Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Mahabalipuram, derived from 'Mamallapuram' was a 7th century port city of the South Indian dynasty of the Pallavas around 60 km south from the city of Chennai in Tamil Nadu. It has been identified as the port Melange mentionDSC00445ed in the Periplus of the Erythraean Sea by an unknown Greek navigator of the first century A.D. The name Mamallapuram is believed to have been given after the Pallava king Narasimhavarman I, who took on the epithet Maha-malla (great wrestler). It has various historic monuments built largely between the 7th and the 9th centuries, and has been classified as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. 

Mahabalipuram is seen as the workshop of Indian sculptures where they experimented with various temple and architectural styles, hence this place has a very important place in study of Indian architecture. Here we find examples of various temple types, be it monoliths or rock-cut shrinDSC00444es. We can categorize the monuments in four different categories:

1. Rock-cut shrines – In this style, a rock face is excavated to make place for temple elements like sanctum, mantapa etc.
2. Monolith structures – Locally called as ‘Rathas’, these are free-standing temples  cut out of a solid rock
3. Bas-relief – These kind of reliefs are only found in Mahabalipuram, where a rock-face is carved extensively with figures and other plastic art elements usually depicting some mythological scene
4. Structural Temples – These are built-up masonry temples

Let us visit each of the places and talk about them. 

The first monDSC00449ument we visit is the Krishna Mantapa. Even though it is called a Mantapa, it is actually a bas-relief of the dedicated to Lord Krishna and some of his stories. The most notable sculpture inside is the lifting of of the Govardhana mountain. The Mantapa was evidently added later in the 16th century. The central figure of Krishna, with Balarama by his side, is shown lifting the hill with his little finger. Enjoying the divine protection, the rest are carrying on their business as usual. The artist suggests this by depicting a cowherd milking a cow while the cow itself is fondly licking its calf.

On the left corner of the relief are shown few animals, mostly lions. One lioness is shown in her cave, above these lions. One lion of interest as it is carved with body of a lion but heDSC00451ad of a human. A representation of Narasimha? or this is ‘man/king among lions’ a title, ‘Rajasimha,’ taken up by a Pallava king, Narasimhavarman II. In my understanding, this cannot be taken as a representation of Narasimha, an incarnation of Vishnu. However ‘man/king among lions’ quite fits here. Does that mean Rajasimha was the creator of this relief?

Each figure on this bas-relief is well carved and looks as if they are alive. The cows especially are carved so beautifully even taking care of the small curves. I spent almost 15 minutes inside this small Mantapa and moved on to one of the most wonderful monuments in Mahabalipuram, the Arjuna’s penance.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

This place in South India is very much talked about regarding its beauty. Finally i got a change to know why. I could not plan much for this trip as compared to other places where i always do extensive research. I could just note down the various sites DSC00421to visit. However, one fine Saturday i was in Mahabalipuram. And of course, i am back to self, travelling alone. As soon as i got down, i was greeted by a person in English wearing a Lungi and offered stay for a lesser price. He took me to a decent accommodation and indeed the price was less and it was near to the sea shore. I  got fresh and started off with the Itinerary and my companion, my Sony Camcorder with a 12 MP Camera..

I hired an auto for the entire day, and started off after having some heavy breakfast. As i did not prepare much for this trip, i had to rely on the auto driver. The first monument that i came across is a small Mantapa right in the middle of the road near the Bus Station. The pillars are sculpted with the images of Lord Vishnu. It is clearly a very old one and probably there was one more idol in there then. Today you will find auto rickshaws put inside this for shade. This Mantapa does not stand alone. This is actually in front of the Sthalasayana Perumal Temple which is right behind the main bus stand. The main entrance is currently closed and visitors have to an alternate on the side. I then moved inside the temple complex.DSC00428

This ancient temple was built in the 14th century by the Vijayanagara Emperors from Chandragiri and underwent renovation in the 19th century. This temple covers an area of about 4 acres with the Rajagopuram seen from a distance. The large walls of the main entrance of the temple shows its prominence and part of it is still intact. There is this stone door where nice design is carved on either side. The wall is decorated with horses and people with folded hands in act of worship. There are two idols of Vishnu with the conch and the wheel on top of the Gopura. The doors are wooden and embossed with flower sDSC00433haped attachments on them.

