Monday, May 20, 2024

Unveiling Mallapadi: A Journey Through Time - Part 1

Mallapadi, nestled within the Krishnagiri district of Tamil Nadu, India, whispers tales of the past echoing with ancient lives and resonates with the pulse of the vibrant present. Unraveling its layers, we embarked on an enthralling journey through pre-history, history and the contemporariness of this intriguing place. While researching on the "Barramahal/Baramahal" (former name of Krishnagiri) or the twelve forts, we stumbled upon many forts in the district of Krishnagiri. However, amongst the many forts, the forts that constitute the Baramahal is yet to be clear.

Mallapadi Hill 

Recently, we found a source that clearly pronouncing the 12 forts though still there lies some ambiguity in it. The list of twelve forts are as follows, (please wait for a separate and detailed post on Baramahal once we have explored all the 12 forts) - 1. Krishnagiri 2. Jagadevi 3. Arungarh (?) 4. Sudarshanagarh (Thattakallu Fort) 5. Shimmagarh (?) 6. Kavalgarh (Nagamalai Fort) 7. Maharajagarh (MaharajaKadai fort) 8. Bujangarh (?) 9. Gaganagarh (Periyamalai Fort) 10. Kattoragarh (?) 11. Mallikarjunagarh (Mallapadi fort) 12. Varanagarh (Veerabhadradurga Fort)

With Mallapadi fort, we were able to complete exploring 8 out of the 12 forts constituting the Baramahal. The details of the remaining 4 are obscure, needing more groundwork to identify their locations. Though a few forts have been identified by us in Krishnagiri and its surroundings as probable contenders, the names can be confirmed only after exploration.

Mallapadi fort is classical example for the Baramahal forts, built on a hill top and surrounded by forests. This Vanagiridurgam is one among the lesser known forts of Tamil Nadu and a very significant prehistoric site, considering that this was the first documented rock art site of Tamil Nadu.

Crowning the hills of Mallapadi stands an enigmatic fort, lost in the mists of time. Its origins remain shrouded in mystery, with estimates ranging from the Pallava era (4th-9th centuries CE) to the Vijayanagara period (14th-16th centuries CE). Built using locally sourced granite, the fort has imposing walls that snake along the hill's contours, offering strategic defense against invaders. Remnants of the fort include bastions, gateways, and watchtowers. The existing fortification can be attributed to the Channapatna Palegar Sri Jagadevaraya who was a Vassal of Vijayanagar Empire.

The Climb
Our exploration begins deep in the mists of time, around 30,000 years ago. The land whispers of early inhabitants who etched their stories onto the canvas of time – intricate rock art adorning the Mallapadi hills. Animals, hunting scenes, and geometric patterns whisper of their beliefs, rituals, and daily lives, offering a glimpse into a bygone era. These rock arts stand as silent sentinels, testaments to the earliest known human settlements in the region. These rock arts were first discovered by Archaeologist from Chennai University in 1980 and the paintings here are the testimony to the fact that horse were domesticated in South India as early as Megalithic period ( at least 2500 - 3000 years before). We were unable to explore this part of the hill due to paucity of time. However, we were fortunate enough to find rock art in a shelter on the way towards the fort although we are unsure about the documentation of this rock art in the existing records.

The Rock Shelter 

The Fort Wall

The Cave Painting 
We are habituated to investigating possible rock shelters for the presence of any rock art or paintings, and since this place had already been documented as a rock art site, it made us more curious to investigate the rock shelters we encountered during our ascent. We found one which carried rock art. All the paintings found here were white in color and similar to the rock art the patterns documented in its surrounding areas. We continued our ascent and reached the second tier of the fort with not much difficulty as the path was well marked. We noticed a modern shed which housed a beautiful carving of Anjaneya Swamy on a boulder. That was no surprise! Can a fort exist without its protector Anjaneya Swamy!? After taking his blessings, we rested for a while and took a break for having our breakfast.

