Showing posts with label Chikmagalur. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Chikmagalur. Show all posts

Hoysala: Mallikarjuna Temple, Hirenallur, Chikmagalur

  While zipping through country roads to reach Amrithapura, which is home to one of the most beautiful Hoysala temple, we stumbled upon a milestone having a familiar name of Hirenallur. On checking our travel diary, we realized this place too housed a Hoysala temple dedicated to Lord Mallikarjuna. As we had more than one option now, we were in a dilemma and as time was ticking, we had to decide quickly.  We made a quick enquiry about the temple and decided to proceed as we heard it was a ‘not to miss’ temple. Not wasting much time, we headed towards this temple and in about ten minutes time reached this magnificent temple.
Hoysala Mallikarjuna Temple Hirenallur Tarikere Chikmagalur
Mallikarjuna Temple 
8th Century Ganga inscription 
   Hirenallur is a small village of Kadur Taluka of Chikmagalur district. The Mallikarjuna temple situated here is a very beautiful Hoysala temple lesser known to the world. There is very little information about this temple in the Internet and print media. The temple is believed to have been built initially by the Gangas during the 8th century according to an inscription recently found here. Later the Hoysala king Ballala II renovated this temple and must have added the two cells to the main cell during the end of 12th century.
Very Beautifully Decorated Shiva Linga 
Heavily Decked Central Ceiling 
Tandaveshwara on Central Ceiling 
Central Ceiling Hoysala
Complicated Craving on the Ceiling 

Lord Vishnu Ananthasayana
Lord Ananthasayana 
Lord Shiva and Parvathi
Uma Maheshwara 
   The temple is a trikuta with Shiva Linga, Keshava and Surya Deva adorning the cells. The central ceiling is a masterpiece with complicated carvings on it and overshadows the beauty of this temple. There are sculptures of Ganapathi and Sapthamatrikas in the sabhamandapa of the temple as usual. The three Shikaras of this temple are heavily decked with images of the various gods and goddesses on them. This temple has been renovated by a few keen locals with the help of Sri Dharmasthala Trust under the guidance of Dr.Veerendra Hedge.
Lord Ugra Narashima 
Shikara and Outer Wall 
Carvings on the Shikara 
    There is a big and beautiful garden around the temple.  Another small temple adjacent to this temple is dedicated to Mailara Linga, housing two beautiful idols of Mailaras. On our way back, another small beautiful temple amidst a farm caught our eye.  This one too was dedicated to Lord Shiva in the form of a Linga. 
Mailara Linga 
Shiva Temple in the Farm 

A Winter Trek in the Western Ghats, Ballalarayana Durga Fort, Chikmagaluru

Kudremukha Hills, Chikmagalur
Kudremukha Hill Range in Monochrome
 A long pending trek to Ballalarayana Durga fort finally materialized last winter during our trip to Horanadu. 'Ballalarayana Durga' hill is located about 40 km from Mudigere and the fort can be reached via two trek routes - the longer 2 day trek route via Bandajje Arabi Waterfalls from Mundaje and the shorter day trek from Durgadahalli. We decided to a take shorter route since our partner Adhi was a year and a half year old. Road is laid up to Durgadahalli, where we parked our vehicle and started our trek. The initial path of the trek took us  along a few local estates and a bit of steep climb welcomed us to this hill. The climb progresses amidst lush green grasslands which opens up into a beautiful natural landscaped vista.
Trekking in Chikmagalur
The Initial Trek Path
Ballalarayana Durga Fort
First Look of Ballalarayana Durga Fort
Shola Forest, Western Ghats
Shola Forest of Ballalarayana Durga
Trekking in Western Ghats
Break for the Little Trekker on Demand

