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...............

The Mighty Hebbe Falls - Kemmangundi, Chikmagalur

      'Kemmannugundi'  is also very popular  for its waterfalls. Apart from the 3 famous waterfalls, there are many falls that remain unknown while a few more additional ones by default are seen during the monsoons. We planned to visit the three waterfalls  namely the Hebbe Falls, Kalhatti Falls and Shanti Falls. We had to let go of our initial idea of trekking to the Hebbe falls as it had started raining continuously and time was also a constraint. We hired a jeep from Kemmanugundi up to the coffee estate through which is the path to the Hebbe waterfalls. A kilometer's  walk from hereon leads us to the falls.
Monsoon Waterfall
Monsoon Magic
Visibility Quality to the Jeep Driver
Lovely Forest Jeep Track
     A few words worthy to be mentioned about our little guide here...he proved to be rather brave and courageous for having withstood the strong winds though he was shy and spoke less. The jeep ride was no less than a roller coaster ride. We enjoyed every second of the 35 minutes ride. Our guide showed us the path up to a stream that we had to cross and walk further and also mentioned about the other 2 stream crossings after which we would reach hebbe. He bade us a temporary good bye at this point. We got ready to cross the stream, the path to which was made slippery by the light drizzle. The first stream had shallow waters though the force of water could be felt, especially by low weight individuals. Carefully reaching the other end of the river stream and checking for the suckers, we continued our walk.
Our Little Guide Prakash
1st Stream We Crossed
     At times, the path being very steep and narrow and we had to be cautious and slow. After a  few minutes of walk through the dense forests and as we got close to our destination the rain started to pour heavily making our sight almost invisible. Luckily, we were a few yards away from the falls. We finally crossed the third and the last stream, rested for a while, opened up an umbrella which later proved to be of no use because of the heavy rain and the water force of the falls which could be strongly felt at quite a distance from the waterfall ! We could hear the heavy noise made by the falls. Along with the rain, the mighty Hebbe gushed with pride and power. What a sight it was! The water fell   in full swing. Hebbe, falls from a height of more than 500 ft  in two tiers. The first tier is known as ' Chikka Hebbe' (Small Falls) and the second tier  is known as 'Dodda  Hebbe' (Big Falls). It was an amazing experience to feel the mighty force of  the falling waters standing underneath it and at the closest distance possible. We had to be extremely careful as the rocks on which the water fell and we had to stand on, were quite slippery and one slip can prove fatal, since it's nature and it commands respect. Though the continuous rains gave us less opportunity to photograph the falls, it was a complete feast to our eyes. We spent very little time at the falls and had to walk back quickly as we felt the rain only got heavier and it would be difficult to cross the streams. We  along with a couple were the only  ones  present at that time at the falls. Finally, after checking  for leeches that silently suck blood without warning us, we started walking back, again crossing thrice the river streams which were flowing full because of the rains. We rested for a while and walked through the coffee plantations to reach our jeep. The ride took a little longer due to the almost zero visibility condition.
The Mighty Hebbe
As Best As It Can Get
The Hebbe Falls
Down Stream
Friendly Blood Sucker (Leech)
   When we were almost about to reach the starting point, we saw a few people walking the track towards the falls, appreciating  their bravery and wondering how easy or difficult  it would be for them to reach the falls, as they had a long way ahead. Overall, it proved an adventurous experience.

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