Sunday, October 19, 2014

Tadipatri - Sri Chintala Venkata Ramana Swamy Temple

"Tadipatri" (Tadpatri), located in the Anantpur district of Andhra Pradesh, was once a very important part of the Vijayanagar Kingdom and has two magnificent ancient temples dedicated to Lords Ramalingeshwara and Venkataramana Swamy. The town of Tadipatri is situated on the banks of the river Pennar and derives its name from a grove of palm trees present in the area (Tati-Palm; Patri-Leaf). The temples here undoubtedly stand out and are the most prominent among the temples built by the Vijayanagar Kings. The town is also an important granite production center housing around 400 granite industries and innumerable polishing centers.
Keeping Track of the Devotees
    The first temple we visited was  Sri Chintala Venkataramana Swamy temple. This temple is dedicated to Lord Vishnu in the form of Venkataramana Swamy and  is believed to have been  built by Timma Naidu, son of Ramalinga Naidu. Ramalinga Naidu was the Feudal head of the Vijayanagar Kingdom, controlling this part of Andhra Pradesh. It was built during the same time as the Vittala Temple of Hampi, in a similar manner. Most of the features of these two temples bear close resemblance to each other,  being built on a similar ground plan. While the stone chariot here is compact and small in size when compared to the famous stone chariot at Hampi, it is equally beautifully detailed.
 Raja Gopuram
Sri Chintala Venkata Ramana Swamy Temple
Bhakthi Shakthi
The Stone Chariot
   The outer walls of the temple are elaborately decorated with carvings depicting stories of Lord Rama, Lord Krishna and other forms of Lord Vishnu. The Mukhamantapa of the temple has forty beautifully carved pillars varying in design. The idol of Lord Venkataramana Swamy is very beautiful and is a classical master piece of  the Vijayanagar Kingdom. There are two other temples inside the complex, one dedicated to  Lord Vishnu's consort and  and the other to Lord Anjaneya. An intriguing feature of this temple is the presence of a secret underground passage (king's passage) leading to the Gooty fort. Currently, the tunnel's entrance from the temple has been closed for good by the ASI. The Raja Gopuram is majestic. There is a pillar that stands tall in the garden maintained right opposite the temple. There is also a Thulabharam pillar (weigh scale), a typical trademark of the Vijayanagar Kingdom in the garden. 
Heavily Decorated Pillars
Epic Ramayana Depicted
Lord Govardhan
Story of  Lord Hanuman
Lord Ananthashayana with his Consorts
Lord Rama Killing the Demoness Tataka 
Baby Krishna Killing Putana (Demoness)
Vamana depicted as 'Trivikrama' with 3 legs, One on  Earth, Second Raised in the Heavens and Third on  King Bali's Head
Ornate Outer Wall
Weigh Scale and Pillar

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Dual Fort Adventure - Madakasira

In continuation with our quest for exploring the forts of Madhugiri region, we stopped by Madakasira. That Sunday, we decided to explore two other forts of Madhugiri, that of Madakasira and Gudibanda. First on our list was the fort of Madakasira, located in the Madakasira taluk of Ananthpura District (Andhra Pradesh). This  fort was built by the Vijayanagar Kings during the 15th century. There is also an 8th century Shiva temple inside the fort which was built by the Nolambas. The town is named after this temple deity as Madakashiva which in due course became Madakasira.
Here He Comes

Fort Entrance
Power Of Life
Way To Bliss
    We had left quite early so that we get enough time to explore both the forts. On reaching Madakasira, we  parked our vehicle at the fort base and in no time reached the entrance of the fort. Well laid steps give access to most of the portions of the fort. Though until the top tier of the fort there is no much fortification, the intact fortification at the top tier gives us glimpses of the rare quality of building skills that our ancestors possessed.
Third Entrance
 Entrance To Top Most Tier
The Mahal
Natural Water Pond
Way To the Highest Point

Madakasira Fort
Top Tier of the Fort 
Hereon, we trekked further up to reach the top most point of the hill to get an amazing view of the fort. This probably was one amongst the very few forts that offered such an amazing view. The strong monsoon breeze gave us a wonderful feel atop the hill. We spent some time here and then moved on to visit our next  fort for the day, the fort of Gudibanda.
Panoramic View 
The Burj 
Madakasira Town

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Apsarakonda Falls and Caves

 Nestled on the edge of a hill and lined by a beautiful beach, this serene waterfall lies hidden amidst thick vegetation in Honnavar taluk of Uttara Kannada district. As we had halted in Honnavar one night, we decided to visit Apsarakonda the next morning. We left early in the morning thinking that the place may get crowded with people and also since early mornings are a good time to sight birds. 'Apsarakonda' means 'Pond of an Angel'.
Ready To Fall
After parking our vehicle, we walked up to reach the park entrance. There were no directions to the waterfall anywhere initially at the park and also since there was nobody to give us any information, we just walked ahead hoping to sight a sign board somewhere along. There were steps that lead us to a beautifully developed park though there were no signs of any waterfall yet. Luckily, the birds at the park kept us busy for quite sometime as the day started to get warmer.  Finding a way out of the park, we reached a point from where there was a way down and another way up! While my partner chose to rest at that point, I decided to go down and check the way out. A few minutes down, I reached a temple from where I could also hear the sound of the waterfall. Excited! I was. Walking a little further , I saw a few steps that led to the waterfall. Quickly backtracking,  I called for my partner who joined me mid-way and both of us reached the waterfall. Equally amazed on seeing such a beauty, we eagerly jumped into the waters and enjoyed the touch of those waters. It was calm and cool with just the nature and us. 
Seat Decorated With Sea Shells 
Steps To Bliss
Pond of  An Angel
Apsarakonda Falls
Hereon, we went on to explore the Pandava caves. We found two such caves, small in size, and guessed there would be many more.
Pandava Caves
Apsarakonda Beach
Paddy Fields
Monsoon Blossom 

Break Fast Time