Day 3

Date: 27-Dec-2009 

Destination 1: Sakkare Bayalu 

Sights: Sakkare Bayalu Elephant Camp, Gajanur (or Tunga) Dam, Harakere 

Route: Shivamogga –> Gajanur Dam –> Sakkare Bayalu (via NH13, 15 KM from Shivamogga, on the way to Tirthahalli) 

On Day 3, we planned to visit Jog Falls and and some sights close to Sagara (on the way to Jog). However, we also wanted Vishnu to enjoy seeing the elephants being washed/bathed at Sakkare Bayalu! The Hotel people said that all elephants come at around 7:30 hrs to have a bath. Believing him, we left Shivamogga at 7:30 hrs and reached Sakkare Bayalu at 8:00 hrs. 

Sakkare Bayalu is a sleepy hamlet (but for the elephant camp) on the way to Teerthahalli from Shivamogga and no doubt, gets its name from a lot of Sugarcane fields that abound. The practice here is that the mahutas early in the morning go to the forest to locate their elephants and cajole them (as if they needed any cajoling) to have a bath in the Tunga backwaters (formed by the Gajanur Dam). Beacuse of this reason, there will be a continuous and asynchronous inflow of elephants into the camp. 

To our surprise, we found that it was closed and would NOT be opened until 8:30 AM. So, what better way to utilise the time than to visit Gajanur Dam (situated 1 KM before from Sakkare Bayalu on NH 13 – Teerthahalli Road). 

Earlier the dam was small with only 4-5 crest gates. The dam was expanded in the year 2000 and now has a lot of gates! The view it provides is pleasing to the eyes and if not for the elephant’s calling, we would certainly have spent more time there.

Lovely view of Gajanur Dam

Another view

 

 

 

 

 

 

Reached Sakkare Bayalu around 08:45 hrs and found that a lot of people had made their way in (by paying a fee of Rs. 30/- per adult) and in fact, all of them were ogling at a solitary elephant being bathed by its mahuta. It was too crowded to rendering photography meaningless.

However, myself and Vishnu (and a LOT of otheres) also joined the mahuta in bathing the elephant. Vishnu, instead of (or in addition to, dpending on your point of view) bathing the elephant, also drenched himself with water and totally enjoyed the experience as we also did! Again, if not for the Jog Falls trip, we could and would have spent a lot of time there. It is a beatiful place and worth visiting again. 

Harakere is a small village in between Sakkare Bayalu and Shivamogga and has a Shiva temple. There is a big statue of Shiva seated in a padmasana which is the temple’s highlight! Stop by if you have time. We didn’t because of the lack of it. 

Left Sakkare Bayalu around 09:15 hrs and reached Shivamogga around 09:45 hrs. Had sumptuous breakfast, got our lunch packed (pongal + Madduru vade + pakoda), checked out of the Samrat Ashoka hotel and headed towards Sagara! 

  

Destination 2: Keladi/Nada Kalasi 

Sights: Keladi Temple complex, Nada Kalasi Temple complex. 

Route: Shivamogga –> Sagara (73 KM from Shivamogga) –> Keladi (right turn at Sagara onto Soraba road, 15 KM from Sagara) 

Route only till Sagara is shown. Google Maps says that we have to turn left in Sagara – DO NOT go by it. Ask around in Sagara, if you are unsure! 

 

Keladi is a temple village located on the way to Soraba from Sagara. It was the first capital to the erstwhile kingdom of the Keladi Nayakas, of whom Chowdappa Nayaka (founder) and Shivappa Nayaka are its two famous sons and Rani Chennamma, is the famous daughter. Won’t bore you with any more details because I can go on and on and on and on…… Below are some wonderful photographs of the Keladi Temple. 

Wooden carvings at Keladi

Navagrahas with their Vahanas @ Keladi

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Vaastu Purusha @ Keladi Temple

Secret passage from within Keladi temple to without!

 

Shiva Linga with a tiny Ganesha at the top!

Ganesha zoomed!

Ganesha zooooooomed!

Bison (Kona) and Elephant Sculpture

Bison (Kona) and Elephant Sculpture

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

At the Keladi temple, we met a tourist who said that a place called Nada Kalasi (only Kalasi to the locals) is also a place worth visiting and thence we headed. 