The walk through the grasslands was quite easy and very pleasing to the eye. Undoubtedly, we spent more time on photography then trekking! As the trek continued through the grasslands, we reached a junction with two diversions and after much deliberation, we decided to take the route on the left and bang on! We were on the right track. We had to cross a few smaller hills in order to reach the base of the hill that housed the fort. We had a clear view of the fort hereon. The early winter weather was perfect for this trek and as usual, this time of the year is always pleasant. We entered the fort wondering about the reason of its being built here in the first place, later only to be abandoned and why no further attempts were made by other kings to occupy/modify/rebuild this fort. Much of the fortification still remains intact  giving us an idea of how magnificent it was, back then.
Trek route along the Grass land
Trek Route Snaking Along the Grass Land
Vigna vexillata Flower WesternGhats
Vigna vexillata Flower
Neelakurinji Flower Western ghats
Neelakurinji Flower
Flower of Western ghats
Forest Malenadu
Another Stretch of Shola Forests
Ballalarayana Durga hill range falls under the Bankal range of Mudigere forest division. This hill is said to have been fortified by the Hoysala Kings in 12th century, which also played a significant role in defence activities due to its strategic location. We did not get any further information regarding the history of this fort. It probably seems like the fort was abandoned with the downfall of the Hoysala dynasty. One can get a view of the entire Kudremukha hill range, Charmadi ghats and other hill ranges. While we were just about to start our descent, we spotted a few trekkers coming towards the fort taking the Bandajje Arabi route. We waited to speak to them and find out their experience uphill and assured them that the descent down the hill from here was not as difficult. They inquired from us about the possibility of hiring a vehicle at Durgadahalli and as we knew, we informed them that the chances of availability of vehicles were quite bleak. We offered them to join us so we can give  drop them all to the nearest place from where they can get a  bus back to Bangalore. Without a second  thought, they readily accepted our offer. After they rested for sometime, we all started our descent. All along, they were quite excited to see our little partner Adhi doing the trek! We reached our vehicle and as promised, we dropped the boys at Kottigehara. Overall, it was a wonderful experience of trekking amidst so much greenery!
Gaali gudda
Gaali Gudda Hills
Bandajje Arabi waterfalls
Towards Bandajje Arabi Waterfalls
Cheering Up the Young Trekker
Ballalarayana Durga Fort
Ballalarayana Durga Fort
Ballalarayana Durga Fort
Fort Walls Snaking Across The Hills

Other places to Visit nearby: Kalasa, Horanadu, Chikmagalur, Sooramane Abbi Waterfalls, Khandya, Mullayanagiri, Bababudanagiri, Kudremukha and many such.
How to reach Ballalarayana Durga:  Cross Mudigere, proceed towards Kottigehara, take a right turn towards Kalasa and reach Sunkasale. Take a left turn here and proceed till you reach a dead end and take a  left turn to reach the starting point of the trek. This village is located about 34 km from Mudigere and 312 km from Bangalore.
Accommodation: There are no accommodation facilities inside the village, although one can pitch their own tents inside the fort or village premises with prior permission of the villagers. However, there are many home stays in the area which also offer guided treks to this hill.
Where to eat: There are no eateries here; Kottigehara and Kalasa are the closest and better options.
Permission: Not required for this route.  However, the trek through Bandajje Arabi waterfalls route requires prior permission, which can be obtained at Bandajje only. Also, guides are provided by the forest department.

Related Posts 
1. A Monsoon Trek to Kavaledurga 
2. Dandeli Resting in the Lap of Nature
3. Waterfalls of Agumbe
Always Remember to Respect Nature and Wildlife. And Do not  litter.
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Lord Krishna's Childhood Stories- Amruteshwara Temple, Amruthapura

