Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Chikkaballapur's Jog

      The name 'Chikkaballapur's Jog' definitely sounds interesting and different  . Chikkaballapur is one of the driest districts of Karnataka , with an annual rainfall average of about 750 mm (Karnataka's average is around 1250mm). "Jaramadagu Waterfalls" (locally called as Jog Falls), located in Chikkaballapur district  is a seasonal , 2 tiered waterfalls. The rainfall in the hilly regions of Chikkaballapur valley ,flows and falls as Jaramadagu from a height of about 75-80 ft . 
     We had different plans ,but then we thought  it would be better if we visit this place , as rainfall over the last few days had been significant ,courtesy Cyclone "Jal ". We gathered information about this place and thought it would be great to explore but the only question passing our minds were whether these rains were sufficient to see the falls.
Kaurava Kunda
     We reached the village of Jangamarappanahalli and drove until the last motorable point towards the waterfalls. On inquiring, we found that there were 2 approach routes to the falls, the shorter (about 1 to 1.5 kms) but a difficult one and the longer (about 3kms) but the easier one. We decided to take the shorter route . We started walking towards the waterfalls and the first sight of it was amazing . Initial walk was through fields of ragi and horse gram.Locals working in  the fields are quite helpful in giving directions and one person from their group volunteered to join us along as a guide. A few steps later, the path turned into a semi-forest kind of track .
Initial View
Ragi Harvesting
The Landscape
Shadows
    The guide enlightened us about this place in general and talked about the number of people visiting and their behavior.He mentioned about a place (he called it as a temple) nearby the falls, where people have been worshiping the god for many centuries. He went on to say that the temple is not a regular structure but an open place where a few dolls kept are worshiped .We imagined all along our way to the temple about how this place would be. Completely involved in listening to the guide,  little did we realize we had actually reached the waterfalls .The guide bade us good bye from here. We had to walk down a little to reach the foot of the falls. Since we were the only ones present at that time, the whole atmosphere was peaceful and beautiful. Though the water falls was not ferocious,  we were lucky to at least see that little water falling. The view was  gorgeous and the water was really cold .
Side Angle
Jaramadagu Falls
Falls and the Valley
Top View
        After enjoying the falls, we decided to explore the temple the guide had mentioned about . Unfortunately, we had forgotten to ask him the way to the temple when he bade us a good bye!We walked further wandering here and there to find out the way to the temple . Luckily, we spotted our guide who had stopped mid way to gather some wood. He was happy to join us  and as we walked, he explained that nobody knows who kept these dolls, but people have been worshiping them for centuries. Now, the village people have decided to tar the roads leading to the the waterfalls and collect some revenue which could be used to build a temple here. The god worshiped here is "Paluvuraja Swami". We were amazed to see that, what the guide called as dolls were (or rather looked like) lingas with naamas on them.  He strongly told us that the god is very powerful and fulfills everyone's true and sincere wishes. Annually during Dussera,  a Jatra is held here .
The Temple
Forest Track
Car Park
Directions from Bangalore:  Bangalore-Yelahanka-Devanahalli-Chikkaballapur-left turn near the Church, there is a board directing towards Govt. Cocoon Market - Jangamarappanahalli (about 8 kms from Chikkaballapur)
Distance from Bangalore: About 75 kms
Places nearby: Muddenahalli, Nandi hills , Skandagiri , Chikkaballapur , Nandi and many more .
Fee: As of now, no entry fees.
Word of Caution : Just ensure to visit the falls during the right season. It is advisable to reach the place early morning due the mad rush after 12pm during weekends.
Languages spoken: Though this place is in Karnataka , most people around this place speak only Telugu.
Trip date : 14  Nov, 2010

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Drive to land of waterfalls - Agumbe 2

Continuing from  part -1 ....
      From Barkana falls we moved towards another falls by name Jogi Gundi.The force of the water was ferocious, falling from a height of about 20 feet . We had to walk for about a kilometer from the road to reach the falls.
The Walk
Natural Barricade
Jogi Gundi Falls

