Showing posts with label River. Show all posts
Showing posts with label River. Show all posts

Tuesday, April 16, 2019

A Road Trip to Kolhapur and Satara from Bengaluru

Our desire to witness the 'Kaas'/ 'Khas'/'Kas' plateau, popularly known as 'The Valley of Flowers' was long overdue. The best season to visit Khas being September luckily coincided with the vacation we planned. Thus our travel itinerary of Maharashtra was mainly based on visiting 3 places namely the Kaas pathar, the Reverse waterfalls and the sacred Marleshwar apart from others. It is well known that this entire region is a blessing to travel during the monsoon. Thus a 9 day road trip to Kolhapur, Satara and Ratnagiri districts of Maharashtra was planned. As we were building our itinerary of places to visit in these regions, we realised that 9 days is too short a time to cover all the places and decided to visit whatever possible within the planned time. Our overall journey was good as we managed to travel across as per plan though there were a couple of hiccups for our vehicle, involving a running repair (starter motor not working) and tyre punctures. The same was handled well without much disturbance or deviation.
We stopped by at a road-side hotel about 45 km before Belagavi for refreshments and took a bio-break. While we were all set to proceed further, our vehicle refused to get started. We tried and checked all possible ways but in vain. Even calling the service advisor from Mahindra and acting as per his advice did not produce any fruitful result as the starter motor was not in working condition. We took help from the hotel staff who kindly obliged and pushed the vehicle up-slope for some distance. Thankfully our vehicle started and we moved on after thanking the staff.  We informed the  service advisor about the same for which he advised us to drive down our vehicle to the next available showroom at Belagavi and also told us to call the helpline. We reached Sutaria motors, the authorized service centre for Mahindra in this region who were of little help, who even refused to even check our vehicle for the problem and told us to go to Kolhapur since we were driving in that direction. We were a little disappointed at their behavior as it was an emergency and they were of no help. We had taken care to keep the vehicle on all along and proceeded further as we were racing against time to reach the next available Mahindra showroom.
Without wasting much time we drove towards to Kolhapur and after a few rounds of U turns, we finally made it to Trendy Wheels showroom at Kolhapur.  We reached here by 5:45 pm, 15 minutes prior to their closing time! We were anxious as the next day was a Sunday and most of the service providers remain closed. The staff here were extremely helpful and made immediate arrangements for my wife and kids to take the much needed rest and also arranged for some tea and snacks. Heartfelt thanks to them for their kind hospitality. Suraj, the service advisor who attended to us gave us first hand information that their workshop remains open on Sunday's too. We felt more relaxed now. He also  asked us if it is an emergency so that he could get it rectified the same evening by requesting his staff  to work over time. We were already much grateful to them and did not want to overload their staff.  Meanwhile, the technicians who were working on the starter motor detected the cause of the problem and assured us that the vehicle will be ready by the next day afternoon. We packed the necessary luggage and reached the main town of Kolhapur as the service centre was located off the Bangalore - Pune highway. We chose to halt at a lodge close by Sri Mahalakshmi temple, so that we could move around without any vehicle and much hassle. It was late evening by the time we refreshed and had dinner. We were fortunate enough for having a good darshan of the mother goddess that night. The atmosphere here was electrical. We returned to our hotel and retired early. 