Kote Anjaneya Swamy 
Hereon the trek turned out to be a little tricky due to the absence of a clear route. It was evident that the trek up to the fort here onwards was rarely undertaken, and this made our exploration all the more exciting! Upon investigation of probable routes to the top, we found one that had markings although it seemed following it would not lead us towards the fort. We however decided to explore this route first as we were not aware of what was there. Following this route led us to a natural cave, probably a rock shelter used by prehistoric men and later used by the Siddhars during different time lines. This natural cave was spacious enough for accommodating people and opposite to this cave were two small water ponds which probably served as a water source back then for people who took shelter at the cave. The views from here were mesmerizing and gave us a clear picture of what could be instore for the remaining part of the trek.

The View 

Water Source 
To be continued...

Friday, August 18, 2023

How to get the name transfer done for electrical connection in Bengaluru Bescom without paying any bribe

The process of getting the name transfer in an electrical connection with Bescom in Bengaluru is pretty simple and straightforward. We recently got it done for our flat and it required just two visits to the Bescom office since there is a heavy load on the server with too many requests to do the name change.

Documents required for Name transfer:

Documents required for Name Transfer of Bescom Electrical Meter
Documents Required for Name Transfer of BESCOM Meter

1. Application form - This application form is available at the Bescom office, easy to fill requires very basic details - RR No, current name, address, name to be changed, address, Phone number, email id, reason for name change, deposit, and signature. 

2. Photo identity proof - Xerox copy of all the owners' Photo identity proof.

3. No objection certificate from the previous owner - Builders will give it on their letterhead and for the rest there is a prescribed format that can be collected from the Bescom office or nearest shop(Bescom person will suggest the shop name where the same is available). 

4. Katha - Katha should be in the current owner's name, A Xerox copy of the same is required and needs to be notarized. 

5. Sale Deed - A Xerox copy of the same is required which also needs to be notarized on all pages.

6. Last Tax Paid Receipt - A Xerox copy of the same is required which also needs to be notarized.

7. Power Supply Agreement - This needs to be on a 200 Rs stamp paper and again it will be done/given at the shop recommended by Bescom, Very few details need to be entered into this agreement.

8. Indemnity Bond - This needs to be on a 200 Rs stamp paper and again will be done at the shop recommended by Bescom, Very few details need to be entered.

9. Latest Electricity Bill - Ensure that all the amount is paid including the recent ones and ASD and the additional security deposit is also paid (the amount will be printed at the bottom of the bill)

Once all the documents are ready, shouldn't take more than 1 hour or so to get the document ready. Ensure the Katha, Sale Deed, and Tax paid receipt is notarized without fail. Once all the documents are ready go to the Bescom office, There will be one authorized Bescom Employee to do this work. He will first check all the documents and will ask you to get one file (usually provided at the Bescom office) and then we need one signature from the officer This detail will also be shared by the Employee who does the name change. This officer will check again the documents and sign it. Again go to the employee he will generate the request for a name change and give a challan of 118/- against the fee for the name change. Go to the cash counter outside the Bescom office, pay, and collect the receipt. This receipt and demand letter need to be given back to the employee who will file it in the main file. It will take around 10-15 days to reflect in the system. 

Total Cost with Break Up:

1. Xerox - 40/- (sale deed + Katha + Tax paid Receipt)

2. Notary - 10/- Per page - 350/- 

3. Power Supply agreement + Indemnity Bond - 2* 200 bond paper, 100 Rs will be charged by the electrical shop if buy from there or else it will just cost about 415 if you just buy bond paper and get it printed, we paid 500/- 

4. Name Change fees - 118/- 

Total – Rs 1008/- 

Thursday, July 13, 2023

Discover the Top 10 Spectacular Treks Near Bengaluru

Bengaluru, Karnataka's capital and thriving tech hub is not only renowned for its IT expertise but also for its breathtaking natural beauty. This bustling metropolis is surrounded by numerous charming trekking destinations that provide the ideal escape from the chaos of the city. These top 10 treks near Bengaluru are sure to leave you spellbound, whether you're a seasoned trekker or a nature lover looking for a weekend adventure.

