Sringeri & Around: Karnataka’s open secret…
Overview: Of my several visits to Sringeri, this one turned out to be the most memorable one. We were going there for a relatives' ceremony at the Sharadamba temple premises. We grabbed the opportunity to explore one of the most scenic temple towns in India in great detail. We started from Bangalore at around 4:30pm and reached at around 11:30 pm. As we were several people, we had booked a house which is usually given to a group of people coming for ceremonies in the temple.
Next day in the morning, we set off to the temple premises for the ceremonies. We had some time off so we decided to visit the temples inside the complex. We first went to the Vidyashankara temple. It looks in pristine beauty from outside and from inside also its vintage. We went for the morning aarti and were closely looking at the architecture of the temple. This is a 13th century temple built by the Vijayanagara kings. It has the features of the Hoysalas and the Vijayanagara dynasty. The temple features 12 pillars depicting the zodiac signs. This temple is also an architectural marvel which guides the sunlight in the morning to reach the deity.
Next we went to the Sringeri Sharada Peetham which is located in the same temple complex. This is one of the four Advaitha Mathas established by Adi Shankaracharya. The main building has been renovated after it was destroyed in a fire accident. This has been a center of Vedic learning since decades and has produced several scholars.
From there we went to the Shankaracharya temple which has relics of all the Swamijis who had been heading the Mutt. We have to cross the bridge to reach the other side.
In the later part of the morning we travelled around 25kms from Sringeri to reach Hariharapura which is known for the Sri Matha. Its a very scenic place on the banks of the Tunga river and surrounded by Arecanut trees. There is also a very old Harihareshwara temple near the banks of river Tunga. We crossed over the river which had shallow waters. We played in the waters for sometime and headed back towards Sringeri.
Post lunch we visited Kigga and Sirimane falls. Kigga is a very ancient place overlooking the hills. This is famous for Sri Rishyasringeshwara dedicated to Rishyasringa who is said to be worshipping Lord Shiva in these places. His stories can be read in Ramayana and Mahabharata.
Next we proceeded to Sirimane falls which is deep into the woods. We had to climb down a few steps to reach the falls. There was good amount of water and it was really enjoyable.
From there we went back to Sringeri where we completed all the ceremonies.
Adding to it, we had visited Horanadu as well when we visited Sringeri last time. Horanadu is known for the Annapoorneshwari temple, and the main deity was installed by Adi Shankaracharya. Horanadu falls under Malenadu region and is a part of the pilgrimage circuit of this region. Enroute is a scenic village called Basarikatte which is also known for Janardhana Swamy temple.
How to reach: Bus: KSRTC buses ply from Bangalore to Sringeri daily. Private buses available to move around places like Kigga, Horanadu, Hariharapura.
Train: Train No. 16227 Shimoga exp leaves Bangalore City at 23:15 and reaches Shimoga Town at 06:10 in the morning.Return train 16228 leaves Shimoga Town at 22:10 and reaches Bangalore City at 04:30.
By Car: Take the Bangalore-Mangalore road, At Hassan, turn towards Chikkamagalur, from there, turn towards Baalehonnur to reach Sringeri.
Food/Accommodation: Food(Prasadam) is available at temple in Sringeri. Also many restaurants are present outside. Accommodation is also available in Sringeri but can become difficult in peak season. KSTDC hotel is also an option in Sringeri.
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