Thursday, 16 April 2015

Kittur: Legacy of Rani Chennamma

Kittur: Legacy of Rani Chennamma

Overview: Kittur Fort, in Belgaum district is a historical fort built by the Marathas and then later held by the local warrior, Rani Chennamma. The fort area is well maintained now, though the fort is completely is in ruins. The fort complex has a museum having relics of the archaeological artefacts recovered from the surrounding areas belonging to the Chalukya dynasty. Lot of rock-cut sculptors are showcased in the museum which were found in various temples across the district.
Kittur Rani ChennammaStone sculptors from various dynasties Bats near Kittur Fort
Outside the temple there is a structure which leads to the top from where the entire fort could be seen. From there we went to the Fort area which looked a shadow of what would have been a glorious palatial structure. There are boards displaying the area of the fort like hall, kitchen, praying area, etc.
Kittur Fort Kittur Fort Kittur Fort Kittur Fort Kittur Fort Kittur Fort    
There is a pole star vision room from where people used to gaze at the pole star from the angle at some particular time. There can be a well, and a swimming pool seen inside the complex.
Pole Star vision room Swimming pool, Kittur fort Kittur FortEastern side entrance, Kittur Fort Kittur Fort Kittur Fort
This definitely would have been a fantastic place and had it survived the onslaught of many rulers over the time, we could have got a chance to witness a huge palace with a wonderful architectural design.
References: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kittur_Fort
How to reach:  Bus: From Bangalore, there are direct buses to Belgaum and Dharwad. From these places, Kittur can be reached by bus.
Car/Bike: Head on NH4 towards Tumkur, after Dharwad, on the way to Belgaum, watch out for a board indicating Kittur on the right side.
Food/Accommodation: There is a small hotel for food for breakfast/lunch. For staying, hotels can be booked in either Belgaum or Dharwad.
Map:

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Saturday, 4 April 2015

Scotland: Greeting Nature and History

Scotland: Greeting Nature and History 

Overview: Expecting a not so rainy weekend, we decided to head towards Scotland from London. The drive through the motorways made us reach Glasgow before sundown.
Though we did not have any plans to visit Glasgow city as such due to time constraints, we managed to see the Glasgow Cathedral glowing in the evening lights.
 Road trip to Scotland Glasgow GlasgowGlasgow
The next morning we headed north towards Loch Ness, a fresh water lake known for the interesting stories of the monster which has been spotted in these waters.
Its a very scenic drive along the Loch Ness on one side and the Scottish highlands on the other.
 Loch Ness Loch NessLoch Ness Loch Ness Loch Ness Loch Ness
We then stopped at Glen Coe, a beautiful U-shaped valley with volcanic history. This place has several trekking trails and also several camping sites which is a heaven for adventurists. At the nearby Black Mount Estate we had a chance to listen to some Scottish music.Glen Coe is also known for the massacre of 1692.
Glen Coe Glen Coe Glen Coe Glen Coe Glen Coe Glen Coe
Next we headed towards Inverlochy Castle, which is in ruins currently but has survived the battles. The 13th century Castle, even though in ruins, has been standing unaltered ever since it was built by Comyn family in 1280. Inverlochy Castle is built on a site where River Lochy meets Loch Linnhe, linking the Great Glen and the northern highlands with the sea and the west.
Inverlochy Castle Inverlochy Castle
We then stopped at Inverness for lunch and went towards the 13th century Urquhart Castle. Built on the banks of Loch Ness, this Castle is set in a beautiful location. Even though the outer structure is in ruins, the inner part of the castle has been renovated and maintained by Scottish Heritage.
Inverness Urquhart Castle Urquhart Castle
From Urquhart we headed towards Glenfeddich Distillery, founded in 1886, in the Glen of River Fiddich. We had a chance to see the whiskey producing unit and how they stock it. We also had a chance to taste different versions of the whiskey.
Route to GlenfiddichGlenfiddich Distillery Glenfiddich Distillery  Glenfiddich Distillery
We decided to call it a day and proceeded to our hotel in Edinburgh where we stayed overnight.
We started our next day with a visit to the historic Edinburgh Castle. This is a huge Castle built originally in the 12th century and is built upon the plug of an extinct volcano. The Castle overlooks the historic city of Edinburgh and the river Forth.
From the Castle we explored the other attractions in the city including the Cathedrals, the city centre and the aquarium.
At the end we visited the Forth Bridge, known as the icon of Scotland. Built over the Firth of Forth in 1890, this was then the longest single cantilever bridge span.
Edinburgh CastleEdinburgh Castle Edinburgh Castle Edinburgh Edinburgh Edinburgh Edinburgh Edinburgh  Maze at EdinburghEdinburgh Deep Sea WorldForth Brisge
References: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scotland
How to reach: Scotland has direct road/rail links from England and Wales. From Northern Ireland, Scotland is connected through ferry links.
Food/Accommodation: Glasgow and Edinburgh cater to visitors from all communities and has all kinds of restaurants.