31 July 2008

Let’s live with peace, not die in pieces!

Only one?
This was the first question that arose in all minds of Bangalore last Friday. Some sounding relieved some disappointed; some more with disgust, and some with disregard!

The question “Only One?” was the reflection of how much we have grown in the sixty years. The nation that was unshaken with many summer winters passing by is rock solid even in the disaster.

Bangalore was put thru a stringent test of its mental character that day as some terror mongers planted bombs across the city in different parts. With reports of blasts one after another, Bangalore was horrified; Panic spread in no time; Police, Govt., people and businessmen were alerted with the same shock across.

But the initial reaction was temporary since the news reports stated that the intensity of bombs was on the lower side, and not much damage was caused to the property or the lives. Relieved? Happy? Safe? No. Bangalore was still in a sorry state.

People there showed their usual tough character and they didn’t let the bombs hinder their activities thru the day.

The famed IT city was terror struck when the whether was damp and rains poured from above. Here the rumours traveled faster than the 24 hour news channel crew. And one woman was killed by one of the bombs. But, the question ruled on all the brains….. ”Only One?”

This speaks about how much we value the lives here. It is a common phenomenon in India that people plant bombs and people die. People die because of accidents and no one takes any action to prevent them; People die of hunger and no one cares a damn about it; People die of lack of medical attention, but the hospitals doesn’t admit for the lack of money and no one has time to look into the matter; People get killed since one wanted to marry another belonging to a different ‘caste’ and it is termed honour killing!

Strangely enough, We, as a nation fail to stand affirm clutching against the terror.

The communal clashes, the community clashes, the regional fights, protests supporting a Govt., protests against a Govt., the Naxal movement, the border disputes, political turmoil, now the terror…. List is endless. An Indian day has all the ingredients of a masala movie flick.

But then, why can’t we stand as a Country, just keeping aside all our differences, keeping aside our individual feeling of faiths, notions, and egos? Why can’t we just have one ‘Indian’ community rather than ‘Hindu’, ‘Muslim’, ‘Christian’, ‘Dalit’, ‘Buddhist’ etc communities? Why don’t we celebrate the living, why do we mess it by calling it names? Why don’t we believe in ‘One for All, All for One’ slogan? Where did our own ‘Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam’ concept perish? Finally, why should we kill our fellow human beings in whatever name be it?

Atrocious is the fact that it is done in the name of religion, honour and faith. The fact that no religion teaches one to fail the tolerance, is forgotten; the fact that no religion offers to kill innocent people to teach others, that no faith teaches to barbecue the others’ faith, is all forgotten. And hence, we can’t avert the miss deeds of some abolished minds.

I hope and wish soon the sense prevails in all of us to stop behaving in such shameful manner and work towards making our society a free fable for the coming generations. Lets passé at least the remaining phase of our lives with peace.

Act now.... begs a 15 year old

"Addressing the UN senate, a 15 year old girl speaks her heart out inspiring everyone to act immediately!"

Should I add anything to it?!

25 July 2008

A little Karnataka in Kerala - Kasaragodu

l The green valley l Agumbe l Udupi l Malpe l Udyavara l Kasaragodu l Shiradi l

A taxi came in front of the house next day morning exactly at 7:45 so that we leave by 8, as planned. And so we did. Our plan was to experience the Kasaragodu district of Kerala.

My aunt was against us riding again that day, and so the taxi programme had to be put in. Our bikes had got a nice day’s rest amidst the hectic schedules of run for them, though reluctantly. Aunt and cousin joined us in this expedition.

We drove past the bridges and under-construction flyovers of Mangalooru to reach the Kerala border. And so we entered Kasaragodu, a district in the neighbouring state.

Originally, Kasaragodu, Dakshina Kannada and Udupi were three districts of Tulunadu. But when the states were carved on linguistic base, Kasaragodu was put under Kerala while the rest two going to Karnataka. Even today, there is a cry to unite these three sister districts.

Kasaragodu has given Kannada its first Rashtrakavi. A poet who has written widely appreciated classic poems those could be compared with any of the best in the country would be conferred this title. One such was Manjeshwara Govinda Pai. Such is the legacy of this tiny district. Many laureates, social activists, dramatists, artistes, musicians have emerged from this land over the age. And even to today, Kasaragodu’s destiny with Kannada and its culture is not done with. People there speak Kannada, Tulu and Malayalam alternatively, and cleverly.

So, we never felt that we were out of Karnataka that day, though we were about 100KMs away from the borders.

