Tuesday, December 14, 2010

The Winged Jewels of Kaundinya Wildlife Sanctuary

        KWLS is home to a variety of insects. It is an ideal environment since insects thrive under moist conditions and the flora here is in abundance.
        Among the insect groups, moths and butterflies come under a large group called Lepidoptera ( scaly wing). Though moths and butterflies are similar, they differ externally. The antennae of butterflies are slender with  clubbed tip while those of a moth can range from feathery or hairlike to even club shaped. India is home to about 1500 species of butterflies. Butterflies can vary in shape , color and size.
       Presently, butterflies are classified into two super-families, of which  hesperioidea has all the skippers, while papilionoidea includes the rest, the true butterflies. 
     Hesperioidea (Skippers) : The rapid bounding flight of these butterflies has given them their name . These are intermediate for true butterflies and true moths . Skippers of two types -one type hold their wings open flat when settled  and others usually alight with their wings completely closed. This consist of a single family of Hesperiidae
Small Branded Swift Skipper
      Papilionoidea: This consist of 4 families , Papilionidea, Pieridae, Nymphalidae and Lycaenidae.
      Papilionidea(Swallow tails): Truly the most spectacular group of Butterflies. This group not only has the largest butterfly, the southern birdwing, but also handsome species, the Paris peacock. Most among this group have tailed hind wings, hence the popular name Swallow tails . 
Lime Butterfly  Open
Lime butterfly closed
       Pieridae(White and Yellows): These are commonly called white and yellows because of their wing are mainly white or yellow . The undersides of the wings of some these butterflies have cryptic marking, with only tip or apex of the fore wing visible .
Common Gull
Common Jezebel
      Lycaenidae(Blues): The largest family of butterflies, having some of the prettiest and smallest butterflies. A majority of these butterflies have blue upper sides, though there are species with other colors too . A good lot of them have thread like tails at their hind wings ranging from small tufts to long fluffy hairs . 
Stale Flash Butterfly
      Nymphalidae (Brush footed Butterflies): The first pair of legs is much reduced in size. These legs are covered with long hairs, appear like brushes . Being so small , the fore legs are useless and Nymphalids use only four legs to perch and to walk .
Blue Pansy Butterfly
Common Bush Brown
Common Evening Brown
Male Danaid Egg Fly Butterfly open
Male Danaid Egg fly Butterfly closed
Long Brand Bush Brown
Small Long Brand Bush brown
Plain Tiger
Scientific Names of the Butterflies in the photos :
1 Small branded swift skipper  : Pelopidas mathias
2 Lime butterfly : Papilio demoleus .
3 Common gull: Cepora nerissa .
4 Common Jezebel: Delias eucharis .
5 Stale flash blue butterfly : Rapala manea .
6 Blue pansy butterfly : Jumonia orithiya .
7 Common bush brown : Mycalesis perseus .
8.Common evening brown : Melanitis leda  .
9.Danaid egg fly : Hypolimnas misippus .
10. Long brand bush brown : Mycalesis visala . 
11. Small long brand bush brown : Mycalesis igilia .
12.Plain tiger : Danaus chrysippus.

All these were photographed at Kaundinya Wildlife Sanctuary .

Reference used :
1. The book of Indian Butterflies ,written by  Issac Kehimkar and  Published by Bombay Natural History Society .

Continued here 

Friday, December 10, 2010

Kaundinya Wildlife Sanctuary

        Kaundinya Wildlife Sanctuary (KWLS), is a lesser known sanctuary in Andhra Pradesh . This wildlife sanctuary comes under the D.F.O of Kuppam, Chittor District. We had to seek permission from the D.F.O to enter the sanctuary. He was more than kind for having given us the permission and accommodation. We reached Kuppam forest office on  Saturday night around 9:00pm. Our accommodation was arranged in the forest guest house which had all the facilities.
       Next morning, we met the D.F.O who turned out to be a  very simple man with great knowledge of nature. He shared a lot of his views and the efforts made towards improving the wildlife sanctuary, especially on saving the elephants , since this is the only forest range in Andhra that have elephants . The number of elephants would be around 60. The forest shares its boundary with Karnataka and Tamil Nadu. There are two domesticated elephants here , which  have been shifted to Vizag Zoo on temporary basis and will return back.  A guide was arranged for us to reach the forest which is about 45 kms from the office. He informed us that the chances of sighting of  elephants were few, since at that time the elephants had traveled towards Tamil Nadu. We were not really disappointed on hearing this because forests also have other animals, insects, birds, mushrooms, greenery which are found in plenty. At the entrance of the Sanctuary,  there is an education center which has a lot of information about elephants and the flora and fauna of the forests, which is worth a visit.

