Waterfalls of Agumbe, Karnataka -2

Continuing from  part -1 ....
      From Barkana falls we moved towards another falls by name Jogi Gundi.The force of the water was ferocious, falling from a height of about 20 feet . We had to walk for about a kilometer from the road to reach the falls.
The Walk
Natural Barricade
Jogi Gundi Falls, Agumbe
Jogi Gundi Falls

Later,  we went back to the village and had a good lunch. The only question passing our minds was whether to visit the Onake abbi  falls or not, since the locals had warned us about the leeches. Finally, we decided to give it a shot .The way to the falls is through a medicinal plants garden. The garden is about 3 kms from Agumbe. Here on, it is about 3 kms walk to the falls . This place was a haven for leeches, which made the trek more enjoyable . It is better not to stop anywhere in between, reducing the chances of interaction with the leeches.We continued our walk all the way up to the falls except for some photo stops. There are well laid steps from a certain point to the water falls . When we almost reached the falls, it started to pour heavily ,thus ruining our chance of photographing the falls.As we reached the destination, we realized we were at the top of the falls. On inquiring the guide told us there was an alternate route from Someshwara which  leads to the bottom of the falls ..
The Path
Forest Mile Stone
Indian Amazon
The Steps .
   Since we had only a day at our disposal and had to reach another place by evening, we had to leave Agumbe, which was very disheartening.
Directions from Bangalore:  Bangalore - Magadi - Kunigal - Hassan - Belur - Aldur - Balehonnur - Jayapura - Sringeri - Agumbe .
Distance: About 380 kms.
Stay/Accommodation :There are very few options for accommodation around Agumbe. On searching, we found a place just opposite to the Bus Stand - Mallya Residency (Mobile: 9448759363, Phone:08181-233042) Cleanliness: Average, Facilities: Minimum. This place is okay for an overnight stay. We also heard about home stays around the village.We suggest Sringeri as a better option for accommodation.
Places to visit Around: Kudlutheertha, Sirimane Falls, Sringeri, Kundadri Hills, Narasimha  Parvatha and many more.
Trip dates: 12 and 13 Aug 2010

Waterfalls of Agumbe, Karnataka -1

     We planned a trip to visit "Kunchikal Falls", the highest tiered waterfalls in India since the monsoons were high. The waters of the Varahi river fall from a height of about 1450 ft forming the Kunchikal Falls. It is located in Agumbe, Shimoga district . As we had very little information about this falls, we thought this would be a nice place to explore. But, as soon as we reached Agumbe, on inquiring about Kunchikal Falls, we were disappointed to know that  no permission was granted to visit the same since the falls is loacted inside the dam region. As usual, thinking everything happens for good, we moved on to explore the other beauties of the mighty Agumbe.We found a guide to accompany us in our journey of exploring the forest of Agumbe .
      "Agumbe" is known as the "Cheerapunji of the South". Most of the episodes of Malgudi days was shot in and around the village of Agumbe. This place is known for the sunset, especially during November to January. The forests of Agumbe is one of the most important part of the western ghats . This is home for the one and only rain forest research station in India . This place is also called as the "Capital of King Cobra" , since its forests is home to a very large population of King Cobras. Off late, naxal activity has increased in these areas. Though during our visit,  everything looked  under control. We had to cross many check posts in the village and usually permission is required from the police department to go into the forest . 
Welcome to the  Cheerapunji of South
         We gathered information on places to visit around . The village of Agumbe has 3 waterfalls namely, the Barkana Falls  , Jogi Gundi Falls and  the Onake Abbi Falls, nearby. Most of the people told us to avoid going to the Onake Abbi falls due to the heavy leech infestation on the way . Hence, we decided to explore the other two falls.
        Our first  was the visit to Barkana falls . It has to be viewed from a view point which is about 4 kms walk through the dense tropical rain forests . There is a jeep track which ends up into a walking trail. The abundant flora and fauna of this  region is a pleasure to experience and be a part of. It was breathtaking. Beautiful birds  especially those endemic to western ghats like the Malabar Trogon, Laughing Thrush , Flycatchers , Dark Fronted Babbler , Horn Bills and many more... can be spotted here,  regularly . The Barkana falls  is the tenth highest waterfalls in India.The waters of River Sita fall as Barkana from a height of about 850 ft. The view of the Barkana falls is just mesmerizing .
Rain-wet  Road
Amazing Roads
Country Side Agumbe
Path to the Falls
Into the Forest
Agumbe's dense vegetation
Barkana Falls, Agumbe, Karnataka
The Mighty Barkana
A Closer look
Barkana Falls, Agumbe, Karnataka
Barkana Falls
View of the Valley
A Great view
A Small Stream on the way
To be  continued ............................