Next day, we started a bit slow and lazed around while we got a call from Mahindra informing us to collect the vehicle by 2 pm. We walked around in the temple premises and decided to visit the temple again, but were taken aback by the huge crowd. We later realised that it was Krishna Janmasthami that day and during Shravana month, a large number of people come to offer prayers. We visited a few more places around the main temple and then reached Mahindra showroom. Our vehicle was ready and after the necessary checks, we were all ready to continue our journey ahead with much enthusiasm. They had done a great job in a short time and their service was impressive. Knowing that we would be their one time customer and that too for a running repair problem, their action and efforts were highly commendable. We witnessed the striking contrast between the customer service provided by two Mahindra authorised dealers, where one even refused to look at the problem and the other acknowledged with exceptional service! Trust us! This kind of quality customer service is rather quite rare in today's world. Thank you again Trendy Wheels, Mahindra at Kolhapur!
The same evening while returning from Khirdapur, our vehicle had a flat tyre, this time luckily right in front of a puncture shop at Ichalkaranji. The mechanic took less than 5 minutes to fix the puncture and we were back on the road. We continued to explore various places the next four days until Friday, when we were a bit relaxed and hence planned to take an adventurous route to Chiplun from Mahabaleshwar. This route is not advised by the locals as it is not much frequented and less traveled as it is amidst densely forested area coupled with a few bad stretches of roads. The route passes through the Koyna Wildlife Sanctuary and the drive for most of the stretch is alongside the river Koyna, making it the most beautiful one. We were all excited and started driving along this scenic route. We traveled about 35 km along this route and it was heaven! We had another 60 km to finish this stretch. About 7 km from Chaturbet, in between the villages of Dabhe Mohan and Dabhe Dabhekar is a small bridge across a stream that connects them. To our dismay, our vehicle had a flat tyre again! This time around, the puncture was severe as the short stretch just before the bridge had eroded due to heavy rains and consisted of sharp aggregates. I had to change the tyre and made arrangements.  At the same time, a ST (state transport) bus passed us from the opposite direction taking extra caution as it was a single lane road and our vehicle was parked there. Post this episode, I managed to change the tyre successfully only to find out that the back up tyre was not inflated enough to drive. It was around 4 pm that evening and time was running out. We had to cover that stretch before the sun went down. Without panicking, we rested for a while and discussed about our next move.
Meanwhile, a local who was grazing his cattle conversed with us  and witnessed the entire situation. He informed us that there is not a single tyre puncher shop in about 20 km radius!!!! The next question to him was about the availability of any public transport to the nearest town to get the puncture repaired. He replied  that the ST bus which passed by a few minutes back was our only option! The next bus to Mahabaleshwar would arrive only the next morning at around 8 am. That apart, no other private transport is available. Upon inquiring further for any availability of vehicles in the village, he said that there was only one person in this village who owns a bike. So, we both decided to meet him and reached his house. Though we saw his vehicle parked outside, we had to trace him as he was not around. We explained the situation to him, but he replied that his bike did not have enough fuel. Nevertheless he came along with us to analyze the situation. He gave up the idea of taking his bike as it was quite risky amidst forest area and advised us to inquire if the car was available in the next village and moved on.  While I went with the local to the next village, my wife inquired with a passer-by who was very kind, and obliged by giving the phone number of a mechanic he knew who was located about 20 km away. He was damn sure that the mechanic would come by and resolve our problem. He tried calling him but the area had no signal. In fact, the passer-by was himself walking all the way up so he could get signal and told my wife he would surely call the mechanic and inform. When my wife called the mechanic and requested to come by, he replied that he was out of town and would not be able to make it. As the signal was weak, the conversation could not be continued and the call was lost. The news of our vehicle breakdown had spread across the village and a few more villagers gathered near our vehicle. At the neighboring village we found that no one was around in the house. While people around me went in search of the car owner (Sanjay), I was waiting in front of his house. In the meantime, the person (Manish) whom we had approached initially came hurriedly in search of me to inform that he had stopped a car which had come to drop someone from Mahabaleshwar and had agreed to take us to the nearest tyre puncture shop. While I was walking down with him, the passer-by (teacher) called us and told us to wait as he was on call conversing with the mechanic as promised and requested (or rather pleaded) him to come and help. Finally the mechanic was convinced and agreed to come by. We walked quickly to the car that was stopped and thanked the driver who was patiently waiting for us. It was really heartwarming to see each one's kind behavior. As we waited for the mechanic's arrival (which would probably take an hour or so), Manish invited us home for some tea and snacks. As we had our two little partners with us and it was getting dark, it was a safe call. It also began to rain heavily. The mobile connectivity here was questionable as there was a lot of struggle in getting any signal. Finally, the call connected between Manish ji and Shinde ji (the mechanic) and we were told to come near the vehicle. The mechanic tried all possible ways to fix the puncture, but as the cut was big, he was unable to repair it with tools. He gave up at last saying that he will not be able to fix it. We requested him to check the back up tyre and as he inflated it and checked for any puncture, he found none. Luckily now we had one tyre ready. Everyone around advised us to abandon our journey further and told us to go back and take the highway. We thanked everyone who came to our rescue. We drove slowly until we reached the highway and halted at Khed. This was probably the best experience we have had in sometime, where the entire village came to our rescue. We will always remain grateful to the kind teacher who literally pleaded with the mechanic for our sake, Manish ji who was kind and hospitable all along, Shinde ji who came all the way in the rains, riding through the forest and had to go back in the dark and all  the others who helped us directly or indirectly.
'Maharashtra' is one of the most vibrant states of India and is very rich culturally. Their love for the great Shivaji Maharaja is indispensable and significant, so much so that every place here has an association with the great king. The Western Ghats/Sahyadri Hills in Maharashtra comes to life during the monsoon with innumerable waterfalls taking birth from amidst the hills, and the hills exhibiting splendid colors as the flowers are in full bloom amid lush greenery. Though rains had subsided, most of the places we visited greeted us with rains. The plains were hot, but the mountains remained cold. Overall it was a satisfying trip. Maharashtra, truly a great state turns magical during monsoon!
Kolhapur - Satara Road Trip