Sri Amruteshwara temple at Amruthapura is one among the few of the most beautifully preserved Hoysala temples. As per the inscriptions found here, this temple was built around 1196 AD by Amruteshwara Dandanayaka, an army general of  the Hoysala king Ballala II. This beautiful ekakuta temple houses a Shiva linga known as Amruteshwara after the person who built it. The temple consists of a garbhagriha, an antarala, a sabhamandapa/navaranga and mahasabhamandapa with three mukhamandapas. The mahasabhamandapa was added only later to the temple. The panels of the mukhamandapas carry carvings depicting stories from the Ramayana, Krishnacharita (adaptation of Bhagavata Purana) and Mahabharata. In this post we try to re-narrate the stories from the life of Lord Krishna, briefing each panel here. However, the last few panels seem to be missing or fully damaged, leaving the story incomplete. The context of the story is that Vasudeva and Devaki, parents of Lord Krishna, who were then prisoned by King Kamsa are about to welcome their eighth child (Krishna)  in the prison. When Kamsa becomes aware of this situation, he plans to kill their eighth child as he would kill Kamsa as per the divine words heard from the sky. Realizing this, Vasudeva takes the new born Krishna to Nanda's house in Gokul and begs the family to save his son. In return, Vasudeva takes back Yashoda's daughter to the prison undetected.
Amruteshwara Temple, Amruthapura
Amruteshwara Temple, Amruthapura
Panel 1. Demon King Kamsa's Darbar - King Kamsa's guards inform him about Yashoda's labor pain in the prison, due to deliver her eighth child (Krishna) who would kill him.
Kamsa's Darbar
Kamsa's Darbar
Panel 2. Devaki's Labor Pain - Devaki, lying in a chamber is attended by a female helper providing assistance and support during the birth of her eighth child and guards guarding the chamber.
Yashoda's Labor Pain
Devaki's Labor Pain
Panel 3. Vasudeva bows to Donkey - This refers to a story when Lord Krishna was born and Vasudeva carries him in a basket outside the prison. He sees a donkey braying, indicating a god omen. The scene  depicts Vasudeva  praying with folded hands to a donkey in order to silence it and keep from awakening the prison guards. The moral also probably refers to the old proverb, "To get one's work done, one has to prostrate even before a donkey ".
"To get one's work done, one has to prostrate even before a donkey "
Panel 4. Vasudeva crossing River Yamuna with new born Krishna - Vasudeva carrying Krishna and crossing River Yamuna swarming with fishes and tortoises accompanied by men with swords and shields. This depiction is quite surprising and unique due the presence of guards with Vasudeva, as it is believed that Krishna is carried out  from the prison in extreme secrecy.
Vasudeva crossing River Yamuna with new born Krishna
Panel 5. Baby Krishna being welcomed at Gokul - Gopikas and Gopis at Gokul extending a warm and grand welcome to Vasudeva and the new born Krishna. Also seen accompanying them are musicians with flute, drums and tambour and cows led by a cowherd.
Baby Krishna being welcomed at Gokul
Panel 6. Vasudeva handing over Lord Krishna to Yashoda - Yashoda receives Baby Krishna from Vasudeva in the presence of cows and calves, which adds more significance to this description.
Vasudeva handing over Lord Krishna to Yashoda
Panel 7. Kamsa trying to kill Devaki's eighth child - Kamsa is seen lifting Devaki's new born in order to kill it after the babies have been exchanged. The female child, who originally  is  Yashoda's daughter appears as Durgi and escapes Kamsa's cruel intent. Though this depiction appears fourth in the sequence on the mukhamandapa panel, the sequence described here is in accordance with the original story.
Kamsa trying to kill Devaki's eighth child
Panel 8. Krishna's Cradling Ceremony - Baby Krishna is being placed in a cradle suspended by ropes amidst gopikas and cows. A calf is also seen drinking milk from its mother.
Baby Krishna's Cradling Ceremony
Panel 9. Sakatabhanga - Baby Krishna is seen in a cradle below a cart and kicking at it, thus killing the demon Sakatasura (cart-demon) who had taken the shelter of the cart and tried to kill Krishna.