Gulur Ganesha

Gulur, a small village in Tumkur district formed the erstwhile Kridapura, along with Kaidala. It is famous for its unique way of celebration of the Ganapathi festival, especially among the locals. Currently, the temple is under renovation.
 According to the legend told by the local priest, there once lived a poor Brahmana whose difficulties only increased with time. Lord Ganesha appeared in his dream and was told to offer him prayers after which he would be relieved of all his problems. As he was unaware of the rituals to be performed for offering prayers, he first tried to gather information on the ways of worshiping the Lord. During this stage, he met Sage Agastya, who was travelling from the South to the North and had halted in this village then. He explained all his problems to the sage and also informed him about his dream. Sage Agastya helped him perform puja and worship Lord Ganesha, the ways of which is followed even today.
The sage initially directed him to collect clay from a nearby lake from which an idol of Ganesha, about 8 to 9 feet tall was molded. After its completion, rigorous puja was performed to the Lord continuously for about 30 days, after which the idol was immersed in a lake. The Brahmana, after worshiping Lord Ganesha as told by Sage Agastya was relieved of all his problems. Since then, he continued to perform puja and offer prayers every year. Even today, during the Ganesha festival, locals make the idol of lord Ganesha from the clay of a nearby lake. The puja begins on the day of Bali Padyami (Deepavali) and continues for about one month. The annual jatra is held on the third day after the completion of the Karthika Masa.
Temple under Renovation
Pillar Opposite the Temple Entrance
Sculptures and the Sun and Moon signs on the Pillar
Side View of the Temple
Lord Ganesha (final touch up going on) 
There is a permanent idol of Lord Ganesha and Sage Agastya in the temple. There is a pillar opposite the temple entrance and sculptures of Lord Ganesha, Nandi and an Elephant. This temple is maintained by a local trust.  

Directions from Bangalore: Bangalore - Tumkur NH 4 - Via bypass to Gubbi - Left near Maralur lake towards Kunigal  - Left  near Gulur circle.
Distance: About 80 km from Bangalore.
Trip dates: 19th September and 6th November, 2010
Places to Visit Around: Gubbi, Tumkur, Kaidala, Chelur and many more.

Jakanachari's Hometown Kaidala/ Kridapura

         "Kridapura" was the capital of a petty state. According to the legend, it was the birth place of a famous sculptor the world has ever seen ,the great one and only "Jakanachari", to whose wonderful skills are attributed some of the finest temple carvings at Belur,  Halebidu, and the like.
         As the story goes, Jakanachari left his family and entered the services of the various kings of Hoyasalas and produced works by which, his fame is upheld even today. His son Dankanachari  grew up and decided to go in search of his father and reached Belur . At Belur , the Chennakeshava  temple was  in the course of erection , where the young man remarked that one of the images had blemish. Challenging this remark, the sculptor, who was none other than his father Jakanachari ,vowed to cut off  his right hand, if any defect was to be found in the image . 
         In order to test this, the figure was covered with sandal paste and to everyone's surprise ,the paste dried everywhere except on the navel. On further examination, a cavity  was found which contained a frog, sand and water. This way, the idol got the name of "Kappe Chanigaraya"(Kappe=Frog in Kannada). He had no choice but to cut  off his right hand as per his word. On further inquiry about the boy, they became aware of the relationship between the sculptor and the boy .
         One day, in Jakanachari's dream, god directed him to build a Keshav temple in Kridapura .  As per his dream, a temple dedicated to Chennakeshava was built in Kridapura. As soon  as the temple was complete, his right hand was restored. In commemoration of this incident , this place from then  on is being called as "Kaidala" (the restored hand). It is a large building with Dravidian style of architecture .
Chennakeshava Temple, Kaidala
             Kaidala has two temples constructed during the Hoyasala period. They are  the  "Chennakeshava" temple and the "Gangadhareshvara" temple . The latter was built in 1150 AD by the Hoyasala chief Gule Bachi, under king Narashima. The idol of Chennakeshava in the temple is a master piece and beats all the sculptures found in any of the Hoyasala temples. 
     The Mahadvara  or the Main entrance of the temple has various sculptures including the Lord Chennakeshava himself and opposite to this, on the pillar, there is a fine figure standing with folded hands. Carvings of animals like elephants, horses and monkeys and fish are seen. It was also very interesting to find a carving of a camel.
Note the camel
The King 
Lord Krishna
Lord Ganesha
    There are two more small mantaps inside the temple compound. One of these mantaps contains an idol of Lord Garuda . There are some Hero Stones (Viragals) found in the temple complex. There is a tall stone pillar just in front of the temple. The temple of Gangadhareshvara was closed , but looked quite interesting. On viewing through the window, we found two huge stone inscriptions inside. On  inquiring about the temple to the locals, they informed us that the temple is opened only on Mondays. They also informed us about another temple located just outside the village, and was considered to be older than these two temples. 
Temple Compound and the Pillar
Gangadhareshvara temple
Inside the temple
The inscriptions
      Here on, we went to explore the older temple named "Kodi Rameshwara". There are two small temples here. Both temples have Shiva Linga inside with Nandi situated in the front. There are two huge Hero Stones, out of which one seemed to be broken, just near the temple .
Main temple
Smaller temple
Shiva Linga
The Hero Stones
      The Chennakeshava temple is open during day time and is maintained by a priest and a few old ladies. No photography is allowed inside the temple. Other two temples are mostly closed .

