Fort Kundana

     'Kundana Fort'  is one of the closest  forts to Bangalore, housed in the small village of Kundana (about15 km from Devanahalli).  A small hillock with  fortification is seen from the roadway.  A walk of about 10 minutes leads us to the first tier of the fort, most of which is in ruins today. Nothing much remains of the fort, except for it's three tiers, a doorway, two renovated temples, a kitchen room and foundations of a few buildings. While looking at the doorway, a wild guess can be made, that of a Palegar of Vijayanagar Kingdom having built the same.We did find a water pond near the temple, again a wonderful and skillful depiction of our ancestors wisdom in harvesting  the rain water. Unfortunately and sadly, today it only turns out to be a dump yard for people who visit the temple. Not a single soul was spotted on the hillock.
The Second Tier of the Fort
Crumbling Fort Walls
The Doorway
Chennakeshava Temple, Kitchen Room and the Water Pond
Garuda Kambha
Phantom Rock
Kundana Village - Bird's Eye View
Fort View Villa
Drying Wild Zinnia Flower
Overall this place is good for quick outing from Bangalore.

Places near by: Nandi Hills, Devanahalli Fort, Skandagiri, Ghati Subramanya and many more ...

Lizards

   Lizards (wiki) are the most common of all reptiles. They are characterized with well developed limbs and eye lids. Among the reptile species, 50% of the species belong to the group of lizards. The lizards, along with snakes fall under the Order "Squamata "(scaled reptiles). The other orders of reptiles include "Crocodilia "(Caimans, Alligators Gharials) and " Testudines" (Turtles and Tortoises).
   Lizards are mainly insectivorous though some are carnivores and some are herbivores. Their body is covered scales at least on  some portion of the body, if not fully. They are found in all kinds of terrestrial biomes (wiki) like the deserts, forests, hilly regions, etc,. Most of the lizards are oviparous, expect a few. Lizards are further divided into many families depending upon the their common characteristics. Common lizard families include the Geckos (Gekkonidae), Agamas (Agamidae), Chameleons (Chamaeleonidae),Skinks (Scincidae), Monitors (Varnidae) and the Iguana (Iguanadiae).
 Agama
Geckos: These are the most commonly and easily found lizards. They may be arboreal, ground or rock dwellers. Some are commensal with man . Most of the geckos are nocturnal. The tail of geckos regenerates and does not attain the original color and shape. Geckos are non poisonous.
Northern House Gecko
Chameleons: They are arboreal lizards. Only one species is found in India. Chameleons are unique in the possession of an extensible tongue, independently movable eyes and have parrot toes that are characterized by modification of the toes into two sets of opposed clasping organs. They have a compressed body and prehensile tail .  They posses to a remarkable degree, the ability to change color.
Chamaeleon zeylanicus
Skinks: Their bodies are covered with smooth or keeled shiny scales ,imbricately arranged . There is typically little or no neck region. Body is elongated and flattened. These are majorly ground dwellers. Some limbless forms are also found.
 Skink
Snake Skink (Juv)
Agama: The most easily found family of lizards, especially in rocky regions. They have well developed teeth, which are divided into incisors, canines and molars. They can be found in all types of biomes. The head, which is held off the ground on a distinct neck, has small scales and lacks shield. Eyes and ears are well developed.
Spiny Agama
Rock Agama
Peninsular Rock Agama
Monitor Lizards: They have a long and flattened body, long tail, long neck, and extremely elongated and slender forked tongue (similar to snakes). Komodo dragon, the largest existing lizards belongs to this family. Some are found in aquatic biomes also. These are endangered by trade in reptile skins.
Common Indian Monitor
Iguana: They are large herbivorous lizards native to central America and Caribbean Islands. They re usually found in zoos and national parks.
Iguana
Reference: The book of Indian Reptiles and Amphibians by J.C. Daniel

