Rural Karnataka: Where life moves at snail’s paceOverview:
Being brought up in North India, I always wanted to visit my native place which is a quaint village in Karnataka. So decided to embark on a journey to a land where my ancestors had left their footprints. Starting from Bangalore, we reached a place called Saligrama in Mysore district with the famous Narasimha Temple which happens to be my grandmother's place. After visiting the temple, the next halt was at Chunchunkatte. The waterfalls were not fierce as we travelled just before monsoons.
After Chunchunkatte, we touched Basavapatna where my father did his primary schooling from. Its amazing how the landscape of the villages change as we move.
After Basavapatna, we reached the temple town of Ramanathpura which is quite popular for its ancient Subramanya and Rameshwara temples. We had a dip in the Cauvery river which was very soothing. The water level was not very deep and was at optimum temperature. Another attraction at the river is the Cow shaped rock which is hollow and if anyone passes through the rock from one end to the other thrice, it would wipe out all the sins. The rock is believed to be a real cow once transformed to a lifeless rock due to a curse. At Rameshwara temple, it was wonderful to feed varieties of fish which were huge in size. The river at that place is believed to have atleast 33 different varieties of fish.
After Ramanathapura, we arrived at my father's birthplace which I would call my Native place, Rudrapatna. Its a really small place with every person in the village knowing every other person. It is of late being developed as the "Sangeeta Grama" or "Village of Music". There is a Tamboori shaped temple in the village built by the famous musician Shree RK Padmanabha. Later we went to the banks of the river Cauvery and suddenly it started raining heavily that we had to take shelter under a mantap.
It was evening time by the time we left Rudrapatna. Our next stop was Hanasoge from where my wife's ancestors came. We visited the widened Cauvery there as well and went to a relative's place for tea and evening snacks. It was almost dark and we had to reach our last village for the day, Bettadapura, my mother's native place. We reached Bettadapura at around 8pm and slept off after dinner.
Bettadapura or "Land of Hills" is known for the famous Sidilu Mallikarjuna Swamy temple which was built by the Cholas and has not been damaged much as the visitors have to climb a hillock to reach there. We decided to climb the hill and explore the old gem. We started climbing the following day at around 6pm. The temple priest also climbed along with us. As it was early morning so we didn't feel the pain of ascent. It becomes difficult to climb as the day sets in. There are mantaps at regular intervals for a quick power break. At around half way mark we reached the ruins of an ancient structure which has a Shiva Linga guarded by the Nandi bull. The structure looked very ancient and neglected. We continued climbing the steps and reached the top in around an hour and a half from the beginning. The temple premises looks wonderful and the view of the village from the top is breathtaking and its worth the effort spent in climbing around 4000 steps. We explored every bit of the temple and had the aarti done by the priest. Amazing to have such a glorious temple belonging to the ancient times and its really a place worth showcasing. We had packed breakfast from home so we had it at a place near the temple.
One more significance of the temple is the fact that the temple is believed to be hit by lightning at least once a year around Deepavali time. Hence derives the name "Sidilu" meaning lightning in Kannada. Also a jaatre or procession is held once a year during Sankranti in which many people from the surroundung villages take part.
We started our descent after spending 2 hours at the top. It took only 45 mins to reach the base. We then started back to Bangalore via Periyapatna and Mandya.
How to reach: Bangalore – Srirangapatna – Elvala - KR Nagar – Chunchunkatte - Saligrama – Basavapatna – Ramanathpura – Rudrapatna – Hanasoge – Bettadapura – Periyapatna – Hunsur – Srirangapatna – Mandya - Bangalore.
Food/Accomodation: Hotels not available in most of the villages. Can expect some hotels in KR Nagar, Bettadapura, Hunsur and Bangalore-Mysore road.
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