This temple is also named  "Mamallai" and "Kadal Mallai". The main deity here is in a reclining posture facing east and sleeping on the floor. An image of Pundarika Muni is also housed in the sanctum. The Devi idol is placed on the floor in a separate sanctum. There are shrines to Andal and Rama also. The walls of the temple is a typical signature of the Vijayanagara architecture where there are various mythological stories and flower vases carved beautifully.  This is just the beginning of a great experience ahead.

After spending for about half an hour here, i moved on to the Krishna Mandap.

Friday, October 15, 2010

After too much booze, we all got up late on the second day. But yes, we were eDSC00305xcited and looking forward for the day’s trip. We started off, had nice breakfast. There is a nice tea estate nearby where we can purchase different flavours of tea. Some of our guys went over to purchase while the rest relaxed on the empty road. The morning view of the hills is an amazing view. And as is rains frequently over there, its always cold and cloudy. 

We then started off to the Eravikulam National Park, part of the Western Ghats. Private vehicles are not allowed over there. The Forest Department runs shuttle services which take us to one location DSC00328after which we need to trek up the mountain. The one thing that we see at this pickup point is rows of vendors selling fresh carrots. Then we all took this bus and went over the mountain. This mountain is  1500 mts Above Sea Level and is always cold. And it was almost about to rain when we reached the drop point. The visibility is probably 200 meters with mist all around. It is a wonderful place to have a walk among the clouds. We started walking up the mountain and something happenedDSC00340 mid way.

It started pouring. All the excitement vanished and we were looking for a place to hide. But alas.. there was none.. We got drenched in rain inside out. After we got wet some of us decided to walk in the rain up. That was a one of its kind experience walking uphill when its raining heavily and worth trying. We went up the hill and came back. We were so wet that after coming down, we had to change our  clothes right from the inner wear.

It took more than an hour for everyone to change. We then decided to starDSC00349t our return journey. We took many pictures on our way back. We were kind of disappointed that we could not see many places. But we did not know then that the return journey would be so memorable for years to come. I will not mention all that story just not to make this post boring to others. Otherwise, that was a very funny memory to all of us and i still laugh at what happened on the return journey. 

Finally, we all got back to Bangalore thinking about the forthcoming day to work and also hoping about a next trip soon. Although there were hurdles during this journey, this will always have a special place in my trips.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

This isDSC00019 my first trip to the Gods own country - Kerala. Also it the first trip with my colleagues after joining TCS. 19 of us planned the trip and there are was  nice weekend ahead of us. We hired a bus from Bangalore for the next two days. The  condition inside the bus was pathetic. The seats were enough space for us to properly sit. We had to sit in a particular position and that was the worst part of the trip.

We started at 8 PM. Soon the excitement started. We started singing, dancing and what not. People were really charged up and raring to enjoy the trip. We stopped to have diDSC00054nner at 11 PM and moved on. After dinner, it was kind of calm and quiet. Everyone was tired with the day’s work and we all slept or relaxed in calm. We were supposed to reach Munnar by 8 AM in the morning at 6 AM, we were still almost 200 kilometres  behind.

At 6 AM, we reached the state of Kerala and stopped to have some early morning Tea. The area around was beautiful and calm. It was a little cloudy and cold. The distant hills among the clouds are a nice view. We stretcDSC00084hed our legs for some time and moved on. People were again fresh and the excitement started for the day.  All along the way, we came across forests, fields, hilly areas, monkeys.

The best sceneries that i liked was the long empty road with big trees on either  side and a waterfall in the hills at a distance and clouds hovering over on top. Then i understood why Kerala is called the God’s own country. This state is truly made by God for himself to enjoy. Then there is one scene that you see everywhere and that are the DSC00114miles and miles of tea estates as if the entire tea of the world is grown here. It is indeed a great experience. We just see tea estates and hills covered with trees for almost an hour It was 12 Noon by the time we reached our place of stay. We were left with just 7 hours of time for sight seeing. We rushed to our rooms, had a bath and were ready again for the day’s tour.