Muktesvara Temple, Chaudayyadanapura -II

"Muktesvara temple" is a dwikuta temple and is a masterpiece portraying the style, culture and architecture of the Chalukyan era. It is considered to have been built in the Jakkanacharyan style of Architecture. There are two entrances to the temple, one from the south and other from the east. Both entrances have beautiful porches. The door frames are decorative and classic, representing true Kalyani Chalukyan Architecture. There is also a carving of Lord Mahesvara on the main door lintels.
Muktesvara Temple
Lovely Door Frame
Lord Mahesvara on the Lintel
Decorative Carvings
Carving of Animals on the Door Frame
Door Frame of the East Entrance
      There is a small Shiva Linga inside the Garbhagriha and the door frame of the Sukanasi is skillfully executed. There is a Mantapa on the front side of the east entrance . The exterior walls of the temple carry  carvings of Lord Shiva in his various forms, Lord Ganesha, Goddess Saraswathi, Lord Krishna, Lord Surya and other gods. The artistic work on the outer wall is commendable.
Sukanasi Door Frame
Lintel of Sukanasi Door Frame
Sapthamathrikas
Outer Ceiling
Inner Ceiling 
Mantapa
Carvings of Dance Troupe on the  Front Porch
Lord Ganesha
Intricate Carvings on Temple Walls
Empty Devakosthas
Wonderful Floral Depictions
Pattikas
Miniature Shikaras
Temple Shikara
     It is definitely one amongst the well maintained temples of Karnataka. The temple remains open throughout the day irrespective of  the priest's presence.
Directions from Bangalore: Bangalore-NH4-Tumkur-Chitradurga-Davangere-Ranebennur-Right Turn towards Guttal-Right Turn towards Choudayyadanapura (Be sure not to miss this turn as there are no sign boards indicating the same, The right turn to be taken is about 6 km before Guttal)
Distance from Bangalore: About 330 km
Places to Visit Around: Galaganatha, Kuruvatti, Haveri, Ranebennur, Devaragudda, Harihara and many more

Reference Used:
The Temple of Muktesvara at Caudadanapura: A Little-Known 12Th-13th Century Temple in Dharwar District, Karnataka (Kalasamalocana)

Mukteshwara Temple, Chaudayyadanapura


      On reaching Ranebennur cross on the NH4 highway and realizing  that Caudadanapura was situated close by, we were curious to see the temple of Muktheshwara that we had read about a while ago. We inquired about this place, but there seemed to be a lot of confusion with regards to the pronunciation of the name when finally, a jeep driver came to our rescue by correcting the same, from Caudadanapura to Chaudayyadanapura. On following his directions, we reached Chaudayyadanapura / Caudadanapura, a small village situated on the banks of  the river Tungabhadra of Ranebennur Taluk, Haveri District. This place gets its name from the Veerashaiva Saint and Boatman, Sharana Ambigara Chaudaiah who lived here during the 12th Century. The place is also called by various names such as Shivapura, Muktikshetra and Gope. As per our readings, a mantapa on the bank of the river Tungabhadra housed the samadhi (Gadduge) of  Sharana Ambigara Chaudaiah. But, we found only a small structure on the banks which we thought to be the samadhi, though not confirmed.
Samadhi of Sharana Ambigara Chaudaiah
      The temple of Mukteshwara in Chaudayyadanapura was built by the Chalukyas in the12th Century. According to a legend,  this place is situated at place where river Tungabhadra changes its path or direction of flow indicating the beginning of a new course, symbolizing  Mukti / Salvation (Redemption). Hence, this place is called as Mukthikshetra  and the deity worshiped here is Lord Mukteshwara or the God of Salvation. From our observations, it seems like our ancestors chose places close to water bodies and the summit of hills for the construction of the temples as these places were considered to be sacred.
Mukteshwara Temple Complex
      There are eight main  inscriptions found in this place. As per the book referred below, one of the inscriptions states that, in the year 1191, an ascetic/saint by name Muktajiyar was at this place and performed rigorous rituals to please Lord Mukthinatha. Thus, the deity here came to be known as Muktesha. It further states that the name of Lord Mukteshwara was appropriate as he was bestowing Mukti on his disciples.
Inscriptions
      The temple complex consists of the main temple of Mukteshwara, the Kallideva temple, two small Shiva temples, another temple with four compartments of which two are dedicated to Lord Shiva, one for Lord Virabhadra and the other to goddess Chamundi. A Keerthistambha stands tall (about thirty feet) at the entrance of the complex. There is also a Gadduge of the saint Shivadeva inside the temple complex.
Kallideva Temple
Kallideva and two Shiva linga temples
Shiva Linga
Virabhadra , Shiva Linga and the Chamundi Temple
Keerthistambha
Virabhadra Statue
Samadhi (Gadduge) of Saint Shivadeva
Depiction of Disciples
The entire temple complex is well maintained.
Reference: The Temple of Muktesvara at Caudadanapura: A Little-Known 12th-13th Century Temple in Dharwar District, Karnataka (Kalasamalocana)  by Vasundhara Filliozat. Vasundhara Filliozat is a freelance historian and epigraphist. She has worked on many aspects of history of the Karnataka kings and the temple of Jakkanachari style in the Dharwar District. The above referred book contains a detailed study of the temple of Muktheswara and has been used for providing information in this post.
Continued here