Monday, 24 June 2013

Chikkajala & Srinivasa Sagara: Forgotten places amidst developing infrastructure

 Chikkajala & Srinivasa Sagara: Forgotten places amidst developing infrastructure

Overview: I read about a place called Srinivasa Sagara which is a lake near Chikkaballapur and comes lively in monsoon as the water falls from the reservoir when it overflows. I couldn't get much details on this place on the web, so I decided to club it with Chikkajala fort and Akkayyamma hill.
1) Chikkajala Fort: Though nothing is clearly known about this fort, this fort is believed to have been since Hoysalas and then used by Tipu Sultan. But now its in a total mess and nothing much remains out of it. We saw that fort which lies on NH7, then we went inside Chikkajala to the hill of Akkayyamma. It looked beautiful with cloudy weather and was pleasant and there were not many steps leading to the top. We went into the temple, had darshan of the Goddess and rested next to it. There are a lot of pillars on the hill which are believed to be built more than 1000 years ago. Kodigehalli, which is not very far from here, has been a center of exploration by the archaeologists and they have found pre-historic coins in this region.
Chikkajala Fort Chikkajala Fort Akkayyamma Hill Akkayyamma Hill Akkayyamma HillAkkayyamma Hill 
2) In the evening we proceeded towards Srinivasa Sagara. This place has to be reached by crossing Chikkaballapur and is around 8 kms from the town on Chikkaballapur- Gouribidanur road. It is better to ask for directions from the villagers. Once we reached the reservoir, we could see the lake filled with water but it was not overflowing as expected. A nice place to spend an evening though, we sat near the rocks for sometime before heading back home. This place is usually crowded on weekends by nearby villagers as it is close to Chikkaballapur.
Chikkaballapur-Gouribidanur roadChikkaballapur-Gouribidanur road  Chikkaballapur-Gouribidanur road SrinivasaSagara SrinivasaSagaraSrinivasaSagara SrinivasaSagara  SrinivasaSagara Chikkaballapur-Gouribidanur roadChikkaballapur-Gouribidanur road  Sunset@Devanahalli
How to reach: Bus: BMTC buses ply from Majestic to Chikkajala & Uttanahalli. For Srinivasa Sagara, travel upto Chikkaballapur by KSRTC bus and hire a local transport from there.
By Bike/Car: Take NH7 towards Devanahalli, at Chikkajala, turn right to reach Akkayyamma hill. To reach Srinivasa Sagara, continue on NH7 till Chikkaballapur, from there take the Gouribidanur road. Srinivasa Sagara is around 8kms from Chikkaballapur.
Food/Accommodation: Not many options for food available on the way.
Map:

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Tuesday, 18 June 2013

Lost temples of Karnataka: Lakkundi

Lakkundi: From the Chalukya Trail

This Post is a part of the Chalukya Trail. Please Click here to read the main post
Overview: After visiting Gadag we proceeded towards Lakkundi, around 8kms from Gadag. On reaching Lakkundi, we saw a big Heritage center built inside an old temple. We discovered that there are several temples built by the Chalukyas in ruins inside Lakkundi. We went to Brahma Jinalaya (Basadi), Kashivishvanatha Temple, Nanneshwara Temple and Manikesvara Temple.
Beahma Jinalaya was built in 1007 AD by Attiyabbe, wife of Chief Nagadeva. Built in South Indian Dravida architecture, an unusual feature of this temple is the second functional smaller sanctum over the ground floor sanctum.
The next was Kashivishwanatha temple where a small surya shrine faces the main shrine on the west. The temple is built in Nagara style of architecture with intricate carvings.
Nanneshwara Temple is another example of Chalukya craftsmanship. It is much similar to the Kashivishveshwara temple.
Manikeshwara temple is one of the prime attractions in Lakkundi with its stepped well or Kalyani. The temple is dedicated to Shiva with carved doorways. The kalyani next to it is called muskin bhavi which looks terrific from the top. The water can be collected by reaching the base of the well using a series of steps in any direction. This type of a kalyani can also be seen at the Hoysala temple in Hulikere.
Lakkundi Lakkundi Lakkundi LakkundiLakkundi  Lakkundi Lakkundi Lakkundi Lakkundi Lakkundi Lakkundi Lakkundi Lakkundi Lakkundi Lakkundi Lakkundi Lakkundi Lakkundi
How to reach:  Bus: From Bangalore, there are many direct buses to Gadag. From Gadag, many buses and private vehicles ply to Lakkundi.
Car/Bike: From Davangere, head on NH4 towards Bankapura. At Bankapura cross, turn right to reach Gadag. From Gadag, travel for around 8 kms towards Koppal to reach Lakkundi.
Nearby places:
Kuknur & Itagi: Both Kuknur and Itagi house lot of ancient remains of Chalukya temples. Mahadeva temple at Itagi is a mix of Nagara and Dravidian style of architecture. We missed out on these places due to lack of time. Below is a pic from Itagi (Courtesy Wikipedia)  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mahadeva_Temple,_Itagi
800pxItagi_Mahadeva_temple_thumb1

