The Hoysala Temples, Sante Bachahalli -K R Pete

K R Pete (Krishnarajapete) is a hub to Hoysala temples. One such small village of K R Pete is 'Sante Bachahalli', housing a few Hoysala temples. The most prominent among them is the Mahalingeshwara temple built during the 12th century. The temple has a simple structure when compared to other Hoysala temples, and its interiors and the Shikara are grand. There is a temple besides the main temple dedicated to Kalabhairava. Though the priest  was available,  he was quite busy attending and serving the devotees. This kept him from giving any details about the temple. There is an old board outside the temple that provides general information about the temple.
The Old Broad
Mahalingeshwara Temple, Sante Bachahalli
Shikara of Mahalingeshwara Temple, Sante Bachahalli
Beautiful Carvings

Skillfully executed
Lord Shiva in Gribhagriha
From here we moved on to the Veeranarayana Temple located in the village center. The temple looked renovated from outside and we were unable to go inside the temple as the priest was unavailable. Our next was the Lord Hanuman temple, believed to have been built by the Vijayanagar Kings. The lord is carved out  beautifully  on a huge stone. 
Veeranarayana Temple
Hoysala Temples of K R Pete: Hosaholalu, Kikkeri, Govindanahalli, Sheelanere, Sindaghatta, Tonachi, Hariharapura, Kalahalli, Agrahara Bachalli, Aghalaya  many more .

In Search of Adichunchungiri Peacock Sanctuary

                                                                                                                                              05 July 2009

As every Sunday gets more excited for us, this Sunday too, ended up being very special. Our pick for this weekend adventure was a Peacock Sanctuary very close to Bangalore. Though not much information was available either from the websites or blogs about the sanctuary itself, we went. ahead to explore this place. Both, I and my husband being nature lovers, were equally excited about sighting a beautiful peacock amidst lush green landscape during our visit. We decided to leave as early as possible since we knew early mornings and late  evenings were the best times to sight the pride of India! We packed our stuff and left around 6:30 am. We drove non-stop taking the NH48 and took a right towards the Adichunchungiri mutt arched entrance. Since we failed to get any kind of information from the web, we totally banked upon the locals for the route to the sanctuary. To our dismay, many of them, on inquiry replied to us in kannada, 'Navila' (a peacock?) 'Illi modhlu ithhu saar, ivaga enu illa, dhaama noo illa, naviloo illa'! (peacocks were seen here long time ago.Now there is nothing here, neither the sanctuary nor the peacocks). Another old man, who heard less, filled us with hope for a moment by saying 'idhe' (meaning it is there), until we realized he had actually misheard the ‘Navilu Dhaama’(peacock sanctuary) as ‘Ravi Dhaba ’!!!! It was kind of funny but it filled us with furt at that moment. A couple of auto drivers too replied  negatively.

Both of us felt disappointed and consoled each other saying it was okay. We still took chances and drove around in search oft it, inquiring people. One man pointed us towards a place that turned out to be a ‘Sasya Kashi’. The guard there made it clear to us about the non existence of any peacock sanctuary around. More disappointment encroached on us. And to be frank, I was really down on hearing such a thing. We went back to the Mutt, drove all around a few kms just to check if there were any sign boards leading to the sanctuary. But no luck. My husband suggested that since we’ve come this far, we should go visit the hill at least. With a heavy heart, I went along. The pain of not sighting a peacock still lingered. To our surprise, the mutt offered us more than we expected! After the dharshana of Lord Bhairaveswara, we followed the track to Gavi Siddeswara and Kathle Someshwara atop the hill. Since it was a religious place, we had to trek the hill bare foot. Initially there were huge granite steps to walk up the hill and then later on, it kind of got slippery as he steps were carved out of karikallu (black stone). We spotted a beautiful yellow crested Bulbul and three different lizards at the hill top. The only thing we were missing was our camera! Anyway, we decided to trek further towards ‘Kathle Someshwara’, supposedly a cave temple where Nandi god is worshipped. The little priest pointed us towards an exit which led to the 'sthamba' (pillar), our second destination. This was the most exciting of all. We experienced a bit of rock climbing and some hard trekking.
 On viewing the ground from hilltop, my husband spotted a route, that we thought could’ve been the one taken by jeeps for rounds in the sanctuary. We decided we would walk around that place and explore. Also, on asking  the little boy (who guided us), if he had spotted any peacocks around recently, he replied to us…‘irithve, bandegal kelagade malgirthave’(peacocks will be there, resting under rocks!). And he vaguely pointed out to the place from top. Our hopes became strong as this was the first positive response we heard. During our climb, we had asked another boy priest about he same and he answered, ‘now there are very few or no peacocks as there is quarrying work going around and the sound of the blasts keep the peacocks away from this place’. It was justified. But we kept our hopes alive. After we finished our trek, we drove towards the Kalyani and a pond filled with lotuses.
Water Tank
Pink Lotuses
     Now, we were hungry to death .We found a place just in front of the mutt and had Thatte Idli, some amazing Saagu (which my husband thought was not tasty!), chutney and bondas for lunch. A cup of hot coffee was perfect to end our afternoon meal.
With hope filled in us, we started the walk into a place just behind the mutt, which we thought could’ve been the non existent sanctuary! It was lush green everywhere, a perfect place for butterflies and birds! As soon as we started to walk, we met an old shepherd who told ‘navilgalu mosthaagive’(there are many peacocks here). We were happy now, since it filled in a lot of confidence of finding one! We explored the place, found lizards, insects and some colorful butterflies.