Misty Morning
Dew Drops
Spider Web
Forest Tracks
Go Green
Eastern Ghats
Road inside the Sanctuary
      Directions from Bangalore: Bangalore - NH 4 - Kolar - Bangarapet - K.G.F - Kuppam. It is advisable to reach Kuppam and then visit the Sanctuary .
      Distance from Bangalore :  About 130 Kms ,  hereon 45 kms to the Sanctuary .
      Trip Dates : 14,15 Nov 2009 .
      Places to visit nearby : K.G.F , Peacock Breeding Centre , Kaigal falls and many more .

Continued here 

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Hoysala Temples of Hosa Budanur, Mandya Karnataka

          "Budanur",  is a very familiar name for people travelling from Bangalore to Mysore. Though many are aware of the name of Budanur, very few people know about the hidden treasures in this place .Until recently, we did not know about Budanur,  though we have crossed this place many a times. This time around, we went in search of this place particularly. Erstwhile Budanur today is divided into two villages named 'Hosa Budanur' and 'Hale Budanur'. These villages are located in Mandya district. Hale Budanur  is on the Bangalore - Mysore Highway   and Hosa Budanur is about half a kilometer from the highway .
        Hosa Budanur has two temples built by the kings of the Hoysala dynasty . These temples are dedicated to 'Anantha Padmanabha' and 'Kasi Visveswara' . They were built around the 12-13 th century, during the reign of  the Hoysala King Vira Ballala III . These temples have been renovated  by the ASI to resemble the older structure. New stones have replaced the older missing stones. Other reconstruction works around are being carried out briskly.
Anantha Padmanabha Temple
Kasi Visveswara Temple
   Both the temples are constructed on a multi angled raised platforms. Striking differences from many other Hoysala temples are the six pattikas which are simple and the absence of sculptures  on the walls.The sculptures of  both the deities are very grand and prove an excellent example of Hoysala art. The pillars of  these temples are similar and extensively decorated .
Anantha Padmanabha
Kasi Visveswara
Note the detailed work
     "Anantha Padmanabha temple" : This temple is dedicated to 'Lord Anantha Padmanabha' . The sculpture is in standing position , one of the rare forms of this god . He is holding a Chakra, Astabandha, Gada and Shanka.The door frames of the temple are heavily decorated . There are two small devakothas with sculptures of Ganapathy and Lakshmi. There is a inscription stone in the temple which is a very important source of information about the temple. There is a board put up by the Archeology and Museum Department of Karnataka, which provides some information about the temple.
Decorative Door frame
Inscription Stone
     "Kasi Visveswara Temple": This temple is considered as 'Dakshina Kasi'. There is a big Nandi statue in front of the Linga . Though very less is known about this temple, it is considered to be built along with  the Anantha Padmanabha temple .This temple resembles the other temple in most of the respects. This temple  is having  4 devakothas which are currently empty. There are sculptures of Ganapathy and Shanmuga in the temple . The ceilings are heavily carved.
Outer Ceiling
Central Ceiling
Inner Ceiling
     There is a sculpture of 'Sapthamatharikas' in the Kasi Visveswara temple, which is seen in many temples across India. Sapthamatharikas represent the seven mothers who are mentioned specifically in the Rigvedas. The sculpture usually has nine figurines instead of seven. The first  is of Goddess  Parvathi (Lord Shiva's consort ) and the last is of Lord Ganapathy (Lord Shiva's Son). The other seven represent the motherly aspects of the great goddess (devi) and constitute the female counterparts of the gods Brahma (Brahmani), Maheshvara (Mahesvari), Kumara (Kaumari), Vishnu (Vaisnavi) , Varaha (Varahi), Indra (Indrani) and Yama (Chamunda). The mothers are armed with same weapons as their respective gods and also have the same mounts and banners. The number seven is especially sacred in India and is used to express indefinite plurality , Hence the seven divisions of the world , the seven sacred cities , rivers , etc . There are many Sapthamatharikas sculpture preserved in Aihole (Bagalkot District) museum .
Sapthamatharikas at Budanur