1. Skandagiri (Kalavara Durga): About 70 kilometers from Bengaluru, is a popular destination for night/early morning treks because of the stunning sunrise views from the hilltop. To reach the ancient fort ruins atop this picturesque hill, embark on an exciting journey through rugged terrain and thick forests. This trek comes under the Karnataka forest department and is a paid trek. Click here for more details

Skandagiri the best sunrise trek around Bengaluru Bangalore
Skandagiri Hill

Skandagiri the best sunrise trek around Bengaluru Bangalore
Sunrise View - Skandagiri

Skandagiri the best sunrise trek around Bengaluru Bangalore
The Grand Sunrise - Skandagiri

2. Nandi Hills: Renowned for its scenic beauty and historical significance, Nandi Hills is a short trek located just 60 kilometers from Bengaluru. Witness the majestic sunrise, explore ancient forts and temples, and enjoy panoramic vistas of the surrounding landscape.

Nandi Hills  the best lesser known trek around Bengaluru Bangalore
Nandi Hills 
Nandi Hills  the best lesser known trek around Bengaluru Bangalore
Entrance to Nandidurga
Nandi Hills  the best lesser known trek around Bengaluru Bangalore
Kalyani inside Bhoganandeshwara temple Complex, Nandi

3. Ramadevara Betta: Famous as the shooting location of the iconic movie "Sholay," Ramanagara is an ideal destination for rock climbing and trekking enthusiasts. This rocky terrain, situated around 50 kilometers from Bengaluru, boasts impressive hill formations that offer thrilling challenges and breathtaking views.

Ramadevara Betta Ramanagara Hills  the best lesser known trek around Bengaluru Bangalore
Ramadevara Betta 

Ramadevara Betta Ramanagara Hills  the best lesser known trek around Bengaluru Bangalore
A Bird's Eye View of Temple and Temple Pond - Ramadevara Betta

Ramadevara Betta Ramanagara Hills  the best lesser known trek around Bengaluru Bangalore
Indian Vulture At Ramadevara Betta 

4. Savandurga: The largest monolithic hill in Asia, Savandurga, can be found about 60 kilometers from Bengaluru. Take on a risky and difficult trek to reach this majestic peak, which offers stunning views of the surrounding forests and tranquil Manchinabele Dam. This trek comes under the Karnataka forest department and is a paid trek. Click here for more details.

Savanadurga the most difficult trek around Bengaluru Bangalore
Waterfalls at Savanadurga during Monsoon 
Savanadurga the most difficult trek around Bengaluru Bangalore
Manchinabele Back Waters 

5. AnthargangeJust a short drive from Bengaluru, Anthargange is a unique trekking destination known for its volcanic rock formations and cave exploration opportunities. Embark on a night trek to witness the surreal beauty of the starlit sky and try your hand at cave exploration amidst these intriguing geological wonders. This trek comes under the Karnataka forest department and is a paid trek. Click here for more details.

Antharagange trek with lot of cave exploration around Bengaluru Bangalore
Antharagange Hill Range Kolar
Antharagange trek with lot of cave exploration around Bengaluru Bangalore
Natural Water Pond 
Antharagange trek with lot of cave exploration around Bengaluru Bangalore
Mesmerizing Sunset 

6. Channarayanadurga: Channarayanadurga is a less-known trekking destination about 100 kilometers from Bengaluru that provides a tranquil experience. To reach the hilltop, where a historic fort awaits, trek through picturesque trails that wind through lush greenery and rocky terrain. Take in the peace and quiet of this unusual hike while taking in panoramic views of the landscape that surrounds you.

