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
Inscriptions
Lord Shiva Temple
Broken Hero Stones

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

Hampi Unseen -4 Vijaya Vitthala Temple

  The most famous temple in the world heritage site of Hampi is the Vijaya Vitthala Temple . This temple is rightfully considered as the best example of Vijayanagara art and architecture. There is a massive enclosure to the temple with entrance gates at north, south and east directions, surmounted by lofty gopuras. The well known stone chariot of Hampi is located in this complex. The unique feature of this temple is the set of musical pillars. 
Vijaya Vitthala Temple Hampi
Aerial View of Vijaya Vitthala Temple 

Malnad Monsoon Magic IX Mullayanagiri, Bababudangiri


Karnataka's Highest Peak Mullayanagiri
Mullayanagiri Peak (Karnataka Highest Peak)
Narrow Ridge 
Bababudangiri Range 
Bababudangiri Range
Panoramic View 
Bababudangiri Peak
A Water Pond
  Enticed by the lush green hills and valleys of Mullayanagiri, a desire arose to explore Karnataka's highest peak by foot. The call seemed hard to resist. What was initially planned to be a road trip turned out to be one that was completely off the road! A two hour trek lead us to the misty and mighty Mullayanagiri, which seemed to show off once in a while, most of the time being hidden from view amidst the mist. On realizing there was a 15 km trek route further leading to Bababudanagiri, a holy place of worship, we were doubly excited. The mountain ranges and the picturesque landscapes were magical.  They seemed to possess some kind of magnetic charm that lured us into trekking further towards Bababudangiri. Without wasting any time, we started our second part of the trek, this time a much longer one with a higher level of difficulty.   
  Thus, we were in for a surprise 12 hr trek from Sarpadhari Arch to Bababudangiri (split into two treks-short trek-2 hr followed by a long trek-10 hr, after a night's halt atop Mullayanagiri). What was more exciting was that the trek was totally unplanned for, with least preparation.  

A Photo Report on Bengaluru Seed Festival, September 28-29, 2013

Imagining life without seeds is practically impossible. Thus, it is very important to study and know about seeds in depth and save the seed diversity. The seed forms the basic input/ lifeline of the Agriculture.  As the world progressed, population increased enormously, due to which there has been a constant pressure on  developing high yielding, productive and efficient seeds. The continuous usage of such hybrid variety seeds has resulted in rapid erosion of bio-diversity of our country. Fortunately, a small fraternity of farmers  have preserved and re-used their diverse indigenous seed varieties over generations. Kudos to these farming communities for having contributed in maintaining and developing our agricultural heritage and diversity.  Not many of us are aware that India has one of the richest germplasm collections in the world.  India can also boast of being home to more than 60,000 rice accessions of the 425,000 accessions of the world.
Bangalore Seed Festival
Welcome To Seed Festival 
Celebrating the Rich Heritage of Traditional Seed Diversity
 In this regard, Sahaja Samrudha, in collaboration with Alliance for Sustainable & Holistic Agriculture (ASHA) had organized the Bengaluru Seed Festival during the last weekend at Veterinary College, Hebbal, Bengaluru to “celebrate the rich heritage of traditional seed diversity”. Many seed saver groups from various parts of the country, working for on-farm conservation and promotion of seed diversity participated actively. There were more than 1000 varieties of different crop seeds on display along with relevant literature. All the stalls were quite informative. A few stalls stood apart by displaying unique products. Bio-diversity Management of Edavaka grama of Wayanad, Kerala displayed about 30 varieties of tubers (that grow underground), Vagadhara of Rajasthan displayed a variety of medicinal  shoots and tubers while another stall displayed rich varieties of forest tree seeds.
Paddy Varieties
Different Rice Varieties of Karnataka
Black Rice 
Wild Wheat
Wild Wheat 

Different Varieties of Bajra and Maize 
Hot and Spicy from Meghalaya
Varieties of Millets 
Medicinal Tubers and Shoots from Rajasthan
Varieties of Tubers from Kerala 
Collection of Forest Tree Seeds 
Why is such an effort significant and how will it influence the future? A classical example of saving indigenous seed varieties and developing better ones in the same line is that of Late Mr. Lakshmanaiah, popularly known as “Ragi Lakshmanaiah/ Ragi Brahma”. As a student, I was fortunate enough for having studied and learned about this great man, who single handedly worked and developed the best and the highest yielding variety of Ragi (Finger Millet) named INDAF series, using various indigenous varieties of Ragi. Indaf series, unlike today’s Hybrid and GM varieties, is one of those rare varieties, which possesses all the properties of indigenous ones, apart from having the advantage of being very high yielding and reusable. During 1950s, Mr.Lakshmanaiah quit the coveted job of a clerk in the Indian railways in order to pursue his passion for agriculture. The rest is history though unknown to the outside world. Today, Indaf is the most popular Ragi variety grown across the driest regions of Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu, where Ragi is the staple food. Many such varieties have been developed but have lost the race with time against today’s Hybrid and GM varieties, leading to a total imbalance in the eco-system by appreciating indiscriminate use of chemical fertilizers and pesticides.
Accessories made out of Seeds
Our Field, Our Seed, Our Right  
Effects of  Organic and Chemical Farming 
The exhibition aimed at educating people, especially those linked with or involved in the field of agriculture, towards bigger steps of using, reusing and preserving the indigenous seed varieties. The seed exhibition in total was an educative one and managed to attract a heterogeneous crowd.

