Hoysala Malleshwara Temple, Machalaghatta

     "Machalaghatta" is a sleepy village of Nagamangala taluk , Mandya District. This place houses a lesser known Malleshwara temple belonging to the 13th century probably built during the reign of Hoysala king Someshwara.
         With this little information, our search began for this place. After a lot of inquiries of the route to this place, we drove towards  to Cheenya (located on the Nagamangala -Pandavapura road). After making it to Cheenya , an elderly person rightly directed us to the Machalaghatta village. Finally, after a few inquiries we reached the temple which was situated outside the village. At the first look, we knew the temple had under gone renovations.
Malleshwara Temple
   This soap stone temple doesn't  have an appearance like the other famous Hoysala temples from outside. Though it felt simple compared to the Hoysala standards, it looked wonderful. The temple was locked and without a single soul around, we had to head back to the village to find out the priest's whereabouts. We found out that the priest lived in the neighboring village(Raghuramapura). We reached  the neighboring village only to find the priest pretty busy with his agricultural work. On approaching him, he was kind enough to make an alternate arrangement for us to see the temple. Thanks to him since we were able to see the temple interiors which turned out to be a Hoysala master piece. The pillars, ceilings, door frames, lintels and sculptures were all intricately carved .
Outer Ceiling
Central Ceiling
Central Ceiling - Full View
   The central ceiling is an 8 angled star shaped lotus with 3 blocks of carvings in each angle, the center one depicting the Ashtadikpalas while the others contained  mango leaves, toranas and orchestra.
Door Frame
Lord Malleshwara
Lord Ganapathi
   There are some Kannada  inscriptions on the outer wall of the temple. There is also a beautiful sculpture of Lord Bhairava, just opposite to the entrance of the temple. There is a hero stone by the side of the temple . and a little farther away from the temple.  
Lord Bhairava

Hero Stone
Parvathi Parameshawara
        This is a  wonderful place to visit and  is very close to the famous Melukote temple. The temple was renovated with the help of Mr Hedge (Dharmadhikari of Dharmastala ). The temple priest's contact numbers are as follows: 9845781822 (Kumar) and 8861962968 (Raju) - Both residents of Raghuramapura

     Directions from Bangalore : Bangalore - SH17- Mandya - Right turn (towards Melukote) - Jakkanahalli - Right turn (towards Nagamangala)- Travel about 6 kms - Right turn (there is a small board in Kannada) - Travel about 2 kms to reach Machalaghatta

Distance from Bangalore : 135 kms

Places to visit around : Melukote , Nagamangala, Hosaholalu, Kikkeri, Govindanahalli, Ranganathittu bird sanctuary and many more .

Trip Date: 26 Jan 2011

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2. Temples of Aralaguppe
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Critters of Thodikana

         The trek to Devaragundi waterfalls gave us a wonderful opportunity to sight various magnificent life forms. Most of these are endemic to this region (western ghats) .
        Butterflies are always the most interesting and colorful creatures to spot. Though we have spotted Malabar Banded Peacock  many times , this was the first time it posed for us, though for a few seconds. Usually its a very busy butterfly giving us less opportunity to capture it .
Malabar Banded Peacock
Malabar Banded Peacock (Swallow Tailed)
Common Fourring
Malabar Raven
          Scientific Names of the Butterflies in the above photos :
1 Malabar Banded Peacock : Papilio buddha (Belongs to family :Papilionidae) Endemic
2 Common Fourring :Ypthima huebneri (Belongs to family :Nymphalids)
3 Malabar Raven : Papilio dravidarum (Belongs to family :Papilionidae) Endemic

   The various life forms spotted by us :
Spirostrepid Millipede
Pill Millipede (Endemic)
Damsel Fly
 Green Damsel
Long Legged Flies
Hoppers at Work
    Lovely place to trek and wonderful waterfalls, looks magical especially during monsoons and post monsoon.

