Saturday, 18 August 2012

Rock Climbing Series 6: Skandagiri

Skandagiri: Playing with the mist

Overview: Skandagiri is probably the first place which I explored through trekking. Back in June 2008, on a cloudy monsoon morning, I set off to Skandagiri with my college friend. My friend, who enjoys biking, and I enjoy hiking, combined each other's passion and set off to Skandagiri. Skandagiri is situated on a village called Kalavarahalli village near Chikkaballapur which is the base of the hill. Though trekking is done in Skandagiri at midnight or past midnight so that they get a glimpse of the magical sunrise, we decided to go there a bit late to avoid the crowd. We started from Bangalore at around 5:30am and reached Skandagiri at around 7:00am. We parked our bikes at Papagni Mutt which is at the foothills. The hills looked inviting and the weather was cool. So we immediately set off to climb the hill. The path is well laid with directions pointed out on rocks at every step. We could see people climbing down after catching the sunrise. We climbed steadily and the trek is not a very difficult one. The scene around the hill was very enchanting and we could get the fresh smell of grass and herbs on the way. We climbed further and found some open space where we rested for a while. We carried on after that and finally reached the top in around 2.5 hours. Very strong and cool winds were blowing made it hard for us to hear each other but the experience was out of this world. On the top we could see a ruined temple, a Nandi bull and a few structures made of stones probably used during Tipu Sultan's times. We were struggling to hold on to our jackets which were flying with the wind. After enjoying the experience we started climbing down. We had a chance to see various varieties of flowers blooming on the way. We reached the base in around 1 hour and the descent was less tiring. It was a wonderful trekking experience and would like to do it again during sunrise.
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References: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Skandagiri
How to reach: Car/Bike: Head on NH7 towards Bellary, at Chikkaballapur town turn left towards Kalavarahalli. From the village ask for directions to Papagni Mutt. Park the vehicle at Papagni Mutt and begin climbing.
Food/Accommodation: Food options available at Chikkaballapur town and on NH7.
Map:

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Friday, 10 August 2012

Balligavi: Village enriched with history

Balligavi: Village enriched with history 

Overview: Balligavi is a small village in Shikaripura Taluk of Shimoga district also known was Dakshina Kedara. Legend says that it was the capital of the demon king Bali and was called Balipura in those times. Balligavi flourished under Kalyani Chalukyas ruling for 200 years. Also serving as the center of learning during the times of Kadambas of Banavasi.
The Kedareshwara temple, built in the 11th century in east-west orientation is a Trikutachala or triple-celled temple of Hoysala style. The western cell has vestibule or Sukansi and the northern and southern cells have an Ardhamandapa. In the interior, the Mahamandapa walls are pierced with Devekoshtas while the western and southern cells have Shiva Linga, the northern cell enshrines Vishnu.The artistic wall decor and the general sculptures are of Dravidian architecture. This method is also referred to as Karnata Dravida.
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Another historic structure in Balligavi is the Bherundeshwara temple with a 9 meters high Vuaya Stambha. The shrine, raised over a platform was built by Chamundarayarasa, general of Chalukyan ruler. The pillar has a square base which has a sculptor of a two-headed mythical bird with human body known as Gandabherunda. The wide open eyes reflect the anger in the sculptor, and the image is decorated with various jewellery.
Bherundeshwara temple, Balligavi

How to reach: Bus: KSRTC buses and also several private buses ply regularly from Bangalore to Shimoga. Buses are available from Shimoga to Balligavi.
By Bike/Car: Take the NH4 to reach Tumkur, before reaching the town, turn left towards Shimoga. Travel to Shimoga via Tiptur and Arsikere. From Shimoga, take the Honnavar road to reach Balligavi
Food/Accommodation: Plenty of options available for accommodation at Shimoga suiting all budgets.
Map:

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Friday, 3 August 2012

Mahadevapura: Mysore’s best kept secret

Mahadevapura: Mysores best kept secret 

Overview: Mahadevapura is a silent little picnic spot near Mandya on the Banks of Cauvery and some exotic birds. We decided to go for biking to Mahadevapura and parked the vehicle near the river. There is a small Shiva temple and close to it is the river bank. There were people offering coracle rides to the other end to have a glimpse of the birds. The coracle ride was very good and though we were not lucky enough to spot birds, we stopped by near a small waterfall formation which looked out of this world. Stayed there for some time, and then we returned back to our bikes. A short trip, though its worth visiting during early mornings or evenings. Also it looks great during monsoons. Not to mention the drive to this place is through scenic countryside and lovely villages.
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How to reach: By Car/Bike: Head towards Mysore road on SH12 and at 8 kms before Srirangapatna turn right at Baburayana Koppalu. From there watch out for an arch mentioning directions to Ranganathittu Bird Sanctuary (Not to be confused with the original Ranganathittu. From there ask for directions to Mahadevapura.
Food/Accommodation: Its advisable to carry food from home as there are no proper restaurants on the way.
Map:

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