The Hoysala Temples of Udri, Shimoga

      The village of Udri is located on the border of Soraba taluk of Shimoga district. Also known by various names such as Uddhura, Uddhare and Uddharapura in the inscriptions found here, Udri is described in the inscriptions as the principal defense and treasure house of the chiefs of Jiddulige-Nadu, one of the territorial divisions of Banavasi province of the Hoysala period. Udri houses a few temples belonging to that period.

Dwarapalaks Hoysala
Life Size Dwarapalaka
Udri Shimoga
Lord Veerabhadra Swamy Temple
     The first temple we visited was dedicated to the couple god Lakshmi Narashima. Though the temple was simple in architecture, the idol  of the deities were quite intricate resembling Hoysala style of artwork. The other temple dedicated to Lord Ishvara had simple exteriors with a Nagari Shikara while the Vestibule housed beautifully carved Jaina figures in a sitting posture being attended to by the chamara bearers. The interiors of the temple were quite exquisite with beautiful lathe turned pillars and well carved ceilings. Interestingly, the lintel over the Sukhanasi and the entrance of the temple have carvings of seated Jaina figures, suggesting this very likely to be a Jain temple which in due course of time may have been converted into Ishvara/ Shiva temple. A number of Sati stones were found around the temple. These stones are referred to Sallekhana, one of the practices of Jainism.

Lakshmi Narashima Temple Shimoga
Lord Lakshmi Narashima Temple
Lord Lakshmi Narashima
Lord Ishvara Temple or Jain Temple
Lintel with Jaina Figures  
Inscriptions and Sati Stones
      Hereon we moved on to another Shiva temple which was almost in ruins, giving it a very rustic look. The carvings on the temple were much more intricate and detailed than the above two, suggesting that this could have been built much later. The last temple we visited was dedicated to Lord Veerabhadra and had been completely renovated. The life-size idols of Shaiva Dwarapalakas present here were truly a masterpiece of art. There were also a few unique hero stones around this temple in which the images of  heroes were similar to aliens. 

Lord Shiva Temple
Exquisitely Carved Lintel

Sati Stone
Weirdly Carved Hero Stone  

Information credit : Archaeological Survey of India

Roadissi - "Sisupalgarh The Oldest Fort"

 Sisupalgarh, supposedly the oldest fort of India was discovered during the 80's and is believed to have had the capacity of accommodating more than 20000 people. Thus making it one of the largest settlements of that age, probably even bigger than the city of Athens which housed a population close to 10000 people. We ensured to make an attempt to visit this place when in Bhubaneswar during our road trip to Orissa. After visiting the state Archaeological Museum, we decided to visit this wonderful site.
A Model of the Fort @ State Museum  Bhubaneshwar
   The book we referred to gave us a brief idea about the location of this fort. Following these directions, we realized we had come close to this place yet we were far away since none of the locals were much aware of this place to guide us through. Finally a police man came to our rescue and gave us the right directions. We were greeted by a notice board put up by the A.S.I, signalling that we are on the right path and very close to this fort. With nobody around, finding the site became quite difficult and at one point we noticed  another A.S.I board which took us to the entrance of the fort.
Sisupalgarh, Orissa
Entrance to Fort Sisupalgarh
Remains of the Fort 
Oldest Fort of India
  Researcher B B Lal describes the history of Sisupalgarh as follows , "This was the most celebrated fort during 3rd Century BC and was bigger than Athens". We were the only ones present  around this part of the fort. Unfortunately, we could sight a big township developing adjacent to the fort site making it vulnerable to extinction and crying for help. Sadly what was once the Queen's Palace  has been reduced today to a marshy area. The pillars here have survived for 2000 odd years and today are in a state of pity due to the nasty real estate business, luring the government against taking any effective measures for preserving this historical site.
Remains of Queen's Palace
   It is very disheartening to know that many such historical sites in India have vanished due to greed of the current generation and many more are falling prey to the same. We only hope that a day comes when man realizes that such historical sites have to be preserved for the betterment of the society. 

5 Years of Team G Square

 As this day marks our completion of five  years of trek and travel experience,  we are only reminded of how much more is left to explore. With each year passing by, we feel luckier and blessed that more opportunities come by to explore nature in a meaningful way. We take this occasion to rightfully thank all of you for your constant encouragement and being a part of our wonderful journey.

 "The best things in life are free and worth every penny"

@Gahirmatha Beach, Orissa
@Ullavi Caves, Dandeli
@Payyambalam Beach, Kerala

"There is pleasure in the pathless woods,
 there is rapture in the lonely shore,
 there is society where none intrudes, 
by the deep sea, and music in its roar;
 I love not Man the less, but Nature more"
 - Lord Byron

The Gudibanda Fort , Ananthapura

The Gudibanda Hill Fort
The second fort we visited on the same day (Madakshira adventure) was the Gudibanda Fort situated very close to Madakshira. In no time we were at the front of this hill fort which is a small hill with a lot of fortification. With not much history known about this fort, we began to wonder why one would build a fort on such a small hill. We reached the gateway of the fort and could clearly witness the technique and skill used to build the fort walls here.
Path to the Fort
Need of the Hour Save Tree and Water 
Fort Building Technique
One of the Gateways
Lord Shiva Temple
 There is a temple dedicated to Lord Shiva which portrayed the architectural style of Vijayanagar Kings. Further to this there is another gateway enclosing a vacant area which probably housed a palace or the king's residence. There are 2 big water ponds enclosed inside the fort walls. The steps laid help one to the climb this hill. The descent was not very exciting and thus we completed our dual fort adventure.  
The Temple 
Fort Walls 
Water Pond 
Another Water Pond 
Inside the Fort Walls 

Bangara Kusuma Falls, Shimoga

The Waterfalls 
During one of our waterfall explorations, we were in search of MM falls located somewhere near Gerusoppa. After enjoying the Apsarakonda falls, we headed towards Shimoga in search of MM falls. On the way, we sighted a small board put up by the Karnataka Forest Department directing towards 'Bangara Kusuma Falls'. We immediately forgot about the falls we were in search of and decided to explore the current BK Falls. We parked our vehicle and started to walk, following the directions as per the sign board and in no time reached a small beautiful waterfall. We had to trek down a while to reach the falls. While we were enjoying the falls, suddenly the top tiers of the falls caught our attention! Only then did we realize that we were probably at the bottom most tier and there was much more to explore.
The Path 
Bottom Tier 
Hereon we moved towards exploring the upper tiers of the falls and reached a Y junction. At the junction was a direction board which unfortunately was fallen on the ground and wasn't fixed right. We had to choose between the two routes and taking a right, we walked for a while until we reached a small stream that lead us to another tier, probably the mid-tier of the falls. We spent a good time here and looked out for any paths leading to the upper tiers. Though the upper tier was visible, it was quite far away and there was no clear route to reach the same. Due to time constraints we had to forgo any further exploration as we also had to head towards searching the MM falls.
Bangara Kusuma Falls