Our first destination is a very famous lake in Munnar. This is one of the most visited spots. There are hills on both sides of the lake and we can see the clouds coveriDSC00184ng the top of the hills. We spent a long time over there admiring the beauty, taking pictures of each other and just relaxing.

Our next visit was to the highest point in South India, called the Top Station. This point is in the middle of a rainforest and it rains heavily and frequently over there all through the year. There are many places which will serve as view points. There is a small piece of land which is the tip of the hill and from there the view in front is  awesome. One interesting and funny thing is that we see a board over there saying that the land is for sale. We spent an hDSC00249our at that place and it started raining while we were on our way back.

We actually though rain would play spoilsport for the further planned activity for the day, but it did not. We arranged a bonfire and sang and danced around it. We had dinner and then the fun started. We pushed all the ladies to their rooms and our boozing session started. It was total fun and we knew many things about our team and people in a single night which we did not know in a year. We boozed till 3 AM in the morning and by theDSC00287 time we all woke and got ready, it was 10 AM. We then packed our bags, and set off to our trip for the second day.

To be continued…

Monday, October 11, 2010

If one has tDSC05419o give an example of “grand” or “luxurious” or “princely” there is none other better or qualified than the Ambavilas Palace or the Mysore Palace as it is called generally. It is one building of India which reflects richness at each step within. Tourists will just awe at its beauty without question. As any other people, we were totally looking forward for this experience. We reached the palace at  around 3 in the afternoon. Mysore, as it being a cooler place attracts visitors all through the year and that day was no exception. There were hundreds already inside and some others waiting to go in.  The entrance to the palace is itself grand with high a high arch.

Photography is not allowed inside the palace, so we had to deposit them at the entrance and move inside. Even footwear is not allowed inside for obvious reasons. The outer side oDSC05440f the palace left wing is dedicated to the security and administrative offices. There is nice small flower garden in front of the palace which is a pleasure to watch in the evening. The palace that we see today is the not the original one. There was a wooden palace earlier which was unfortunately destroyed by fire in 1897 A.D. The new palace was designed by Mr. Henry Irwin who also was the architect of Buildings like The Viceregal Lodge of Simla, The Chennai Central and Madras High Court. This new building cost Rs. 42 lakhs then.

The architectural style of the palace is commonly described as Indo-Saracenic, and blends together Hindu, DSC05449Muslim, Rajput, and Gothic styles of architecture. It is a three-storied stone structure, with marble domes and a 145 ft five-storied tower. The palace is surrounded by a large garden. The three storied stone building of fine gray granite with deep pink marble domes was designed by Henry Irwin. The facade has seven expansive arches and two smaller ones flanking the central arch,  which is supported by tall pillars. Above the central arch is an impressive sculpture of Gajalakshmi, the goddess of wealth, prosperity, good luck, and abundance with her elephants. There are five entrances to the fort area. The 60 ft East Gate is called Jaya Marthanda. The other entrances are Balarama and Jayarama gatesDSC05446 on the North. These entrances are used for the Dushera Procession. On the west, is the smaller Bhamhapuri Gate. On the South is the Varaha Gate, which was only used for important Guests.

Entry to the palace is through the Gombe Thotti or the Doll’s Pavilion, a gallery of traditional dolls from the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. The pavilion also houses a fine collection of Indian and European sculpture and ceremonial objects like a wooden elephant howdah (frame to carry passengers) decorated with 84 kilograms of gold. To the east of the Thotti is the Elephant Gate. To the South is the Kalyanamantapa or the marriage hall. The ceiling of this hall is totally made of glass of different colours and shapes. The glass in the ceiling iMysore_palaces arranged in various eye pleasing designs.

On the first floor, facing east is the great Durbar Hall. The ceiling of the hall is  divided into smaller domes and each dome is exquisitely painted from inside. There are more than 150 pillars in this hall at a distance of 3 feet each and even these pillars are painted Light Blue and Orange colours.  One of the main attractions of the palace is the ceremonial throne. It consists of the main seat, a staircase and a golden umbrella. According to a legend, this throne belonged to the Pandavas when they were in Hastinapura.

