Shivagange 60 kilomtres from Bangalore is a beautiful spot to spend half a day. The trek to the hill, temples enroute makes it a pleasant getaway. The article is published here
Shivagange 60 kilomtres from Bangalore is a beautiful spot to spend half a day. The trek to the hill, temples enroute makes it a pleasant getaway. The article is published here
If your idea of weekend getaways is being one with nature then Sakleshpur nestled among Western Ghats on Bangalore-Mysore Highway is the idyllic location for a getaway. Just 225 kilometers from Bangalore, Sakleshpur is a mere 5 hour drive from Bangalore on the NH-48 highway. With dense coffee and spice plantations you are guaranteed to savor the tranquil life of the country side at every step.
Sakleshpur located in the Hassan district of South Karnataka is famous for its coffee, cardamon, pepper, ginger and other spices. The word Sakleshpur in kannada language means the place, which is bestowed with all kinds of wealth(namely water, fertile green land filled with coffee and spices etc) And with its temperate climate it is perfect for a getaway all through the year.
Misty mornings,breathtaking walks in green plantations, bird watching, hiking the rolling hillsides and a chance to be alone amidst the mountains is what you can do in Sakleshpur.
Apart from these you can also visit ancient temples. This list comprises of temples like Bettada Byreshwara temple, Vasantha parameshwari temple,Adi subramanya temple etc .
Bettada Byreshwara temple
This is a 600 year old temple located at few distance from Hanbal. This temple is a Shiva temple and is made completely of black stone. It was built by Kadamba King, Mayura Varma. The temple has been reconstructed by numbering the original stones. Nearby there is a beautiful pond with plenty of fishes. As dense trees and creepers cover this place it is an ideal location to simply relax,feed the fishes and simple” be”. In other words it is sheer paradise. Behind the temple there is a small hill which you can trek. It is a good idea to hike this place as you get a panoramic view of the surrounding hills, the scenic pond and the old stone temple.
This is a must visit as this temple and the village in which it is located namely Angadi, was the birthplace of Hoysala dynasty. Here there is a popular temple of goddess Durga known as Vasantha parameshwari. The temple is 1200 years old . Legend has it that Sala the first King of Hoysala dynasty, single handedly fought with a tiger and killed it with one blow. His Guru pleased with his courage ordered him to establish the Hoysala kingdom. The temple features prominently in all these legends.
The temple has the beautiful idol of goddess Vasantha parameshwari and looking at her serene face, you feel your journey to Sakleshpur was worth it.
Adi subramanya temple:
This is a beautiful temple of Lord Subramanya on the banks of river Hemavathi. This temple at Mudigere has the idol of Lord Subramanya in snake form with seven heads. It is said that Lord Subramanya took the form of the snake to kill a ferocious demon .
Another surprising fact;Every year an eagle is spotted on the day of car festival of Lord subramanya. The eagle keeps circulating the car of Lord Subramanya.
Though this temple is not an ancient temple, this temple of Shiva is a must visit. The beautiful Shiv Linga(Idol of Shiva) is situated down a valley. When you visit the shrine you can hear the gurgle of stream cascading down the hills. The chugging train to Mangalore above the hills further adds to the beauty. The place can inspire spirituality even in those who seem to lack the spiritual spirit in them.
There are plenty of hills suitable for trekking like Jenukallu Gudda,Ettina Bhuja etc. If you wish for few easy climbs then try hills behind the Bettada Byreshwara temple and Gavi siddheshwara temple located in Karundi hill. The hills behind the temple is easy to surmount and you are guaranteed a panoramic view once you reach the top.
So where to stay?
One of the best options in Sakleshpur is the home stays. Most of them are located in serene surroundings and offer local yummy dishes like aki rotti accompanied with chili chutney, Kadabu etc(Check out Malenadu cuisine Wikipedia for more details).
Here are few home stays which you can go for:
How to get there?
From Bangalore head towards Nelamangala on Tumkur road, at Nelamangala take left towards Hassan. Soon after crossing Hassan, you reach Sakleshpur.
Being one with nature is easy. Just breakout out of Bangalore traffic and head outskirts.
You will instantly feel one with nature as I did.
