Friday, June 22, 2012

Banashankari Temple Amargol ,Hubli

'Amargol' is a busy village located off the Hubli-Dharwad Highway. It is home to a very beautiful Chalukyan temple, dedicated to Goddess Banashankari and Lord Shankar. It is said to have been built somewhere during 12th Century. The temple looks very rustic and elegant from outside. The maintenance and restoration work is being actively conducted by the ASI.
The four pillars of the Kalyana Mantapa are unique and carry carvings of Gods and Goddesses. They are an excellent piece of art work, and prove to be the most important feature of this temple. The Temple is a Dwikuta (two celled), on a raised platform. Though most the portions of its external walls are either melted or defaced, the remains are a proof of the degree of grandeur the external walls carry.
The Banashankari Temple
Front View
External Wall
Pillars of Kalyana Mantapa
Lord Brahma
Lord Bhairava
Goddess Banashankari
Central Ceiling

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Mountain of Death Kolli Hills

Kolli Hills or Kollimalai, also called as "the Mountain of Death" is one amongst the many hill stations of Tamil Nadu.  Kolli Hills is located in Namakkal District and stands at around 1000 to 1300 m above MSL(Mean Sea Level). In the recent days, the popularity of this hill station is on a rise. It is also considered as a Herbal hot-spot because of the availability of various medicinal plants. The place is also associated with pre-historic ages and various kings and has been mentioned in many Tamil literature works.
A beautiful Veiw
Place to Visit :
1. Waterfalls - Innumerous.  The most famous being  the 'Agaya Gangai'  and  the 'Masai' waterfalls. Amongst the lesser known falls are the Falls 65, Kovil Falls, Junior Falls,  Kollimalai Falls, Mini falls and so on .
One of Many Beautiful Falls of Kolli Hills
 2. Temples - Lord Arappaleshwara Temple is the main  temple on the Kolli Hills. There are many other temples like the Periswamy temple, Ettukai Amman temple and so on.
Lord Arappaleshwara Temple
Colorful Shikara
GajaLakshmi on the Lintel
Decorative Stone Work
3. View Points -  There are two View Points - Selur View point and Seekuparai View point
4. Pre-Historic Sites - Siddhar Caves (Caves where Sages lived ), Mudhumakkal Thazhi (Burial Urns).
5. Many Trekking Routes

Places of Accommodation:
1 N P S Lake View Resort, Semmedu
2 Nallathambi Resort, Semmedu
3 Arrow Mansion, Semmedu
4 Wild Orchid Camp(Kolli Hill Resort), Vazhavanthi Nadu
5 Govt. Cottages and Rooms are also available
   We have not stayed in, or visited any of these Hotel/Resorts, the above list is an additional information to the tourists visiting this place.
Hoarding  Depicting the Places of Interest on Kolli Hills
 Peak Season : Last week of September - First week of January - Last week of March - Second week of June, though our personal feeling  is to visit the place just after the start of the monsoons (Avoiding heavy rains), as the entry to the main waterfalls can be closed for public.
Hairpin Bends
Directions from Bangalore: Bangalore - NH 7 - Hosur - Krishnagiri - Salem - Rasipuram - Left Turn - Right Turn inside Rasipuram town -After about 5 km, Right Turn towards Senthamangalam - Left Turn after 25 km (Look for directions board ) - Kolli  hills. (About 300 kms from Bangalore)

Entry fee is collected at the Forest Check Post at base of the Hill.. A Wonderful weekend getaway from Bangalore.

References and Suggested Reading :
1 Trails of a Traveler by Ram
2 Be on the road with Shankara
3 My Travelogue by Bhushavali
4 Wikipedia

Friday, June 1, 2012

D S Waterfalls, Sirsi

A friend of ours hailing from North Cannara suggested a great place for a weekend getaway. It included a nice waterfall with an amazing home stay, and had to be booked a few days before our visit for their convenience. While we called them in order to do the same, we found out that the family offering the home stay were busy at that time since their town festival was on, and they could not miss it. Thus, we dropped the idea of home stay though our waterfall plan was still on. Not being disappointed, we reached the place close by to the falls as suggested by  our friend and from here on we had to inquire about the route from the locals. To our surprise, none along our way up to a few kilometers were ready to give directions to the falls while a few went to the extent of even denying its presence around!!! As we were sure of the given information, not losing hope, we proceeded further until we reached a ticket booth .On inquiring here about the falls, though at first the person seemed hesitant to open up, he gave in as soon as we quoted the name of the home stay owner. Following the address given by the person, we drove a long way along dirt tracks and reached a dead end where we found a house. Wanting to make sure that we reached the right place, we went in and introduced ourselves and the family living in the house confirmed their home stay facility and  the water falls. This was the beginning to our most memorable and a wonderful vacation . It was a paradise beyond words.
The Water fall was located a few meters away from their house. The noise made by the  falls was musical to our ears. We had to trek downwards along the multi tiered waterfalls to reach the last tier. It was an amazing experience, standing on the cliff edge and watching the water fall. It looked as though we stood on the nature's edge. And what a sight it was!  The person who accompanied us to the waterfall was well aware of the region and its dangers since the place was rocky and quite slippery at many places. We enjoyed the waterfall for quite sometime until his son came by and passed on the message that they were getting late for the festival. Hence we only thought it was right of us to leave the place immediately without causing any inconvenience to them, though our hearts were reluctant to leave!
The Beginning
1st Tier
1st and 2nd Tier
A Paradise
Final Tier
 Our Guide