Channarayanadurga Fort - Top 10 treks near Bengaluru
Channarayanadurga Fort
Channarayanadurga Fort - Top 10 treks near Bengaluru
A Colony
Channarayanadurga Fort - Top 10 treks near Bengaluru
Fortifications of Channarayanadurga 
7. Kabbaladurga: Kabbaladurga is a less-known trekking destination about 80 kilometers from Bengaluru that provides a peaceful escape from the city. The trek takes you through streams, rocky terrain, and lush green forests before reaching a mesmerizing hilltop with an ancient temple.
Kabbaladurga - The best trek around Bengaluru
Kabbaladurga - The best trek around Bengaluru
Temple Atop Kabbaladurga
Kabbaladurga - The best trek around Bengaluru
Ruined Mansion Atop Kabbaladurga
8. Makalidurga: Makalidurga is the ideal weekend getaway for adventurers because it is tucked away among the picturesque surroundings. The 60-kilometer trek to this hill fort from Bengaluru offers a moderate climb, panoramic views, and the chance to spot a variety of wildlife. This trek comes under the Karnataka forest department and is a paid trek. Click here for more details.
Makalidurga the best trek around Bengaluru Bangalore
Temple Atop Makalidurga
Makalidurga the best trek around Bengaluru Bangalore
Makalidurga Fort Wall 
Makalidurga the best trek around Bengaluru Bangalore
Makalidurga Hill 

9. Shivagange: Shivagange is a sacred hill and a popular pilgrimage destination about 50 kilometers from Bengaluru. Along the way, you'll pass through a series of steps, ancient shrines, and natural springs to reach the top, where you can take in breathtaking views of the surrounding landscape.

Shivagange the best trek around Bengaluru Bangalore
Shivagange Fort
Shivagange the best trek around Bengaluru Bangalore
Nandi Atop Shivagange Hill 

10. Hutridurga: This trekking destination offers a peaceful and serene experience. Located around 60 kilometers from Bengaluru, Hutridurga features a beautiful hill fort with remnants of an ancient civilization. The trek involves traversing through scenic trails, dense vegetation, and a historic fort, providing a refreshing retreat for nature lovers.

Huthridurga the best trek around Bengaluru Bangalore
Aerial View of Huthridurga 
Huthridurga - The best trek around Bengaluru
Temple Atop Huthridurga
Huthridurga - The best trek around Bengaluru
A Misty Morning at Huthridurga

Tips and Caution for Trekking: While embarking on these treks near Bengaluru, it's essential to keep a few tips and cautions in mind to ensure a safe and enjoyable experience:

1. Plan and investigate: Gather information about the trek, including the distance, level of difficulty, weather, and required permits, before setting out. Inform someone about your trekking plans and plan your itinerary.

2. Wear the right clothes and shoes: Pick out clothes that are comfortable and appropriate for the weather. To avoid injuries, wear sturdy trekking shoes with ankle support and good grip.

3. Carry the essentials: A first aid kit, a map or GPS device, a headlamp or flashlight, a raincoat or poncho, and sunscreen lotion should all be included. In addition, bring snacks that are high in energy.

4. Trek together: It's best to go on a hike with a group or at least one friend. Safety, companionship, and emergency assistance are all guaranteed by this.

5. Follow the signs and trail markers: Respect any signs or warnings along the way, stick to the paths that have been marked, and follow trail markers. Accidents and getting lost can result from deviating from the trail.

6. Respect wildlife and nature: Carry your trash and respect the environment to leave no trace behind. Feeding or otherwise disturbing wildlife should be avoided at all costs.

7. Be cautious when it comes to the weather: Before you go hiking, check the weather forecast. Due to the potential for danger, avoid trekking during storms, severe weather, or periods of heavy rain.

8. Take breaks and pace yourself: Trek at a pace that works for you and your fitness level. Regular breaks are a good way to rest, rehydrate, and take in the scenery.

9. Keep an open mind and alert: Particularly when trekking in remote areas, be aware of your surroundings. Steep ascents and descents, slick surfaces, and loose rocks should be avoided.

10. Trek safely and by the rules: Respect and adhere to any particular regulations established by trekking organizers or local authorities. During your trek, be respectful of the communities and local culture.

Take a memorable trekking journey to these stunning locations to escape Bengaluru's urban chaos. The top ten treks near Bengaluru offer a perfect combination of natural beauty and adrenaline-pumping experiences, including ancient ruins, monolithic hills, breathtaking views, and thrilling adventures. So, don your boots, get outside, and get ready for a once-in-a-lifetime adventure just a short distance from the lively city. Have fun hiking! Also, let us know how many of these treks you have already done below in the comments section. 

