Sunday, 27 November 2011

Bylakuppe: Karnataka’s mini Tibet

Bylakuppe: Karnataka's mini Tibet

Overview: Bylukuppe has one of the largest Tibetan settlements in South India. This place is known for the Golden temple or Namrodoling monastery. Being easily accessible by road, this place is visited by many people who visit Coorg. We got a chance to visit Bylakuppe when we were on a trip to Periyapatna to visit my wife’s grandmother’s house.
The approach road is lined with Buddhist prayer flags tied to the wires and one can see people of Tibetian origin walking along the roads in their traditional dress.
The inside hall is dedicated to the Lord Padmasambhava. The temple is gold plated and is built in a typical Buddhist style. Outside the monastery there is a Buddhist University which has been established for higher studies and there are shops where many memoirs and Buddhist handicrafts could be purchased. Being near to the Kodagu district, this place enjoys cool and pleasant climate throughout the year. Inside the temple we have a series of prayer wheels which are to be turned clockwise indicating that one has actually recited the prayers.
Golden Temple, BylakuppeOn the way to Bylakuppe  Golden Temple, BylakuppeGolden Temple, BylakuppeGolden Temple, BylakuppeGolden Temple, Bylakuppe  Golden Temple, BylakuppeGolden Temple, Bylakuppe Golden Temple, Bylakuppe Buddhist University, Bylakuppe
How to reach: By Car/Bike: Head towards Mysore road on SH12 and after Srirangapatna turn right towards Ilvala to join Mysore-Madikeri road. Continue on that road to reach Bylakuppe. From the highway, turn left at Bylakuppe to reach the Golden temple.
By Bus: The KSRTC buses towards Madikeri drops at the State highway, Bylakuppe. Local autos ferry passengers to the Golden temple from the main road.
Map:

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Sunday, 20 November 2011

Hogenakkal Falls: Cauvery roaring at the border

Hogenakkal Falls: Cauvery roaring at the border 

Overview: We suddenly decided on Saturday evening that we will visit Hogenakkal falls on Sunday. As we didn't have any vehicle ready for the trip, we decided to travel by public transport, knowing well of the language problems we might face in Tamil Nadu. We reached Bommanahalli at around 6:15am hoping to get a bus to Hogenakkal. After waiting for around 10 mins a bus came which was heading towards Palakkod. We boarded the bus and reached Palakkod at around 9am. It was blazing hot at Palakkod and thankfully we didn't have to wait for long for a bus to Hogenakkal. The stop name was 'Cauvery'. We reached Hogenakkal bus stand by 10:30 am. Got delayed on the way though because of some procession on the way in some village. We were approached immediately for coracle ride to the middle of the falls. After bargaining a bit we agreed for Rs 150 to visit both Karnataka side and the Tamil Nadu side of the waterfalls. We had packed our lunch so we carried it with us. The ride initially was very smooth so we asked the person to swirl the coracle so that we could have some fun. We stopped at one point which was like a mini beachside and went for a small trek into the forest area along the river. We didn't get to see any wildlife though.
Hogenakkal Hogenakkal Hogenakkal
Then again we got into the coracle and proceeded towards the falls. He stopped near the falls and we had to walk a few meters to see the falls. We could not believe the might at which the water was flowing from 3 directions. It was totally magical. It was supposed to be the Karnataka side of the falls.
Hogenakkal Hogenakkal Hogenakkal Falls Hogenakkal Falls
We clicked several pictures at the falls and then proceeded towards the Tamil Nadu side of the falls. We stopped a while to have our lunch on the way. We had our lunch under a shade in the coracle itself. Later we proceeded towards the falls. Tamil Nadu falls could be seen as a series of waterfalls next to each other and could be seen across the distance.
We enjoyed the falls to the fullest and headed back towards the base. We saw some people enjoying under the water as we saw while on our way back. The coracle also goes to the base of the falls which is a thrilling experience as we can see in the pics below.
Hogenakkal Hogenakkal Falls Hogenakkal Falls Hogenakkal Falls Hogenakkal Falls Hogenakkal Falls Hogenakkal Falls Hogenakkal Falls
From the bus stop, we got a bus till Palakkod, from there we got a bus till Hosur. From Hosur we came to Bangalore by KSRTC bus. We reached home at 7:30pm which was good enough considering the distance we travelled by Public transport.
References: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hogenakkal_Falls
How to reach: Car/Bike: Head on NH7 towards Hosur, at Hosur, take the Denkanikottai road, and head towards Anchetty to reach Hogenakkal.
Bus: Buses are available to Hogenakkal from KR Market, at Bommanahalli, board any bus heading towards Pallakodu, from there many buses available to reach Hogenakkal.
Food/Accommodation: Very little options for food at Hogenakkal. So its advisable to carry food from home.
Map:

