Wish to break free from the concrete jungle of Bangalore? Then why not head towards Chikballapur some 60 kilometers away from Bangalore? What to see there, you ask? Then here is a brief glimpse of this place.
Few facts about the place:
Chikballapur is a popular district famous for its silk industry. Surrounded by five hills it is a must –see destination for hikers, trekkers and not to mention walkers. The place is enclosed by all sides with rolling hills and mountains. These hills five in number are known as Pancha Giris and go by the names Nandi Giri, Chandra Giri, Brahma Giri, Hema Giri and Indra Giri. There is also another very popular trekker’s hill called as Skanda Giri
The district encompasses 6 taluks BagePalli, Chikballapura, Chintamani, Gudibande, Gowaribidanur and finally Shiddalgatta.
Last weekend we had a chance to visit two noteworthy places in Chikballapura; Muddenahalli and Rangasthala. Here is a brief description about them.
Muddenahalli: Ever heard of Sri M Visvesvaraya? Definitely you would have. He was the architect of the famous KRS dam at Brindavan, Mysore. He was also responsible for Mysore University, State Bank of Mysore, Mysore chamber of commerce etc.
Muddenhalli which is 7 kilometers from chikballapura is the birth place of this famous engineer. His residence is now a popular museum showcasing the life and work of Sri M.V. Some of the things which is sure to catch your attention at the museum is the
• Legendary Bharatha Ratna which was awarded to him in 1955.
• His passbook of State Bank of Mysore which is the statement and proof of his simple, unpretentious living.
• His numerous awards and laurels like Knight Commander, Doctorate, Kaisar-i-Hind, fellowship by IISC etc.
• A very ancient dictionary gifted to him by his principal which he used for 80 years, his passport, books and horoscope.
• A glimpse of his routine. He lived healthily for 102 years and he was a strict vegetarian plus a teetotaler.
One thing that I learnt from the old newspaper cuttings of Gazette was that he did not confirm to the views of Mahatma Gandhi. He was always of the opinion that industrialization is important for the development of a country which was contradictory to Gandhi’s view that Industrialization hampers the growth of a country.
The place also has a tomb or Samadhi of this great yet simple person.
Even if you aren’t a great fan of him visit the place for its scenic beauty and countryside.
After all with the majestic Nandi hills as background it sure is a nature lover’s paradise.
The place also boasts of Sathya Sai Gram which is a beautiful campus housing school, college, temples etc. There is also a clock tower which gives you a panoramic view of the country side.
For lack of time we did not visit this place. We were busy heading towards our next destination Rangasthala you see.
How to get there: To reach Chikballapur take the NH-7 Highway crossing Bangalore, Yelahanka, Devanahalli and finally Chikballapur. The distance is 56 kilometers and takes about 1-1.5 hours if you are driving. Once you reach chikballapur ask for Muddenhalli. On the way to Muddenhalli you will pass SJC institute of technology on your right and after some time a big yellow sign board showing the directions to Sathya Sai Gram. When you follow this route you will soon see a sign on the right for the museum too.
The timings of the museum are 11-5 P.M
Rangasthala:Rangasthala, the abode of Lord Ranganatha(Vishnu in sleeping posture) is a beautiful location situated at the North of SkandaGiri hills. This Dravidian style temple with its beautiful pillars and stone carvings is an architectural marvel.
Formerly this place was known as Avanti. Later on when Lord Ranganatha along with his consorts Bhoo and Neela devi appeared before SapthaRishis the place came to be known as Rangasthala. It is said that the SapthaRishis or the seven sages did penance here for a number of years to please Lord Vishnu.
The stone statue of Lord Ranganatha is in a sleeping posture with the snake Adishesha spreading his hoods on his head. His consorts Bhoo and Neela Devi sit near his leg. Lord Vishnu is surrounded by all gods, goddesses and the SapthaRishis.
The idol is quite beautiful not to mention blissful. The entire idol is four feet and is carved out of a single Saligrama stone. The design of the Garbha Griha or inner sanctum is in the form of a basket. The sculpture’s imagination was that the beautiful idol in the basket was gifted by Vibhishana to Lord Ganesha.The construction is also a scientific marvel with the sun’s rays first touching the Lord’s feet during Makar Sankramana.
The outer premises of the temple are in sharp contrast to the peacefulness of inner sanctum. The stone pillars have varied carvings of wild animals like lions, elephants, man eating tigers etc. There are also different stone figures mounting horses in each of the 13 pillars. The significance of all these carvings is this;” Let man not fall prey to his senses which can bring nothing but disaster. Instead let him surrender to God which is bound to bring him closer to the blissful state of Lord Ranganatha.”
There is an old pond nearby which is the Shanka and chakra theerta. Unfortunately this theerta is in a very neglected state with creepers and plants surrounding the pond.
Sadly this temple though having a deep history has not been maintained properly. The renovations and the building of outer gopuram are still taking place.
But if you ignore this fact and just go for the darshan of God then you can probably pray in peace. The hills overlooking the temple are also quite spectacular and will make up for the lack of cleanliness in the surroundings.
You can expect the drive from Bangalore to be very pleasant. At this time of year grape vines, yellow, pink marigolds, golden brown corn fields will greet you at every step once you cross the Devenhalli airport.
So be prepared to be reinvigorated in mind, body and spirit.
How to get there: Ask for directions for Gauribidanur road once you reach Chikballapur. Once you take the road after some 5 kilometers you will see a sign board on the right pointing towards Rangasthala. Turn right until you reach the dead end. You will soon see the main temple gopuram with a pond nearby.
Where to eat: Best to alight in NH-7 highway for food as there were no good restaurants near the places we visited.