Year 2013 Part 2 - Forts

Jating Rameshwara Fort, Chitradurga
Haranahalli Fort, Arsikere
Tekalkote Fort, Bellary
Mulabagal Fort, Kolar
Avani Fort, Kolar
Rehmangarh Fort, Chintamani
Ambajidurga Fort, Chintamani
Madhugiri Fort, Tumkur
Garudanagiri Fort, Arsikere
Kavaledurga Fort, Shimoga
Nagara Fort, Shimoga
Aimangala Fort, Chitradurga
Paparajanahalli Fort, Kolar
Bhalki Fort, Bidar
Bhatamabar Fort, Bidar
Rameshwara Fort, Bidar
Basava Kalyan Fort, Bidar
Bidar Fort
Manyakheta Fort, Gulbarga
Sira Fort, Tumkur
Bellary Fort

Year 2013 Part1

Good Morning 2013

Ray of Hope

Ashokan Edicts @ Bramhagiri Chitradurga

For The First Time We Saw Urn Burial @ Bramhagiri Chitradurga

Interesting Rock Carving of Elephant @ Bramhagiri Chitradurga

Standing Stones @ Kendatti Kolar

Dolmeniod Cysts @ Kendatti Kolar

Cave Paintings @ Hampi

River Tungabhadra @ Hampi

Boulders of Hampi

Dolmens @ Hirebenakal

Viranaryana Temple @ Belvadi

Hoysala Temple @ Arakere

Summer Spa Umbalagundi Falls

Ghat Roads of Bisle

Favorite sunset of Bellary

In Search of Bhima's Gym- Tekal Hill Kolar

 We were completely dehydrated and hungry and to top it, time was running out and there was no mobile signal. If it got dark, if we don't find a way out, if nobody hears us when we shout for help!, many such weird thoughts crossed our minds. Our guides had also mentioned about the sightings of panthers and bears in and around after dark. My wife suggested we call the local police and inform them that we were trapped. I told her to relax for a while and think calmly of what could be done. After a few arguments between us, we decided to go back to that 12 feet rock and see if we could do something. No support, no ropes, only the pile of rock visible and very well knowing that it was the only way out for us now, we couldn't lose hope. Somehow, we don't know how, but we had to get to that pile.My wife took my support, climbed over me and got through. I, till today cannot believe I made it to the top, climbing that 12 ft rock.  It was nothing less than a miracle for us. God was on our side. It was the best experience we had. Our clothes were torn, we were dehydrated and hungry, but having no time to think of all that we quickly followed the pile of rocks and moved further.
  At times, the escape route between the rocks were so small, a heavily built person would surely get stuck in between. Now, it hit us why the men initially warned us about exploring the hill. But since we had made it, we could take the credit of going against their advice. The drama was not over yet. Though we missed a few piles in between, we were successful in finding the next that followed and by now gained the knack of moving ahead in the right direction. We were lost many times inside but we managed to get back on track. After all, our few years of experience in trekking and exploring had to favor us. It was around 4 pm and we were still following the pile of rocks. It seemed never ending. We knew we were in the right direction of descent as the temple down seemed to come closer by! A last step outward from the cave lead us to light. Yes, we were out of that scary rocky-terrain now. We had to surpass thorny shrubs and dense outgrowth to reach the temple. Looking back, we figured out the initial point of climb that the tiller had told us about. It would've been impossible for our to trace this point at the start of  climb. And that too, with nobody helping us to the start point, the thought of starting from there never arised. We thanked god for being with us. We almost looked like rag-pickers at the end of the evening. An another adventure that was to follow was to find fuel for our bike!
  Finally we found some food for all of us, including our bike. Thus, we ended our adventure turned misadventure, that taught us much which will be always helpful in all aspects of life and proving many old proverbs right. We also realised our potential and came to know we are no less than Jackie Chan ( a few of jumps across the rocks and crawls beneath the caves definitely matched his caliber).
View of Tekal Hill  
According to the legend, while the Pandavas were in exile, Bhima had chosen this cave as his shelter where he fulfilled his daily chores. One day, it so happened that Bhima on realizing the difficulty of the villagers in removing weeds from their fields,  approached them and promised to de-weed all their fields and in return got a cart full of paddy grains. The husk of these paddy grains can still be seen today at the cave. Unfortunately, we could not witness this place as it was  encroached by innumerous bats.
  Just while we were leaving, a local shop-keeper mentioned about another cave known  as  "Rokkada Gavi" or the 'cave of treasure' in the neighboring hill. So............

