Wednesday, 26 October 2011

Aivarkandapura & Bheemana Hejje: Stories from the Mahabharata

Aivarkandapura & Bheemana Hejje: Stories from the Mahabharata

Overview: We have several unexplored places within Bangalore limits, thanks to Bangalore Mirror, we get to know some of them. I read about Aivarkandapura in an article in Bangalore Mirror. It is believed that the Pandavas had spent time here during their exile. The two main temples here are Dharmeshwara and Gopalakrishna, apart from these there are several other small temples within the Dharmeshwara temple complex.
Aivarkandapura Aivarkandapura Aivarkandapura  Aivarkandapura Aivarkandapura Aivarkandapura
Bheemana Hejje or Bheemeshwara: This is the most striking thing I saw in the newspaper that prompted me to visit this place. There is a Bheemeshwara temple where Bheema himself consecrated a Shiva Linga. And the most amazing part is the giant footprint which the locals showed us is of Bheema himself. Also there are small holes in the rocks which indicate that Pandavas once used to play dice here.
Bheemeshwara Bheemeshwara Bheemeshwara   Bheemana Hejje Place where Pandavas played dice Bheemana Hejje
How to reach: By Car: For Aivarkandapura, travel towards Hesaraghatta, turn right near the arch and before the Horticultural farm turn right towards Shivakote to reach Aivarkandapura. To reach Makali, take the NH4 towards Nelamangala, take the service road and once you see a board for Makali, take the next U-turn and turn left towards Alur. From Alur, turn right towards the mud road to reach Bheemana Hejje.

Maps: Though this place doesn’s show on the map, its around the area indicated below


View Larger Map

Wednesday, 19 October 2011

Rock Climbing Series-4: Kunti Betta and Tonnur Lake

Kunti Betta, Pandavapura and Tonnur: Weird shaped rocks, Lake and Ancient temples 

Overview: Thinking about offbeat places around Bangalore, I came across Kunti Betta, which is around 120 kms from Bangalore. Going by the name of the place, this place was visited by the Pandavas during their exile, with mother Kunti. The nearby town Pandavapura is also named after the Pandavas. This place was also called French Rocks by the Britishers.
We set off from our place pretty early to avoid Mysore road traffic. We had our breakfast on our way at Maddur Tiffaney's. After crossing Mandya, there is a board which directs us towards the right to Pandavapura. We took that road. It was a heavenly ride with lot of twisted roads even though there is no climb. After riding for around 15 kms, we came across a board which leads us to Kunti Betta. We reached the base of the hill and visited a small temple and a kalyani there. We asked the villagers the way to start the trek. We were instructed to follow the pathway and watch out for a pump house which is the base for the climb. We somehow managed to reach the pump house passing through dense bushes and streams of water on the way. We started the climb from there and it looked not too tough. At places we had to really watch out for the correct way, but it was definitely not too difficult. It was amazing to see all weird shaped rocks on the way. All looked so mythical that one rock was in the shape of a frog which was cursed and turned into a rock by someone. We found shapes of a bear, crocodile, all giant sized.
It was a delight to watch. Not to mention the breathtaking view of the lake from the top which looked straight out of Europe. We have a footmark on a small broken temple which is supposed to be Bheema's footmark, translating to 'Bheemana Hejje' in Kannada. The top of the hill had ruins of some old temple built during some ancient dynasty. Gentle breeze and cloudy conditions made us forget all stress of city life. And we were alone at the top which made it perfect without noise. We had packed some eatables which had some biscuits, fruits and juices which we had on the top.We sat at the top for sometime before starting our descent. We came by the same route and made it fairly quickly. We reached the base in around 45 mins and it was a really light trek.
On the way to Pandavapura On the way to Pandavapura Kunti BettaKunti Betta Kunti BettaKunti Betta  Kunti BettaKunti BettaKunti Betta      Kunti Betta Kunti Betta Kunti Betta Kunti BettaKunti Betta Kunti BettaKunti Betta Kunti Betta Kunti Betta- Bear Kunti Betta - frog chased be a crocodile  Kunti Betta Kunti Betta Kunti Betta Kunti BettaKunti BettaKunti Betta 
As we had plenty of time left, we decided to visit a couple of more places around Pandavapura. One was the Gopalaswamy temple and the other was Tonnur Lake. We first reached the ancient temple built by the Nolambas. We had Nambi Narayana temple and Yoga Narasimha temple opposite to each other. Both temples are maintained by the ASI. The idol looks very appealing and the temple built in stones gave it a classic look. This temple doesn't have many carvings as it belongs to the Pre- Hoysala period.
Nambi Narayana temple, Thondanur Nambi Narayana temple, Thondanur Nambi Narayana temple, Thondanur Nambi Narayana temple, Thondanur Yoga Narasimha temple, ThondanurYoga Narasimha temple, Thondanur
We advanced towards Tonnur Lake or Thondanoor Lake which is even more interesting. The lake is situated on a height and we have to climb a hill to reach the lake. On reaching the top it is amazing to see a vast lake in front of our eyes, Its really an eye catching sight and we can see water across miles. There is a small waterfall below the hill where many kids were enjoying.
This concluded our day trip which was very satisfying. Highly recommend this circuit.
Thonnur Lake Thonnur Lake Thonnur Lake Thonnur Lake
How to reach:  By own vehicle- SH17 towards Mysore, after crossing Mandya, turn right towards Pandavapura. Watch out for directions. On the way look out for a board showing directions for Kunti Betta. For Tonnur or Thondanur, cross Pandavapura and ask the local villagers for directions. 
By public transport: Plenty of direct buses ply from Bangalore to Mandya. From Mandya private buses are available to Pandavapura. 
Food/Accomodation: Better to carry food from home. Restaurants available only on Bangalore-Mysore highway.
Map:

