Monday, January 31, 2011

A trek to Nagamalai, Male Mahadeshwara betta

       "Nagamalai" is a one of the many hills of the Male Mahadeshwara Betta (M M hills) range . Nagamalai and surrounding areas served home to the sandalwood bandit Veerappan some time back. After his death, these areas are safe to visit. This place is considered sacred, since here, the rock resembles a shiva linga sheltered from the sun rays under the hood of a snake. This rock is said to be of Lord Mahadevaswamy doing his penance. A snake opened  its hood and stood behind the Lord in order  to protect him from the sun light. Over time, both of them turned into rocks.
      On Saturday evening., we decided to go to M M hills. We called a friend of ours who stays close by to Kolegal and inquired about the place. On Sunday morning, after visiting his farms, we headed towards M M hills (about 60 kms from Hannur).Around 10 am , we reached M M hills. After visiting the famous temple of Lord Mahadeshwara, we headed towards the Papanasini lake.Then we asked him what are the other places to visit around . He said that there are five  peaks with a temple in each of the peaks and the peaks had unique rock formations, like the Nagamalai (Snake shaped rock ), Rudraskshimalai (Bachelor's button (flower) shaped rock) , etc .
        Nagamalai is  the closest from MM Hills which can be reached after a trek of about 7 kms. After some discussion, we jumped into a jeep going towards to Nagamalai. After travelling about 5 kms, we reached the start place of the trek.  Since many were visiting this scared place, we had company. We started our trek and had to cross 6 to 7 hills to reach Nagamalai. The scenery throughout our trek was beautiful.
Initial Trek Path
The Lovely Landscape
Terrace Cultivation
Magnificent View
View of the Cauvery  Basin
       After walking for about 6 kms, we reached a village . This supposedly  is the last village we come across on the way to Nagamalai. The food has to be ordered here while trekking up and we did the same. Heading towards our destination, we finally made it to the temple after having trekked 7 kms.
The Village and the Hills
Home Sweet Home
Trishula near the Temple
View from the Top
   After enjoying the amazing views, we decided to rest for some time. We started our descent and reached the village where we had ordered lunch. We had to wait for some time for the food to be served. After the very much needed lunch, we headed back to the starting point of the trek. A shepherd boy cautioned us about elephants crossing over. They had spotted some. We were excited about the chances of spotting an elephant. Unfortunately, they seemed to have found their way deep into the forest. From the start point of the trek we took a jeep back to the MM Hills.
Elephants went this way 
       Altogether, a wonderful place to experience trekking amidst the deciduous forest. Though the trek is an easy one, one's stamina is tested for sure. There is well laid path all along. It is advisable to carry drinking water. Food has to be pre-ordered or carried. The  Karnataka Forest Dept. arranges for treks to various hills in the MM range(Mystery Trails).  
   Directions from Bangalore : Bangalore- Maddur - Kolegal - Hannur - MM hills
   Distance from Bangalore: 225 kms
   Places around to visit : Hogenakkal Falls , Bandallidurga Fort , various peaks for trekking
   Trip date : 12 ,13 Sept 2009 

Related Posts:
1. Trek to Kavaledurga
2. Trek to Ballalarayanadurga 
3. Mullayanagiri - Bababudanagiri Trek

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Hoysala: Chennakeshava Temple, Aralaguppe, Tumkur

       ***Continued from our previous post of Aralaguppe

        The other temple in the region was of Lord Chennakeshava. This is another excellent example of the Hoysala architecture.
Chennakeshava Temple
      This temple is an Ekakuta type,  housed on a raised star shaped poly angled platform. At every angle, there is an intricately carved elephant. As usual the temple has six pattikas, with carvings of Elephants, Horses, Creepers , Puranic tales ,Crocodiles and Swans, counting from bottom to the top. The outer wall has amazing carvings of Lord Vishnu and his consorts and various other forms of Vishnu.
The Six Pattikas
Elephant at every Angle
Cheluvanarayana Swamy
Various forms of Vishnu and his Consorts
Anantha Padmanabha
Kalinga Mardhana (Krishna)
          On the south side of the temple, attached is the Lord Ugranarasimha temple. This part of the temple looked like a later addition to the main temple.The addition gives an awkward look to the main temple. An article printed in the Deccan Herald states that,'Though Mysore archaeological report 1935, talks of removing this obstruction and building a separate temple for Narasimha, perhaps due to the unwillingness of the local villagers the project has remained on paper only'.
Entrance to the Ugranarasimha Temple
South View of the Temple
Old Board giving info on this place
     The temple is being maintained by the ASI. There is a permanent guard to take care of this temple. The temple interior is grand with intricately carved pillars, door frames and sculptures of  god .
    Directions from Bangalore : Bangalore - NH4 - Tumkur - NH 206- Gubbi - K B Halli Cross - Kibbanahalli - Left turn after Kibbanahalli - Travel about 8 kms - Aralaguppe
   Distance from Bangalore : 120 kms
   Trip date : 19th Sept, 2010

   Places to visit nearby : Kaidala, Tumkur, Chelur, Gubbi , Tiptur, Hatyal, Arsikere and many more....

