Sunday, October 14, 2018

An Unknown Plateau of Flowers - Masai Pathar, Kolhapur, Maharashtra

The Plateau of Flowers - Masai Pathar/Masai Pattar/Masai Plateau

'Masai Pathar/Masai Pattar'/'Massai Plateau' is one among the many plateaus of Maharashtra. While researching the places to visit around Kolhapur, we stumbled upon Masai Pathar and ensured we visit here. Though unaware of what this place had to offer, post our visit to the lovely fort of Panhala we made sure to stop by and explore. Not knowing what was in store made our visit more exciting and what we witnessed was simply unbelievable!  It was nothing less than Heaven on Earth!  A paradise less explored, much beautiful and filled with color. We were at a place second only to Khas or rather equally beautiful. The vast expanse of the colorful flower blooms in all directions made it seem like the abode of god.
Masai Pathar
Smithia hirsuta - Yellow Flowers
Masai Devi Mandir
Masai Pathar is one of the bigger plateaus in Maharashtra, located about 8 km from Panhala. As our guide at Panhala gave us directions to Masai, we reached here without any difficulty. The drive to this location was extremely scenic and thanks to the incessant rains that it was lush green all around. We had to cross the village of Masai to reach the pathar. We parked our car right at the start of the plateau and decided to explore by foot. At first, we only saw small pockets of flower blooms spread across the plain land. As we walked further, we found blooms of various colors.
Blue Pimpernel - Anagallis monelli
Button Grass - Eriocaulon carsonii 
Neanotis lancifolia
Exacum lawai
Competitive World
Senecio grahamii
Utricularia arcuata
 A paradise unexplored was in front of us and we decided to trek further. We spotted a small temple with a lake in its background. We met the guardian of the temple, who was also a local shepherd and had come to graze his cattle. He patiently answered to all our questions, though he only spoke the language of Marathi. He informed us that a further trek of about 3 km (one way) will lead us to the main temple of Masai Devi. We were in two minds about this trek as it was late afternoon, we were  extremely hungry and the weather was not in favor due to the frequent rains. We finally made up our minds to trek in the rains! With all our rain gears out, we proceeded without looking back. It was the best decision ever! As we trekked ahead, we were greeted by flowers, more flowers and more and more flowers! The blooms from the small temple were as intact as possible. The carpet of flowers all through was a treat to the eyes. It was simply remarkable!
Historical Buddhist Cave
A Lark waiting for its Prey
The next place we visited were the historical Buddhist caves which we had sighted during our ascent and wished to explore while returning. After walking along this plateau of flowers and admiring every bit of color around, we reached the Masai Devi temple. The plateau gets its name due to the presence of this temple. As per the legend, "the villagers prayed to the goddess Masai to protect them from a demon named 'Matsyadaitya'. The goddess appeared in this place and killed the demon by pushing him down from the cliff and settled here only in order to protect the locals. A fair is conducted every year during the Dasara festival. It is also believed that Shivaji Maharaja prayed here while escaping from Panhala to Vishalgad during Jouhar's siege.
Masai Devi Mandir, Masai Pathar
Pathar Ke Phool
Beautiful Masai Pathar
'Pandavleni' is a series of ancient caves located close by to the temple. Since it was raining and it was late in the evening, the locals advised us not to venture there. Hence we abandoned our idea of visiting the caves. As we trekked back, it rained all the way until we reached our vehicle. It was one hell of an experience! The beauty and color of this plateau cannot be described in words. Hope this place retains its charm always.
Enjoy Responsibly
The Guardian of Masai

Also remember to "Enjoy Responsibly".

Accommodation/Food: Panhala is the best and closest option for accommodation.