This Saturday headed out towards Nandi Hills. Our destination was not Nandi hills but it
was a small temple of Hanuman on the way to Nandi hills.
The smiling Hanuman stone statue, the distant hills and the rolling fields will transform
you to a different realm; i.e a promise.
Having a blocked nose? Then inhale drops of eucalyptus oil in steaming water and lo your sinuses are bound to open giving you instant relief. Such is the power of eucalyptus oil that it is widely used as analgesic, an antiseptic and anti-inflammatory agent..
So when I saw rows of eucalyptus trees lined en-route Kolar I could not resist picking up few leaves myself. I broke the leaf in to two and lo I could smell the oil. This led me to wonder how to get the potent oil. And when I researched this is what I found.
You can make eucalyptus oil at home just by crushing the leaves and storing them in an airtight jar. Pour almond oil over the leaves so as to totally cover the leaves. Then prick two vitamin E capsules and put it in the jar. This acts as a preservative for the leaves. Now leave the jar near the window for a fortnight and then stain the mixture. Store the oil in a colored bottle to make the oil last for longer duration.
What can you use this oil for? Eucalyptus oil is antiseptic, antibacterial, anti inflammatory and analgesic agent. So you can inhale the oil in steaming water to clear cold, coughs, headaches etc. But keep in mind that high doses can be harmful and children are more susceptible to such types of poisoning.
You can use eucalyptus oil in other ways too.
So the next time you see a eucalyptus tree don’t forget to smell this fragrant oil. Such things make travel more interesting and educational.
Last month I had a chance to visit a glorious temple built by kings of 5 dynasties. 5 dynasties did I say? Yes, the Bhoga Nandeeshwara and Arunachaleshwara temple near Nandi Hills is constructed by Gangarasa, Hoysalas, Pallavas, Cholas and lastly the VijayaNagara Kings. The interesting part; though it has been constructed by different kings in different centuries, when you view the temple as a whole you will never find the subtle architectural differences. Enough said, let us learn more about this ancient Dravidian style temple.
The Journey to the famous temples:
The temple is located in Nandi Gram near the Nandi hills. This village is surrounded by five hills Brahma Giri, Vishnu Giri, SkandaGiri, Divya Giri and Nandi hills. There are also five rivers which flow in this place Pinakini, Palar, Papagni, Arkavathy and SuvarnaMuki Rivers.
Arunachaleshwara- Bhoga Nandeeshwara temple:
This magnificent temple which measures 320 meters in length, 250 in width is a wide corridor temple. Though it looks like one single temple it is actually 3 different temples; Arunachaleshwara, Bhoga Nandeeshwara and in between of these is a smaller temple of Uma-Maheshwara.
About the temples:
The temple is basically a Lord Shiva temple. Lord Shiva is represented in 3 forms. Arunachaleshwara depicts the childhood of Shiva; Bhoga Nandeeshwara depicts the youth and Yoga Nandeeshwara the renunciation stage of Shiva. The sanyasa (renunciation stage) of Shiva, Yoga Nandeeshwara is located on top of Nandi Hills. But the other two stages childhood and youth are worshiped in this Arunachaleshwara- Bhoga Nandeeshwara temple.
Arunachaleshwara temple: This as previously said is the childhood phase of the Lord. It is built by Gangarasa in 10th century. Inside the temple you can see a 2 feet idol of Lion Ganapati. It is called as Simha Ganapati. Opposite the temple there is the figure of Nandi made of granite stone.
Uma Maheshwara temple:
Next to Arunachaleshwara temple is the smaller temple of Uma Maheshwara temple. This temple too was constructed in 10th century by the Hoysalas. The idols of Shiva with Parvathi can be seen here. In front of these idols is a small kalyana Mantapa or marriage hall. The hall is created with four black stone pillars. The east facing pillar has Shiva and parvathi seated; the south pillar has Brahma and Saraswathi, the north depicts Vishnu and Lakshmi and west has Agni (God of Fire) and Swaha Devi in it.
The pillars also have figures of parrots carved on them. There are around 500 in number. The beauty of these pillars is that the sculpture has left not even an inch of free space in them. Along with the beautiful parrots there are creepers, animals, goddesses etc depicted on these stones.
All around the temple the marriage scenes of Shiva and parvati are depicted.