Sapthamatharikas at Aihole Museum

Aihole Museum
   The keys to  the temple remain with the concerned priest. The priest of Anantha Padmanabha  temple lives in the same village and is accessible any time during the day and the priest of Kasi Visveswara  temple lives in the neighboring village of Hale Budanur . The latter comes in the morning to perform the daily pooja and rituals and returns back to his village, since his accommodation in this village is yet to be arranged. He can be contacted over phone (# 9611695091 , Name: Nanjappa ) and will take some time to reach the temple. Prior information to the priest  is always appreciated . Luckily, we caught him during his routine timing , which according to him is 9:00 am. The former priest had considerable knowledge on Hoysala architecture and temples and was very interactive .Both the priests were visitor friendly .
Directions from Bangalore : Via SH 17 Mysore road, Cross Hale Budanur- Take a right turn (Land mark Lemon Grass Restaurant) - Hosa Budanur . 
Distance :  About 95 kms
Place is being developed by ASI ,requires more maintenance and development. 
Trip Date : 28 Nov 2010. 
Places to visit near by : Mandya , Chikka Mandya, Basaralu , Srirangapatna , Tonnur Lake , Kokkere Belluru, Maddur , Ramanagara , many more.
References used
1 Publications of Government of Karnataka on Mandya .
2  About Sapthamatharikas, from the book " The Illustrated Dictionary of Hindu Iconography" written by Margaret Stutley.   

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Places to visit around Bangalore/ ಬೆಂಗಳೂರು/ Bengaluru part-8

        Type :Hill, Fort , Temples
        Nearest Town:  Koratagere
        Distance from Bangalore:About 95kms
        Trek Distance: About 2kms (one way)
        Trek level: Easy
        Directions: Bangalore - Dabspet (NH4)- right turn - Koratagere (SH3)  - proceed further - left turn towards Siddara  betta - right turn towards Channarayanadurga.
        About: "Channarayanadurga" is a small village situated in Koratagere Taluk , Tumkur. It's major attraction being the hill fort. The height of the hill is around 3700 ft above MSL . This fort was built by Madhugiri chief  Channappa Gauda during the 17th century and Read more....
             Type : Temples
             Nearest Town: Basaralu
             Distance from Bangalore:About 140 kms
          Directions: Bangalore - Mandya (SH17)95 kms- right turn towards Chikka  Mandya (7kms )-left turn toward Basaralu (23 kms)
             About:Basaralu  is a village  in Mandya district, famous for the Mallikarjuna  temple  and viragals (hero stones). This temple was built by Harihara nayaka. He was a Dandanayaka (in charge of armies) under the Hoysala  King Imadi Narashima . The temple was built in the year 1265 AD for the deity  in the  name of his father "Mallikarjuna"  and a kalyani (Tank) in the name of his mother "Gujjave". Read more.... 
Mallikarjuna Temple

             Type : Temples
             Nearest Town: Tumkur
             Distance from Bangalore:About 80 kms
          Directions: Bangalore - Tumkur NH4 - Via by pass to Gubbi - Left near Golur Lake - Right near Golur circle - Kaidala.
             About: Kaidala has two temples constructed during the Hoyasala period. They are  the  "Chennakeshava" temple and the "Gangadhareshvara" temple . The latter was built in 1150 AD by the Hoysala chief Gule Bachi, under king Narashima. The idol of Chennakeshava in the temple is a master piece and beats all the sculptures found in any of the Hoyasala temples. Read more....
Welcome to Kaidala
38 Gulur
             Type : Temples
             Nearest Town: Tumkur
             Distance from Bangalore:About 80 kms
          Directions: Bangalore - Tumkur NH4 - Via by pass to Gubbi - Left near Gulur Lake - Left near Gulur circle - Gulur.
             About:Gulur is a small village in Tumkur district. Gulur, along with Kaidala formed the erstwhile Kridapura. This place is famous for its unique way of celebration of the Ganapathi festival, especially among the locals. Currently, the temple is under renovation. Read more ...
Gulur Ganesha
39 Hatyal
             Type : Temples, Hill
             Nearest Town: Gubbi
             Distance from Bangalore:About 115 kms
             Directions: Bangalore-Tumkur NH4-Via by pass to Gubbi -Nittur-Take right turn near Hatyal arch .
             About: This place has a temple dedicated to Ugranarashima. The sculpture of Ugranarashima is very artistic and has  ten hands. There is a small sculpture of Prahlada  with folded hands standing in front of Ugranarasimha. The annual jatra is held during the month of Chaitra . This place is famous among the locals . The temple is under renovation .There are a lot of mining activities going around the hill, which is quite concerning . Roads have been constructed till the temple.
The Temple
Mining site
40 Innovative Film City
             Type : Theme park
             Nearest Town: Bidadi
             Distance from Bangalore:About 35 kms
             Directions: Bangalore -Mysore road - Left turn towards Bidadi Industrial Area. 
             About:Innovative film city is open  from 8 am to 7:30 pm. There is a mad rush during holidays and weekends. It is a nice place for family outing especially with kids around . There are two types of entry tickets, one priced at Rs 399 with limited entries  and other at Rs 699 with entry to most of the facilities . There is a decent food court. Camera fee is Rs 100.
Welcome Fountain

Artificial Waterfalls
For more places around "Bangalore" .