Route we took 

To be continued.... 

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Mysore Dasara and Top 15 Attractions in and around Mysore

Lit Mysore Palace
View of Lit Mysore Palace From Chamundi Hills
Mysore/Mysuru/Maisooru is world renowned for its 407 year old tradition of Dasara celebration, popularly known as 'Nadahabba' of Karnataka. Mysore is regarded as the cultural capital of Karnataka. The 'Aane Ambari' or 'Jumbo Savari' is a major attraction of the Mysore Dasara wherein the decorated elephants carry the golden howdah weighing about 750 kg, housing a beautiful murti of mother Chamundeshwari. The Royal couple of the Wodeyar family begin the festival celebrations by offering special puja to mother Chamundeshwari at the Chamundeshwari temple, atop the Chamundi hills. The celebration lasts for 10 days beginning with the first day of Navaratri and ending on the 10th day or Vijayadashami, the day that mother Chamundeshwari slayed the demon king Mahishasura.  This year is more exciting with a few added attractions to this celebration, like the helicopter ride and many such. Apart from the Aane Ambari, the second most popular attraction is the beautiful  illumination of Mysore Palace. The LED bulb lit Mysore Palace dazzles during night and is a feast for the eyes. The lighting timings during festive occasion is between 7 pm and 9 pm on all the ten days. Apart from Dasara, the palace is lit on all Sundays and government holidays between 7 pm and 7:45 pm. There are many other attractions around Mysore in addition to the events during the famous Mysore Dasara.
Mysore Palace, Chamundi Hills
Mysore Palace as Seen From Chamundi Hill with out Lights
1. Chamundi Hills: This is the most important landmark of Mysore which houses temples dedicated to goddess Chamundeshwari and Lord Mahabaleshwara, considered to be the one of the earliest temples of Mysore, dating back to the 9th century. Chamundi hills is very well connected to Mysore with many city buses plying regularly between the central bus stand and Chamundi hills. The temple remains open for most times during Dasara festival, except for an hour in the afternoons and evenings. The best time to visit the hill will be early in the morning to get a glimpse of this mist clad hillock and also during evenings, when the Mysore palace is lit. The view of the lit Mysore palace from Chamundi hills is gorgeous and will make the trip to Mysore most memorable.
Chamundeshwari Temple, Chamundi Hills, Mysore
Chamundeshwari Temple, Chamundi Hills
2. Mysore Zoo: This zoo is regarded as the most beautiful and best maintained zoo in the country. It is also considered to be the oldest of zoos to have been established in India, during the year 1892 by the Mysore King - Sri Chamarajendra Wodeyar Bahadur. The zoo is home to a few of the many exotic animals not found elsewhere in India. This is a must visit place in Mysore. The Zoo is generally closed on Tuesdays, although during Dasara it remains open on all days.
Mysore Zoo
Walkway Inside Mysore Zoo
3. Mysore Palace and Temples in the Palace complex: The Mysore palace or Amba Vilas Palace as it is called was first built in the 14th century by Yaduraya, and has been subsequently undergone various renovations and reconstructions. The current structure was built by the Mysore Maharaja Krishnaraja Wodeyar IV and was completed in 1912, after the old palace was burnt down to ashes. The palace has various exhibits of the Wodeyar kings and queens, including the famous golden howdah/ambari on display. Photography is strictly prohibited here and entry to the palace is ticketed. There are 8 temples inside the palace complex of which, the Swetha Varahaswamy temple is the earliest and belongs to the Hoysala period built around 12th century AD. Mysore is also home to many other palaces such as the Jayalakshmi Vilas Palace, Lalithamahal Palace, Jaganmohan Palace and such.
Places to Visit in Mysore
Amba Vilas Palace
Top tourist attractions in Mysore
Large Temple Complex Inside the Palace Premises
Hoysala Temple in Mysore
Swetha Varahaswamy Temple
4. Karanji and Kukkarahalli Lakes: A visit to Mysore is incomplete without visiting these famous lakes. Both the lakes were constructed by the Wodeyar Kings during different periods, with Kukkarahalli lake being the earliest. Karanji Lake falls under the Forest department and is ticketed.
Karanji Lake, Mysore
Karanji Lake
5. St. Philomena's Church: St. Philomena's Church is a catholic church built in the year 1936 in  Neo- Gothic style and is considered to be one among the tallest Churches of Asia. This is one of the important landmarks of Mysore.
St Philomena Church, Mysore
St. Philomena's Church
6. Mysore Silk Emporium/Factory: The silk weaving factory owned by the Government is another place worth a visit and is great for buying authentic and high quality silk products. This factory was started in 1912 by the Mysore Maharaja Krishnaraja Wodeyar IV for meeting the requirements of the Royal family. This later developed into a full fledged business post independence after it was was transferred to the Mysore Sericulture Department.
