Friday, 27 July 2012

Makalidurga: Story of a Railway station in the middle of hills

Makalidurga: Story of a Railway station in the middle of hills 

Overview: Makalidurga is a small hillock just next to the railway station and is increasingly becoming popular with photographers, trekkers and just nature admirers. We didn't have trekking in mind on that Sunday and set off on our bikes towards Doddaballapur. Makalidurga is around 18 kms from Doddaballapur and is just past the junction of Ghati Subrahmanya. We reached the station and the view of the tracks and the surrounding hills was a beauty of a sight. This railway route is known for big boulders and hills around it. We parked our vehicles near the railway station and started walking on the tracks. We didn't actually intend to do trekking as we were not quite prepared for it. We did walk a fair distance on the tracks though which was fun. We saw a train coming from Bangalore heading towards Gouribidanur which was exciting to watch. This place is famous for the hills lined with lemon grass. We spent around a couple of hours in solitude and headed towards Gunjur Lake which is around 1 km from Makalidurga station. The lake was very huge with rain water filling it and increasing its size. We relaxed beside the lake for sometime and headed back towards Bangalore.
Makalidurga MakalidurgaMakalidurga  Makalidurga MakalidurgaMakalidurgaMakalidurga Makalidurga Makalidurga Gunjur LakeGunjur LakeGunjur Lake Gunjur Lake  Gunjur LakeGunjur LakeGunjur Lake Gunjur Lake Makalidurga
How to reach: Bus: KSRTC buses ply regularly from Bangalore to Gouribidanur stop at Makalidurga.
Train: Train No 56503 Yesvantpur-Vijayawada passenger starts from Yesvantpur at 8:00am and reaches Makalidurga at 09:20am. The return train departs from Makalidurga at 02:40pm and reaches Yesvantpur at 5:10pm.
By Bike/Car: Take the NH7 towards Hebbal, at Yelahanka cross, turn towards Yelahanka New Town, at Yelahanka, take the Doddaballapur road. Proceed towards Gouribidanur after Doddaballapur for around 18 kms to reach Makalidurga.
Food/Accommodation: Not many options available for food at Makalidurga. Its advisable to carry home food.
Map:

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Friday, 20 July 2012

Bhadravati: Pages from history…

Bhadravati: Pages from history… 

This Post is a part of the Hoysala Diary. Please Click here to read the main post
Overview: We covered Bhadravati during our trip to Mattur-Hosahalli. In the middle of the city is the LakshmiNarasimhaswamy temple built by the Hoysalas in the 13th century. Being a Live temple, it is a bit crowded compared to other Hoysala temples. Intricate carvings line the walls and ceilings in the interior and the outer walls are carved with deities and dancers. To reach Bhadravati, travel along NH4 till Tumkur, before reaching Tumkur town, turn left towards Shimoga. Bhadravati is around 30 kms before Shimoga. Lot of KSRTC buses ply between Bangalore and Bhadravati.
LakshmiNarasimhaswamy temple, BhadravatiLakshmiNarasimhaswamy temple, Bhadravati LakshmiNarasimhaswamy temple, Bhadravati LakshmiNarasimhaswamy temple, Bhadravati LakshmiNarasimhaswamy temple, Bhadravati LakshmiNarasimhaswamy temple, Bhadravati  LakshmiNarasimhaswamy temple, Bhadravati LakshmiNarasimhaswamy temple, Bhadravati 

References: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bhadravathi,_Karnataka