Tuesday, 11 June 2013

Yercaud: A weekend in the Eastern Ghats

Yercaud: A weekend in the Eastern Ghats

Overview: Yercaud may not be as popular destination as Ooty, but definitely worth a visit for a weekend to cool off. We decided to drive all the way to Yercaud. Considering the distance, we set off early at around 6am from Bangalore. The roads were not crowded and NH7 was in perfect condition. We had breakfast at A2B near Krishnagiri at around 7:30am. Bypassing all villages, we reached Salem at around 9:00am. Driving along the ghats was the first experience for me. Was fun to begin with 20 hair-pin bends. We finally reached Yercaud at around 10:30am. Though it was sunny, cool breeze was blowing which was very pleasant. We checked into our resort and settled decided to relax a bit. We decided to roam around the place after lunch.
KA-TN Border Krishnagiri Lake NH7 NH7 NH7 Salem-Yercaud Road Ghats Ghats Ghats 
We went to the Botanical garden post lunch and had a leisurely stroll through it. Its a welcome break where one gets to hear only nature's sounds away from the noise of city. Close to it was the Lady’s seat which offered a majestic view of the Salem town from the top. We returned back to the resort in the evening. It became really cold in the evening and had to get our warm clothing on. It was really to see stars and the bright moonlight clearly as the pollution levels were very low.
Lady's Seat, YercaudLady's Seat, Yercaud  Botanical Garden, Yercaud  Botanical Garden, Yercaud  Botanical Garden, Yercaud Botanical Garden, Yercaud Yercaud
Next day we went to the Pagoda point. It is lined with stone Pagodas and offers a breathtaking view of the eastern ghats. There is a watch tower as well which offers panoramic view of the hills.
Pagoda Point, YercaudPagoda Point, Yercaud Pagoda Point, Yercaud 
Next we went to the Rajarajeshwari temple which is frequented by the villagers and is believed to bless everyone who comes there.
Rajarajeshwari Temple, Yercaud
Then we proceeded to the cave temple of Servarayan or Murugan which is situated atop Servaroyan hill. Its a cave temple and is visited by all the tourists in Yercaud. We sat at the view point near the temple enjoying the cool breeze.
Servarayan Temple, Yercaud Servarayan Hills, Yercaud Servarayan Hills, YercaudServarayan Hills, Yercaud  Yercaud
Next we went to the Greenhouse where we could see many varieties of flowers and spices grown. Next to it is the Anna Park which is well maintained.
GreenHouse, Yercaud GreenHouse, Yercaud GreenHouse, Yercaud Anna Park, Yercaud Anna Park, Yercaud Anna Park, YercaudAnna Park, Yercaud  
Later we went to the Yercaud Lake where we went for row boating. As it is in the middle of the town, we could see trees and hills surrounding the lake. Beside the lake is a bird sanctuary which is home to a variety of birds. From there we headed back to the resort.
Yercaud Lake Yercaud Lake  Yercaud Lake Yercaud Lake Yercaud Yercaud
The area behind the resort is a dense forest. We decided to have a stroll in the woods for a while. It look vintage in the evening sun and the birds heading back after the day's work.
Yercaud Yercaud Yercaud
On day 3, we checked out of the resort and was the end of our stay in Yercaud. On the way we went to the century old Montfort school which is open for public only on Sundays. It is built in old Gothic architecture with granite and wood. The inner campus is lined with trees, playgrounds, church and a huge globe.
Montfort School, Yercaud Montfort School, Yercaud Montfort School, Yercaud Montfort School, Yercaud Montfort School, Yercaud Montfort School, Yercaud
Completing the trip on a high note, with complete relaxation over the 3 days, we headed back towards Bangalore.
How to reach: Rail: Plenty of trains available from Bangalore to Salem, best option being 12677 Ernakulam express leaving Bangalore at 6:15am and reaching Salem at 10:02am.
Bus: Plenty of buses ply from Bangalore to Salem. From Salem, buses are available to Yercaud.
Car: Head on NH7 towards Hosur. Drive on till Salem, from there, take the ghat road to Yercaud.
Food/Accomodation: On the way, A2B restaurants at Krishnagiri is a good option. At Yercaud, plenty of resorts and budget hotels available for stay.
Map:

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