Nada Kalasi: From Sagar, take the road to Soraba. After 6-7 kms is a nada kalasi bus stop. Take a right turn here and follow the tar road. You will cross nada kalasi village, and then contibue on tar road and the Temple is on the left side of the road. 

From Keladi, proceed toward Sagara. Around 2-3 KM before reaching Sagara, you will have to cross a railway line. Take a left just before that and continue for around 5 KM to reach Nada Kalasi. 

The sculptures at Nada Kalasi are very good and a blog, which describes its history, with photos, well enough.

 

Destination 3: Ikkeri/Varadamoola 

Sights: Aghoreshwara Temple at Ikkeri, Varadamoola 

Route: Shivamogga –> Sagara (73 KM from Shivamogga) –> Ikkeri (left turn at Sagara, 5 KM on the way to Sigandhuru) 

Route from Nada Kalasi: Proceed to Sagara (on Soraba Road),  pass the BH Road (NH 206) and continue straight on the Road to Sigandhuru. There is a signboard after travelling 4 KM on that road, which says: 1 KM to Ikkeri (right turn), 4 KM to Varadamoola (left turn). 

Proceeded to Ikkeri first to have a glimpse of the magnificient and overwhelming Aghoreshwara Temple. It is a huge temple purportedly built by Chowdappa Nayaka. It appears similar to the Beluru and Halebidu temples but the sculptures are not that great here to warrant even a comparision. SIZE is what this temple is all about. Don’t believe me? See for yourself! 

HUGE Enterance

Nandikeshwara @ Ikkeri

Aghoreshwara Temple in all its glory

I’ve never seen such a huge temple in my life! As I said, it’s all about SIZE. The sculptures are good but not as great as Beluru or Halebidu. The interior of the temple is also pretty huge and the ceiling itself is around 25 ft in height! There is a (relatively) small Ammanavaru (Parvathi Devi) temple beside this huge one. Overwhelming is what you feel when you see it for yourself.


From Ikkeri, we proceeded to Varadamoola (route described above). Varadamoola is a quaint, quiet and a sleeeeeeepy little hamlet wherein the river Varada takes birth. A lovely place, if only for its idyllic beauty. There is a Pushkarini (a small pond) and I presume a temple beside it. We sat at the Pushkarini for around 10 minutes in TOTAL silence. Not a sound to be heard, apart from the chirping of the birds, the whooshing of the wind and the Moo Moo (or Amba Amba) sounds of the cows.

My Fabia in all her glory @ Varadamoola

Varadamoola

Varadamoola

Overall, it was wonderful sitting in silence for at least 10 min! Anyhow, had to tear myself away from Varadamoola coz we still had to visit Jog Falls!




 
Destionation 4: Jog Falls
 
Sights: Raja, Rani, Roarer and Rocket waterfalls
 
Route: Sagara –> Jog Falls (BH Road/NH 206, 32 KM from Sagara)
 
Left Varadamoola around 15:00 hrs and headed towards Sagara and thence to Joga (Jog Falls in English). On the way, stopped at a quaint little bridge to finish the Pongal + Madduru vade + Pakodas!  Consequently, reached Joga around 16:30 hrs.
 
To see Joga in all its rugged beauty is a sight to behold. Alas! To see Joga bereft (well, almost) of all its water is a sight for sore eyes. Yes, the famed Raja, Rani, and Rocket waterfalls were nothing but a trickle save for Roarer, which was the saving grace. Overall, seeing Joga without its elixir of life was quite disappointing.
 
To overcome this disappointment, we decided to have our photograph taken and superimposed (morphed, to be precise) onto another photo of Joga with LOTS of water! It cost us Rs. 120 but I think it was worth it. What do you think?
 
Anyway, left Joga around 18:00 hrs and reached Sirsi around 19:15 hrs. We had booked a room in advance in Hotel Madhuvan, which was pretty decent but not as good as the one in Shivamogga (Hotel Samrat Ashoka).
 
Route from Joga to Sirsi (distance of around 58 KM). One caveat is that the road is a ghat section for some distance. The route is also very scenic. So, take in the beauty as you drive and be careful!



 
Sirsi stay details: Hotel Madhuvana, College Road, Sirsi Taluk, Uttara Kannada, Karnataka – 581402

Phone: 08384-237799, 237759



Notes: Again, If you are planning to visit all the places listed above on the same day, there is no decent hotel to have lunch at. So, better have your lunch packed at Shivamogga.

