Monday, 26 March 2012

Kanva Reservoir: A nut sized Dam

Kanva Reservoir: A nut sized Dam 

Overview: Having nothing much to do over a weekend, we thought of visiting a regular picnic spot near Bangalore, the Kanva reservoir. Its one of the favourite places for the bikers as one gets to go down till the mouth of the water. We thought of a family outing so we set off in our car. We had to take a right turn near Channapatna towards Kanva. The roads at that time were not in a very great condition. As it was just the beginning of the monsoons, there was very little water in the reservoir. We went to the Dam and enjoyed the scenic view of the surrounding hills. The water was looking crystal clear and the reflections from the sky gave it a blue look. It was a Sunday so we could see decent crowd at the place. Though there is nothing much to see at Kanva, one can be lucky enough to spot a few good birds.
After spending a while near the reservoir, we headed back towards Bangalore. On the way back, we visited the Kengal Hanumantha temple at Kengal.
Kanva Kanva Kanva Kanva Kanva Kanva Kanva Kanva KanvaKanva Kanva Kanva Kanva Kanva Kanva Kanva
How to reach: Bus: KSRTC buses ply regularly from Bangalore to Ramnagara, From Ramanagaram, hire a private vehicle to reach Kanva..
By Bike/Car: Take the SH17 towards Mysore, after Ramanagara, turn right towards Kanva.
Food/Accommodation: Not many options available for food at Kanva. Its advisable to carry home food.
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Monday, 19 March 2012

Rani Mahal, Gudnapur: Many questions unearthed

Rani Mahal, Gudnapur: Many questions unearthed 

Overview: After writing a full fledged blog on Banavasi, I still felt the need of again highlighting an excavated palace at Gudnapur near Banavasi called Rani Mahal. Rani Mahal is said to be built in the 5th century and was probably used by the queen during the Kadamba rule. Archaeologists are still trying to explore this place. We could see many Jain idols which reveals that this place was associated with Jainism. The palace overlooks the Gudnapur lake offering spectacular views of the sunset.
Still trying to find answers for many questions on this place:
1) First up, the history behind this palace
2) The story behind the name of the place, Rani Mahal
3) The association of this place with the Kadambas
Rani Mahal, GudnapurRani Mahal, Gudnapur Rani Mahal, GudnapurRani Mahal, Gudnapur  Rani Mahal, GudnapurRani Mahal, Gudnapur Rani Mahal, GudnapurOutside Rani Mahal, GudnapurSunset @ Gudnapur Lake
How to reach: Bus: KSRTC buses and also several private buses ply regularly from Bangalore to Sirsi. Private vehicles can be hired from Sirsi to Gudnapur.
By Bike/Car: Take the NH4 to reach Gudnapur via Shimoga, Birur, Kadur, Banavasi.
Food/Accommodation: Vanavasika Tourist Home caters to the hospitality of the tourists in Banavasi.
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Monday, 12 March 2012

Lost temples Of Karnataka: Turuvekere

Lost temples of Karnataka: Turuvekere 

Overview: We started our trip with Turuvekere, which houses a number of Hoysala temples. The first temple we visited was the Moole Shankara temple. One exceptional feature of this temple is a small opening from the eastern wall which allows the sunrays to fall on the idol on certain days. The temple was closed when we reached there but we got the keys to the temple and unlocked it ourselves. Its a very simple structure with not many carvings unlike the typical Hoysala temples.
Also nearby is the Gangadheshwara temple where we have the idol of Shiva and the Ganga flowing from the top of his head Shiva. The Nandi is well polished and has a shine. 
Moole Shankara temple, Turuvekere Moole Shankara temple, Turuvekere Moole Shankara temple, Turuvekere Moole Shankara temple, Turuvekere Moole Shankara temple, Turuvekere    
About half a kilometre from this temple is the Chennagaraya temple which is a very small temple. The premises was clean but the temple was closed. This temple also has nice shape but no carvings.
 Chennagaraya temple, Turuvekere
Also nearby is the Gangadheshwara temple where we have the idol of Shiva and the Ganga flowing from the top of his head Shiva. The Nandi is well polished and has a shine.
Gangadheshwara temple, Turuvekere Gangadheshwara temple, TuruvekereGangadheshwara temple, Turuvekere Gangadheshwara temple, Turuvekere Gangadheshwara temple, Turuvekere
References: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Turuvekere