Sundays and holidays are a feast to the eyes. The entire palace will be lit wDSC05476ith 50,000 lights and it is a must watch. The other time when most visitors throng Mysore is the Dushera. The royal descendent of the Wodeyar Dynasty, seated on an elephant will make a public appearance on that day. Also the presiding deity, Chamundeswari Devi is placed in the golden howdah and taken in a procession on an elephant.

No matter how much i describe the palace, it is not equal to a visit to the place. No words can praise the grandeur and elegance of the structure. We started our return journey and visited the Brindavan Gardens for a very short time. These  gardens are at a distance of 20 kilometres from the palace and are very beautiful. It was time for us to get going and we came back to Bangalore with memories that will last a lifetime.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

After a hectic and tiresome day in Shivanasamudra and Srirangapatna, we slept like as if we were drunk to the core. We were eagerly waiting for the next day trip. We all were ready by 8 in the morning for our next leg of the journeDSC05212y.

The name Mysore is an anglicised version of Mahishūru, which means the abode of Mahisha. Mahisha stands for Mahishasura, a demon from Hindu mythology. Mysore is famous for the festivities that take place during the Dasara festival when the city receives a large number of tourists.

Our first destination was the Chamundeswari Temple. According to Hindu mythology, the area around Mysore was known as Mahishūru or Mahishapuram. It was ruled by a demon, Mahishasura. The demon was killed by the Goddess Chamundeshwari, whose temple is situated atop the Chamundi Hills. The hill is 3,489 ft. above the sea levels and is 12 km from Mysore city. An energetic visitor will be well repaid by climbing up the 1000 steps, fashioned about 300 years ago, and a good motorable road leads to the topDSC05221 of the hill. There is a large statue of the demon Mahishasura in front of the temple.

The temple here is in the Dravidian style. It is said that Raja Wodeyar (about 1600 AD) intended to build a gopura, and for that purpose erected four large pillar posts, which were removed when the present gopura was built by Krishnaraja Wodeyar  III. He built a gopura with golden finials, and set up statues of himself and his 3 queens in the presence of the Goddess. There are sculptures carved on granite in the main entrance of the temple.

We had a nice darshan of the deity and came outside. We then had coconut water as it was too hot. Even the cost of the coconut was very less DSC05351compared to outside.  On the way back we stopped for some time again to take pictures. There is a nice viewpoint from which the entire Mysore City is visible. We can recognize all the major tourist destinations down below from that point. After that we went over the Lalit Mahal Palace which is a Five Star Hotel now. Although tourists are not allowed inside the Hotel premises, we sneaked in and took some pictures. 

We moved on to the very famous Mysore Zoo. It is a very large and unique collection of all types of species, land and water. There is a very good Aviary over here with beautiful birds. It DSC05406took 3 hours to visit all the enclosures in the Zoo. We then had lunch and moved on to the St. Philomena’s Church.

St. Philomena's church is a church built in the honour of St. Philomena in the Diocese of Mysore. It was constructed in 1936 using a Neo Gothic style and its architecture was inspired by the Cologne Cathedral in Germany. Saint Philomena is  a saint and martyr of the Roman Catholic Church. She is said to have been a young Greek princess martyred in the 4th century. The church at the same location was built in 1843 by the then Maharaja Mummadi Krishnaraja Wodeyar. The entire church is extremely beautiful from outside and inside. The church looks like a chocolate cake waiting to be eaten. The twin spires of the church stand at a height of 175 feet. The cathedral has a crypt that houses the statue and the relic of St. Philomena is preserved in a catacomb below the main altar.

We then moved to our final leg of our tour, the Ambavilas Palace.

Believed tDSC05088o be the second strongest fortification in India, Srirangapatna Fort (Tipu's Palace) is one of the prominent Monuments in Karnataka. It is from this fort that Tipu Sultan charged at the British soldiers with his legendry sword. Unfortunately, it is within Srirangapatna Fort in Karnataka India that Tipu finally lay dead - betrayed by one of his own men.