The temple of Uma Maheshwara is especially famous for the married couple who come to seek the blessings of Lord Shiva after their marriage.
This is the main temple which is built by Cholas. The idol is mesmerizing to look at and you feel the presence of God when you prostate before it. This idol Bhoga Nandeeshwara represents the youth stage of Shiva. As the youth is the time for fun and celebrations, many important functions are celebrated in this temple. In contrast no significant functions take place at the Yoga Narasimha temple at the top of Nandi hills.
The Bhoga Nandeeshwara temple has beautiful carvings done everywhere. There is a statue of Rajendra Chola, AstaDikPalakas in the ceiling. Opposite to this temple there is statue of Nandi made in black stone. This is much more attractive than the granite Nandi found opposite to Arunachaleshwara.
Inside the temple courtyard there are two other temples of Prasanna parvati (wife of Bhoga Nandeeshwara) and Apita Kuchamba (wife of Arunachaleshwara). The walls of these temples are also carved with scenic pictures of Shiva-Parvati wedding.
To the north of the temple lies two structures Vasantha mantapa and Tulabara mantatpa both constructed by VijayaNagara kings.
There is a beautiful pond here which goes by the name Shringa theertha. It is a place fit to meditate. There is a small temple of Shringeeshwara here. There is an interesting story behind this place getting the name shringa theertha. It is said that Nandi the bull plunged his horns (Shringa) in to the ground for water. And the water of Ganga gushed from it. Hence the name shringa theertha. It is also said that a sage named Shringi meditated here.
The theertha is also believed to be birth place of south Pinakini River. Surrounding the pond there are plenty of beautiful statues albeit in a damaged state. But the beauty of the idols and their carvings can still be felt. It is quite serene place with a distant view of skandagiri hills covered with clouds.
The front of the temple has a beautiful green courtyard where in you can relax. There is a small pond or theertha here too named GereKola.
Other important details:
The best time to visit this place is during Shiva Rathri. The mela of cows takes place here during this time. You can see plenty of devotes here during this time.
The route is the same as taken for Nandi Hills. Cross Devenhalli airport at NH-7. For Nandi hills you take a left from the main road. After some time you will reach a T-junction. For Nandi hills you take a left at this junction. But for reaching the Bhoga Nandeeshwara temple you should take a right. Continue on this road to reach this 1000 year old temple.
So what are you waiting for? Go check out this architectural wonder which is comparable to Belur and Halebeedu in its architectural style.
Did you know that the ordinary bamboo is our life long companion right from birth until death?
I learnt the usefulness of bamboo when I visited JanapadaLoka some 40 kilometers away from Bangalore. There I heard this beautiful song “Biduru(bamboo)” from one of the guides. The song describes how bamboo is our life long companion. Starting from childhood it accompanies us in the form of swing, becomes a horse when we grow up, flute when we reach adulthood. It forms the pillars of the marriage mantap and accompanies the bride in to her new home in the form of jewelery boxes. During old age it becomes the walking stick and when we die it forms a part of our last rites. Truly moving isn’t it?
JanapadaLoka was an eye opener in every sense. Though it showcases the rural life of Karnataka, its message is relevant in the modern world in all aspects. Before you feel I am traversing in unknown territory let me give you a brief gist on JanapadaLoka.
Janapada Loka is a treasure house of folk culture of Karnataka showcasing folk art, culture and lifestyle of traditional Karnataka. Spread over 15 acres of land near Ramanagara it has been a cultural hub for the past 16 years. Founded by Shri Nage Gowda the place is a show window showcasing
Description of the place:
One of the major attractions of this place was Divaru Mane (House of Divaru). Divaru is a caste found in Malnad (western and eastern parts of Western Ghats) districts of Shimoga and Kadur. They also call themselves Billavas in some places.
The house was efficient in every respect and took in to account the heavy rains of Malnad. Built of mud the house was very simple and compact. The house was neatly adorned with beautiful Rangoli drawings. To avoid moisture and insect attacks there were openings in the kitchen walls to store grains like Ragi, rice, bajra etc. This prevented ants and other insects from having a feast on them. There were also shelves and bamboo holding made at the top of the kitchen to hold cooked items and groceries.