Our first stop was at Ananthapura, a small village that has a beautiful lake temple of Lord Anantha Padmanabha of a strange order. I call it strange because of two reasons. One, the deity’s idol worshipped here is not carved out of stone, as in millions of other Hindu temples, but was being constructed out of 108 varieties of different herbs and natural material like the conch shell, dry fruits, salt, and so on. Second strange thing here is the most popular one, and that is a croc! A lonely crocodile that lives in a small pond is being said to be the God’s messenger. This is named as Babiya, and when priest or some one calls fondly ‘Babiya’ it shows up, floating and gobbles the vegetarian food that is offered to it. It doesn’t harm anyone, nor does it require anything else!! It doesn’t even need a companion. A 20th century legend says that a British officer had once killed this with his gun, but when priest called its name the next morning, mostly out of habit, it turned up, as usual!! And since then, it is recognized as God himself or God’s messenger, and it is considered to be a Chiranjeevi, one who lives for ever. So, people ask for blessings from her, and share their problems with her with a hope that she solves all of them.

Such mysterious visuals before us, and how can not we be left mesmerized, and we did! Let me write about Ananthapura in detail some other time.

We moved on to have the darshana of another astounding temple of a huge size called Madhur Anantheshwara temple. Madhur is another small but beautiful village on the banks of Madhuvahini river.

Though Anantheshwara is the main deity here, there are shrines devoted to other Gods and Goddesses too; most prominent of them all was that of Maha Ganapathi. Ganapathi statue here was huge in size, and the atmosphere in the temple was very divine. It was around 11:30 by then, too early for a lunch break. So, we moved on towards Bekal fort. Bekal is the biggest fort in Kerala and is spread over 40 acres. The fort is on an elevated hill that has an opening onto the Arabian Sea.

This fort has all the majestic features of a structure like a tank right at its entrance, an underground tunnel, an interior storage house, the highland view point from where one can get a total view of the surrounding area.

This fort was built in 16th Century by the Nayaka rulers. And was put under the rule of different dynasties over the ages like the Wodeyars of Mysore, and lastly under the British.

Today, it is a well maintained fort that serves the visitor with a scenic visual of the Arabian Sea one side and the coconut groove on the other, with the town of Bekal. The fort has a temple of Hanuman at the entrance, and a wide area to walk on in its foray.

As we walked from end to end here, though thrilled to be at a popular Bollywood hotspot, we were dehydrated enough by the crouching Sun up above. The mid day it was, and thus we were running out of energy to face him as well.

A respite from the hot Sun was of course the time spent on the Sea shore. The Arabian Sea was in full foray with its wild and menacing waves on the fore. It was fun though. The view from the fort was splendid, and the beach experience, marvelous!

Coming out of here, we drank enough waters each one of us to fight the humid heat. And we decided to rush to the Kasaragodu town for our lunch. By then it was around 3PM.

After a lazy lunch at Kasaragodu, we had ample of time more to explore this dry Sea side district more. As a part of it, we stopped at Manjeshwara. This has a huge Anantha Padmanabha temple, which is particularly known for its Nagaraadhane (snake worship). Though the temple was closed, we spent some time in researching the uniqueness of temples in this part of the country.

We moved on…and reached back Karnataka. We had a good time in searching the Someshwara beach. As in any other beach in Mangalore, this also had a temple of Shiva on top of a hill that opens in to the Sea at its backyard. Though we didn’t explore the temple, we had a walk on the famed beach at this evening hour.

We could have stayed there for the Sun set, but with sudden change of plans put into effect, we drove off Mangalore to the other side of it, to Polali.

Polali is a village with a wonderful temple of Sri Rajarajeshwari. Goddess statue is made by sand, and its huge statute is a pleasant experience. One prostrate before the Goddess will ease you off all your worries! The temple here makes you believe that the supreme Mother is watching us, who will relieve us of all the evils, and provide us with anything that we seek at her lotus feet.

This one temple impressed me so much that I sat there for some time, not knowing how much a time I spent there! High with spiritual vibrations, this temple is a must visit for any devotee of the divine Mother.

A post specifically on this temple, some other time.

Moving on, we went past the illuminated MRPL and Bajpe airport to reach back Kulayi. It was 9PM by then.

Before calling it quits, my uncle treated us with a nice dinner at a hotel nearby.

We came back walking past the bus stop where we had met Venu Vinod the previous day. Remembering that meet, tried reaching him. Since he was busy at work, he was working till late that night; we returned home.

