Tuesday, 28 June 2011

Melukote: Visit to the picturesque temple town…

Melukote: Visit to the picturesque temple town…

Overview: Melukote in Pandavapura taluk of Mandya district is a sacred place known for its temples. It overlooks the Cauvery river and is extremely scenic. Its a place to be visited by devotees, photographers, bikers and relaxation. On the way to Melukote we come across two lakes with clear blue waters where some time can be spent admiring the beauty of nature.
On the way to MelukoteOn the way to Melukote
On entering the Melukote, at the end of the small town we have Cheluvanarayana Swamy Temple which has both archaeological and historic significance. The deity of this temple is believed to be worshipped for more than 1000 years. The pillar structure and the temple complex is a treat for our eyes and makes us go centuries back.
Cheluvanarayana Swamy Temple Cheluvanarayana Swamy Temple Cheluvanarayana Swamy Temple  Cheluvanarayana Swamy Temple

Another main attraction in Melukote is YogaNarasimha temple which is built on a hill top. It overlooks the whole town and offers panoramic view of the whole district. There are steps leading to the temple.
YogaNarasimha temple YogaNarasimha temple YogaNarasimha temple YogaNarasimha temple YogaNarasimha temple YogaNarasimha temple YogaNarasimha temple YogaNarasimha temple YogaNarasimha temple YogaNarasimha temple YogaNarasimha temple YogaNarasimha temple
After visiting the temple we took the chance to explore the rustic town. It is full of charm and friendly people. On our way back we stopped at another huge lake and relaxed for a while.
The trip could take around 3 hours from Bangalore with good roads.
MelukoteMelukote MelukoteMelukoteMelukoteEnroute to Melukote Enroute to Melukote

How to reach: By own vehicle- SH17 towards Mysore, after crossing Mandya, look out for sign boards for Melukote. Take a right turn to reach Melukote.
By public transport: Plenty of direct buses ply from Bangalore to Melukote.
Food/Accomodation: Plenty of options available on Bangalore-Mysore highway. Popular chains like Kadambam, Kamat Lokaruchi, Maddur Tiffanys, Adigas, Cafe Coffee Day, Shivalli are present on the highway.
Reference: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Melukote

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Sunday, 26 June 2011

Rock Climbing Series – I: Savandurga

Savanadurga, Magadi and Manchanabele Reservoir 

Overview: Savanadurga is known for big monolith and is a popular destination for rock climbing around Bangalore. It is located around 75 kms from Bangalore and can be reached via Magadi road or Mysore road. Sri Lakshmi Narasimha Swamy temple stands at the foothills which is frequented by many pilgrims. The temple is pretty old and is well maintained.
Savandurga Sri Lakshmi Narasimha Swamy temple
The trekking/rock climbing trail starts amidst the bushes just next to the temple. Initial 15 minutes look pretty easy with not much challenge. Its better to ask the locals for the route in the beginning as it is very difficult to climb down from such awkward position. The climb can get really steep at times and one has to maintain will power to overcome such challenges. The half way mark is a brick wall probably a part of the fort built by the Kempegowda rulers. Further ascent managable with a few difficult stages. Once the final Nandi is visible from a distance which is the summit of the rock, one has to climb down a few steps and then continue the ascent through bushes. The summit as a Nandi bull standing majestically with a panoramic view of the Manchanabele reservoir and Magadi town. The descent is relatively easy but it is better to go slow to avoid any mishaps. Its always better to be careful during rains as rock climbing becomes extremely dangerous as it becomes slippery.
SavandurgaSavandurgaSavandurga Savandurga Savandurga SavandurgaSavandurgaSavandurga Savandurga Savandurga
Around Savanadurga:
Magadi: It is a sleepy town just past Bangalore which is known for Sri Ranganathaswamy temple at Tirumale which is an ancient historical monument maintained by ASI. The temple is usually very crowded and has a beautiful Kalyani next to it. It is believed to be over 500 years old and it is believed to be built during Kempegowda's times. Magadi also happens to be Kempegowda's birthplace. One more attraction near Magadi is Kalya caves which I am planning to explore shortly.
Sri Ranganathaswamy temple MagadiSri Ranganathaswamy temple MagadiSri Ranganathaswamy temple Magadi
Manchanabele Reservoir: Manchanabele is a beautiful picnic spot off Magadi road near TG Halli reservoir. It can be seen from the top of Savanadurga hill and can be reached on the way from Magadi to Bangalore. Its advisable to admire the beauty of this place from a distance and not to venture out near the waters as there have been reports of robbery of late. Tippegondanahalli or TG halli reservoir is also on the main road between Bangalore to Magadi but one requires prior permission from Cauvery Bhavan to visit the dam.
TG Halli damManchanabele reservoir
How to reach: Head towards Magadi, Just before entering Magadi town, take a left turn towards Savanadurga. From here it is around 15 kms. There are sign boards leading to the place.
By public transport: Plenty of buses to Magadi, At Magadi town, buses headed towards Ramanagaram go via Savanadurga.
Food/Accommodation: Better to carry food from home as there are no hotels on Magadi road.
Best time to visit: Better to avoid rains and mid-summer for trekking and rock climbing. Ideal would be around June before monsoons and after August to December.
Reference: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Savandurga

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Saturday, 18 June 2011

Nandi Hills, Bhoganandeeshwara & Devanahalli Fort: The Road well travelled

Nandi hills, Bhoganandeeshwara & Devanahalli Fort: The Road well travelled

Overview: Nandi hills is arguably the most popular tourist destination around Bangalore. Its well known among most people in Bangalore.
Once considered a place outside Bangalore city limits, the National highway leading to Bellary and Hyderabad wore a deserted look. But with the International airport in the vicinity, Nandi hills has become a part of Bangalore with the approach road being crowded even during night.
It has well laid roads leading to the peak, one gets a panaromic view of the hill ranges in Chikkaballapur district and its really soothing with cool winds blowing from all the sides. Many movies have been shot at Nandi hills.
Tipu's drop, Yoganandeeshwara temple are the prime attractions on top of Nandi hills. Visiting Nandi hills in at dawn during monsoons is magical as we can see a layer of clouds below us as seen in the last pic below.
Nandi Hills Nandi Hills Nandi Hills Nandi Hills Nandi HillsNandi Hills Nandi Hills
Around Nandi hills- We had a lot of time so we explored a few more hidden places around Nandi Hills.
Bhoganandeeshwara temple: Built by the Bana rulers in 810 AD, makes it a wonderful sight to see with exquisite carvings and the ancient look attracts many. This temple is missed by many people as it is not as popular as Nandi hills. It is a beautiful place to explore inside the premises. The Kalyani is also maintained well with clean waters.
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Nandi Bull: There is a temple near Bhoganandeeshwara which is dedicated to Nandi bull which is believed to be growing in size every year.
Devanahalli Fort: Built by Tipu Sultan and also the birth place of Tipu Sultan. An ancient temple of Gopalaswamy is also present inside the fort area.

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Muddenahalli: The birth place of Sir M Visveshwaraya and has a museum which contains artifacts belonging to the legendary engineer.

How to reach: NH7 towards Devanahalli, after Devanahalli turn left at the sign board to Nandi hills. At dead end, right turn takes you to Bhoganandeeshwara temple and left to Nandi hills.
public transport: Regular bus service from KR Market to Nandi hills.

Food/Accomodation: Some good hotels are available on Bellary road for food.