Lemon Pansy

Spiny Lizard

Crimson Rose
     We kept walking, until we heard the sound of an amazingly beautiful bird, the Peacock! Now, it was a sure thing that there was at least one peacock around! And all our efforts were put in, to sight one. We kept praying secretly that we get a glimpse of the peacock. We walked continuously until we were stopped by a granite slabbed compound, and thought it was best not to walk any further since it looked like the boundary wall of that place. We had read that the peacock sanctuary was less then 1 of area. We rested for some time to look for any peacocks around, but in vain. Some people were shouting from the hill top which probably was a disturbance that kept the bird from coming out. We spotted more lizards and some beautiful green bee-eaters.
We walked a little further along the boundary, to a place full of rocks. A group of four birds of unknown identity just fluttered past my husband. For a moment, we thought it was a peacock but no! Keeping our hopes alive and telling each other we needed the luck factor too to sight a peacock, we started walking back towards the car. We heard the cries of a peacock, loud and clear, and tried tracing the peacock. Every now and then, we rested and kept silent. My husband walked keeping the handy cam on,  while I spotted an amazing swallow tailed butterfly that was waiting to be photographed! I was pretty happy to have photographed a butterfly so closely.

Peacock on Rock

It started to drizzle and looked like it would get heavier. My husband advised we reach back to the car as quickly as possible. We walked together talking about the peacock and gosh! What an amazing moment it was, for the both of us….we witnessed the presence of the most beautiful bird in the world, the Peacock! It was a mighty one. At that moment, we couldn’t believe what we’d seen. It looked like as if the peacock came out and showed off just for our sake!!! It was so colorful that one can hardly miss it amidst the background of rocks. We actually got to see a peacock. And a mere glimpse of it had filled our hearts with joy. It made our day and we secretly felt we were lucky. At least lucky enough! I would’ve waited there all evening to watch that beautiful bird. Since we had little time left, we had to hurry back. We climbed up to the place where we had sighted the bird, but found nothing, since the bird had escaped to another place. I could see something big fly away from us. We at least had the mercy of god and the peacock, that we could sight one. It was enough for the day. Just while we were getting down a small hill, we saw a peahen fly over us. We had almost reached the end of where we had started the walk and looking back, we witnessed another amazing moment.
Yes, it was another beautiful peacock. This time, far away and high above, it stood atop the hill as if to say good-bye to us and, revealed its beautiful feathers, showing off its colors and left a message of being happy to have seen us around and to come back again!!! We waited for sometime appreciating its beauty, while it flew to a tree close by. My husband could spot the peacock very distinctly though its bluish green color made it difficult for me to spot it amidst the greenery of the tree. It sat there waiting for us to leave.
  This is our first travel story written long before the inception of this blog . Entire credit of this post goes to my wife.

Shivalaya and Jinalaya, Arsikere Hassan

Arsikere is a bustling town located on National Highway 206, connecting Tumkur and Honnavar districts. Arsikere literally means he queen's pond', it gets its name from a pond constructed by the Hoysalas in the 11th century. Arsikere is home to many beautiful temples. Among these, we visited the Ishwara temple and the Jain temple, both built during Hoysala period.
The Ishwara temple or Shivalaya (local name)  is the second of our favorites amongst  the Hoysala temples, the first being  Basaralu. The temple consists of a garbhagriha, an antarala, an open navaranga, a porch and an unique mukhamandapa in the form of a sixteen pointed star.  We could not see the interiors of the temple as the priest, who carried he temple keys was out of town. The exterior is in a  star shape  and the shikara is of Dravidian style with five talas, surmounted by a round stupa and kalasa at the top. The unique mukhamandapa is star shaped, having 13 outer pillars and 8 inner pillars. This mukhamandapa resembles a rock dome is very skillfully done and is truly a master piece of art. This temple is also called as Chandramouleshwara temple.
Rock Dome
Back View of the Temple
Monochrome Shikara
Perfect Symmetry
Defaced Garuda
Pillared Alley
Open Air Museum
 Jain temple is much simpler structure compared to Shivalaya, but worth a visit .
Central Lotus Ceiling