Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Monsoon mania, Nagarabare Waterfalls

I fantasized to trek a place that was free from human intervention associated with risks and filled with challenges. Lush greenery, rich flora fauna, waterfalls all around, foggy atmosphere, frequent drizzles and refreshing breeze were my expectations.
Explore the remote and serene area was part of my two days travel plan to explore the couple of waterfalls in H.kal area. I’ve been planning to explore Nagarabare or Kallabbi waterfalls since many years but I’ve never been able to make it. It was my second attempt to hike during a heavy downpour in this region.
This time we were 12 participants who were eagerly waiting to embrace nature, our group is formed by core nature admirers and most importantly we respect it. We had our breakfast at a Hotel on the way hot coffee and Idli were right combination to get us going in full spirit.
The weather didn’t stop us from exploring the waterfalls but we struggled to find the right person to lead us towards the waterfalls. There are only 2 persons knows about this place  but they are hesitating to go waterfalls on monsoon, they usually don’t bring outsiders to the Falls which is highly risky and we couldn’t blame them according to them they don’t have any rights to bring any visitors without permission from the forest and wildlife department.
So what we did was we went to the respected departments and took the permission later, looked for the wildlife guard and when we finally found him he just advised us to do some formalities with the assistance of some friendly forest officers we went back to guide house. And at last we were assisted. Our plan became alive to explore Nagarabare Falls that late morning. It turned out that the entrance to the trail going to Nagarabare Falls is just near the house of Guide.
 When we went back to the main road just a few minute drives we find the forest gate on the left side of the road. It was raining by the time we arrived at the starting point of our hike. Upon entering the gate and passing through some narrow road we welcomed by a thick forest and hills and that’s where the actual trekking starts. It was raining hard that day so the trail was muddy and slippery. We were very careful rocks full of moss that when added with rain can be very slippery.
Though we were all soaking wet, the hike was fast! After like hiking for two hours, I finally heard the sound of the splash of water. Aside from the constant itchy feeling on my feet because of leaches, mosquitoes or ants we also endured the cold air and rain in the middle of the jungle. it was challenging, the steep trail and the mud.  I couldn’t remember how many times I slipped during the trek! But that didn’t stop us from being cautious. We were exploring the mountains; one wrong slip can be very dangerous. The sticky, claustrophobic jungle presses in on us from all sides as we scramble up the muddy path.
We were at the heart of the forest and mountain, a place where the temperature could drop when raining. We finally arrived.  I had some first glimpse of the waterfalls. There was still a bit of rain. I was soaking wet with sweat and rain, yet when I saw Nagarabare it was like all my body ache just went away. This has always been the effect of waterfalls to me.
Passing through some rocks we were finally face to face with this beautiful waterfall. Nagarabare is massive and grand. Sometimes when you see it in photos, you’d first think that this is just ordinary. But wait until you see it before your eyes.  It’s huge yet has a calming effect, taking all your stress and worries away. That’s the power of nature. 
We couldn’t resist looking at one another checking if our thoughts and feelings were the same.  Prashanth even said, “Amazing, right?”  It was huge, tall and majestic. The splash of water has created this dramatic mist, which was surprisingly relaxing. The wall of the falls was filled with green plants making it look even more spectacular.  Of course, we were able to take photos of the falls in wide shot, from afar. But the best experience happened when we got closer and closer.
When I got really close to the falls Wow! The first feeling was the amazement of its power as it touches the water and rocks. The wind can take you a back for a while, the water and mist was just inexplicable.  It was another awe moment for me, literally a jaw dropping experience, which was pretty much enjoyable because of the sweet taste of the mist when my mouth was wide open, totally amazed by this beauty of nature.
All of us were having our own moments with the falls. Some were taking selfies, while others were planning if they could make even closer. When the group made way towards the falls for a swim I stayed for a while to the rocky parts to take some photos for the campaign as for me, I just enjoyed it. I sat on a rock tasting the water, the mist, enjoying the strong wind that compliments the entire experience. 
It’s tall about 150 feet, looking at its splendor, Nagarabare is like a two layered waterfalls, a creation of nature. Below is a wide body of water perfect for a photo op while the one on top is a huge falls directly coming from the mountain. It was like a force to be reckoned with; the water creates this huge and resounding splash. . The best about Nagarabare Falls is the rich nature surrounding its beauty. You could hear the chirping birds and the calming splash of water. The water was so cool it relaxed my tired muscles after an exhausting hike under the rain. 
Once you get to Nagarabare Falls, you better get the best out of it, so never settle to exploring the lower part. Get to the top to enjoy the best view. Looking at the vast pond and the nature surrounding it made me realize two things. One is get out and experience outdoors!
After having lunch and fully enjoyed Nagarabare Falls, it was time to go back.   The hike going back was even tougher than I expected. We went through this steep assault from the falls going up and since it was still raining it was a struggle for the difficult muddy trek while we were all soaking wet these are the kind of experiences that made us tougher.
There are a lot of stories told to us by locals there they have many versions and it’s ridiculous! So it is better to just say that it is still a mystery. I was so thankful to Arun and Suresh, for helping us. It was another moment a realization that locals are there not just to help you with the directions towards the mountain but to also keep you safe.

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Suryanarayana Temple, Magala

Magala village situated in Hadagali taluk of Bellery district is famous for Kalyana Chalukyan temples. One such temple is the Suryanarayana Temple constructed in 1209 A.D. by Sameyada Garuda Marmmarasa of Magala. This temple is an ornate Chalukyan structure of great architectural merit.
The Suryanarayana Temple is located canter of the village. This temple is a Trikutachala or a temple with three Garbhagrihas housing the gods Somanatha, Venugopala and Surya. The main western Garbhagriha has a standing Venugopala (Prasanna Kesava) of 3 feet in height holding Sanka, Chakra and flute on another two hands which is profusely embellished with delicate carvings of great workmanship.
The Garbhagriha on the east accommodates a beautiful sculpture of Surya of the Chalukya period which is a rare specimen. The ceiling of the Mantapa is divided in twelve parts and each part divided into twelve compartments. The central ceiling has a large lotus with beautiful ornamentation and in the centre is a hanging lotus bud. The ceiling of the Mantapa is described as one of the finest among Chalukyan monuments.
Each Garbhagriha has an Antarala and all shrines are connected to a common Sabhamantapa preceded by a mukhamantapa facing south. In the interior the doorways of the Garbhagrihas and Antaralas are carved with five Sakhas and below the Sakhas are Dvarapalas.
Benches with slanting back rests run one side of the Mandapa. The four pillars are in form of half pillars supported on these benches. The Navaranga and the Mukhamantapa are joined together forming a large hall consisting of ten pillars.
The walls have niches in the Sabhamnadapa containing images of dancing gods. The ceilings of the temple are exquisitely carved and varied. They depict Kirtimukhas issuing scrolls filled with lotus and flying gandharvas, dikpalas, flowers and composite mythical animals.

Its outer walls are profusely embellished with series of pilasters, surmounted by delicately carved miniature Shikharas. The pillars are also impressively wrought.
One can find Jaina temple here with an image of Teerthankarain in the posture of contemplation is situated at 200 meters away from Suryanarayana Temple. On micro observation of the temple it can be concluded that the temple hailed from 11th century and concerned to early western Chalukya period of Karnataka.