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Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Hulikere Kalyani

15th November 2008



Sun had already set when we reached Hulikere. Since it would not take much time to see the place, we decided to make a quick visit before it is completely dark. The tar road naturally turned into a narrow mud road as we entered the village. When we stopped and asked a Woman about the Kalyani she replied that there was no Kalyani in the village. I was struggling to explain what a Kalyani is; a person came and told her that I was talking about the pond!! It is just next to the road. I had thought that the Kalyani is in an open ground but it was surrounded by houses.



It is a small Kalyani and more than 3/4th of the Kalyani was filled with water. Like in any other Kalyani, the water here was dirty. We can have a full view of Kalyani during summer. One striking point about this Kalyani is 12 sanctuaries with pinnacles.


How to reach Hulikere?
Hulikere is 5 kms from Halebidu on Halebidu – Hagare road. Hagare is on Hassan – Belur road. There is a signboard mentioning about the Kalyani which can be easily missed. Take a left here and after a km is the Kalyani.

More photos of Hulikere Kalyani can be found here.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Belavadi

15th November 2008

It was another not so visited place in our Hoysala trip. Though quite a number of people have heard about Belavadi and in spite of being just 10kms from Halebidu, Belavadi is not frequented by tourists.

Belavadi is 29 kms from Chikmagalur on the Chikmagalur Javagal highway. The main attraction in Belavadi is the Veera Narayana Temple built in 1200 AD by Hoysala Veera Ballala II.

The Temple is completely surrounded by the village. ASI has done a good work in keeping the Temple separated from the village houses. There were no visitors at the time we went to the Temple. The lone priest of the Temple was indifferent to our presence. I wanted to get some information about the Temple and details of the architecture but the priest did not show any interest. Generally priests at remote places are friendly and try to explain things but here the attitude of the priest was strange. He seemed to be a man of ego. I then stopped bothering about him and started to explore the Temple.


It is a Trikuta Temple with three towers. The Temple is quite huge. There is an open hall which is very spacious. The two shrines are on either side of the hall and a central shrine at the end of the hall. Though the sculptures are not as intricate as the ones in Belur and Halebid, it is the architecture of the Temple which differentiates from others.



More photos of the Belavadi can be seen here.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Devarayanadurga

23rd November 2008

Krishna was asking me for a long time to go on a trip to some place near Bengaluru. The destination we decided was Devarayanadurga, near Tumkur. The motive of the trip was to get take some good snaps, if possible.

Devarayanadurga is on the range of hills near Tumkur. It is famous for Yoganarasimha and Boganarasimha Temple. So, majority of visitors here come for religious purpose, few youngsters come for fun and very few for photography and environmental purposes.


Having started early from my Home, we had breakfast at Kamath Upachar on Tumkur road. At Kyatsandra in Tumkur, we took the deviation towards Siddaganaga Math. It seemed to be quite a busy day at the math. It was then through some villages and shortly we were driving through the forests. On the way was Namada Chilume which we decided to visit while returning back.


We stopped at a view point on the way to take few snaps. The views were promising. There was greenery everywhere. With high hopes we continued further and within few minutes we were at Devarayanadurga. We avoided entering to the town and took the road going up the hill. It was a series of hairpin bends leading up to the top.

On top was the Temple. We were not much religious that day and we skipped it. We then did not know what to do. With nothing else to do, we just roamed here and there taking snaps everywhere. We were expecting lot of birds but were disappointed when we found not many of them.

Slowly the number of visitors increased and the silence was marred by the sound of the vehicles. We decided to return back.

We visited Namada Chilume on the way back. There is a natural spring here. But here again we were not much happy. It looked more like a “couple” spot. We walked aimlessly in the plantation maintained by forest department. There is also a deer park here.

It was Kamath Upachar for Lunch. Earlier it was pain to travel from Nelamangala to Bengaluru city. NICE road has resolved much of the problem with its peripheral road connecting to Mysore road. It was a stretch fun to drive where my car touched 150km/hr.

Though it was not a great trip, but it was definitely better than roaming in Bengaluru.

More photos of this trip can be seen here.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Halebidu

15th November 2008

Halebidu was once the capital of Hoysala Empire. It was called Dwarasamudra (Entrance from Ocean) during those days mainly because of a huge lake. Early 14th century saw an attack from the rulers from Delhi who sacked the city and damaged the Temples. It marked the end of Hoysala Empire and Dwarasamudra turned into Halebidu (old village).