How to reach: By Car: We started from Bangalore taking the Bangalore-Mangalore road, before Bellur Cross, watch out for a sign board indicating Turuvekere. Turn left and reach Turuvekere. From there proceed towards Aralaguppe, from there, take the forest road which leads to Arsikere. From there Haranahalli is around 8kms. After Haranahalli, we proceeded towards Javagal.
Food/Accommodation: Accommodation is available in Arsikere. So plan to reach Arsikere by evening to make the night stay.
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Monday, 5 March 2012

Cycling to Thattekere: Birds, Lake and Nature

Cycling to Thattekere: Birds, Lake and Nature 

Overview: Thattekere is a little village near Harohalli in Kanakapura Taluk. Known for the different varieties of birds and widely popular among the photography communities, its an ideal place for solitude not very far from the city. Approachable from both Bannerghatta and Kanakapura road, we decided to hit Thattekere on cycles to test our fitness levels as well. I rented a Rockrider 5.2 which looked like a pretty decent choice.
I started from my house at Banashankari 3rd stage at around 6am and joined my friend Abhay near IIMB, Bannerghatta road. It took some time for us to get out of the traffic, deafening honks and dust trail left by the buses and trucks. We reached Bannerghatta at around 7:15am and had breakfast near the bus stop. This was the place where we had to take a call on whether to proceed or head back. The breakfast gave us some energy to proceed further. After a couple of kilometres we came across a village road leading towards Shivanahalli.
The landscape suddenly changed once we entered the Shivanahalli road. There was no noise, no dust and no human being in sight for miles. An perfect place for cycling like the tailor-made cycling trails in the USA. After a few kms we saw a check post/watch tower indicating the beginning of forest area. The road snakes through fields and rugged terrains. One can spot occasional trucks passing and if lucky can spot some wild elephants as well. But the thing which attracts the photographers is the variety of birds which are seen here in the early hours and in the evenings. By the time we were there, it was bright and sunny and the birds might have gone into a hiding. But we did see some birds but the cycling experience was very cherishing..
Bannerghatta-Shivanahalli road Bannerghatta-Shivanahalli road Bannerghatta-Shivanahalli roadBannerghatta-Shivanahalli road    Bannerghatta-Shivanahalli road Winding roads Bannerghatta-Shivanahalli roadBannerghatta-Shivanahalli roadBannerghatta-Shivanahalli road Bannerghatta-Shivanahalli road
There is a Ramakrishna Mission Ashrama near Shivanahalli. Near Shivanahalli we have a small hamlet called Ragihalli which is another birders' delight. Its a small village and we could see some people still in bed at 9:30 am. The main occupation in these areas looks like Ragi plantation and rearing of silkworm.
Near Ragihalli Ragihalli Near Ramakrishna Ashrama Ragihalli Ragihalli Silkworm rearingRagihalli  Ragihalli Ragihalli Ragihalli
We proceeded further and the upward slopes now looked a bit scary having pedalled for more than 30kms at a stretch. Our next point was Thattekere which was still a good 8 kms from there. We proceeded further to find a rough rocky path leading to Anekal-Harohalli road.
 Off roading Off roading Off roadingOff roading
Finally we joined the Harohalli main road and pedalled for a few more kilometers to reach Thattekere. Thattekere, as the name suggests is known for a huge lake which is a paradise for bird watchers. Also near the lake is a temple dedicated to Mahadeshwara.
In deep silence and amidst the chirping of birds and gentle breeze blowing, we relaxed near the lake for a long time. After realising that we were in no position to pedal all the way back to Bangalore, we were thinking of alternatives, then somehow we cycled to the Thattekere village for some food. To our surprise, a plate of 2 bondas, 5 idlis, chutney and curd, and a tea cost only Rs. 12.5..Maybe the rates have not been updated since independence :)
 Thattekere entranceRoad to Thattekere Thattekere   Thattekere Thattekere Thattekere
We saw a KSRTC bus heading towards Harohalli. We boarded the bus along with our cycles and went to Harohalli. From Harohalli to Bangalore also we boarded a bus along with the bikes. We reached back Bangalore by 3pm and surely would want to do this circuit entirely on a bicycle after building some stamina..
Map:

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