Lord Krishna killing Demon Sakatasura (Cart Demon)
Panel 10. Putanavadha - Putana tries to breastfeed Baby Krishna with poisoned milk in order to kill him, but Krishna remains unaffected by the poison and sucks out her life through her breasts.
Lord Krishna Killing Putana
Panel 11. Krishna being scolded by Yashoda - Yashoda is seen scolding Baby Krishna amidst gopikas for Putana's incident.
Lord Krishna being scolded by Yashoda
Panel 12. Krishna killing Bakasura (Stork-demon) - Krishna enters the beak of a giant stork who is actually the demon Bakasura and while the bird swallows him, it is forced to spew him out after which Krishna grabs its beak and breaks it into two, thus killing it. The scene of Krishna holding the bird's beak is depicted in the panel.
Lord Krishna Killing Bakasura (Stork Demon)
Panel 13. Krishna killing Vatsasura (Calf-demon) - Krishna holding the hind legs of the demon Vatsasura who appears disguised as a calf and enters the crowd of calves with an intent of killing Krishna and Balarama. On learning this, Krishna swings and hurls the demon, thus killing him and throws him atop kapittha (wood-apple) trees.
Lord Krishna Killing Vatsasura (Calf Demon)
Panel 14. Krishna fighting cocks.
 Lord Krishna Killing Bird Demon
Panel 15. Deliverance of Nalakuvara and Manigriva by Krishna - Krishna, who is tied to a mortar by a rope by Yashoda tries to unrope himself and tries to pass in between the two trees while the mortar gets stuck. He tries to pull with all his strength and in doing so, uproots the trees causing them to fall down. Out of these trees appear Nalakuvara and Manigriva, who were cursed by the sage Narada into becoming twin Arjuna trees. Krishna thus liberates them.
 Lord Krishna Uprooting Twin Arjuna Trees
Panel 16. Krishna being scolded - Krishna eating dirt is being scolded by Yashoda, who beholds the universe in his mouth.
Yashoda Beholds the Universe in Lord Krishna's Mouth
Panel 17. Krishna stealing Butter - Krishna sneaks in to steal butter from the pot being churned by a gopika, who seems unaware of this mischievous act.
 Lord Krishna Stealing Butter
Panel 18. Krishna looting Butter - Krishna climbs on to a mortar and loots butter from pots suspended from the ceiling and is watched by gopikas.
 Lord Krishna Stealing Butter
Panel 19. Kalingamardhana (Snake-demon) - Krishna subjugates snake demon Kaliya/Kalinga.
Lord Krishna Killing Kaliya
Panel 20. Venugopala -This panel is a depiction of Krishna's Vrindavan showing that Krishna and the cows are in separable, which is why he is also known as Gopala or Govinda, the protector of cow. Venugopala literally means cowherd with a flute.
Lord Venugopala
Panel 21. Govardhana-dharana -  Krishna lifts Mount Govardhana as a shelter to rescue people and cattle of Vrindavan from the wrath of  heavy rains caused by Indra.
Lord Krishna Lifting the Mount Govardhanagiri
Panel 22. Aristasuravadha  - Krishna kills the bull demon Aristasura who enters Vrindavana and causes destruction.
Lord Krishna Killing Aristasura (Bull Demon)
Panel 23. Kesivadha - This panel depicts the destruction of demon Kesi who entered Vrindavana and attempted to kill Krishna in the form of a horse. Krishna forced his arm into the horse's mouth and killed it.
Lord Krishna Killing Kesi ( Horse Demon)
Panel 24. Akrura taking Krishna and Balarama across river Yamuna - This panel depicts Akrura, the minister of Kamsa escorting Krishna and Balarama to Mathura.
Akrura taking Krishna and Balarama across river Yamuna
There are a few panels which are missing towards the end, which probably depicted stories of Krishna in the court of Kamsa and eventually the killing of Kamsa. The childhood deeds of Krishna end with the death of Kamsa.
Missing Panels
1. Book on 'Iconography of Vishnu' by Kalpana Desai.
2. Book on 'Epic Narratives in the Hoysala Temples' by Kirsti Evans.
3.'Annual Report of the Mysore Archaeological Department -1931'

Related Posts:
1. Top 100 must visit lesser known temples of Karnataka 
2. Sri Mallikarjuna Swamy Temple, Hirenallur 

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