In Search of Bhima's Gym, Tekal Hill, Kolar

 Bhima's Gym or Bhimana Garadi is a very big cave where Bhima (one of the Pandavas from the epic of Mahabharata) practiced warfare.One Sunday early-morning, we decided to explore this hill, which is located about 17 km from Kolar. We spoke to one of our friends and collected some information about this place. We left to this place early morning so that we could come back early as this seemed a small hill to explore. This time, we chose to bike-ride (motor cycle) as it was close-by and it had been long since we went on a trip with out two-wheeler friend!. On reaching Tekal and inquiring a shop  keeper about the route to Bhima's Gym, he gave us directions and additionally advised us not to explore as he thought it was really difficult to reach there and even though we reached, the lady with  you  will  surely not make it.  For a second, I thought if I can definitely do it,  then my partner in crime can do it better! We came closer to hill and again inquired a person, who was surprised to hear that we wanted to go to Bhima's gym. After a pause, he gave us directions and told us to be cautious and advised us to take a local person along who would be well versed with the routes and the place whereabouts.
Mid-way View of Tekal Hill
Now that we reached the base, our only question was from where to start our trek!? It seemed like there was no said-route to the hill-top. A last and final query lead us to a temple, where we parked our bike (which  unfortunately ran out of fuel just as were riding towards the temple) and looked out for a reasonable starting point.  Last but not the least, another query was enough to lead us into confusion regarding the point of start of climb. We met a person who was tilling his land and told us to go back to the temple as the climb begins near the temple and follow directions based on a  pile of three stones kept  at regular intervals (an intriguing clue it was!)and to take a guide along. Basically, we were being tossed from here-to-there on a regular basis for about 2-3 times between the temple and the tiller's land!! and then Alas!!
 Since we failed badly in getting any guide, we decided to explore the hill on our own, which was partly a really stupid decision, which we realized only later. As it was a small rocky hill, we gauged the level of trek would be medium-difficult and we can make our own way to the cave. As we climbed slowly on the rocks and moved further, we found the rocky terrain quite difficult to trek. The terrain was as though huge boulders of rocks were just placed next to each other and above one another to create deep spaces between them, it was scary to even look down! As we proceeded, we went through the inside of caves, sometimes over the rocks, and as time passed we reached a point from where we could not find a route further.We were lost. As it was quite sunny that day, and the trek itself was tiring enough, we rested a while.  As we discussed how to go about now, we heard two boys chatting and inquired them about the route. Though they were initially not that confident, they decided to join us to the cave. It became a 4 member team exploration now! Jumping over and crawling beneath the rocks and caves, we reached a place full of trees, from where the two boys also were unaware of the route.
We climbed a tree that seemed not climbable at first and what an experience!.  We climbed and passed over the tree and besides, the boys were running out of time since they had go home to take their cattle for grazing. We insisted that they can take leave once we reached  Bhima's gym. They kindly responded and   agreed  and lead us to the cave. On reaching the entrance of the cave, we realized the it was a huge cave and one of boys innocently joked that a big joint family can live here happily (what a thought!). The cave had thousands of bats which proved a hinderance in exploring the cave to the fullest. We saw the marks made by  Bhima while practicing  warfare. Our camera too ran out of battery. As we were busy figuring out the way and following our express guides, our camera did not have much work to do and so we didn't miss it much.
Following our Express Guides
Since the boys were in a real hurry, they bade us good-bye and left without waiting for us! Fair enough, we thought. Also since we had reached that far, we thought the descent would be possible by us. Without any morning break-fast, we were hungry to the core now and had also finished drinking all the water we had carried.  The arrows at the cave directed out towards the exit and following those, we reached up till a certain point , from where we unable to find the way ahead.  We tried all possible paths but in vain. Atlast, somehow by chance, at some corner, we  spotted a pile of three rocks! It struck our minds all of sudden about what the tiller said. It gave a sigh of relief to know  we were somewhere close by to being on the right track. From here, we decided and followed the pile of rocks. We proceeded further and every now and then found the pile. Suddenly, for a long distance the pile seemed missing or we had missed the pile. We did not find the rock pile. We began to run in all directions to find the way out but all our attempts seemed futile.   Finally, we sighted a  pile on top of a rock that seemed impossible to climb (Place A). We tried to find the way to reach that pile of rock using different ways but of no use. We then decided to trace our way back to the gym as there was another route from main cave to reach to the base from the other side. After some time on our way back to the gym,  we stepped inside a cave and then blank! Lost, we were. Neither here, nor there.
Some Marks Inside the Cave Made by Bhima
Inside of the Cave
Bats! Bats!!  Up, Above and Everywhere!

Misadventure continues..................

Birth of A River - Kumudvathi Theertha, Hosanagar Shimoga

While we were in search of the Kumareshwara temple located near Humcha, Shimoga district, most of the the locals we inquired from, guided us to a place called Kumudvathi Theertha. Without having an idea about this place, we headed towards it. We stopped by at the entrance of the village where the temple of Bileshwara, dedicated to Lord Shiva was located. A board directing towards Kumudvathi Theertha (Spring/Pond)  was present by the side of the temple. We inquired at shop nearby the temple about the route to Kumudvathi Theertha, which is the birth place of river Kumudvathi, which from here flows across the district of Shimoga. We walked a few yards and sighted a pond and were happy that we found the place we were in search of. Further investigation of this pond  revealed that it was built during the year 1945! Thanks to the information stone laid nearby the pond. Now, the only question in our minds was whether this was  the same  place we were looking for!?
Kumudvathi Theertha 
Water Pond
Information Stone of 1945
 We decided to explore a little further just to confirm we didn't miss anything interesting. We were surprised and excited to see that our 'exploring a little ahead' formula had brought us to the actual Kumudvathi Theertha!. We initially thought of it  to be a rain harvesting pond, but while discussing with a nearby shopkeeper about it post-visit, we came to know of the existence of 3 water springs in the hills around,  through which the pond receives water through out the year and that over time, the water force had reduced owing to the closure/blockage in one of the water springs. After spending some time at the theertha, we proceeded towards the temple of Bileshwara.
Kumudvathi Theertha
Birth of A River 
   The main temple of Bileshwara looks completely renovated but the smaller temples and hero stones give us a clear picture of the antiquity of this temple, probably built by the Hoysalas. 
Bileshwara Temple Complex
Hero Stone
Lord Shiva Temple
Broken Hero Stones

Wishing all of you a very Happy Deepavali!!!(Festival of Lights) Have a safe and soundless Diwali!