7. Regional Museum of Natural History (RMNH): This place is a must visit for young kids simply because it is really interesting and educative. The RMNH, Mysore is the southern regional office of the National Museum of Natural History. The entry to the museum and parking is free.The other museums in town are the State Government Museum and the Wax Museum which one can also plan to visit.
Museum of Mysore
A Painting inside RMNH
8. GRS Fantasy Park: This park is an amusement water park located in the outskirts of Mysore (about 10 km). It is a great place for a full day of adventure and fun.
9. Brindavan Gardens: These gardens are located at a distance of about 21 km from Mysore and is developed around the KRS dam built across river Kaveri (lifeline of South Karnataka). Coming under the taluk of Srirangapatna of Mandya district, it is jointly maintained by the Cauvery Niravari Nigam and KSTDC. The musical lit fountains in the evenings are a major attraction of this park.
Musical Fountain, Brindavan Gardens
10. Ranganathittu Bird Sanctuary: This beautiful bird sanctuary and scenic spot is home to many avian species and  is located about 15 km from Mysore on the banks of river Kaveri. The Karnataka Forest Department maintains this sanctuary and operates river safaris to take one around the river for sighting birds.
Inside Ranganathittu Bird Sanctuary
11. Balmuri and Edmuri Falls: These waterfalls are located about 24 km from Mysore near the KRS dam. These are formed by a man-made check dam. This is a good spot to enjoy playing in the water and quite safe to swim, although with caution. Edumuri, situated close by to Balmuri falls is generally less visited.
Balmuri Waterfalls, Mandya
Balmuri Waterfalls
12. Mysore Sandal Factory: This factory started in 1916 by the Mysore Maharaja along with Diwan Sir M Visvesvaraya is a one stop solution for all sandal products. The sandal  products can at also be purchased at registered art and craft stores.
13. Shuka Vana Aviary: This rare aviary in the premises of SGS Ashram is a rehabilitation center for birds and is being maintained by Sri Ganapathy Sachchinanda Swamiji. It is home to a large variety of colorful species of parrots from all over the world. The experience of interacting with these birds, some of which are free to fly around is quite unique . Entry is free and photography inside the parrot park is strictly prohibited, although one can get photographed with a group of birds at a fixed price. This place is surely worth a visit.
Bird Art Inside Shuka Vana
14. Nanjangud: Nanjangud town is located about 25 km from Mysore and is home to one of the largest temple of Karnataka, Sri Srikanteshwara Temple. This temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva in the form of a Linga and is believed to have been built in 11th century AD by the Cholas and later improvised by the Hoysalas, the Vijayanagara and Wodeyar kings. This beautiful temple set on the banks of river Kapila is a must visit place around Mysore.
Sri Srikanteshwara Temple, Nanjangud
15. Srirangapatna: Srirangapatna town is located about 14 km from Mysore and is an erstwhile Agrahara since the time of the Ganga dynasty, who also built the temple of Lord Ranganathaswamy. This town was under the rule of the Hoysalas, Vijayanagara kings, Wodeyars, Tippu, and later again fell into the hands of the Wodeyars. There are many temples, tombs, a fort and bridge and a few British bungalows here. This town on the banks of river Kaveri is considered to be one among the holy places in Karnataka. 
River Kaveri
River Kaveri, Srirangapatnam
How to reach Mysore: Mysore is very well connected by road and rail to other parts of the country. It has a functional airport with regular flights to Chennai only as of now, with mega expansion plans in the future.
Where to stay in Mysore: There are umpteen number of options available for accommodation in Mysore, suiting all budget classes. The Lalitha Mahal Palace Hotel is converted into a  luxury heritage hotel and is maintained by the Indian Tourism Development Corporation. Hotels Pai Vista, Park Lane, Roopa, Pai Viceroy, and Maurya Residency to name a few are the best hotels situated in close proximity to the the Mysore Palace as well as the bus stand.
Where to eat in Mysore: Although most of the above mentioned hotels provide complimentary break fast, one can surely try and get the real taste of Mysore by heading to Hotel Mylari which serves the best Mysore Masala Dosa or Hotel Siddhartha which reflects the authentic taste of Mysore. For Lunch, head to High Park Restaurant for a unique revolving roof-top buffet with amazing views, with the other good choices being Hotel Nalapak which offers quite a good range of vegetarian meals and Hotel RRR which is undoubtedly the best place in Mysore for non-vegetarian meals. Mysore also offers a rich variety of street food during night.