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Devaragundi Waterfalls, Thodikana, Sullia

   "Thodikana" is a small village of Sullia Taluk, Dakshina Kannada District. This place is famous for its Mallikarjuna Swamy Temple. The name Thodikana comes from two words,  'thodu' meaning stream and 'kana' meaning forest. The Stream flowing here is Matsyathirtha (a tributary of river Payaswini ). There are two interesting spots near this temple namely, 'Meenagundi' (Pond of fishes) and 'Devaragundi' (God's pond) .
    Meenagundi has a shoal of fishes at a particular point. These fish are considered to be sacred and never killed, but fed by the temple authorities and locals who visit this temple. The temple is just like any other temple of the region. On the outer wall of temple are paintings depicting the story related to the temple. There is Yajna Khund (a pit where fire is lit and offerings made for the gods ) believed to be used by Sage Kanva. Even today, one can see the smoke coming out of it. Even we were shocked to see this.
Shoal of Fishes
The Temple
      Though we had visited this place several times, we had only heard about Devaragundi but never been to this place, which is about 2.3 kms from the temple ( there is a small board directing towards the same). We came to know  about Devaragundi water falls from the BBMP wall paintings. This time, we were sure to visit this place during the monsoons and so it happened.
      Due to the heavy rains, the approach road to the falls was not motorable except for 4 wheel drives. Hence, we decided to trek the distance. There is a forest check post on the way. The final part of trek took us in to a private arecanut farm. This is the place where the Shiva linga was found and is currently worshiped inside the temple. The water from here is used for special abhishekas  in the temple. The waterfalls was ferocious, due to heavy rains. What a sight it was!
Amazing View
Monsoon Magic
Road to the Temple
Kids playing near the stream
Devaragundi Falls
A Closer Look
Ferocious Falls
       The Anna prasadam (meals) are served at the temple after the noon puja. This place is located off the Madkeri -Sullia state highway (about 8 kms from the highway).

To be continued .......... 

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A trek to Nagamalai, Male Mahadeshwara betta

       "Nagamalai" is a one of the many hills of the Male Mahadeshwara Betta (M M hills) range . Nagamalai and surrounding areas served home to the sandalwood bandit Veerappan some time back. After his death, these areas are safe to visit. This place is considered sacred, since here, the rock resembles a shiva linga sheltered from the sun rays under the hood of a snake. This rock is said to be of Lord Mahadevaswamy doing his penance. A snake opened  its hood and stood behind the Lord in order  to protect him from the sun light. Over time, both of them turned into rocks.
      On Saturday evening., we decided to go to M M hills. We called a friend of ours who stays close by to Kolegal and inquired about the place. On Sunday morning, after visiting his farms, we headed towards M M hills (about 60 kms from Hannur).Around 10 am , we reached M M hills. After visiting the famous temple of Lord Mahadeshwara, we headed towards the Papanasini lake.Then we asked him what are the other places to visit around . He said that there are five  peaks with a temple in each of the peaks and the peaks had unique rock formations, like the Nagamalai (Snake shaped rock ), Rudraskshimalai (Bachelor's button (flower) shaped rock) , etc .
        Nagamalai is  the closest from MM Hills which can be reached after a trek of about 7 kms. After some discussion, we jumped into a jeep going towards to Nagamalai. After travelling about 5 kms, we reached the start place of the trek.  Since many were visiting this scared place, we had company. We started our trek and had to cross 6 to 7 hills to reach Nagamalai. The scenery throughout our trek was beautiful.
Initial Trek Path
The Lovely Landscape
Terrace Cultivation
Magnificent View
View of the Cauvery  Basin
       After walking for about 6 kms, we reached a village . This supposedly  is the last village we come across on the way to Nagamalai. The food has to be ordered here while trekking up and we did the same. Heading towards our destination, we finally made it to the temple after having trekked 7 kms.
The Village and the Hills
Home Sweet Home
Trishula near the Temple
View from the Top
   After enjoying the amazing views, we decided to rest for some time. We started our descent and reached the village where we had ordered lunch. We had to wait for some time for the food to be served. After the very much needed lunch, we headed back to the starting point of the trek. A shepherd boy cautioned us about elephants crossing over. They had spotted some. We were excited about the chances of spotting an elephant. Unfortunately, they seemed to have found their way deep into the forest. From the start point of the trek we took a jeep back to the MM Hills.
Elephants went this way 
       Altogether, a wonderful place to experience trekking amidst the deciduous forest. Though the trek is an easy one, one's stamina is tested for sure. There is well laid path all along. It is advisable to carry drinking water. Food has to be pre-ordered or carried. The  Karnataka Forest Dept. arranges for treks to various hills in the MM range(Mystery Trails).  
   Directions from Bangalore : Bangalore- Maddur - Kolegal - Hannur - MM hills
   Distance from Bangalore: 225 kms
   Places around to visit : Hogenakkal Falls , Bandallidurga Fort , various peaks for trekking
   Trip date : 12 ,13 Sept 2009 

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