Twin Hoysala Temple,Sindaghatta

     Sindaghatta houses another Hoysala temple apart from the Lakshminarayana Temple, dedicated to Lord Shiva. This is the "Sangameshwara - Jangameshwara Temple". This temple is different from the dwikuta structure, usually found facing each other. Here, the two structures are adjacent to each other, similar to the Harihareshwara Temple of Hariharapura.
Sangameshwara - Jangameshwara Temple
   The temple is east facing and built on a raised platform. It has two separate entrances, two separate Garbhagrihas, two separate antaralas and a common Navaranga. The door frames are heavily carved. Though the external features of the temple look simple, its internal features are intricate and heavily decorated.
Dual Entrance
 The Lovely  Pillar
Decorative Entrance
Carved Ceiling
Dual Nandi
Part of the  Door Frame having miniature carvings of  the Music Troupe
Hoysala Emblem
The Hoysala Emblem depicts a man killing a tiger, and apparently the tiger was an emblem of their rivals, the Cholas at that time. May be they were code words as in the current military operations and may be the word  Hoysala/ Poysala probably meant 'Destroy the Cholas'. The priest of this temple was a very kind and knowledgeable man. He quoted a few lesser known facts and stories from the Ramayana and the Mahabharata. He also enlightened us about Dwarka, the capital city of Lord Krishna found under water near the coast of Gujarat.
The Priest
The temple has been renovated by the Government with the help of Shri Manjunatha Trust of Dhramasthala and the locals, though it definitely requires further maintenance.

Directions from Bangalore: Bangalore - Mysore road  - B.R.Koppal - Right turn - Pandavapura - K R Pete - Right Turn  - After 7 kms turn Left  - Sindaghatta.
Distance from Bangalore: 145 kms
Places to visit near by: Hariharapura, Akkihebbalu, Varahanatha Kalahalli, Kikkeri, Govindanahalli, Hosaholalu, Sheelanere and many more.


Garuda lenka Kambhas (Pillars)

      Hoysalas, the true masters of Architecture are known for their magnificent and intricate carvings. They have always managed to include an  unique feature in their temple architecture. A quite intriguing and striking feature seen at one of their temples is the "Garuda Lenka" pillar.  Three in number and rising up to about 15 feet, these pillars were erected during the reign of  the Hoysala Kings, Ballala-I and Narashima-III during the 11th century AD. This was done in memory of the heroes who voluntarily sacrificed their lives for the well being of the kings and prosperity and fortune of the Hoysala kingdom.
The Magnificent Garuda-Lenka Pillars
       Garuda, a large mythical bird resembling an eagle ( and Lord Vishnu's vahana or vehicle ) also represents an ardent devotee or a servant who was ever ready  to sacrifice his life in order to defend the king. Lenka is a word synonymous to Garuda while Lenkiti is the female counterpart. 
 Significant Sculptures at the Pillar Top
Garuda, the King, Queen, Lenka and Lenkiti's - I
Garuda, the King and the Queen
Garuda, the King, Queen, Lenka and Lenkiti's - II
The Splendid Three!
             The  pillars seem to depict the king and queen traveling along with their devotees (lenka -lenkiti) on an elephant. The garuda is shown to be kneeling on the elephant's head and facing the king while his hand is clasped firmly with the king's, a gesture that probably denotes the respect commanded by the king and the king's desire of achieving the supreme quality of Garuda while the tightly gripped hands could be a token of appreciation by the king for the willingness to sacrifice their lives. Our guess is that the central pillar depicts the king and queen along with the Garuda while the others include the Lenka and Lenkiti's, though we are unsure of the order of men seated so. 
     The name of the temple is deliberately not mentioned in this post since we have a continuation to this and till then, the game of guessing is on :-) 

Mahadeva Temple - Kurdi (Curti), Goa

       As we were heading towards the site of "Usgalimal Rock carvings" in Goa, we saw a Dept.of Tourism Board directing us towards a 1000 year old temple of  Mahadeva in "Kurdi". We tried locating this place on our map but in vain. After a long search, we found a name 'Curti' on the map and guessed it could be a name given to Kurdi by the locals. Since previous day we had a similar confusion about the names of Forts Alorna and Aldona,  and thought them to be the same ( which we found later to be two different forts) and applying the same logic here,  realised this could be our destination! and  decided to give it a shot. After a few inquiries, we reached this place . Lucky we .
Mahadeva Temple
   It turned out be an unique temple built with laterite stone. The ASI has done a good job in restoring and maintaining this temple. At  the entrance is a board giving details about the temple and its history.  As per the information given by the ASI, it is known to have been moved from its original location to the current one. The  temple was originally located about 17 km from its current position, in Kurdi Angod on the banks of the river Salaulem.
ASI Information Board
       The board further says that " The construction of  a dam across the river had threatened the submergence of the Temple and hence it was systematically dismantled and reconstructed at this place providing similar topographical setting. This temple consisted of a square garbhagriha and porch in the front and the main idol is presently under worship in Someswara temple at Kurdi Angod."
Rear View of  the Temple
Door Frame
Lord Ganesha
Gorgeous Pillars
Front Porch
River Salaulem
  This temple was built by the Kadambas during the 10th Century.  We could not find a single soul around the temple, though we spotted a small house inside the temple compound which probably belonged to the care taker of this place.

