Monday, 27 February 2012

Lost Temples of Karnataka: Koodli

Koodli: Ancient temples at the confluence of rivers 

Overview: On our visit to Mattur, we chanced upon an opportunity to visit Koodli, around 15 kms from Shimoga. Koodli has a very old history of human occupation. The villages around Koodli are said to be inhabited from 2nd century under the Chutu-Satavahana occupation of Vaijayanti(now Banavasi). This place was then occupied by the Kadambas, Badami and Kalyani Chalukyas and Hoysalas. And around the 16th century, they Keladi Nayakas established themselves under the Vijayanagara rule.
The Rameshwara temple at Koodli, dated back to 12th century is situated at the confluence of the rivers Tunga and Bhadra. Its a simple Hoysala temple without any intricate carvings. The temple in east-west orientation has a Garbagriha, Antarala and a closed Sabhamantapa with a central raised podium accommodating the structure of Nandi.
The pillars in the Sabhamantapa are lathe turned and polished. The sanctum has a Shiva Linga.
Koodli Koodli KoodliKoodliKoodli    Koodli  Koodli Koodli 
There is another temple beside this temple called Chintamani Narasimha temple.
KoodliKoodli
Another attraction in Koodli is the Shankara Mutt which was built by Sringeri swamiji on his return from pilgrimage. The details can be found in http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Koodli
We were fortunate enough to have blessings from the present Swamiji at the Mutt.
Koodli
How to reach: Bus: KSRTC buses and also several private buses ply regularly from Bangalore to Shimoga. Private vehicles can be hired from Shimoga to Koodli.
By Bike/Car: Take the NH4 to reach Tumkur, before reaching the town, turn left towards Shimoga. Travel to Shimoga via Tiptur and Arsikere.
Food/Accommodation: Plenty of options available for accommodation at Shimoga suiting all budgets.
Map:

View Larger Map

Friday, 17 February 2012

Belum Caves: Amazing Cave Exploration – My 50th Post

Belum Caves: Amazing Cave Exploration 

Please Click here to read the main post

Overview: One of the greatest wonders of nature I have seen is the Belum Caves, a 3.5 kms long cave discovered by a German explorer in the 1980s and was thrown open to the public in 2002. This also happens to be my 50th post after a silent start in May 2011. The Caves have the following sights to admire according to the board displayed at the entrance:
1) Meditation Room
2) Thousand Hoods
3) Mantapam
4) Banyan Tree Hall
5) Maya Mandir
6) Patala ganga
7) Stalactites and Stalagmites
8) Pit holes in the ceilings
9) Lines and fracture in the passage

It is believed that in ancient times many sages used to meditate inside the caves. Also some of the ancient Buddhist and Jain relics have been found inside the caves.
The beginning of our exploration started with a spacious hall and the passage got narrower as we got inside the cave. At some point its quite difficult to squeeze through the walls. The highlight of our trip was Paatalaganga, where there was a pond of water deep inside the caves where water kept dripping from the stalactites.

Belum Caves Belum Caves Belum Caves  Belum Caves Belum Caves Belum Caves Belum Caves Belum CavesBelum Caves Belum Caves Belum Caves Belum Caves Belum Caves Belum Caves Belum Caves Belum Caves Belum Caves Paatalaganga, Belum Caves Paatalaganga, Belum Caves Banyan tree formation, Belum caves
Its a magical experience and one has to visit these caves to admire nature's wonderful creation. More details on the cave can be read here.

How to reach: Bus: From Bangalore, there are direct buses to Tadipatri. From there the buses going towards Banaganapalli go via Belum Caves.
Car: From Bangalore, head on NH7 towards Hyderabad road, at Anantapur, turn right and move towards Tadipatri. Proceed further 30kms to reach Belum Caves. The total distance from Bangalore to Belum Caves is around 300 km. The roads are pretty good all the way.

Food/Accommodation: Dormitory facilities available at Belum caves by APTDC.