To light up the mud house there were spaces craved on the walls to hold small diyas or lamps. Inside the house there was a small area to warm water for bath. Though the bathroom was outside the heating or the fire was lit from inside the house. The heated water in brass vessel was directly available at the bathroom. Quite innovative, don’t you think?
On the outside there were fishing and betel nut equipments hung. There were also tiny bells hung outside the house which were tied on the cattle when they were left in the forest to graze.
Loka Matha was equally revealing. It made me realize how complicated I had made my life with gadgets. There were nicely stitched Pooja trays, photos of goddess made in Ravi Verma style by early 20th century women on display. All were made from beads and pearls and beautifully done. Hmm… No Zee T.V serials for these women. Then there were various hand fans on display. Some of these fans could be moistened to give cool as well as scented air. What an idea, right? These fans called as Lvancha fans are available in the nearby shops in Ramnagar and Chanapatna.
Then there were fruits baskets, jewellery boxes, sieves, churners, mortars etc. There were also large granaries to hold grains. These granaries were sealed from above with cow dung and the grains were scooped from the bottom. A novel way to store grains for months together right?
Another useful device I saw there was a noodle press and a plank. Rice noodles were prepared by this press. Cooked rice was pressed by this tool and the noodles dropped out through the small sieves or holes at the bottom of this tool. The noodles were then relished with sweetened coconut milk. There was also a plank to prepare thin noodles for making sweet rice pudding.
Apart from these there were salt containers of wood, bamboo and ceramic used to store pickles, spices etc. These containers prevented salt from absorbing moisture and so were ideal for storing pickles and other items. There was also a portable wood stove carried by the travelers of olden days. They cooked their own food on the road and did not prefer to eat outside at all. Talk about discipline and being systematic!
Outside the LokaMatha there was a large corn grinder of stone which was operated with the help of Oxen or Buffalo to powder grains.
At the Loka Mahal there were all types of dolls on display. There were dolls used for Dasara festival, Garudi dolls brought out during fairs and festivals, MekkeKattte idols used in ghost worship in Kundapura etc. Toys of the olden days like chess, chanemane, and petlu were also on display.
For those of you who haven’t seen the “tala patra” or the pamphlets there is a display of 17th century Ramayana and Mahabharata(Kumar Vyasa’s works) in scrolls. These are called as Palmyra menus. To write on these palms a pen called Kantha was used which is also in display. In olden days such important documents were often rolled and stored in bamboo containers or Bidirande and hidden in bamboo lines of thatched roofs. Money was also hidden in such canes to avoid getting stolen. These can also be seen here.
Folk art too gets a mention in Loka Mahal. There are various Yakshagana art forms displayed here. The Thenkuthithittu, a south coastal Karnataka yakashagana dance form and Badagathittu north coastal Karnataka style are shown here. These both differ in their dance steps, costume design and have different styles of dancing.
Then there are masks. The Soma, both red and yellow with their entire attire is shown here. Somas are companions of village deities and these are worshipped in every village. Sacrifices are performed for Somas, boons granted and the dance of Somas continues throughout the night. There are also chau masks of North Eastern India which again is a performance of high jumps, violent movements and gigantic facial expressions.
Also shown here are certain tribes of Karnataka like Goravailya, Dasaiya etc. Their attire is truly stunning with shells and colorful patches in their costumes.
Shadow or leather puppets on the other hand are flat figures cut out of leather. They are pressed against the screen and light source is placed behind them. The show begins with colorful shadows (created by light and figures) on the screen.
Some more things worthy of mention are red wasp’s nest on display which takes the wasp 2 years to build and water lamps which use water to cool the lamp to reduce the lamp’s oil consumption.
A truly mind boggling experience don’t you think?
With our culture being so rich don’t you think it is time we introduced this to our kids too. Let them too know about Yakshagana, puppetry shows and dolls. Introduce them to the rich heritage of Janapada culture and you will definitely have left our kids a valuable heritage.
So how to get there?
This place is 45 kilometers from Bangalore. Just travel on the Bangalore Mysore highway until you reach RamaNagar. After some time you will see the Janapada loka at the right side of road just next to Kamat LokaRuchi hotel.
Where to eat?
Try the famous Kamat hotel located close to the Janapada Loka. You are sure to enjoy the local delicacies that they dish out.