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Sunday, 13 November 2011

Lost temples of Karnataka: Kambadahalli

Kambadahalli: A forgotten heritage site discovered  

Overview: I read about this place in some book, which says Kambadahalli is an ancient site connected with Jainism. We set off to visit this interesting place one Sunday morning. We started from Bangalore at around 08:30 even though we had planned to start much earlier. We took the Magadi road which is much calm and peaceful compared to more busy Nelamangala road. The road leading to Magadi is also in a good shape and to drive along the curves is a pleasure. Only the stretch inside the Magadi town is horrible with lot of potholes though repairing work is in progress. We crossed Magadi and joined the Bangalore-Mangalore highway very quickly. We stopped by a lake on the way to relax for a while.
Winding Magadi Road Near Yediyur Near Yediyur Enroute Kambadahalli Enroute Kambadahalli Enroute Kambadahalli
We asked for directions from the locals to Kambadahalli and found that it was quite popular among them. We got the directions and reached Kambadahalli criss-crossing the beautiful countryside. On entering Kambadahalli, we asked the locals for Panchakuta Basadi which is the main attraction in the place. It was around a 100 meters from the place where we were. We drove closer to the place and in front of us was a magnificent structure which was beyond words to describe. A classic example of ancient Jain architecture made out of stones. Outside the premises we have a huge obelisk and on top of it is a huge bell which has a story behind it. It is said that on certain days the bell rings which indicates that a tragedy is going to take place in the village. So even now it believed to happen. But on normal days, even during high velocity winds, the bell doesn't budge.
Panchakuta Basadi, Kambadahalli Obelisk Bell@KambadahalliCarvings at the base of Obelisk Inscriptions Carvings at the base of Obelisk
We then went inside the temple complex. The archaeological evidences indicate that the temple was built in 900 AD by the Western Ganga rulers. On the North side we have a 4ft idol of Lord Adinatha, the main deity. Within the temple complex we have 5 different temples called Trikutas and Dwikutas facing each other. We have the Tirthankara idols in them as the main deity. The doors and walls of the temple are carved with flowers and animals which is a sight to watch. Also the ceilings have exquisite carvings.
Panchakuta Basadi, Kambadahalli Panchakuta Basadi, Kambadahalli Panchakuta Basadi, Kambadahalli Panchakuta Basadi, Kambadahalli Panchakuta Basadi, Kambadahalli Panchakuta Basadi, Kambadahalli Panchakuta Basadi, Kambadahalli Panchakuta Basadi, Kambadahalli Panchakuta Basadi, Kambadahalli Panchakuta Basadi, Kambadahalli Panchakuta Basadi, Kambadahalli  Panchakuta Basadi, Kambadahalli Panchakuta Basadi, Kambadahalli Panchakuta Basadi, Kambadahalli Panchakuta Basadi, Kambadahalli Panchakuta Basadi, Kambadahalli Panchakuta Basadi, Kambadahalli Panchakuta Basadi, Kambadahalli Panchakuta Basadi, Kambadahalli Jain Mutt, Kambadahalli
One could still feel the sounds of the once great dynasty here and such heritage should only be maintained by us and appreciated. This is one of the most amazing archaeological discoveries in the Indian history and is an asset to be preserved.
Just next to the temple we have the Jain mutt and we were fortunate to have blessings of Swamiji there. He explained us how this ancient site was left neglected over centuries and what steps are being taken by the ASI now to preserve its heritage. Recently a rare statue of Bahubali was unearthed at Kambadahalli by the archaeological department. It is believed that the devotees first visit the Holy place of Shravanabelagola which is around 18 kms from here, and then come to Kambadahalli on the way back to Bangalore.
Next we asked if there is any place nearby, we were told that there is a Garuda temple on the way in the village of Bindiganavile. It is an old temple built in Dravidian style. The Garuda statue here is believed to be very powerful as Garuda temples are not very common.
After having darshan of the Lord, we bid farewell to the place and headed back to Bangalore.
Garuda Temple, Bindiganavile Garuda Temple, Bindiganavile Garuda Temple, Bindiganavile Garuda Temple, Bindiganavile Bindiganavile Bindiganavile
How to reach: Take the NH48 Bangalore-Mangalore highway turn left at Bellur Cross to reach Kambadahalli.
Buses from Bangalore to Bellur Cross are available, from Bellur cross, take a bus to Nagamangala which will pass through Kambadahalli.
Reference: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kambadahalli
Map:

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