As we pass towards the Fort Area, we see the magnificent outer walls standing at a height of almost 20 feet. There are four gates to the Fort namely the Bangalore, Mysore, Delhi and Water and Elephant Gates. We enter the fort  through the  Bangalore Gate. DSC05095

The design on the gate are still intact but the external sides were destroyed during the plunder of 1799. It is a pity that advertisements and posters are put on these heritage monuments. The entrance to the city is narrow from this gate as it is with any fort. This actually gives additional protection not allowing enemies to enter at once. The fort is actually double walled providing additional protection.

As we move along the road, we see the Jama Masjid. The most notable feature of this structure are the twin minarets which were a gift DSC05138from Tipu and they dominate the eastern skyline. The minarets were a favourite subject matter for many contemporary European artists in their depictions of the British campaigns against the capital of Mysore. As we move on, we come across the place where the body of Tipu Sultan was found after the siege of Srirangapatna by the British. A small stone marks the exact location. 

As we move on we come across a large subterranean room in the northern rampart wall popularly referred to as the "Bailey’s Dungeon". Allegedly this is the place where British soldiers were imprisoned in the years 1780-1784; more likely, it served as a bombDSC05152-proof powder magazine. The area has been heavily restored. A large iron cannon lies embedded in the floor - it fell through the roof and was too  heavy to remove.

Also in one of the corners, there is a small underground chamber. A local guide tells that there are three secret passages which lead to Mysore, Bangalore and Manjarabad in the Hassan District of Karnataka where there is an other Fort commissioned by Tipu.

Near the Fort area, we also see the Wellesley Bridge, a very old bridge through which Colonel Wellesley attacked Srirangapatna. This is also calledDSC05164 the Delhi Bridge. Also, here we see the second Gate to the Fort, the Delhi Gate. It is very small and we can go around the Fort from outside. It was very dark by then, so we could not venture out.  There is also a commemorative obelisk here in memory of the British forces that fell during the final siege of Srirangapatna on the 4th of May 1799.

We sat there for some time viewing the setting sun in the distance. We were really tired by then with the strenuous travel that we had done since morning. We then had nice coconut water and the moved onDSC05171 to the last destination in Srirangapatna, the Ranganatha Temple.

The temple is much older than the town and fort having been founded in A.D. 894 by the Ganga king, Tirumalaiya; and later enlarged by a Vijayanagar viceroy in the 15th Century A.D. The island shrine is dedicated to Ranganatha and is a centre for the Vaishnava faith. The temple is also referred to as Paschima Ranganatha  Kshetra, to distinguish it from another island temple on Srirangam further down the Cauvery near Trichy and which is referred to as Purva Ranganatha Kshetra. 

It was already dark then and we were really tired. We started off to Mysore and stayed in Mysore for the night.

My trip to Srirangapatna is not complete. There are many other places that i had to visit but could not as i was along with my friends and we had less time. I will make it a point to visit this place again. Watch out for update to this series sometime.

Friday, October 8, 2010

There is oneDSC05031 common feature in the tombs of Mohammedan rulers and it is that there will be a garden around the mausoleum and a path with trees on both sides lead to the tomb. You can notice this in many monuments like The Taj Mahal or Humayun’s Tomb. Islamic belief says that the way in front of the mausoleum will lead the the dead to the Heaven and the trees on either side provides a pleasant travel. The Gumbaz is no exception.

This tomb and mosque was built by Tipu Sultan as a tribute to his illustrious father, Hyder Ali (1782 - 1784 A.D), after his death. The Gumbaz is situated at the eastern end of Srirangapatna. It enshrines the cenotaphs of Hyder Ali, his wife Fakr-Un-Nisa and Tipu Sultan, after his deaDSC05071th in 1799 A.D.

Once you go near the building, you will be welcomed by a cool breeze and once you raise your head to look at the top of the dome, you will see the true beauty of the tomb, the exquisite designs carved. It is built on a stone plinth, with polished black granite pillars that run around the corridor around the inner chamber.  There are tombs of many of the family members inside this corridor.

A special mention need to be made about the entrances to the chamber. They are made of stone with very intricate carvings on them. There are several verses written in UrdDSC05064u on the top panels. The doors are made of ebony and inlaid with ivory. When we go inside we see that the entire walls decorated with stylised tiger-stripe babri decoration. The doors were given by Lord Dalhousie in the 18th century. 