View Larger Map

Monday, 10 October 2011

Pearl Valley/Muthyala Maduvu: Pearl-like water droplets falling from a cliff

Pearl Valley/Muthyala Maduvu: Pearl-like water droplets falling from a cliff

Overview: Pearl Valley or Muthyala Maduvu as it is called in Kannada, is a small waterfall which is formed only during rains near Anekal after Bannerghatta National Park. We went there during the monsoon season of 2008 but it didn't rain that well in that year. We have to pay a toll of Rs 20 before entering the area of the falls. On parking the vehicle, we took the steps down leading to the falls. There is a small temple dedicated to Lord Shiva at the base of the steps. We have to walk around a kilometer before we reached the actual falls. Its actually disappointing to see tiny droplets of water falling from a cliff and it is named as 'waterfalls'. A small muddy pool is formed when the droplets are collected. It must be because of the drops of water falling that it is named 'Pearl Valley'. We sat there for a while. There was a lot of noise coming from the crowd as many people flock here during weekends. Many people din't even look decent and some of them were heavily drunk. And the families visiting the place made it so dirty by throwing away the plastics and plates everywhere. So in case you expect solitude from the noise of the city, this may not be the perfect place to visit. Nonetheless, we spent around an hour near the falls and had lunch at a hotel near the place. We returned back to Bangalore after this.
Pearl Valley Pearl Valley Pearl Valley Pearl Valley Pearl Valley Pearl Valley  Pearl Valley Pearl Valley Pearl Valley Pearl Valley Pearl Valley
How to reach: Car/Bike: There are two ways to reach Anekal. Head towards Hosur road, At Chandapura junction, turn right towards Anekal. Another route is via Bannerghatta road. Drive past Bannerghatta National Park and  reach Anekal bus stand. Pearl valley is around 8 kms from Anekal.
References: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Muthyalamaduvu
Food/Accommodation: Restaurant is available for food near the parking lot. Though the food is not of high quality.
Map:

View Larger Map