Later,  we went back to the village and had a good lunch. The only question passing our minds was whether to visit the Onake abbi  falls or not, since the locals had warned us about the leeches. Finally, we decided to give it a shot .The way to the falls is through a medicinal plants garden. The garden is about 3 kms from Agumbe. Here on, it is about 3 kms walk to the falls . This place was a haven for leeches, which made the trek more enjoyable . It is better not to stop anywhere in between, reducing the chances of interaction with the leeches.We continued our walk all the way up to the falls except for some photo stops. There are well laid steps from a certain point to the water falls . When we almost reached the falls, it started to pour heavily ,thus ruining our chance of photographing the falls.As we reached the destination, we realized we were at the top of the falls. On inquiring the guide told us there was an alternate route from Someshwara which  leads to the bottom of the falls ..
Entrance
The Path
Forest Mile Stone
+
Indian Amazon
The Steps .
   Since we had only a day at our disposal and had to reach another place by evening, we had to leave Agumbe, which was very disheartening.
Directions from Bangalore:  Bangalore-Magadi-Kunigal-Hassan-Belur-Aldur-Balehonnur-Jayapura-Sringeri- Agumbe .
Distance: About 380 kms.
Stay/Accommodation :There are very few options for accommodation around Agumbe. On searching, we found a place just opposite to the Bus Stand - Mallya Residency (Mobile: 9448759363, Phone:08181-233042) Cleanliness: Average, Facilities: Minimum. This place is okay for an overnight stay. We also heard about home stays around the village.We suggest Sringeri as a better option for accommodation.
Places to visit Around: Kudlutheertha, Sirimane Falls, Sringeri, Kundadri Hills, Narasimha  Parvatha and many more.
Trip dates: 12 and 13 Aug 2010

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Drive to land of waterfalls - Agumbe 1

     We planned a trip to visit "Kunchikal Falls", the highest tiered waterfalls in India since the monsoons were high. The waters of the Varahi river fall from a height of about 1450 ft forming the Kunchikal Falls. It is located in Agumbe, Shimoga district . As we had very little information about this falls, we thought this would be a nice place to explore. But, as soon as we reached Agumbe, on inquiring about Kunchikal Falls, we were disappointed to know that  no permission was granted to visit the same since the falls is loacted inside the dam region. As usual, thinking everything happens for good, we moved on to explore the other beauties of the mighty Agumbe.We found a guide to accompany us in our journey of exploring the forest of Agumbe .
      "Agumbe" is known as the "Cheerapunji of the South". Most of the episodes of Malgudi days was shot in and around the village of Agumbe. This place is known for the sunset, especially during November to January. The forests of Agumbe is one of the most important part of the western ghats . This is home for the one and only rain forest research station in India . This place is also called as the "Capital of King Cobra" , since its forests is home to a very large population of King Cobras. Off late, naxal activity has increased in these areas. Though during our visit,  everything looked  under control. We had to cross many check posts in the village and usually permission is required from the police department to go into the forest . 
Welcome to the  Cheerapunji of South
         We gathered information on places to visit around . The village of Agumbe has 3 waterfalls namely, the Barkana Falls  , Jogi Gundi Falls and  the Onake Abbi Falls, nearby. Most of the people told us to avoid going to the Onake Abbi falls due to the heavy leech infestation on the way . Hence, we decided to explore the other two falls.
        Our first  was the visit to Barkana falls . It has to be viewed from a view point which is about 4 kms walk through the dense tropical rain forests . There is a jeep track which ends up into a walking trail. The abundant flora and fauna of this  region is a pleasure to experience and be a part of. It was breathtaking. Beautiful birds  especially those endemic to western ghats like the Malabar Trogon, Laughing Thrush , Flycatchers , Dark Fronted Babbler , Horn Bills and many more... can be spotted here,  regularly . The Barkana falls  is the tenth highest waterfalls in India.The waters of River Sita fall as Barkana from a height of about 850 ft. The view of the Barkana falls is just mesmerizing .
Rain-wet  Road
Amazing Roads
Country Side Agumbe
Path to the Falls
Into the Forest
Agumbe's dense vegetation
The Mighty Barkana
A Closer look
Barkana Falls
View of the Valley
A Great view
A Small Stream on the way
To be  continued ............................

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Gulur Ganesha

         Gulur is a small village in Tumkur district. Gulur, along with Kaidala formed the erstwhile Kridapura. This place is famous for its unique way of celebration of the Ganapathi festival, especially among the locals. Currently, the temple is under renovation .
        According to the priest , there  lived a poor brahmana whose difficulties were only increasing with time . One day in his dream, Lord Ganesha appeared and was told by him to perform his puja and he would be relieved of all  problems. But he didn't know how perform the puja . So he tried to gather information on how to perform the puja . During this, he met Sage Agastya, who was travelling from South to North and had halted in this village. He explained all his problems and also told him about his dream. Sage Agastya helped him perform the puja, the ways of which is followed even today.
        The sage first asked him to collect clay from the nearby  lake from which they made an idol of Ganesha which was about 8-9ft tall and performed rigorous puja to the Lord continuously for about 30 days. Later, the idol was immersed in the lake. The Brahmana was relieved of all his problems  after performing this puja. Since then, he continued to perform the puja  every year. Even today, during Ganesha festival , they make the idol from the clay of the  nearby lake. The puja begins on the day of Bali Padyami (Deepavali) and continues for about one month. The annual jatra is held on the third day after the completion of the Karthika Masa .
Temple under renovation
Pillar opposite to the temple entrance
Sculptures and the Sun and the Moon signs on the pillar
Side view of the temple
Lord Ganesha (final touch up is going on) 
There is a permanent idol of Lord Ganesha and Sage Agastya in the temple. There is a pillar opposite the temple entrance and sculptures of Lord Ganesha , Nandi and an Elephant .

