Narayanadurga fort, Sindaghatta, Mandya

       On a hot summer morning, we set our journey towards "Sindaghatta", located near K.R.Pete Taluk of Mandya District. The place originally known as Siddhaghatta underwent modifications and came to be known as Sindhughatta which later became Sindaghatta as it is called now. The place derived its name as Siddhaghatta from the Siddhas who meditated here and resided in the nearby caves. With a couple of inquires, we reached this place comfortably. On further inquiring about the caves, we realised that we had to travel a little more to reach the hillock near Rayasamudra village. The final stretch on road towards the hillock from Rayasamudra is difficult.
    The Hillock is named Narayanadurga, but commonly known as Kailaseshwaradurga. We inquired about the caves but the locals denied of any existence of the same though the legends mention about it. On the top of the hill is a temple dedicated to Lord Kailaseshwara and remains of an old fort built by a local Chieftain. There are many legends associated with this place suggesting links with the Ramayana and the Mahabharata. This was a major reason our guides made sure we climbed the rocky hill bare footed.
First Tier
Initial Stretch
The Climb
       The Fort has been built on one side to prevent an attack from the enemies while the other is steep, acting as a natural mode of defense. It is a seven tiered fort, with every fort wall having an entrance each. All of them are equally artistic though only their ruins remain. The fort walls follow a zigzag pattern and one can get easily lost if venturing alone.
Amazing Views
Skillful Brick Masonry
Ruined Gateway
Stairway To Heaven
         There is a beautiful temple on the hill top originally dedicated to Lord Narayana (Vishnu). His idol was stolen and the later king worshiped Lord Kailaeshwara's (shiva) in Lord Vishnu's place. The temple currently houses a Shiva Linga and Nandi, but the most interesting feature was a pair of life sized Dwarapalakas which very few temples carry. There is a ruined mantap by the side of the temple and a few natural water ponds which are believed to have been originated from Bhima's toe, thumb, knee and mace and are named accordingly. We had heard the same story about this place from another priest (Mt Karinja).
Nandi Kambha
Religious Mark
Fort Entrance To The Temple
Temple Complex
Life Sized Dwarapalakas
Garuda Kambha
Inner View of Temple
Kailaseshwara Temple
Natural Water Pond
           We suffered sunburns on our feet as we had to climb the hill bare footed. Our guides were two local boys who were also climbing the hill to pay a visit to Lord Kailaseshwara .
Silk Cotton
Well Just Like Oasis
Lovely View
Sky Watch
To Be Continued .............

Safa Masjid Ponda Goa

     The 'Safa Shahouri Masjid' is one amongst the 27 mosques built in Ponda by Ibrahim Adilshah during the 16th  Century. Safa Masjid is a single chambered mosque with tiled roofing. A flight of steps lead us to the inside of the mosque. Adjacent to the mosque is a well constructed masonry tank with small chambers  resembling the mihrab ( semi circular niche for prayers ).
Tourist Information Board of the ASI
Safa Masjid
   The mosque is located on the national highway NH4A connecting Panaji with Belgaum. It is being maintained by the ASI and the entry is free.


   Heggunda is one amongst  the very few places we had a chance of visiting more than once. We made sure to cover the hero stones that we missed during our first visit. On reaching this place, we headed straight to the temple of Lord Anjaneya. The temple is believed to be built during the Hoysala period.
Lord Anjaneya Temple
Colorful Gopura
Hoysala Emblem
 Later, we went in search of  the Viragals or Hero stones. We found a few in the fields surrounding the temple. It was disheartening to see the stones lay unprotected and carelessly spread all over the field. 
Hero Stone
Warrior and the Lady
    After this, we inquired  if there were any more such stones around. We met an elderly  man who looked disinterested in disclosing any kind of information and so, saying nothing  much, walked away. However, a lady sitting not much far away from this man showed an interest in replying to us and told us about a carving of  a Goddess on a rock which was worth seeing. She volunteered to join us but since she was quite old , we requested her to only give us directions and started walking having no idea what was in store for us. After walking a few miles, we realised we were unable to figure out the place. After  wandering  around looking for carvings in the nearby rocks, we decided to go back and bring the lady along. On going back to her and requesting her to come along, the old man sitting next to her murmured about us wasting their time. But, the lady was very much eager to show us that place. She came along and  we were amazed to see such an amazing  piece of rock carving hidden amidst the rocks. We would not be able to figure that place by ourselves for sure!! The carving of the Goddess (Devi) was really wonderful and exciting. The lady then told us that none knew about who carved this and the goddess has supreme powers in curing ailments. She also cited examples about many cases wherein the doctors were unable to cure but when people came to this place, they got cured.
The Hidden Carving!
Devi standing on the head of a buffalo head 
      Our sincere thanks to this lady for showing us this amazing place. She was very curious to know about why we we clicked her picture, though it was hard to explain to her why. One of the best parts of travelling is getting a  chance to meet such wonderful and lovely people. Altogether, a nice place for an adventurous climb, history and fairly good bird watching .

For more information on this place one refer our older post on "Heggunda"

Winged Jewel : Hoopoe

   The  Common Hoopoe  is a colorful and distinctive bird known for its fan-like crest . The bird derives its name from its soft "poop! poop!" cry and can be seen singly or in pairs, often around human inhabitation and feeds by digging in the ground .
Crest Open

St Catherine Falls, Kotagiri, Ooty

         'St Catherine' water falls (seasonal) is located near Kotagiri  town, Tamil Nadu. The falls, nestled in the hills of the Niligris, is an added attractions for tourists visiting Ooty. The journey to the falls was a mesmerizing one.
Tea Garden and the Curvy Roads
Misty Morning

Tea Plantations

        The water falls from a height of about 250 feet and is two tiered. A pleasant walk through a private tea garden takes us to the view point of the falls. The walk was amazing and we also found some porcupine  spines during our way to the view point. Though we visited during the monsoons, there was not much force in the waters, but definitely the weather made the place look more beautiful .

Awesome View
Clouds kissing the Hills
St.Catherine Falls
Second and the visible Tier
Hills around the Waterfalls
Wild Flowers
Tea Flower
Grass Flower
Finally some Monkey Business