 

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DAY 1

Date: 25-Dec-2009

Time: 07:00 Hours 

Destination 1: Amruthapura (22 KM from Birur and 11.9 KM from Tarikere). 

Sights: Amrutheshwara Temple 

Route: Bangalore –> Nelamangala (via NICE Road) –> Tumkur –> Tiptur (NH 206/BH Road) –> Arsikere –> Kadur –> Birur –> Amruthapura (a total distance of 244 KM from Bangalore)

 

About Amruthapura (info gleaned from the NET): The Amrutesvara temple (Kannada: ಅಮೃತೇಶ್ವರ ದೇವಸ್ಥಾನ) is located in Amruthapura, a town which is 67 km north of Chikmagalur town in Chikmagalur District, Karnataka state, India. Located 110 km from Hassan and 35 km from Shimoga on NH 206, Amruthapura is known for the splendid Amrutesvara temple (also spelt Amrutheshwara or Amrtesvara) . The temple was built in 1196 by Amrutheswara Dandanayaka (commander) under Hoysala King Veera Ballala II. Located in the close vicinity of the Bhadra River reservoir, a short distance from Tarikere town, this is an idyllic spot. 

 Left home at around 7 AM. Vishnu (my 3 year old son) was also ready to roll at such an early hour (for him)! Took the “NICE” road to Tumkur Road (NH4). Faced a lot of traffic on Tumkur Road, no doubt because of the holidays. Seemed like the whole of Bangalore had planned to desert Bangalore in search of more peaceful locations. Wish it were true of the working weekdays too. Took me 1 hour to get to the Tumkur Road Tollgate ( a distance of approx. 13 KM) from the NICE road junction. 

Reached Tumkur around 9 AM and looked around for a good hotel (restaurant) to quell the bout of hunger gripping me and failing to find any, drove till KB Cross on NH 206 or Bangalore Honnavara (BH) Road, as it is popularly called, before I could find a decent restaurant. The point to note is that I missed the sign proclaiming in BIG letters “Kamat Upachar” a few KMs before Tumkur and paid the price for it too. Anyway, had a decent breakfast at Matha Residency and continued my drive towards Amruthapura. 

Reached Amruthapura around 12:45 Hrs. The place is very well maintained by ASI and the drive seemed really worth it! The sculptures are quite exquisite – no doubt because the temple was built by the Hoysalas! A few photos sessions later (see below), moved on to Tarikere. 

 

Amrutheshwara Temple @ Amruthapura

Carvings@Amrutheshwara Temple

Amrutheshwara Temple Carvings

  

On my return journey from Amruthapura to Tarikere, I was involved in a funny incident, which I might as well relate here, if only to lessen my guilt. One can reach Tarikere from Amruthapura by 2 different roads. I took the one that Google maps professed to be the best one i.e., reaching Tarikere by joining SH57. On the way, a Maruti Omni driver stopped us and asked us for directions to Arsikere. I, being supremely confident, told him to take the next left! I later found out that I had erred in guiding the Maruti Omni driver and the correct route would have been taking the RIGHT and then the next left! God, please save me from the Omni driver’s curses!:) 

 

Destination 2: Somapura or Sompura

Sights: Prasanna Someshwara Temple, River Bhadra. 

Route: Tarikere –> Deviation to Bhadra Dam (on NH 206) –> Rangenahalli –> Sompura (around 20 KM from Tarikere) 

 

About Sompura: Somapura is around 20 kms west of Tarikere town.  The place in one of the Panchashekshetras situated on the banks of the river Bhadra.  There is a temple dedicated to Prasanna Someshwara it was built originally in the 12th century A.D. The Someshwara Linga in the Garbagriha has a special interesting feature. The main Shiva Linga in the Garbha Gudi (Sanctum Sanctorum) was made of pachhe kallu (ಪಚ್ಚೆ ಕಲ್ಲು Green Stone) which was stolen in 1974. Later, the Shringeri Swamiji – His Holiness Shri Bharati teertha – had a Shiva Linga made of saligrama in Kashi and got it installed in 1976 (I am not really sure about the years but the story is true!). 