Saturday, March 25, 2023

Sunrise Trek - Veerabhadradurga Fort

The Golden Dawn
Veerabhadradurga Hill Fort 

Our quest to complete the ‘Baramahal’ or the ‘12 Forts’ took us to our next destination, “Virabhadradurga/Veerabhadradurga”. Our first task was to get the location of this fort since not much information regarding the same was available on net or elsewhere. However a few months ago, while glancing through g-maps, we accidentally came across the coordinates of this place. At our next possible outing, we decided to check this place out and reached here without any difficulty. Our concern now was to find out the right hill amongst the many hills around on which the fort was located. The first hill looked quite inviting and we wanted to inquire about the route to the top. The local person, who stopped by to respond gave us the correct location of the hill-fort we were in search of. We reached the place and inquired for the trek route from the locals present around. On getting the required information, we parked our vehicle and started the trek. 

The First Gateway to Veerabhadradurga Fort
Sri Kote Anjaneya Swamy

The trek was pretty straight forward with steps laid all along. The route was comparatively clean due to the regular movement of people. The fort of Veerabhadradurga is 7 tiered, with much of its fortification and gateways still intact. There is a beautiful rock carving of Sri Anjaneya Swamy between the second and the third gateway, which is still under worship by the locals. The second gateway opens into a small plateau where minor agricultural activities are undertaken by the locals. The third and fourth gateways are more for the purpose of defense and devoid of any other structures. The fifth gateway opens into a bigger plateau area. 

The Engulfed Fort Walls 
Intact Fortifications

After crossing the fifth gateway and trekking for a while, our eyes were greeted by two ancient temples, one dedicated to Sri Veerabhadra Swamy and the other dedicated to Sri Chennakeshava Swamy. The temple dedicated to Sri Chennakeshava Swamy is a grand structure, but sadly is in a ruined state now. There were no signs of any efforts towards its restoration. Although both the temples were built under the rule of the Palegars, it is very difficult to ascertain who built them and when.

The Fifth Gateway 
Sri Chennakeshava Swamy Devasthana
The Royal Chieftain's Residence 

As this fort is one amongst the 12 forts constituting the Baramahal, its association with the Channapatna Palegar Sri Jagadeva Raya cannot be ruled out. However, strangely, a local legend goes on to say that Sri Jagadeva Raya who was then a vassal king under Tippu, jumped into the natural spring well present in the fort premises along with his wealth when Tippu was defeated by the British and the fort was about to be captured. It is believed that the spring is very deep and is difficult to ascertain the depth of it. Hence the wealth was never found. Such folklore was documented by the British and spread across many places. This natural spring well is called Rama Lakshmi Jonai (Jonai: natural spring). 

Rama Lakshmi Jonai (Spring) 
Sri Kote Anjaneya Swamy 
Team G Square 
Rama Lakshmi Jonai, a beautiful and serene natural spring well is situated about a 100 meters from the temples. Water here was clean and clear. We spent some time here and decided to explore the top-most tier of the fort. We had to cross the sixth gateway and the route was a bit slippery due to drizzle and the up slope of the hill. We reached the top of the fort (we assumed this was the top most point) and spent some time here enjoying the scenic views and wondered how beautiful it would be to view the sunrise from here.

The Rock-Cut Steps 
Way to Heaven 
The 7th Gateway 
Top Most Tier of Fort Wall 
The Top most Point of The Fort 
The View 
Coincidentally, a few months later, on the 1st of January 2023 we decided to redo this trek to witness the sunrise. The picturesque sunrise was worth every effort taken by us to reach the hill-top in the early hours of the morning. There was another small peak visible from the sixth gateway, apparently the highest point of the hill which we had missed during our last trek. We managed to complete this peak and reach the highest point this time. This fort is also known by other names such as ‘Itikalldurga’ and ‘Sendirayanadurga’.

The Gang
The Early Risers 
The Sun Rise 

At the base of Veerabhadradurga is a grand temple dedicated to Sri Chennakeshava Swamy which is fully functional. Thus another fort from the Baramahal was captured by us! 

The Harvest 

1. Madras State Gazetteer - Salem

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