Inside there is a small enclosure in which the Tiger of Mysore and his parents lay in peace. We can easily identify Tipu’s tomb by the tiger striped-cloth laid on it. Just beside Tipu lies his father and then his mother.  A magnificent dome crowns the building. Just beside the mausoleum there is the Masjid - E - Aksa. It resembles the Gumbaz in terms of the architecture but the most notable feature of this are two long minarets.


At the eastern entrance of the Mausoleum is a tablet in Persian script that speaks of the martyrdom of Tipu Sultan in 1799 A.D.

There are numerous cenotaphs of the relatives of Tipu family inside the same compound. More than 100 family members of Tipu are buried over here including his seven sons and his sisters. Even the garden outside is a house for the numerous tombs. Not only this family, but also his chief generals are buried here.  This is a place best visited in the evening for the cool breeze and the gardens are a pleasure.

We then proceeded towards the Srirangapatna Fort.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

As mentioned in the previous post, we all had lunch after a tiresome visit to Shivanasamudra and moved on to SrirangapatDSC04990na. Before i start talking about the places, let me talk about its history.

Shrirangapatna (anglicized to Seringapatam) which is in the Mandya district of Karnataka is enclosed by the river Cauvery to form an island. The town takes its name from the famous Ranganatha Swamy temple. This town has since time immemorial been an urban centre and place of pilgrimage. During the Vijayanagara empire, it became the seat of a major viceroyalty, from where several nearby vassal states of the empire like Mysore or Talakad were overseen. 

The first monument that we come across when we visit Srirangapatna is the Dariya Daulat, “the wealth of sea”. This is referred to as the Summer Capital of Tipu Sultan and was built in the year 1784 A.D. The palace is square in plan, built on a raised stone plinth, with teak pillars running around the outer edge enclosing a corridor. DSC05002

The entire building is actually hidden from outside. This could be to protect it from sunlight as the palace is made of wood.

There are two recessed bays on the northern and southern sides overlooking two large halls, through canopied balconies. The living spaces on the two floors of the palace are accessible by four staircases.

There are four cannons in front of the palace. These cannons should have been used in the final battle of Srirangapatna after which the British should have used them to proclaim their victory over Tipu. There is a nice garden in the compound and is a nice place to relax in the evening after the visit to the museum.

All the walls and ceiling of the entire palace are painted. The paintings depict the victories of Haidar Ali and Tipu over the BDSC05011ritish led by Colonel Bailey, the Nizam of Hyderabad arriving at the battlefield, and durbar scenes of Tipu’s contemporaries like the Rani of Chitore, the Raja of Tanjore, the Raja of Benaras, the Peshwa Balaji Rao II, Magadi Kempegowda, Madakari Nayaka or Chitradurga and Krishna Raja Wodeyar III.

After the death of Tipu Sultan in 1799, this palace was occupied by Lord Wellesley (later the Duke of Wellington). This palace currently houses a Museum by the Archaeological Survey of India and consists Oil Paintings, Pencil Sketches, Aquatints, Engravings, Coins, Medals, Costumes, Furniture, Arms etc.

The storming of ‘Seringapatam’ an oil painting by Sir Robert Ker Porter in 1800 is one of the great historical paintings depicting the final capture of Srirangapatna on 5th May 1799. Tipu’s men are on the bridge offering stiff resistance. In the back ground behind the fort walls are part of Tipu’s pDSC05016alace, the minarets of the mosque and the gopura of the Ranganatha Swami temple.


Among the other exhibits, a special mention may be made of the costume of Tipu, a pyjama, a silk coat and a straw hat, two silver bowels presented by him to the Ranganatha Swami temple, a hand made paper manuscript in Persian dealing with the military code of regulations, furniture comprising of chairs, sofa with backrest, couch and a rosewood roundtable, a brass cannon, daggers, swords, pistols and muskets besides iron cannons.