Related Posts:
1. 101 places to visit around Bangalore within 125km.
2. Top 100 lesser known temples of Karnataka
3. Travel Guide to Madhya Pradesh

Monday, September 25, 2017

MP Diaries: The Smoky Dhuandhar Waterfalls and Magical Marble Rocks, Bhedaghat

Smoky Dhuandhar Waterfalls
Smoky Dhuandhar Waterfalls
After witnessing a few of the earliest temples of Madhya Pradesh at Nachna and Tigawa, we headed towards Bhedaghat to visit the smoky Dhuandhar waterfalls. We stopped by a roadside dhaba just before Jabalpur and had a hearty meal. We then drove towards Bhedaghat which is about 25 km from Jabalpur and reached there just at the right time before sunset. Walking swiftly towards the waterfall, we immediately hopped into the cable car for a sky ride across this beautiful water cascade which was an out of the world experience. Bhedaghat is the confluence of the rivers Narmada and Banganga. An aerial view of this magnificent waterfall simply gave us an idea of how powerful it is, true to its name 'Dhuandhar' or the 'smoky cascade'. The Smoky Dhuandhar Falls in the upstream of Bhedaghat is quite a spectacle to witness! Plunging from a height of about 30 feet, this voluminous waterfall with its powerful plunge creates vapors that resemble smoke. One can hear the loud roar of this waterfall from quite some distance (do check out the video below in this post).
Dhuandhar Waterfalls, Bhedaghat
Waterfalls near Jabalpur
Bhedaghat is also much famed for the 'Marble Rocks' where the river meanders into a narrow stream, creating a beautiful gorge with soft marble rocks rising high on either sides. This place is calm and serene and one can simply sit by the rocks to enjoy its tranquility. The locally available rocks are used for carving sculptures and other artifacts. It serves as a livelihood to the locals, which is quite evident from the numerous stalls lined up on either sides of the pathway selling articles made of these rocks.
The Cable Car
Smoky Dhuandhar Waterfalls
Smoky Dhuandhar Waterfalls in Monochrome
Marble Rocks, Bhedaghat
Marble Rocks, Bhedaghat

The cable car ride facility is available at a cost of Rs.85/- per person. There is also a boat ride facility, which is supposed to be an unforgettable experience especially during moonlit nights.

 Related Posts:
1.  Waterfalls of Karnataka
2.  Waterfalls of Sirsi  
3.  Waterfalls of Kolli Hills
4. Madhya Pradesh - the heart of Incredible India                                                                                                              

Monday, August 28, 2017

MP Diaries : Orchha Chhatris, Grander than the Grandest

Chhatris of Orchha
Chhatris of Orchha
After witnessing the beautiful paintings of the Lakshmi Mandir, we moved on to the Chhatris (Cenotaphs) complex on the Kanchan Ghat bank of river Betwa. This complex is home to 14 Chhatris built in memory of the Royal family members of the Bundela dynasty - Maharaja Sujan Singh, Jaswant Singh, Maharaja Indiramani, King Sawant Singh, Madhukar Shah, and Vir Singh Deo to name a few. These were built between the 17th and 18th centuries, representing the Bundela style of Architecture. 
Cenotaph of Orchha
Chhatris of Orchha
The Betwa River, Orchha
Sunset of Orchha
The Best Way to End The Day
How to reach Orchha: Orchha is about 16 km from Jhansi
Entry Fee: Rs.15/- per head for Indian Citizens and Rs.200/- per head for foreigners. There is only one ticket counter in Orchha outside the palace complex. Tickets are compulsory before entering the Chhatris complex. 
Accommodation: We stayed in Hotel Aditya and unfortunately, this was the worst experience we have had in Madhya Pradesh because of the bad hospitality and rude staff. Better options would be to find accommodation at Sheesh Mahal or Betwa resort, both maintained by the MPSTDC. 
Where to eat: There are plenty of options with a wide range and matching everyone's budget. 