Hoysaleshwara Temple

The main attraction today in Halebidu is Hoysaleshwara Temple built during the rule of Vishnuvardhana in 1121 AD. This Temple is very well known for its wall sculptures. It is these wall sculptures comprising of Animals, birds, Shilabalikas and depictions from Hindu mythology has made this Temple immensely famous.


This Temple has two huge statues of Nandi (Bull).


A nicely maintained Garden surrounds the Temple. The lake is next to the Temple. ASI has also maintained a museum in the Temple complex.


This Temple attracts lots of tourists across the world. When we went there was lot of children who came for educational visit. The whole place was filled with sounds of those people.


Most people return back after visiting this Temple. But there are two more Temples which are worth visiting.

Jain Basadis
Half a km from Hoysaleshwara Temple is the complex that houses three Basadis. The Parshvanatha Basadi was built by Boppadeva in 1133AD during the reign of Vishnuvardhana. There is an 18ft tall Parshvanatha theerthankara statue inside the Basadi.

The Shantinatha Basadi was built in 1196 AD and is very similar to Parshvanatha Basadi but houses the statue of Shantinatha.



The Adinatha Basadi is built during 12th century AD. In addition to the sculpture of Adinatha, there is an image of Saraswati in the vestibule.

There is also a 20ft mahastamba and a well in the complex.


Kedareshwara Temple
Few hundred meters from Jain Basadis is Kedareshwara Temple. It was built in 1219 AD by Ketaladevi, a queen of Hoysala Ballala II. Though smaller compared to Hoysaleshwara Temple, the stone carvings are interesting.





I could not visit Pushpagiri hill which has the Mallikarjuna Temple. It was once a Jain Basadi. It is 3 kms from Halebidu.

More photos of the trip can be viewed here.

Friday, December 05, 2008

Manjarabad fort

16 November 2008

This was a bit of an odd man out in my tour of Hoysala Temples. This fort was added in the itinerary to break the monotonous visit of temples.



Manjarabad fort is in Donigal on NH 48, 7 km from Sakleshpur. Donigal is a famous spot with Sakleshpur railway track trekkers and Lorry drivers. There is nothing here but couple of hotels next to the highway serving snacks and drinks.


We parked our vehicle next to the Hotel and asked the hotel guy for directions. Walking on a foot path for 5 minutes would lead to the steps of the fort. It was a pleasant day and the surrounding was filled with lot of flowers and chirping of birds.



The caretaker of the fort volunteered to guide us about the fort. It was appreciated as we knew very less about the fort. This fort was built was Tippu Sultan. The work was started in 1785 and ended in 1792. It is a star shaped fort (Here is the Wikimapia view where you can see the star shape of the fort). It was constructed mainly for defense and to store the ammunitions. During those days Tippu was at loggerheads with British. So, to stop them from attacking from Mangalore side, he constructed the fort. It is on a strategic location and the soldiers in the fort could see the army coming from Mangalore.




There are many chambers in the fort, few of them used to house the horses and some were used by the soldiers as kitchen and bathroom. There is also a tunnel in the fort. Guide told us that it would lead to Srigangapatna, the capital of Tippu at that time. Hard to believe but he told that couple of decades ago people went some half a km inside the tunnel but could not continue further due to less Oxygen levels. Since it was used to dump dead bodies, the tunnel was closed and now what we can see and go is just a few steps in the tunnel.



Tippu died in 1799 during the war with British in Srirangapatna. Shortly later British took over the fort and destroyed a part of it. Some parts of the fort is being renovated now.



It is being said since the fort was covered in the mist (”Manju” in Kannada) for most of the time, it was named as Manjarabad fort. The other logic which would sound music to secular (??) people is that Tippu was not in a good shape at that time and had given some offerings to Lord Manjunatha in Dharmasthala. So, he decided to name the fort as Manjarabad. I knew the first version and the second one was told by the guide.


Of late this fort is also famous with movie people. Few scenes of Kannada blockbuster “Mungaru Male” was shot here. (The scene where Ganesh carrying heroine to climb to Punya Peetha!!)


This is a nice stopover spot for people traveling between Bangalore and Mangalore. This is the only place in Shiradi ghat road where you can see the panoramic view of Western Ghats.



More photos of the fort can be seen here.