Wednesday, 7 October 2015

Magadi: Medieval Footprints

Magadi: Medieval Footprints 

Overview: Magadi taluk is known for lot of history and being close to Bangalore, it is easy to explore. But lot of places around Magadi are still less visited by people from other towns.
Ranganathaswamy temple: This is a 11th century temple built by Chola kings which was later renovated during Vijayanagar rule. This temple has carvings inside the temple and inscriptions about the history. More details and pictures here - http://arunthetraveller.blogspot.in/2011/06/rock-climbing-series-i.html
Someshwara temple: This has resemblance to the Someshwara temples at Ulsoor and the one in Kolar. So this must be initially built by the Cholas and later expanded by Kempegowda. There is also a watch tower built by Kempegowda which is similar to the Kempegowda towers in Bangalore.
Someshwara Temple, MagadiSomeshwara Temple, Magadi Someshwara Temple, Magadi Someshwara Temple, Magadi  Someshwara Temple, Magadi Someshwara Temple, Magadi Someshwara Temple, Magadi  Someshwara Temple, Magadi Watch Tower, Magadi
Fort: The walls of the fort built by Kempegowda can still be seen near the bus stand area.
Magadi Fort walls
Kalya caves: Around 10 kms from Magadi, we come across natural caves and cave temples where saints were known to meditate during ancient times. It requires climbing a series of steps and at a few places climbing on the rocks. But the climb is not tough.
Kalya Kalya Kalya Kalya  Kalya Kalya Kalya Kalya Kalya Kalya Kalya Kalya
Savandurga: Famous for rock climbing, this also has a Lakshmi Narasimha Swamy temple at the foothills which is visited by many people. http://arunthetraveller.blogspot.in/2011/06/rock-climbing-series-i.html

References: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Magadi
How to reach: Magadi is well connected by road from Bangalore and can also be reached from Bangalore-Mangalore highway. From Magadi one can hire private auto/taxi to roam around the taluk.
Food/Accommodation: Very limited options available for food. Its advisable to carry food from home. Also no options available for stay.

Tuesday, 18 August 2015

Lost temples of Karnataka: Kikkeri, Govindanahalli, Hosaholalu, Kallahalli

Lost temples of Karnataka: Kikkeri, Govindanahalli, Hosaholalu, Kallahalli 

Overview: We continued our exploration of hidden Hoysala gems into interior Karnataka. This time we did Kikkeri and Govindanahalli.
Kikkeri is a very small village in Mandya district. The pillars and carvings of the Brahmeshwara temple are typical of Hoysala architecture. Though the overall structure looks even older, like the ones built during the Ganga dynasty. As per the locals its a 12th century temple. It has a dried out 'kalyani' and a small lake just outside the temple adds to the beauty.
Brahmeshwara temple, Kikkeri Brahmeshwara temple, Kikkeri Brahmeshwara temple, Kikkeri Brahmeshwara temple, Kikkeri Brahmeshwara temple, Kikkeri Kikkeri
From Kikkeri we went to Govindanahalli, known for Panchalingeshwara temple. Its a small and beautiful temple with exquisite Hoysala architecture, built around the same time as the temple in Kikkeri. The temple was not crowded and we were the only visitors to the place for the morning.
Panchalingeshwara temple, GovindanahalliPanchalingeshwara temple, Govindanahalli  Panchalingeshwara temple, Govindanahalli Panchalingeshwara temple, Govindanahalli Panchalingeshwara temple, Govindanahalli Govindanahalli
Next we went to Hosaholalu, 20kms south of Govindanahalli. The Lakshminarayana temple was the best for the day as far as the stories carved out of the temple walls were amazing. This temple has a big 'Gopura' or tower again with the Hoysala stamp. The interiors were also carved to perfection and can easily compete with Belur and Halebid. This temple somewhat reminded me of the Lakshminarasimhaswamy temple at Javagal.
Lakshminarayana temple, Hosaholalu Lakshminarayana temple, Hosaholalu Lakshminarayana temple, Hosaholalu Lakshminarayana temple, Hosaholalu Lakshminarayana temple, Hosaholalu  Lakshminarayana temple, Hosaholalu
From here we proceeded to Kallahalli, where we have the Bhu Varaha Swamy temple. This is perhaps one of the oldest temples in Karnataka which has several mythological stories based on the inscriptions found near the temple. This temple is located on the banks of the river Hemavathi and is currently being renovated, although the 25feet tall Varahaswamy statue stands as it is. Lunch is offered in the temple premises in the afternoon post-aarthi.
Inscriptions at Kallahalli Kallahalli Kallahalli

How to reach: Roads are very good and its a pleasant experience to drive on Bangalore-Mangalore highway till Channaraypatna. From there we need to take the country roads leading to these places.
Frequent bus services available from Bangalore to Channarayapatna. From there we can get connecting bus to Kikkeri but its not frequent. Cabs can be hired from either Channarayapatna or from Mandya to cover these places.
Food/Accommodation: Very limited options available for food. Its advisable to carry food from home. Nearest place to stay can be Channarayapatna.

Friday, 17 July 2015

George Town, Penang, Malaysia: Exploring one of the oldest towns in Malaysia

George Town, Penang, Malaysia: Exploring one of the oldest towns in Malaysia 

Overview: After visiting the natural beauties of Penang in Penang Hill, the national Park and the beaches, our next destination was the famous Kek Lok Si Buddhist temple and the historic George Town, which is also a UNESCO world heritage site.
First we visited the Kek Lok Si temple, which can be reached till the top if we have our own vehicle or commute by a taxi. But if travelling by Rapid Transport buses, one has to get down at the bus stop and climb a series of stairs to reach the temple top. Its Pagoda is a blend of Burmese, Thai and Chinese architecture. At the top there is a huge 100 ft statue of Kuan Yin which is visible from as far as the top of Penang Hill.
The Outer part of George Town is more developed with malls, big skyscrapers like the Komtar building and other temples/mosques can be seen.
The inner part of the city still retains the old world charm. The chowrasta market is the largest market area of George Town. One attraction in the heart of Georgetown is the use of Trishaw for commuting. Another major attraction in the town is the street art by Ernest Zacharevic. Lot of paintings and Iron Caricatures can be seen on the historic walls of the town. We then visited Fort Cornwallis and the Town hall before heading towards Little India for dinner.
Kek Lok Si temple Kek Lok Si temple Kek Lok Si temple Kek Lok Si temple Mariamman temple, Penang Penang Penang Komtar building, Georgetown, Penang Wall Art, Georgetown Georgetown, Penang  Wall Art, Georgetown Wall Art, Georgetown Armenian Street, Georgetown Armenian Street, Georgetown Wall Art, Georgetown Georgetown Fort Cornwallis, Georgetown, Penang Fort Cornwallis, Georgetown, PenangWar Memorial, Georgetown, Penang
References: http://www.tourismpenang.net.my/
How to reach: Penang is well connected by road with the rest of Malaysia. It also has an international airport serving the Asian sector.
Food/Accommodation: Plenty of food options available for various types of cuisines. Being a business destination as well, Penang has some very good luxury hotels.