Saturday, September 29, 2018

Sri Bhuvaraha Narasimha Temple, Halasi - Temples of Karnataka

Sri Bhuvaraha Narasimha Swamy Temple, Halasi
Sri Bhuvaraha Narasimha Swamy Temple, Halasi
A visit to Sri Bhuvaraha Narasimha temple at Halasi was long time pending until finally we got an opportunity to take the lord's blessings during our trip to Belagavi. Halasi is an  ancient town and was the second capital city of the Banavasi Kadambas during the 4th to 6th century. This place was known as Palashi, Palasika, Halasige as per the various inscriptions found here. Later under the Goa Kadambas it was a minor capital between the 10th and 13th centuries. Halasi flourished under these two dynasties and remained as an important cultural site back then. Today this town lives in oblivion and has lost all its ancient sheen. 7 copper plates of the Kadamba dynasty were found here which have been dated back to the 4th century, thus making Halasi one of the oldest towns of this region. There are many other inscriptions found here belonging to the later kings.
Sri Bhuvaraha Narasimha Swamy Temple, Halasi
Sri Bhuvaraha Narasimha Swamy Temple, Halasi
Sri Bhuvaraha Narasimha Swamy Temple, Halasi
Sri Shankara Narayana Swamy Temple, Halasi
There are many temples here namely, the Sri Bhuvaraha Narasimha temple, Sri Kapileshwara temple, Sri Suvarneshwara temple, Sri Kalleshwara temple, Sri Hatakeshwara temple, Sri Gokarneshwara temple and a Jaina Basadi. Due to paucity of time, we could visit only the Sri Bhuvaraha Narasimha temple built in the 5th Century. The original temple built was dedicated to Lord Narasimha. The lord here is depicted with two hands in yogic postures and it is believed that this murti is a Swamyabhu or self- originated one. There is another big murti of Sri Yoga Narayana in the same garbhagriha installed later during the Goa Kadamba period. The inscriptions of 1169 AD found here registers the construction of this temple and installation of the murti of Ananta Virvikrama Narasimha by one Matayogi, as per the instructions of the king's mother.
Sri Bhuvaraha Narasimha Swamy Temple, Halasi
Grand Bhuvaraha Murti
Sri Bhuvaraha Narasimha Swamy Temple, Halasi
Yoga Narayana
Sri Bhuvaraha Narasimha Swamy Temple, Halasi
Garbhagriha   of Yoga Narayana
Sri Bhuvaraha Narasimha Swamy Temple, Halasi
Sri Swamyabhu Narasimha Swamy
The murti of Sri Bhuvaraha was installed in the year 1187 by King Vijayaditya III in the second garbhagriha, opposite to the garbhagriha dedicated to the main deity. Though there are two garbhagrihas, only the original garbhagriha has a Shikara in the Kadamba Nagara style, built probably much later during the Goa Kadamba period. This temple bears architectural resemblance to Sri Madhukeshwara temple at Banavasi to some extent. The temple has two garbhagrihas with an attached antarala, opening into a common Navaranga with 2 mukhamandapas. The central ceiling of the Navaranga carries a beautiful inverted lotus motif, but is now covered with a wooden plank. The temple is built on an elevated platform. There are a few smaller temples in the complex dedicated to Lords Shankara Narayana, Garuda, Maruti, Radha Krishna and also a stepped well. The complex is well maintained and its temples are functional. This temple is perhaps the oldest surviving temple dedicated to Lord Narasimha.
Sri Bhuvaraha Narasimha Swamy Temple, Halasi
Kadamba Nagara Shikara
Sri Bhuvaraha Narasimha Swamy Temple, Halasi
Sri Bhuvaraha Narasimha Swamy Temple, Halasi
Alingana Chandrashekaramurti
Sri Bhuvaraha Narasimha Swamy Temple, Halasi
Stepped Well
Sri Bhuvaraha Narasimha Swamy Temple, Halasi
Sati Stone
Directions to Halasi: About 40km from Kittur towards Khanapur, deviation after Bidi.
1. Karnataka Gazetteer
Related Posts:
1.  Sri Kamala Narayana Swamy Temple, Degaon 
2.  Sri Shantheshwara Temple, Tilavalli
3.  Sri Mahadeva Temple, Kurdi/Curti Goa.

Sunday, September 16, 2018

A Road Trip to Kolhapur and Satara from Bengaluru-2 Colors of Maharashtra

This is a photo post describing the colors of Maharashtra we witnessed  during our road trip to Kolhapur and Satara from Bengaluru.

Leading the Way
24 Shades of Green
Earth, Sky and Clouds
Every Plateau has a Colorful Side
Yellow Yellow Dirty Fellow
Blue and Yellow gives Green!
Weeds too...amidst Flowers look Colorful
Yummy... Vittal Vada !!!
Beautiful Wild Flower
Colorful Spread
Offers so Good that Even Messi Couldn't Resist from Shopping !
Krishnam Vande Jagadguru
Joy of Colors!
Strong Yet Delicate
Every Drop Counts !
Try Me...