Thursday, 12 July 2012

Kaivara, Kailasgiri & Kotilingeshwara: A day well spent

Kaivara, Kailasgiri & Kotilingeshwara: 3 wonderful Ks in a day 

Overview: Kaivara is around 70 kms from Bangalore and is known for the legends associated with it. It is believed that the Pandavas spent sometime in Kaivara which was then known as Ekachakrapura during their exile, and it is also said that the legendary Bheema slayed the demon Bakasura in a hill near Kaivara.
Kaivara is also known for the 18th century saint Kaivara Thatayya, or Yogi Narayana who lived here and has written many poems in praise of the Lord and also has written prophecies on the future events on Earth. There is a beautiful ashram in the middle of the Kaivara town. Painted in white, it is a big complex where accommodation and food is provided for the devotees. The ashram overlooks the hill which has a boulder in the shape of an eagle. That is supposed to be the hill where Bheema killed Bakasura.
Next to the ashram there is a temple which is dedicated to Amar Narayanaswamy and it is said that the idol was installed by the Hoysalas. The temple has a huge tower with sculptors of various Gods carved in it. And the more adventurous can also take up trekking to the top of the hill and at the entrance there is an arch depicting the five Pandavas. There is a small temple nearby  dedicated to Lord Rama called Aranya Rama temple.
Kaivara arch depicting PandavasAmar Narayanaswamy temple, KaivaraSri YogiNarayana Mutt, Kaivara Sri YogiNarayana Mutt, KaivaraKaivaram eagle shaped boulder at a distanceAranya Rama temple, Kaivara
As we had our parents with us, we didn't go for trekking. We visited another Vaikunta, a big temple near the cave and had an excellent collection of all the saints from all eras. It was very nice to see the idols of all the Rishis and the Avatars of Lord Vishnu as well. Around 2 kms from Kaivara we went to Kailasgiri, another beautiful place where there is a huge cave and a small temple is also present inside that. We went inside the cave and it was a silent place very much suitable for meditation. We had our lunch near the cave which was served to all the devotees.
Vaikuntha near KaivaraVarious Sages in VaikunthaVaikuntha near Kaivara Caves, KailasgiriCaves, KailasgiriCaves, Kailasgiri
As we had around half a day at our disposal, we decided to visit the famous Kotilingeshwara temple in Kolar district. Though we realised on the way that we had taken a long detour, but still continued on our way. I must say that we had a spectacular drive through the countryside with hills on either side of the roads and colourful flowers blooming all the way. The below images speak for themselves.
Countryside near KailasgiriCountryside near KailasgiriCountryside near KailasgiriCountryside near Kailasgiri 
Once we reached Kotilingeshwara, we were thrilled to find a huge Shivalinga in a vast area surrounded by a million Shivalingas which was a delight to see. The whole complex is full of lingas, hence the name Kotilingeshwara(meaning a million lingas in Kannada). Many people over a couple of decades have installed lingas in the complex for world peace.
Kammasandra ArchKotilingeshwara Kotilingeshwara Kotilingeshwara
After witnessing this wonder, we started back towards Bangalore.
References: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kaivara
How to reach: Bus: KSRTC buses ply from Bangalore to Chintamani. From there, Kaivara and Kailasgiri can be covered by a taxi/auto. Kotilingeshwara can be reached by taking a bus from Bangalore to Bangarpet or KGF.
By Bike/Car: Take the NH4 towards Hosakote, at Hosakote, turn towards Chintamani. Take a deviation before Chintamani to reach Kaivara. To reach Kotilingeshwara from here, go to Chintamani, and cross Mulbagal and NH4 towards Kammasandra.
Food/Accommodation: Food is available at all temples in Kaivara. Accomodation is also available in the Ashram in Kaivara on request.
Map:

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Thursday, 5 July 2012

Rock Climbing Series: Channarayanadurga, a lesser known hill fort

Channarayanadurga: A lesser known hill fort  

Overview: Talking about offbeat trekking destinations around Bangalore, we came across Channarayanadurga, a hill fort built by Hyder Ali just opposite to the Madhugiri fort. It is a bit tricky to reach this place with not many signboards leading to this place from the main road. We reached the base of the hill late in the morning and started climbing even as the sun was beating down. We realised that it was not a perfect day for trekking and hiking. The trek is not a very difficult one on a normal day with steps carved out of rocks at some places. At one place it is very steep but not comparable to Madhugiri. On the top of the fort we have a small Ganesha temple which is in ruins. There is also a small pond where some kids were playing. Cool winds blowing at the top did a lot to soothe our souls. This fort, even though in proper condition after so many years, deserves to be promoted more and should be developed as a tourist destination.
Channarayanadurga Channarayanadurga Channarayanadurga Channarayanadurga Channarayanadurga Channarayanadurga Channarayanadurga ChannarayanadurgaChannarayanadurga  Channarayanadurga Channarayanadurga Channarayanadurga
How to reach: Bus: KSRTC buses ply from Bangalore to Madhuguri regularly. Also Private buses are available from Kalasipalyam to Madhugiri. From Madhugiri, hire a private vehicle to reach Channarayanadurga.
By Car: Travel towards Tumkur road NH4. At Dobaspet, turn right towards Madhugiri. At Koratagere, turn right and watch out for signboard pointing to Siddarabetta. Turn left towards Siddarabetta and after a few kilometers, ask for directions to Channarayanadurga. The road leading to the right goes to Channarayanadurga.
Food/Accommodation: Its advisable to carry food from home as there are no proper restaurants on the way. The nearest restaurant is in Dobaspete (Kamat Upachar).
Map:

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