Saturday, May 23, 2015

Akkana Basadi

16 May 2015

Akkana Basadi is a Temple constructed in 1181 AD during the reins of Hoysala ruler Veera Ballala II. Said to be the oldest Basadi in Shravanabelagola, it was constructed by a Jain devotee Achiyakka and hence derives the name “Akkana Basadi”.

The Temple is a simple Ekakuta construction hosting twenty third Thirthankara Paravanath. The outer walls are plain, a feature of many Jain Temples.

The tower of the shrine also has limited carvings.

The interior of the Temple has four polished pillars with highly carved ceilings.

There is an old inscription in Kannada which mentions about the grant by King Veera Ballalla II.

Housed in the same complex is Siddantha Basadi. It does not have any architectural work but housed the library of Siddantha texts. But the religious texts were shifted to Mudabidri in 18th century.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Chandragiri hill in Shravanabelagola

16 May 2015

People visiting Shravanabelagola normally go to see Bahubali statue situated on Vindhyagiri hill. Either they are not aware of Chandragiri hill or simply too tired from climbing big hill that they decide to skip the smaller one. I belonged to the former category when I visited Shravanabelagola several years ago. Chandragiri hill looked impressive from Vindhyagiri. But I could not visit due to lack of time.

Out of 106 memorials in Shravanabelagola, 92 are located in Chandragiri. So when I and Chaya visited Shravanabelagola last week, the itinerary just included Chandragiri hill and other less visited places. Keep it simple!!

Chandragiri hill is just one the other side of Vindhyagiri. The hill is situated just across the main road. Like in Vindhyagiri, it is required to walk bare foot on Chandragiri.

Climbing Chandragiri is very easy compared to Vindhyagiri. As we climb up, the scenery becomes better and better. Bahubali statue on the other hill can be seen clearly.

At the entrance of the Temple complex is Kuge Brahmadeva Pillar known as Manasthambha.

There is a small statue of Bharata, brother of Bahubali. The statue below the thigh was mutilated at some point of time.

The important Basadi is Chanvundaraya Basadi. The outer walls are plain but the parapet and tower are ornate.  A narrow passage inside Basadi leads to the upper storey. It was locked.

Another interesting Basadi is Terina Basadi. While Basadi is simple structure, the chariot stone structure in front because of which the Basadi got is name is beautiful.

Other important Basadi is Chandragupta Basadi which is associated with Chandragupta Maurya.

There are many inscriptions on the hill. Many of them are preserved under glass covering.

The place is so serene, peaceful and clean. There was handful of people at the time of our visit. At the same time we could see hundreds climbing the bigger hill!! The place is simply beautiful.

There is a small cave outside the Temple complex. Nothing exiting but it provides a nice view of the Temple complex. Not to be missed.

We never expected the visit to be so memorable. It exceeded all our expectations. 

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Temples of Nagamangala

25 April 2015

I came to know about this place when I visited Mallikarjuna Temple at Basaralu. The locals mentioned about a much bigger Temple at Nagamangala.

Nagamangala is a small town. The most visited Temple is SaumyaKeshava. It looks formidable from the front with dwajastamba stading at the front of the Temple. Unfortunately the religious people who maintain the Temple do not appreciate the architectural beauty. Parts of the Temple have been whitewashed giving it an ugly look.

This trikuta Temple was built in twelfth century A.D. during Hoysala period. It does has features of Hoysala, Vijayanagar and post Vijayanagar period. It is said that the entrance and tower were later constructed by Vijayanagar Kings.

While there are very good carvings inside the Temple, exterior of the Temple do not exhibit such carving. The six feet SaumyaKeshava statue is very impressive. Photography was not allowed inside the Temple. One of the priests explained about the Temple. The focus was not about architecture or historical events but on the mythological aspect of it. Visitors come from far of places to get rid of issues.

Behind SaumyaKeshava Temple is another less significant Laskhmi Narasimhaswamy Temple.  It was locked and we did not get information on who can open the Temple. There was a function in the town and many characters appeared in their costumes on the street. It was nice to watch them.

On the outskirts of Nagamangala town is Kote betta, a small hillock with a Temple on top. It is a nice place to visit in the evening.

Where is Nagamangala?

Nagamangala is about 120 km from Bengaluru. Take a deviation from Bengaluru-Mangaluru highway at Bellur cross to reach Nagamangala. The town is about 20 minutes from highway. The roads are good throughout the journey.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Karian Shola trek

3 May 2015

The trekking activities in Parambikulam are very limited. The amazing tramway trek is stopped and so is the tiger trail trek. But couple of short treks is conducted for the interested. One of them is the Karian Shola trek passing though evergreen forests.

Forests during sunrise time
The trail to Karian Shola started behind our bear hut cottage.  After a little climb, nice view of the surrounding hills is visible.

The trail continuously passes thought the forests. After we entered into evergreen part of the forest, exciting events occurred. The leopard made its appearance. It was there for a split of a second before running away. We would have thought it was our imagination but our guide showed the foot marks where it made the final jump!!

Trek route
Before we could get out of leopard hangover, a sloth bear made its appearance with a heavy noise but fortunately ran out. Again it was all over within a second. Bears are very unpredictable animals and they attack in their excitement. We were glad that the encounter ended peacefully. Later in the day we saw a forest guard who was attacked by a sloth bear. He was still limping.

Within few minutes we heard another sound. The sound made my heart stop for a while!! Some animal was very annoyed on seeing us. It was a gaur and it fled.

All these events occurred within the span of few minutes. We needed something peaceful. It occurred in the form of a Giant Pied Hornbill on top of a tree with little awareness of our presence. We took many photos till we could satisfy ourselves.

The trek lasted for little more than two hours. But the experience was amazing. Encountering animals on foot is different than seeing animals in the comfort of Jeep safari.

When we returned back to our cottage we were shocked to see leaches on our legs!! We never expected leaches in May. But then it is Parambikulam with evergreen forests!!