Monday, January 24, 2011

Shree Kalleshwara Temple, Aralaguppe

         "Aralaguppe" , is a small forgotten village of Tiptur Taluk, Tumkur District. Araluguppe is famous for its two temples, namely Kalleshwara Temple and Chennakeshava Temple. It is also known as the 'Museum of Temples'. While gathering our usual pre-visit details and information about the place, we found a document which states about the Mysore Archaeological reports saying 'there is hardly anything worth comparing the figure sculpture with it in the entire Mysore state and South India' referring to the carved ceiling of the Kalleshwara temple. The same is also stated in the book,'The Guide to the Architecture of the Indian Subcontinent' by Takeo Kamiya, which is a favorite reference of ours.
       After few inquiries about the route to this place, we finally made it to Araluguppe . An elderly person directed us to the house where the priest resided. Though the priest was not available, an elderly person from that house volunteered in showing the temple. The first sight of the temple gave us an ordinary impression.
Kalleshwara Temple Complex
        'Kalleshwara Temple' was built by the Nolamba kings during 9th century AD. There are four other temples in this complex which belong to Ganga dynasty. All the temples are dedicated to Lord Shiva in the form of a Linga. The doorway of the main temple has a nice carving of Gajalakshmi on the lintel and a row of dwarfs on the pediment. 
              The most important part of the temple is its central ceiling consisting of nine intricately carved panels with a magnificent carving of Tandaveshwara at the center and surrounded by the Ashtadikpalas (click to read more). Another unique feature of this ceiling is the flying Gandharvas, four in number at each corner of the Tandaveshwara. The Flying Gandharvas are a unique feature of the Nolamba architecture.The heavily carved ceiling is a masterpiece and truly out of this world.
Carved Central Ceiling
Flying Gandharvas
          There is an idol of Nandi in front of the Linga. There is also a small temple just opposite to the main temple dedicated to Lord Uma Maheshwara and  two more temples besides the main temple dedicated to the sons of Lord Shiva, Ganapathi and Subramanya. We were unable to see the idol of Lord Ganapathi as it was being used by the priest as a store room of the temple and was locked. Apart from us, there were a few people from an art school of Tumkur, sketching the temple.  The other four temples in the complex are alike, with Shiva Linga and Nandi in its front . We could see a collection of Hero stones, deserted mantaps and an unused dry well.
Kalleshwara Temple
Lord Surya
Uma Maheshwara
The Mantap

View of theTemple complex
Hero Stone
To-be Ravi Varma's
   This temple is renovated and white washed regularly during Shiva Ratri. There is lake situated nearby the temple. The temple is neatly maintained. The elderly person who accompanied us was knowledgeable and seemed very humble.

To be continued .......

Friday, January 21, 2011

Ancient Temples of Gummanayakanapalya

         Continued from our previous post Gummanayakanapalya fort....

     "Gummanayakanapalya" has history dating back to the 12 th century AD. Apart from the magnificent fort , there are a few temples and other ruins spread across the village. We found three temples in the village dating back to the Vijayanagar period .
       The most beautiful temple here was that of Lord Rama. But is completely in a bad state with poor  maintenance. Upon inquiring with the locals , we came to know that recently, the temple here was surveyed as some agencies planned to restore the same. We assumed the agency to be ASI though not sure. Currently, it is serving as a cattle shed for the village cows.
Lord Rama Temple
          This temple had carvings on the outer wall depicting the stories from "Ramayana". The pillars  were also heavily carved, contained carvings pertaining to Lord Vishnu, his avatars and consorts. There is no sign of a Shikara.
Carvings depicting Stories from Ramayana
Beautiful Carvings
The Decorative Pillar
Pillar Top
Lord Vishnu and his Consorts
Lord Venugopala
Lakshmana, Rama and Sita
Lord Saraswathi and the Swan
Door Frame
Dance Floor
        The next temple we visited was of Lord Venkataramana (Vishnu ). This temple has undergone continuous renovation. Just opposite to the temple, there are two pillars and a mantap constructed using huge stone  pillars. This mantap is assumed to be the King's Balance (quite a Vijayanagar tradition).Unfortunately, this temple was closed. From here we visited Goddess Lakshmi's temple , which was also closed . But, it is for sure renovated.
King's Balance and the Pillars
Lord Venkataramana Temple

Temple of Goddess Lakshmi

Remains of the Carving
       Finally, on our way back from this place, we spotted a stepped tank which was lovely.
Stepped Tank
Final View of G N Kote
     This place requires serious care and maintenance. Altogether, a wonderful place to visit . Locals are quite helpful .
Trip date : 28 Nov 2010