala period, was built around ShantalaDevi reign. Though Vishnuvardana converted to Hinduism at the instance of Sri Ramanujacharya he & his queen patronised Jain faith too, his wife Shantala remained a Jain and built Jaina temples.
The Parsvanathesvara Basti is the Largest of these Bastis containing an image of Parshvanatheshvara which is a piece of beautiful workmanship. Among these three shrines, Parswanathaswamy Temple is the most noteworthy the twelve pillars that hold the doom appear thoroughly polished and have been shaped attractively. These pillars have been made in a very fine and very attractive manner. All the pillars consist of some beautiful images. The lathing of these pillars has been done very well and all the images are very different from each another. The shine on these mirrors allows the visitors to see their faces very clearly.
This Basadi looks simple at the outside, but possesses very rich decorations inside. The sculpture of the underside sealing, called Bhuvaneshwari, is very attractive. The round pillars of nice resplendent black stone found in the Navaranga portion reflect the spectators images!.There is a special place for such exquisite pillars in Hoysala architecture. Lord Parshvanatheshvara figure fourteen feet in height & with curly hairs is made out of black granite stone. On the figurine, a seven-headed serpent has been imprinted appears to be protecting the Lord. Another tall pillar with a sculpture of Brahma stood outside one of them while the ancient well here was almost dry
The central temple is of Lord Adinatheswvara while Shantishvara is located in the east and both of these temples have their own importance in their religion. Adinatha Basadi was built by Devara Heggade Malli Mayya. It is a little one containing proportionately a little Navaranga and a little sanctuary. A Saraswatee idol exists in the Deva Koshtha of the Navaranga. Since the original idol of the sanctuary is broken, it has been deposited in the neighboring Saantinatha Basadi.
Saantinatha Basadi is a high and broad Basadi situated on the right of the Adinatha Basadi. One going by the name Madhukanna Vijayanna built this beautiful jinalaya in 1256 AD with the substantial encouragement offered by the association of the businessmen of Dhorasamudra. The outer wall of this Basadi is ofcourse very simple. No embellishments there with decorations and idols. But here too, in the Navaranga portion, there are huge shining round pillars taking their appropriate positions. A monolithic 15ft idol of Santhi natha satnds in sanctuary in the Sthanaka posture. Once in 12 years the Head Bathing Festival (Mahamasthakabhisheka) takes place here. Facilitating the bathing performance brick steps have been built in a convenient way. In front of the Basadi entrance there is a measuring column call Manastambha as lofty as 30ft.

The Archaeological Survey of India board gave us some information dedicated to Parshwanatha, Shantinatha and Adinatha, these Jinalayas were built in memory Boppadeva. The big Basadi Facing the entrance of the Compound is called Vijaya Parshwanatha Basadi. This was completed in memory of Ganga Raja. The commander of Vishnuvardhana Raya 1113 AD, by his son Boppadeva. Originally as a memoir of the title of Ganga Raja it had the nomenclature styled as Dhrohagharatta Jinalaya. During the opening ceremony of the Jinalaya, Vishnuvardhanaraya became Victorious in the battle of Bankapura. So this was renamed as Vijaya Parswanatha Jinalaya and was honored with royal donations for its maintenance.
Attached to the walls of the Navaranga there are in all 24 Peethas (seats) indicating the east while existence of the idols of 24 Teerthankaras there. They have all vanished today. In-front of this Basadi there is a Mukha Mantapa (Portico Hall) comprising many pillars, along with a big inscription describing the construction of this Jinalaya.
All these three Basadi's being comprehended with in one compound, have common Pushkarnee on the north -east corner of the compound.These Jain Temples are renowned for their decorated pillars which are highly polished almost resembling mirrors. The construction of Basadi Halli temple is of very high grade and consist of many appreciable carvings that can be seen all over specially at the top of the doors.