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2. Kaivara Fort 
3. Mulabagilu Fort

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Jaramadagu waterfalls - Chikkaballapura's Jog

      The name 'Chikkaballapura's Jog' definitely sounds interesting and different  . Chikkaballapura is one of the driest districts of Karnataka , with an annual rainfall average of about 750 mm (Karnataka's average is around 1250mm). "Jaramadagu Waterfalls" (locally called as Jog Falls), located in Chikkaballapura district  is a seasonal , 2 tiered waterfalls. The rainfall in the hilly regions of Chikkaballapura valley ,flows and falls as Jaramadagu from a height of about 75-80 ft. We had different plans ,but then we thought  it would be better if we visit this place , as rainfall over the last few days had been significant ,courtesy Cyclone "Jal ". We gathered information about this place and thought it would be great to explore but the only question passing our minds were whether these rains were sufficient to see the falls.
Kaurava Kunda hill, Trekking spot around Bangalore
Kaurava Kunda
     We reached the village of Jangamarappanahalli and drove until the last motorable point towards the waterfalls. On inquiring, we found that there were 2 approach routes to the falls, the shorter (about 1 to 1.5 km) but a difficult one and the longer (about 3kms) but the easier one. We decided to take the shorter route . We started walking towards the waterfalls and the first sight of it was amazing . Initial walk was through fields of Ragi and horse gram.Locals working in  the fields are quite helpful in giving directions and one person from their group volunteered to join us along as a guide. A few steps later, the path turned into a semi-forest kind of track .
A waterfall close to Bangalore
Initial View
Ragi Harvesting
The Landscape
    The guide enlightened us about this place in general and talked about the number of people visiting and their behavior.He mentioned about a place (he called it as a temple) nearby the falls, where people have been worshiping the god for many centuries. He went on to say that the temple is not a regular structure but an open place where a few dolls kept are worshiped .We imagined all along our way to the temple about how this place would be. Completely involved in listening to the guide,  little did we realize we had actually reached the waterfalls .The guide bade us good bye from here. We had to walk down a little to reach the foot of the falls. Since we were the only ones present at that time, the whole atmosphere was peaceful and beautiful. Though the water falls was not ferocious,  we were lucky to at least see that little water falling. The view was  gorgeous and the water was really cold .
Chikkaballapura's Jog Waterfalls
Jaramadagu Waterfalls, Chikkaballapura
Jaramadagu Falls
Falls and the Valley

Top View
        After enjoying the falls, we decided to explore the temple the guide had mentioned about . Unfortunately, we had forgotten to ask him the way to the temple when he bade us a good bye!We walked further wandering here and there to find out the way to the temple . Luckily, we spotted our guide who had stopped mid way to gather some wood. He was happy to join us  and as we walked, he explained that nobody knows who kept these dolls, but people have been worshiping them for centuries. Now, the village people have decided to tar the roads leading to the the waterfalls and collect some revenue which could be used to build a temple here. The god worshiped here is "Paluvuraja Swami". We were amazed to see that, what the guide called as dolls were (or rather looked like) lingas with naamas on them.  He strongly told us that the god is very powerful and fulfills everyone's true and sincere wishes. Annually during Dussera,  a Jatra is held here .
The Temple
Forest Track
Car Park
Directions from Bangalore:  Bangalore - Yelahanka - Devanahalli - Chikkaballapura- left turn near the Church, there is a board directing towards Govt. Cocoon Market - Jangamarappanahalli (about 8 km from Chikkaballapura)
Distance from Bangalore: About 75 km
Places nearby: Muddenahalli, Nandi hills , Skandagiri , Chikkaballapura , Nandi and many more .
Fee: As of now, no entry fees.
Word of Caution : Just ensure to visit the falls during the right season. It is advisable to reach the place early morning due the mad rush after 12pm during weekends.
Languages spoken: Though this place is in Karnataka , most people around this place speak only Telugu.
Trip date : 14  Nov, 2010

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3. Waterfalls of Karnataka