Monday, 13 February 2012

Owk Reservoir: Sights of a submerged village

Owk Reservoir: Sights of a submerged village 

Please Click here to read the main post
Overview: Hidden between Yaganti and Belum Caves is the Owk reservoir. Though we did not explicitly plan to visit Owk reservoir, we could not resist stopping our vehicle at the reservoir and clicking pictures. The reservoir was full with water and the other side offers a scenic view of the countryside. A little further ahead, one can see the remains of the village submerged under the reservoir. One can still see the houses and trees submerged under water.
Near Owk ReservoirView of the village behind Owk reservoirVillage submerged under waterOwk ReservoirVillage submerged under water Owk ReservoirOwk ReservoirOwk Reservoir Owk ReservoirOwk Reservoir
How to reach: Bus: From Bangalore, there are direct buses to Tadipatri. From there the buses going towards Banaganapalli go via Owk or Avaku.
Car: From Bangalore, head on NH7 towards Hyderabad road, at Anantapur, turn right and move towards Tadipatri. Proceed further 40kms to reach Owk Reservoir.
Food/Accommodation: Nearest towns are Banaganapalli and Tadipatri.

Thursday, 9 February 2012

Yaganti: Discover Spirituality

Yaganti: Discover Spirituality 

Please Click here to read the main post
Overview: Our first place for the day was Yaganti. We started from Banaganapalli at around 6:30am and reached Yaganti in around 20 mins. Yaganti is a spiritual place which is known for a pushkarni, Uma Maheshwara temple, a growing Nandi and a series of cave temples. We first went to the Pushkarni where several devotees were having holy bath in the clear waters. The water was lukewarm and was continuously flowing from the mouth of Nandi. One legend says that once when sage Agastya was meditating here, some crows disturbed him so he cursed them never to be seen around this place. Ever since then no crows are seen around Yaganti temple.
Good Morning at Yaganti
We could see the Nawab Palace which belonged to the Nawab of Kurnool on the way to Yaganti. The structure looks marvellous but due to time constraints we could not visit the palace.
Nawab Palace
Yaganti Pushkarni, YagantiPushkarni, Yaganti Pushkarni, Yaganti  Pushkarni, Yaganti
From here we went to the Uma Maheshwara temple which is surrounded by huge rocky hills from 3 sides. This is a 15th Century temple built during the Sangama Dynasty of the Vijayanagara period. There are interesting stories behind this temple. Please click here for more details.
Uma Maheshwara temple, YagantiUma Maheshwara temple, Yaganti Uma Maheshwara temple, Yaganti Uma Maheshwara temple, Yaganti  Uma Maheshwara temple, Yaganti Uma Maheshwara temple, Yaganti Uma Maheshwara temple, Yaganti
At the temple there is a huge idol of Nandi which is believed to grow continuously which is also verified by the Archaeological Survey of India. Just outside the temple there is a small pond which has crystal clear waters and one can see many fishes in the water.
 YagantiYaganti Yaganti  Growing Nandi, Yaganti Growing Nandi, Yaganti Growing Nandi, Yaganti
From the temple we went to the Rokalla Cave where Saint Agastya once meditated. There is a small shivalinga which is worshipped by the people.
Rokalla Cave, YagantiRokalla Cave, Yaganti Rokalla Cave, Yaganti Rokalla Cave, Yaganti  Rokalla Cave, Yaganti
There is a second cave dedicated to Lord Venkateshwara where it is said that the foot of the idol is damaged.
Venkateshwara Cave, YagantiVenkateshwara Cave, YagantiVenkateshwara Cave, Yaganti  
The third cave called the Shankara cave is the last of the caves which are present adjacent to each other. Inside the cave there is an idol of Shankaracharya and a Shivalinga as well.
Apart from these 3 caves there are more caves which are present in this region. One has to trek for some distance to reach those caves.
Shankara Cave, Yaganti Shankara Cave, Yaganti
How to reach: Bus: From Bangalore, there are direct buses to Tadipatri. From there board the buses going towards Banaganapalli. From there shared autos can be hired to reach Yaganti.
Car: From Bangalore, head on NH7 towards Hyderabad road, at Anantapur, turn right and move towards Tadipatri. Proceed further 30kms to reach Belum Caves. From Belum Caves Yaganti is around 45 kms.
Food/Accommodation: AC and Non-AC rooms available at Yaganti in Brahmani Residency. Also small lodges are available at Banaganapalli.