Had an unexpected chance to visit Channapatna last week. My, the city had a lot to offer. From delightful toys to beautiful silk the city had it all. It even boasted a temple which was 1000 years old and still running strong. Curious to learn more? Then journey along with me as I take you through the fresh sites of Channapatna.
Toys, toys everywhere as you enter the city. Located on SH-17 Bangalore- Mysore highway the Land of toys has you smiling at every step with its wonderful display of toys.
Wooden horses, bullock carts, pretty dolls, pot ladies, figures depicting village life style, wooden instruments like flute, xylophone etc leave you mesmerized. Kids will surely love this place.
The toys are made from Aale- Mara (Ivory-wood) and sometimes from Rosewood and sandalwood. The wood is lacquered or coated with a colored varnish to give a durable finish. The wood is carved in to desirable shapes and finally vegetable dyes are used to color them. Thus the toys are safe and hygienic to use for small kids.
Seeing those cute toys I could not resist picking up some for my kid as well.
Nadhi Narasimha swami temple:
After the purchase we headed towards Nadhi Narasimha swami temple.
Though there is no Nadhi (The River Kanva ) here the temple which is believed to be 1200 year old exists. And it is a very sacred and religious temple of Lord Vishnu in the man-lion form. The Narasimha form of Vishnu symbolizes the divine anger of God. And hence the worship of this God needs special attention .Generally only priests who have taken the vow of celibacy can perform the worship. The idol of Narasimha in this temple however is accompanied by goddess Lakshmi and so the God is said to be in more relaxed form.
Significance of the Nadhi Narasimha temple:
The specialty of this temple is that whatever you wish for comes true when you recite the Moola mantra (holy prayer) displayed in front of the temple.
The meaning of the prayer goes something like this,
” O angry and brave lord Vishnu, your fire radiates everywhere. O lord Narasimha you are everywhere and you are the death of death (who surpasses even death). To such a powerful and divine Lord, I surrender.”
The devotee recites the mantra going around the temple for 48 rounds. He then ties a coconut in front of the god asking for the fulfillment of the wish. And his wish gets granted.
The locals swear that no devotee has ever gone dejected from here. Therefore at all times you will see a flock of devotees in this temple.
The surrounding area of the temple boasts of silk, corn and sugar cane fields.
And the view of the temples from the fields is quite inspiring.
Seri Culture of Channapatna:
On the way back we saw silk farms being set up. The Seri culture farmers here bring silkworms or caterpillars and feed them with silk or mulberry leaves. A straw mat is kept beneath them.
After about 45 days the silk worm starts creating liquid silk which on contact with air hardens. After 2-3 days there is a cocoon fully covering the worm. The cocoons are then soaked in boiling water and they are uncoiled to get the silk threads. And one interesting fact is that to produce 1 kg of silk you require minimum of 3000 such worms.
All in all a wonderful learning experience I should say.
Kengel Hanuman temple:
While returning back to bangalore we stopped at Kengel Hanuman temple. The idol of Hanuman is made from red rock of Kengel and hence the place got the name Kengel Hanuman. This idol of hanuman sporting a moustache is consecrated by VyasaTirtha who was the Guru of King Krishnadevaraya of Vijayanagar Empire.
VyasaTirtha; one of the founders of Dvaitha philosophy and guru of Kankadasa and Purandaradasa did an imprint of the figure of Hanuman on the rock. Thus the Hanuman which is worshipped here is a sculpture –relief structure and is highly sacred. It is the only idol of hanuman in India having a bell tied to his tail.
How to get to Nadhi Narasimha temple, DoddaMallur : Travel on state highway 17 connecting Bangalore- Mysore. On the way you cross Ramanagaram, Channapatna and finally Dodda Mallur. After reaching Channapatna about 2 kilometers or so you will see Aprameya temple archway towards the left hand side of the road. Opposite to this temple and towards the right hand side of the highway you will see a small mud road . There is a big board here indicating the directions to “Sri Nadhi Narasimha Swamy temple”. Follow that to reach the temple.
Kengel Hanuman temple is located on the right hand side of SH-17 highway. Once you cross RamaNagaram you come across this temple. To the right of this temple is the famous Kanva Reservoir which can also be viewed.