 Distance from Panajim : About  70 km

Places to Visit around: Rivona, Usgalimal, Surla, Canacona, Margao and many more.

Kemmannugundi, A perfect Hill station in Chikmagalur

       "Kemmannugundi", also known as Kemmanagundi is a hill station located in Tarikere Taluk of Chikkamagaluru District. It is located at a height of about 1500 mts above mean sea level. The name 'Kemmannugundi' is a combination of three Kannada words Kempu (Red), Mannu (Soil) and Gundi (Pit) and is attributed to the nature of soil available locally. The place is pristine and the monsoon rain only added to the beauty of this place. Kemmannugundi is an ideal weekend getaway from Bangalore . This was summer retreat for Mysore Wodeyar Kings .
Misty  Kemmannugundi
One of the peaks of Kemmannugundi
The Tall Vegetation of Kalhatti

   Places to visit:
1. Z-Point
2. Hebbe Falls
3. Kalhatti Falls
4. Shanti Falls - Falls encountered en route to Z-Point
Shanti Falls
An uniquely grown tree

5. Raj Bhavan - A guest house and gardens maintained by the department of Horticulture (Government of Karnataka).

Places to visit nearby : Mullayangiri, Dattapeetha (Bababudangiri), Mankihyadhara Falls, Chikkamagalaru, Amruthapura, Bhadra Wildlife Sanctuary, Hulikere, and many more.
Land of Tigers
Places of Interest in Chikkamagalaru

Directions from Bangalore:  Bangalore - NH4 - Tumkur - NH206 -Gubbi - Arsikere - Birur - Left Turn  - SH 57 - Lingadahalli - Ballavara - Kemmannugundi.

Curvy  Roads

 Distance from Bangalore: 240 km

   Stay/Accommodation :  There are a few home stays at Ballavara. Kemmannugundi is about 13 km from here on. There are two guest houses maintained by the Horticulture Dept. at Kemmannugundi and Kalhattigiri, currently being renovated. It is supposedly very difficult to get an accommodation during the peak season.  We are aware of one such, the Denton Home stay (Village in a Valley ) located close by to the Ballavara village. It comprises of a cottage, which can accommodate about 12-16 people. Hence, they rent out the cottage to one family/group at a time. Full privacy is ensured.  The  place is clean and well maintained. Price varies with season and also depends on the number of people.
Denton Home Stay
Guest House at  Kalhattigiri
Places to Eat:  Mostly, the home stays provide food on request and prior notice or is included in the package.  It is very rare to find a  hotel in Kemmannugundi. Cafe Coffee County is one of the few eat outs present in Ballavara. 
Cafe Coffee County
Peak Season: Last week of September - First week of January,  Last week of March - Second week of June, though our personal feeling  is to visit the place during monsoon.
Post Card From Kemmannugundi

The Historical Kalhatti Waterfalls, Kemmannugundi

      'Kalhatti Falls' is one of the famous waterfalls in Kemmannugundi. This place proves a great combination of history, religion, nature and adventure. The temple near the falls is associated with the Cholas, the Hoysalas, the Marathas, the Vijayanagar Kings  and the Wodeyar Kings. There are various  carvings on the rocks surrounding the falls and on either sides of the temple entrance.
Road to Bliss
Kalhatti Falls as Seen From the Village
Closer View
  The Kalhatti falls from a  height of about 400 ft amidst the Chandra Drona hills and is clearly visible from a far away distance. It is a multi tiered falls and at its lowermost tier is a temple dedicated to Veerabhadra Swamy (Lord Shiva). The Tamil inscriptions on the rock indicate an association of the temple with the Cholas. The name Kalhatti (supposedly named so by the Marathas), is derived from two Hindi words 'Kala' and 'Hatti' meaning a 'Black Elephant'. The reason being that, the water falling near the temple cascades over three rocks that resemble elephants in their shape and size. Hence, the name. The village near the location of the waterfall is also named after the falls as Kalhattipura.
Approach to the Temple
Veerabhadra Swamy Temple and  the Kalhatti Falls
Elephant Shaped Rock
Lord Anjaneya
Lord Veerabhadra  
Lord Shiva
Kalhatti Falls
Note the Tamil Inscriptions at the Bottom 
Lord Vishnu
   Though the temple was closed, we heard from a local that the the temple is a cave temple and entry to the cave is restricted. The Annual fair is held during the month of April/ May. One can trek till the top of  the waterfalls but only during post-monsoon season. We walked up to the next higher tier through the slippery path. The place was filled with the noise of the waterfalls. While playing in the waters, we were also visited by a pair of blue whistling thrushes, though their whistles were overshadowed by the noise of the waters. After a while, it started to drizzle and  we had to hurry back.  
Another Tier of the Falls
Blue Whistling Thrush
The Slippery Path
Colors of Joy
Note: Avoid  visiting this place during festive season.

To be continued...............