Directions from Bangalore : Bangalore - Tumkur NH4 - Via by pass to Gubbi - Left near Golur Lake - Right near Golur circle - Kaidala. Distance: About 80 kms . 
Trip date : 19th Sept, 2010
 Places to visit around : Gubbi , Tumkur , Golur, Chelur and many more .

A rainy day

          We heard the mobile phone ring and realized it was our aunt  on the call. Hundreds of questions arose in our mind as to why she had called at this hour!! Hesitatingly, I picked the call and was bombarded with questions, one followed by another without any time given for answering!! I felt like I heard a  thousand voices at once asking where we were, have we heard that days news, or read the days newspaper and so on. Suddenly, the focus moved on to questions like were we crazy. After the so thought ever lasting  questionnaire ended, we heard that most of the places in North Karnataka were flooded due to heavy rains and since our aunt knew we were traveling towards Hampi, she fore warned us about the same. We were about 70 km away from Bangalore towards Hampi, via Chitradurga. This was during the last year's floods in the northern parts of Karnataka, which had created havoc, causing severe damage to mankind. As it was a long weekend ( the Gandhi Jayanthi  weekend), we planned to visit Hampi and booked Kishkinda resort for accommodation (3 km from Hampi) .
        We told our aunt that we would get back to her in a while. Meanwhile, we called one of our friends who was traveling from Bangalore to Sindhanur, to find out the situation. He answered that it was pretty bad and had been stuck over 4 hours for now and  the bus has not moved an inch. This gave us the feeling of having butterflies in the stomach. After a round of consultation, we decided to call off the trip and move on to another destination. We took  the U-turn towards Bangalore and were deciding to drive  towards Pondicherry and Gingee fort .
           We suddenly realized that we had to call the resort  manager for canceling our accommodation. The man who spoke to us told us there was no major problem except that it was raining cats and dogs. Since the accessibility through the shorter route was cut off due to the heavy rains, an alternate route to Kishkinda had increased  the distance from 3 km to 42 km. We made another U- turn and not looking back, drove towards Hampi. In a few hours, we reached our aunt's (not the one who had spoken to us that morning) place at Chitradurga. We rested for sometime, had breakfast and surfed through news channels to make sure we wouldn't be risking going to Kishkinda. All the channels covered news about Mantralaya, one of the many scared places being completely flooded. Well, we had to move on towards our  destination. So, we proceeded .
Initial Set Back 
           The distance from Chitradurga to Hospet (town near to Hampi) is about 130 km, and takes about  3 hours (max). We took more than 8 hours to reach Hospet. We felt like we were traveling by bullock cart. It rained through out our journey and there was water every where. We had to probably over take more than a thousand lorries that day, in order to reach our destination. Apart from listening to great music,  we passed our time checking out the number plates of the lorries and other vehicles. To our surprise, we had already counted more than 20 states. This exercise was quite interesting.
Water Water Everywhere!
Over Flowing Lake
 Raging Nature
Sorry! Not the Trucker's Fault
T B Dam
Land Slide

T B Dam's Back waters during the heavy rains
T B dam with no back waters during April 2010
  The above two photos represent the same spot taken during different times, giving an indication of the effect of floods.
      After overcoming many obstacles posed by the overflowing waters and the heavy Lorry traffic that day, we finally made it to the resort and heaved a sigh of relief. We eagerly waited to see the "Ruins amidst the Rains".