Related Posts: 
1. Madhya Pradesh - heart of Incredible India                                             

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

At the Confluence of Rivers Tunga and Bhadra, Koodli Sangama, Shimoga/Shivamogga

Kudli Sangama
Confluence of Rivers Tunga and Bhadra 
Kudli/ Koodli Sangama is a small village located at the confluence of rivers Tunga and Bhadra. The mighty Tungabhadra originates here and takes an easterly course towards the Bay of Bengal. It is one among the most prominent rivers of India and has been a centre of activity for many centuries. The surrounding areas of Kudli have been under continuous occupation since the Paleolithic period. Various dynasties have ruled this place starting from the Satavahanas of Banavasi to Nayakas of Keladi. Kudli is home to many temples built during various periods, such as Lord Rameshwara temple, Shringeri Shankar Mutt, Narasimha temple, and Vidyashankar temple. We first visited the Sangama or Confluence of the rivers Tunga and Bhadra with overflowing waters, thanks to the good rains! We enjoyed sitting by, watching the river and people around here. 
River Tungabhadra
River Tungabhadra Flows from Here
Rameshwara Temple, Kudli
Rameshwara Temple 
Bramhalingeshwara Temple
Shikara of  Rameshwara Temple
Hoysala Emblem on Vestibule 
Lord Veerabhadra and Bhikshatana Murti
 The Rameshwara temple here was built in 12th century by the Hoysalas and is dedicated to Lord Shiva in form of Linga. Though the super structure of this temple is of the non-ornate type of Hoysala Architecture, the Rameshwara Linga seems to be of much earlier times than the Hoysalas. This is a simple ekakuta temple with navaranga being connected by three mukhamantapas. There are three inscription stones in the compound of Rameshwara temple out of which one is in Kannada, probably belonging to the Western Chalukyas or Hoysalas and the other two seem to be scripted in Sanskrit/Marathi. The Chintamani Narasimha temple which is closely located to the Rameshwara temple was closed during our visit. It is believed to have been built during the same period as the Rameshwara temple with a similar plan. The Keladi styled Rajagopuram welcomes everyone to the Chintamani Narasimha temple.
Keladi Styled Rajagopuram of Chintamani Narasimha Temple 
Inscriptions Slab Stones 
Shringeri Shankar Mutt
Sharadamba Temple 
Sri Vidyashankara Temple
 We went on to visit the Vidyashankara temple which was under the renovation and finally visited the Shringeri Shankar Mutt. In the premises of this mutt are two temples dedicated to goddess Sharadamba and the great saint Shankaracharya. This temple remains the second choice after Kollur Mookambika temple for the ritual of Vidyarambham or Aksharabhyasa (the ritual of introducing small children to the world of learning and writing). We witnessed a few families performing this interesting ritual wherein small kids write their first letters of their mother tongue in a plate full of rice grains. It was time for the Anna prasadam (Lunch) which is served here to all, and we moved on to have a hearty and sumptuous meal. 
Other places to visit nearby: Shivamogga, Gajanur Dam, Mattur (Sanskrit Village), Sakrebyle Elephant Centre, Bhadravathi and many such. 
How to reach Kudli: Located off the Shivamogga - Honnali Highway, about 15 km from Shivamogga.
Accommodation: There are two mutts here which offer accommodation, though getting one depends on availability. A better choice would be to stay at Shivamogga and make a day trip as there are plenty of options in Shivamogga to suit all budgets. 
Where to eat: A few small eateries are present here as it is a pilgrim center. Anna prasadam is served daily during lunch time at Shringeri Shankar mutt. 
 PS: A new page has been added to our blog, which has a collection of our Vlogs. Click here to view.