Reached Tarikere around 14:15 Hrs and asked around for directions to visit Sompura. Found that it is a slight deviation on the way to Bhadra Dam. The place itself is quite peaceful because there are hardly any visitors. Moreover, the temple is nothing great to write about (espaceially after visiting the beautiful Amrutheshwara Temple). The Bhadra river flows very close to the temple and in fact, during the rainy season, the river water reaches upto the temple. Unfortuantely, could not visit the river since I offered the pujari (temple priest) a ride till Lakkavalli and he was in a hurry! 

 

Destination 3: Bhadra Dam

Sights: Bhadra dam (also called Lakkavalli Dam), Bhadra Wild life sanctuary (including a Jungle resort/lodge) 

Route: Sompura –> Lakkavalli –> Bhadra Dam (around 25 KM from Tarikere and around 8 KM from Sompura) 

Left Sompura around 15:15 Hrs, dropped the Pujari at Lakkavalli and continued till Bhadra Dam. The dam is really huge in size and there are many islands that are formed because of the dam which are inhabited by our winged friends! Bhadra wild life sanctuary is a purportedly a good place for bird watchers. Anyhow, the scenery was really awesome and below are some photos!  

 

Bhadra Dam

Another beautiful view of Bhadra Dam

Left Bhadra Dam around 16:30 Hrs and headed towards Shivamogga (Shimoga for the uninitiated). Though the distance ws only 28 KM, the road is in a BAD condition, to say the least. Around 7 KM of the road was full of stones and was in fact being relaid. Hopefully, it should be done before the monsoons else, God save your car. I took almost 1 & a half hour to cover this stretch.

The route I took to reach Shivamogga from Bhadra Dam. Avoid it if you can.

Stayed in Shivamogga for the night before proceeding to Kemmannugundi (the subject for my next blog)!

Hotel Information: Hotel Samrat Ashoka, BH (Bangalore-Honnavara) Road, Shimoga

Phone: 08182 – 404502,404511,278844

Notes:

1. If you are planning to visit all the places listed above on the same day, there is no decent hotel to have lunch at, after Tumkur or Kamat Upchar (before Tumkur on NH4). Better get the lunch packed! One good spot to have lunch would be on the banks of River Bhadra in Sompura or even in Bhadra Dam (if you can go hungry till that time).

2. Avoid the direct road from Bhadra Dam to Shivamogga. The other alternative is to come back to NH 206 (around 20 KM from Bhadra Dam) and then proceed towards Shivamogga (around 38 KM from NH 206).

Alternate route to Shivamogga from Bhadra Dam:

3. The accomodation at Hotel Samrat Ashoka is quite decent. The restaurant is pure vegetarian and the food served is excellent, especially the South Indian dishes – Masale dose, Idli, Vade, Pongal, Bisibele baath etc. Got my lunch packed for both the Kemmannugundi and Jog Falls trip there!

Long time, no blog! It’s been a reaaaallllly long time since I blogged. Well, there was nothing much happening to blog about. That is apart from a trip to Srirangapatna and an excursion to Bannerughatta National Park. After the initial excitement of owning a car and planning trips, the excitement, it appears, has petered out, or at least ebbed a trifle, because of various reasons!

Is it true? Nah. In fact, the excitement is like a dormant volcano ready to explode any time now! In fact, it’s exploding on 25th Dec 2009 with a big trip to Shimoga (Kemmannugundi), Jog Falls and Sirsi for a duration of  5 days. Will post details once I am back.

Check this blog, meanwhile, to find out about a lot of places in and around Sirsi, which helped me a lot in my planning. So, thanks Bharat. May you blog long and prosper.

On the car’s performance, there is nothing much to be said. It is quite smooth now what with the engine getting used to my style (whatever it may be) of driving. Also, while checking the car’s accessories before the trip, I found that the wheel nut spanner provided did NOT fit at all implying that if the car suffers a puncture, I won’t be able to change the tyre at all. I know, I should have checked earlier but somehow missed it. Be that as it may, I have requested for an exchange of the spanner, which is supposed to be delivered today.

To be on the safer side, I have purchased a spare spanner that fits the wheel nut and in fact, is much better than the original in terms of grip.

Here’s hoping that I have a safe and wonderful journey (feels odd that I am saying this to myself!).

Till next time, Godspeed.