Directions from Bangalore: Bangalore - Tumkur NH4 - Via bypass to Gubbi - Left near Maralur Lake towards Kunigal  - left  near Gulur circle
Distance: About 80 kms 

The temple is maintained by a local trust .  
Trip dates : 19th Sept and 6th Nov, 2010
Places to visit around : Gubbi , Tumkur , Kaidala , Chelur and many more.


Thursday, November 4, 2010

Jakanachari's Hometown Kaidala/ Kridapura

         "Kridapura" was the capital of a petty state. According to the legend, it was the birth place of a famous sculptor the world has ever seen ,the great one and only "Jakanachari", to whose wonderful skills are attributed some of the finest temple carvings at Belur,  Halebidu, and the like.
         As the story goes, Jakanachari left his family and entered the services of the various kings of Hoyasalas and produced works by which, his fame is upheld even today. His son Dankanachari  grew up and decided to go in search of his father and reached Belur . At Belur , the Chennakeshava  temple was  in the course of erection , where the young man remarked that one of the images had blemish. Challenging this remark, the sculptor, who was none other than his father Jakanachari ,vowed to cut off  his right hand, if any defect was to be found in the image . 
         In order to test this, the figure was covered with sandal paste and to everyone's surprise ,the paste dried everywhere except on the navel. On further examination, a cavity  was found which contained a frog, sand and water. This way, the idol got the name of "Kappe Chanigaraya"(Kappe=Frog in Kannada). He had no choice but to cut  off his right hand as per his word. On further inquiry about the boy, they became aware of the relationship between the sculptor and the boy .
         One day, in Jakanachari's dream, god directed him to build a Keshav temple in Kridapura .  As per his dream, a temple dedicated to Chennakeshava was built in Kridapura. As soon  as the temple was complete, his right hand was restored. In commemoration of this incident , this place from then  on is being called as "Kaidala" (the restored hand). It is a large building with Dravidian style of architecture .
Chennakeshava Temple, Kaidala
             Kaidala has two temples constructed during the Hoyasala period. They are  the  "Chennakeshava" temple and the "Gangadhareshvara" temple . The latter was built in 1150 AD by the Hoyasala chief Gule Bachi, under king Narashima. The idol of Chennakeshava in the temple is a master piece and beats all the sculptures found in any of the Hoyasala temples. 
Mahadvara
     The Mahadvara  or the Main entrance of the temple has various sculptures including the Lord Chennakeshava himself and opposite to this, on the pillar, there is a fine figure standing with folded hands. Carvings of animals like elephants, horses and monkeys and fish are seen. It was also very interesting to find a carving of a camel.
Note the camel
Monkey
Keshava
The King 
Lord Krishna
Lord Ganesha
    There are two more small mantaps inside the temple compound. One of these mantaps contains an idol of Lord Garuda . There are some Hero Stones (Viragals) found in the temple complex. There is a tall stone pillar just in front of the temple. The temple of Gangadhareshvara was closed , but looked quite interesting. On viewing through the window, we found two huge stone inscriptions inside. On  inquiring about the temple to the locals, they informed us that the temple is opened only on Mondays. They also informed us about another temple located just outside the village, and was considered to be older than these two temples. 
Mantap
Mantap
Temple Compound and the Pillar
Gangadhareshvara temple
Inside the temple
The inscriptions
      Here on, we went to explore the older temple named "Kodi Rameshwara". There are two small temples here. Both temples have Shiva Linga inside with Nandi situated in the front. There are two huge Hero Stones, out of which one seemed to be broken, just near the temple .
Main temple
Smaller temple
Shiva Linga
The Hero Stones
      The Chennakeshava temple is open during day time and is maintained by a priest and a few old ladies. No photography is allowed inside the temple. Other two temples are mostly closed .

Directions from Bangalore : Bangalore - Tumkur NH4 - Via by pass to Gubbi - Left near Golur Lake - Right near Golur circle - Kaidala. Distance: About 80 kms . 
Trip date : 19th Sept, 2010
 Places to visit around : Gubbi , Tumkur , Golur, Chelur and many more .

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