A Fort and A Lost City - Hulukudi

Fort Hulukudi  had more in store than our expectations. The priest informed us that the steps we climbed to reach the temple were only recently laid by the temple trust and was not the original route to reach this temple. The actual route to reach the temple was from the opposite side of the route we had taken for ascent. He advised us to take the route behind, which currently is not in use and look out for the big bull statue (Nandi) and a huge stone resembling a butter ball. He also told us that the fort here was built by a local king. We thanked the priest and moved on in search of the Nandi. On our way we met a local who volunteered to walk down with us and share information about this place. He told us about a long forgotten town at the hill base, named Mahdeshwara. Here on, we started out descent along with him and decided to explore the Fort first.
Watch Tower
Steps leading to the Watch Tower
Crumbled Fort Wall
Village Mahdeshwara
Another Watch tower
Fort wall stones scrambled all over
Fort Wall
Rock Cut Steps
A long flight of rock cut steps led us to a small temple that housed the Nandi. The Nandi statue was huge and quite impressive. It is supposedly carved out of a single stone. From here, we went in search of the butter ball stone. This is very much similar to the boulder named Krishna's butter ball in Mahabalipuram (Tamil Nadu). After this, we reached a stone arch which marked the hill base (This arch is the original entrance to the temple).
The Nandi Temple
Veerabhadra Swamy's Butter Ball
Entrance Stone Arch
 After a small walk through the village fields, we reached the forgotten town of Mahdeshwara. At the entrance of this village was a ruined temple of Lord Shiva and looked quite grand. Our guide left us to ourselves to enjoy exploring the temple and also mentioned about a small cave besides the temple. Meanwhile he went to arrange some lunch for us. This temple was simply beautiful and kudos to our guide and his family who are actually taking care of this temple inspite of not receiving help from anyone. The Shiva Linga is a large one and resembles Chola architecture. There is also a Tamil inscription on a stone by the side of the temple.
Mukaneshwara Temple
Decorative Door Frame
Interior Decorative Frame Work
Art work on the Ceiling
Lord Mukaneshwara
Tamil Inscription
Entrance to the Cave besides the Temple
The next temple we visited was dedicated to Lord NarashimaSwamy. This temple currently has been renovated to give it a modern look. The spacious place all around this temple served as a dinning hall for us where we were accompanied by two other little friends for a sumptuous and tasty  lunch comprising of  Bisi Bele Bath (Dal and Rice  with Vegetables) and Kosambari  (Dal and Coconut Salad). After this heavy and much needed lunch, we rested for a while and walked towards a mantap that housed another huge Nandi. A little further, we were amazed to see an open air temple of Lord Hanuman. The image of Hanuman carved on a big rock was magnificent and looked like it had been painted recently.
Our Sumptuous Lunch
Nandi Mantapa
Beautiful Nandi
Lord Hanuman
Way to Mahdeshwara
Our journey came to an end here and we walked through the fields towards our vehicle. We chatted for a while with our guide and then came the time to say goodbye to him, thus ending one of those journeys, which initially looked unworthy but later turned out be one of  the most exciting and interesting trips of ours. We wholeheartedly thank our guide for taking us around this place and sharing everything he knew and dedicate this to him and his family.
Hulukudi Veerabhadra Swami

References :
1 Travel blog .
2 Wikimapia

Fort Hulukudi

   Fort Hulukudi is one among the many lesser known forts around Bangalore. We had read about it quite some time back and have always wanted to explore this fort.  One Sunday morning, we set our journey towards Doddaballapur for exploring Fort Hulukudi. After reaching Doddaballapur, we took a right turn towards Dabaspet, and on following further instructions from the locals about directions to the fort, we reached the base of the hillock. Sadly, the first look of the hillock disappointed us, as there were newly laid steps all the way up to the hill top and full of pilgrims.  
Hill Hulukudi
Entrance Arch
Lord Veerabhadra Swamy
   We were in two minds whether to go ahead with the climb or look for another place around. Somehow, we made up our minds to proceed with the ascent.  After a not so exciting climb, we reached a tier of the fort which looked like the only remains of the Fort.  Our excitement and enthusiasm gradually picked up on seeing a few ruined structures a little further, which currently are being used as a kitchen by the pilgrims. There are two water ponds just by its side of which, one probably was being used for cleansing one's sins off. We could see a few pilgrims bathing in this pond. From here, two temples were visible.
Well Laid Steps
Lord Basaveshwara

Rock Formation
Rock Bee Hives
Grills For The Support While Climbing
Awesome View
Water Pond
Temple On The Hill
Broken Nandi
Ruined Structures
     The first temple we visited was dedicated to Lord Veerabhadra Swamy. This temple is situated inside a cave and the priest was also present during our visit. The priest narrated the story of the temple and Lord Veerabhadra Swamy. The original temple was located in a village near by the hill. It is believed that the god one night decided to leave the village due to the ill-activities of the villagers and came to this hill and took shelter in the cave. The next day when the priest in the village opened the temple doors for daily rituals, found the idol missing and informed the village head. Every one in the village were surprised and shocked to hear about this. That night, the same priest had dream of the Lord standing on the hillock and tossing butter-balls with his hands. Thus, the priest set his journey in search of Lord on this hillock and finally found him in this cave. The current Priest informed us about the original temple, which is now in ruins and is located in the village of Thippur, which is about 4 km from the hill. Here on, we moved to the neighboring temple which was dedicated to Lord Shiva. This temple was supposed to have a wish Nandi in front of the Lord, but had been recently damaged during renovation.
Lord Veerabhadra Swamy
The Priest
Naga Stones
Lord Ganesha
Renovated Temple
   After coming out of the temple, we inquired a person about the fort and any other interesting places around, to which the reply he gave was rather surprising and exciting!

Just Like That - Returns

Colors of Joy
Male (Bright ) and Female Rainbows
Prey and Predator
The Master
Changing Colors
Ready to Sting
Beauty & Beauty
Perfect Blend

A G Waterfalls, Sirsi

As we were enjoying our evening coffee at our new found home stay, our guide proposed an exciting plan of exploring another waterfall, this time it sounded more interesting as it was his first time too to that waterfall! For us, the name of the falls was very new as we had never heard of it before. And so we hit the dirt road and started following our guide's directions, which he was unsure about. As expected, we reached a dead end and decided to back track. Just as we reversed,  we met a person who on inquiring about the route to the waterfall, volunteered to send his son along, to guide us. The little guy came along confidently to guide us to the location of the waterfalls. 
After  walking a few miles  in the Areca farm, we reached a stream that was formed by the water fall.  A little further, we spotted the falls and reached its downstream. Our chances of entering the water pool was low, as none were  sure of the depth of  the water  and since the water force was quite high, we did not risk  going further. We trekked to the top o the falls and enjoyed the view from above. Standing on the rock edge of the waterfalls and surrounded by greenery, the sight was simply  was mesmerizing. Our ears were filled with the sounds made by the chirping birds and falling waters. It was late evening and the time had come for the sun to set,  giving us an indication that it was our time to head back and reach our home stay safely.
A G Falls
Kids exploring  the Falls
Our Young and Handsome Guide
From the Cliff Edge
Time to go Home