Well, We’re off to Shivamogga (Shimoga for the uninitiated) tomorrow. Planning to stay at the same place – Hotel Samrat Ashoka on BH Road.

This time we’ve planned to visit Thirthahalli and surrounding areas and also Sigandhuru (Chowdeshwari Temple) and Jog falls, if possible.

Will update the blog once I am back!

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.