Friday, January 27, 2017

MP Diaries - Maheshwar, Sanctified by Faith

Maheshwar, Madhya Pradesh
Maheshwar, Sanctified by Faith
Maheshwar, nestled on the banks of River Narmada was a glorious city of the Hindu civilisation in the past. This town finds its mention in the epics of  Ramayana and Mahabharata as Mahishmati, the ancient capital of King Kartavirya Arjuna (Shree Sahasrarjuna). There is an interesting legend associating this place with Ravana, the king of Lanka and Sahasrarjuna, the 1000 armed King. A small river nearby that joins the Narmada is still called by the name of Mahishmati. Later, the town rose to prominence with the rule of Rani Ahilya Bai of Holakar dynasty, whose voice of bravery still echoes in the walls of the fort. The town is also famous for Maheshwari sarees that are hand woven and elegant. We reached Maheshwar on the night of December 28th after a one and a half hour drive from Omkareshwar. The accommodation options were many and we chose one to crash out that night. We woke up early and got ready for a long day of exploration. We headed straight towards the Fort of Ahilya Bai after the entrance of which, a narrow road lead us to the Chaturbhuj temple.
Maheshwar fort entrance
Entering the Fort 
Chaturbhuj Naryana Temple 
A temple exhibiting typical North Indian style of architecture and stands in neglect, is dedicated to  the four armed Lord Naryana (Lord Vishnu). As this temple was closed during our visit,  we were unable to witness the temple interiors.
Chaturbhuj Naryana Temple
Raja Rajeshwar Temple 
This temple complex is situated close to the Ahileshwar temple (main temple). There are many temples in this complex, most of which are dedicated to Lord Shiva. One such, seemed lively with a lot of action happening in terms of rituals and offering prayers. There is an idol of the king Sahasrarjuna in the temple.
Raja Rajeshwar Temple
King Sahasrarjuna 
 Ahileshwar temple 
The Ahileshwar temple is a multi-tiered temple distinguished by its carved overhanging balconies and intricately carved doorways. This temple is dedicated to Lord Rama who is seen along with his consort Sita matha and brother Lakshmana. This temple stands as an the epitome of Holkar style of architecture and a symbol of pride of Queen Ahilya Bai.
Ahileshwar Temple and River Narmada
 Chhatri of Vithoji 
In front of the Ahileshwar temple is a Chhatri (Cenotaph) dedicated to Shrimant Sardar Vithoji Rao Holkar, who was sentenced to death by being trampled under elephant's feet by the Maratha King Peshwa Baji Rao II. The presence of enormous carvings of elephants may be attributed to this incident.
Chhatri of Vithoji 
Ahilya Ghat 
Ahilya ghat, built on the banks of river Narmada during the reign of Rani Ahilya Bai is situated besides the temple of Ahileshwar, from where one can get an astounding  view  of the Ahilya Bai fort.
Ahilya Bai Ghat and Fort
Ahilya Bai Palace
The royal Palace of Holkar dynasty where Queen Ahilya Bai spent most of her time during her rule   is now converted into a small museum with collections of  her memorabilia. There is a big statue of the Queen Ahilya Bai inside this palace installed in her memory. The rest part of the Palace is now converted in the Heritage hotel.
Queen Ahilya Bai 
Gobar Ganesha Temple 
This 900 year old temple dedicated to Lord Ganesha  is one of the oldest living temples here. Due to its continuous renovations, the temple currently is seen as a modern structure housing the 900 year old Ganesha idol shaped out of Gobar (cow dung). It is indeed surprising. How this idol has survived for such a long period, being made of organically decomposeable material is a  mystery. We were fortunate enough for having a chance to visit this temple which was located in the interior streets of Maheshwar.
Lord Gobar Ganesha 
Other places to visit around: Kaleshwar Temple, Narmada Temple, Kashi Vishwanath Temple, Jawaleshwar Temple, Baneshwar Temple (on the island formed by River Narmada), many other temples and ghats. 
Distance from nearby major town: 90 km from Indore. 
Accommodation: We stayed at hotel Devarshi, a good budget hotel for over night stay located on the road to Damoh. The hotel attached to this place only serves vegetarian food. Only cash is accepted here. Another option for lodging is hotel Narmada Retreat maintained by  MPSTDC. Various options exist to suit one's budget. 
Where to eat: Hotel Narmada Retreat is the best choice for food apart from the various cafes inside the fort area, although road side eateries were our favorite for the very famous Poha and Sev.

2. RBS Visitors Guide India - ''Madhya Pradesh"

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