It takes at least 2 hours to visit each article inside the museum. We spent some time in the nice lawn outside for sometime and we moved to The Gumbaz.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

ShivanasamudrDSC04900a is a small town in the Mandya district of Karnataka, situated on the banks of the river Cauvery. It has the first Hydro-Electric Power station of Asia, setup in the year 1902. The Cauvery river winds it way through rocks and ravines of the Deccan Plateau and it drops off here to form the Shivanasamudra falls. This island town divides the river into twin Waterfalls. This is a segmented waterfall.  Segmented waterfalls occur where the water flow is broken into two or more channels before dropping over a cliff, resulting in multiple side by side waterfalls.

A common misconception about these waterfalls are that the left segment is called Gaganachukki and the right segment is called Bharachukki. In reality the Bharachukki falls are a few kilometres to the south-west of the Gaganachukki falls. The Gaganachukki waterfalls are best viewDSC04846ed from the Shivanasamudra watch tower.

There is another approach to the Gaganachukki falls from the Darga Hazrath Mardane Gaib. Despite warnings being posted, people climb down the rocks and attempt to view the waterfalls from behind/top, resulting in many fatal accidents.

As we explored the area, we went into the river. As the water was very less, it was easy to go in. Better be careful with the water as it will be very slippery and people may get hurt.

There is a series of rocks in the middle of the river where we can sit for some time. A nice place to take pictures withDSC04922 the waterfall in the background. Coracle rides can be taken in the river and all my friends went over for a ride while i waited at the river bank. I was not too much interested in the ride and was planning and waiting for the next pit stop.

All the others went for a ride which takes them very nearer to the falls. There were at the falls for about 20 minutes. The scenery there would have been great referring to the pictures they have taken. After their ride, we spent some more time in the shade, had some snacks and cucumber and climbed up. We had to again have some coconut water once we came up as it was too hot.

We then started off, stopped in between to take some pictures, had nice Andhra Lunch and set off to our next destination, Srirangapatana.

How to reach Shivanasamudra:

Shivanasamudra can be approached either via Bangalore – Mysore road or Kanakapura  road. If you are taking Mysore road, you need to turn left at Maddur and drive some distance. On Kanakapura road, keep driving for around 120 kms on the highway. Shivanasamudra is very close to the highway. Kanakapura road is usually devoid of much traffic and is preferred way for driving. The roads are not very good and it may require 3 hours to cover the distance, so plan to leave early. There are no hotels close by and no accommodation or restaurants available on location. Nearby places to visit include Talkad, which has nice sandy shores by the river and a few historical monuments.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Any Trip to MysoDSC04795re from Bangalore would be incomplete without this place. This trip would be memorable to my friend as he was newly wed  and was taking his wife out for the first time. And these kind of trips are total fun with friends. We all are classmates in Post Graduation and working in Bangalore. And we all attended Gopi’s wedding as i mentioned in my previous Post on Paapi Kondalu.

And here we are… planning his first trip after marriage. This trip was also an opportunity to get his wife acquainted to all of us.

All four of us went to his house early in the morDSC04822ning at 5. As always, our regular driver Maula was there with his vehicle. We all started at around 6 after nice hot “home made” tea. 

It was total relaxation once we left Bangalore. Cool breeze and nice view outside created a nice mood for the journey. We stopped mid-way to  have "”home made” breakfast again, thanks to our friend’s wife. We passed a very old bridge on the way and looking at the construction, it should have been constructed in 16th century.

DSC04971 There is one thing that makes me smile even today. There are two small villages enroute named “New York” and “California”. We do now why they were named so, but the postal addresses would of these villages would be funny.

We stopped twice midway to stretch our legs. The journey was not much eventful and we reached Shivanasamudra at around 11 AM. There is a series of long steps to the bottom and it was really hot. We slowly went down towards the water falls. DSC04837

There was not much water then as summer had just began. The landscape of the entire area was rocky and dry. There is a small pond that forms from the water that comes down.  There is ample shade near the pool and there will be vendors with soft drinks, cucumber and snacks. We relaxed for a little while and set to explore the place. We just hear the sound of water flowing down and nothing else, which is the best part of moving away from the city and this pleasant atmosphere is a must need for all our busy lives.

To be continued…