  Participants:
1.       Sahaja Organics; Web:www.sahajaorganics.com, Ph: 080-26612315, 7483088144, 080-26661420
2.       Sahaja Samrudha; Web: www.sahajasamrudha.org  Ph: 8050743047,9880862058
3.       Sri Masanasiddeshwar Savayava Krishikar Sangh, Munnahalli, Gulbarga Ph: 9972157413
4.       Desi Krishikar Balaga, Haveri, Ph: 9845890411, 9980679824
5.       Hasiru Consultants and Mkt Pvt Ltd.,  Ph: 9591984709
6.       Desi Uthana; Web: www.uthana.com,  Ph: 9341415399, 7760596275
7.       Bio-Diversity Management Committee , Edavaka, Wayanad, Kerala
8.       Agricultural Training Centre, Fulia, Nadia, West Bengal
9.       Vanastree; Web: www.vanastree.org
10.   Organic farming society, Auroville, Pondicherry; Web: www.auroville.org

References:
1.       KannadaWikipedia
2.       The Hindu article


Hoysala: Viranarayana Temple, Belavadi, Chikmagalur -II

 Though millions of visitors throng Belur and Halebidu (Mecca of Medieval Indian Temple Architecture) every year, very few curiously visit the other Hoysala temples in its surroundings. Truly speaking, the surrounding temples prove better places to study as well as enjoy the Hoysala Architecture. According to Gerard Foekema, who has carried out extensive research on Hoysala temples, “There are many small yet complete Hoysala temples which give a clear picture of Hoysala Architecture than Belur and Halebidu”.  Without any doubt, though Belur and Halebidu are the finest surviving masterpieces of Indian art and architecture, there is more about Hoysala architecture. After having explored Belavadi (just 10 km from Halebidu) , we personally felt that the temple of Viranayana reveals a lot more about the Hoysala architecture, as this temple is an amalgamation of two different stages of Hoysala style of temple construction. The temple also shows the influence of the Badami Chalukyan Architecture, thus proving that Aihole, Badami and Pattadakal were the learning centers for South Indian Temple Architecture. It is believed that many sculptors visited Aihole, Badami and Pattadakal often, to get inspiration for building beautiful temples in order to impress their kings. The Viranarayana Temple of Belavadi is probably the only Hoysala temple that houses three different plans for cells in a single temple.
Hoysala Temple Belavadi
The Temple Complex Belavadi
The interiors of this temple are excellently executed, with each of the 54 lathe turned pillars of the Mahamandapa  and the other 27 pillars of the Sabhamandapa (Viranarayana Temple) being unique in its design. The Mahamandapa, built with a provision for seating, resembles a Natyamandapa (dancing floor). There are 96 elephant carvings below the seating provided, indicating that the entire Mantapa is being carried on the elephants backs. There are 23 unique ceilings in the Mahamandapa and Sabhamandapa, out which a few are classical examples of the influence of Badami Chalukyas. The skill and perfection exhibited in constructing these temples can be even witnessed even today if one visits any of these during sunrise. The temples are constructed in a manner that the first rays of the sun fall on the main idol, even though the idol is placed about 150 meters inside the temple.
Entrance to The Viranarayana Temple 
Pillared Alley of Mahamandapa
Heavily Carved Pillar
Ceiling No.1 
Ceiling No.2
Ceiling No.3
Ceiling No.4
Ceiling No.5
Viranarayana Temple 
Lord Venugopala on the Ceiling 
Elephant Carvings 
    Long ago (pre- TGS period), like many travelers, we too were unaware of any Hoysala temples other than Belur, Halebidu, Shravana Belagola, Somanathapura and Melukote. It was a visit to the temples at Hosaholalu, Basaralu and Kambadahalli that changed our mindset for the better, making us research more on the surviving Hoysala temples, live, renovated or ruined. Ever since, our list of Hoysala temples has been growing just like the tail of Lord Hanuman. This is the 125th Hoysala temple we have explored in our pursuit of rediscovering the lost Hoysala temples. 
Lord Venugopala Ceiling  inspired by the Ceiling of Badami  Cave Temple