Ooops…. I dint tell you about our meeting with this exciting young journalist the previous day. Yeah. Venu, whom we knew by his blog, was before us in real. He was rushing back home from work pretty late night. And we had a brief meeting with him at a bus stop (!) Thanks to the fact that he stayed in the same locality of my aunt’s place. We had discussed about his work, experience in traveling, more on blogging, etc in that little time we got to spend there.

It is a nice feeling when we meet bloggers of all the people. It is like we know them, and we don’t know them. We know their half real face; but the face behind those words, we get to see only when we end up meeting thus! BTW, Prashanth and I met thru blogs of course!!

Thanks to Rajesh, Srikanth and Venu for making this trip an amazing one.

To be continued……….

Day I:

Bengalooru -> Nelamangala -> Kunigal -> Chennarayapattana -> Hassana -> Belur -> Yagachi -> Chikkamagalooru -> Balehonnuru -> Sringeri -> Agumbe -> Hebri -> Seethanadi -> Udupi

Day II:

Udupi -> Malpe -> Bengre -> Udupi -> Udyavara -> Kunjarugiri -> Pajaka -> Katapadi -> KuLayi

Day III:

Kulayi -> Mangalooru -> Manjeshwara -> Ananthapura -> Madhur -> Kasaragodu -> Bekal fort -> Kasaragodu -> Manjeshwara -> Someshwara -> Mangalooru -> Kudupu -> Polali -> MRPL -> Ganeshapura -> Kulayi

l The green valley l Agumbe l Udupi l Malpe l Udyavara l Kasaragodu l Shiradi l

17 July 2008

Thought for the day!

In a day, when you don’t come across any problems – You can be sure that you are
traveling in a wrong path.
- Swami Vivekananda

14 July 2008

Hampi...... sad tale of a world heritage site

Hampi brings back a bunch of memories, memories of great pride, and some, of sadness. Happy memories of a thought that such a huge celebration of life ever existed; sad memories of inhibited imperial brains destroying such a wonder, both run in our minds when we think back about Hampi.

Today, Hampi is a graveyard of an infinite energy that hides more than what it displays. The huge perpetuation of the stony marvels here are a testimony to our greatly famed heritage.

The monuments that are available to us are a treasure for researchers, history enthusiasts from across the globe. They provide an open museum to the enthusiasts and teach about an interesting and one of the most important phases in Indian history. These monuments are no more 'Hindu' monuments, but are more of National in nature.

Such precious and priceless monuments are today orphaned and are being vandalised. Last weekend there was a disturbing report of a few idols being fractured by some idiotic degage rascals. There were reports of young visitors roaming around the streets of Hampi drenched in the shall of drugs, alcohol and open sex.

Hampi’s sanctity is at a high risk today. The world heritage sites at Hampi are under a threat of losing out again to the carnal pleasures of its fancied visitors. Any attack on Hampi is an attack on the integrity of the country; it’s a direct attack on the virtues of Hinduism.

Today, young men from Kashmir are said to be involved in drug peddling, secretive terrorist activities, cases of infidelity among others. There were arrests also of a few of them in the regard.

Today, some of the Hindu temple monuments have been occupied and turned into dargahs off late. The popular ‘Purandhara mantapa’, from where Sri Purandhara Dasa contributed immensely to Karnataka classical music, is today used for cooking the beef!

The history will never forgive us if we lose out these ancient, priceless monuments for the heck of a small money, pleasure or pride. We need a mechanism to safeguard them and feel proud of at least having them in our history.

A visit to Hampi is like reading a huge history book; is like traveling to the past in a time machine. I sure hope we, as a community come to our senses fast and educate ourselves of the pristine value each of these monuments, idols hold. And I also wish and hope that we do preserve them to gift our next generations this enormous beauty of heritage value.

I stronly urge the respective departments to take corrective and preventive measures to ensure these monuments are practically protected.


Also Read :

1. My Hampi experience.

೨. ಹಂಪಿಯ ಕುರಿತ ನನ್ನ ಕನ್ನಡದ ಲೇಖನಕ್ಕಾಗಿ ಇಲ್ಲಿ ಕ್ಲಿಕ್ಕಿಸಿ.

08 July 2008

Getting beached!

With a sumptuous meal stuffed in the stomach on this lazy Sunday afternoon, we thought of continuing with our journey, and no rest whatsoever.

Our next destination was my aunt’s place in Mangalooru(ಮಂಗಳೂರು). But as described earlier, Rajesh had given us route maps to a few exciting places on the way; we, deciding to get beached more, took a right at Udyavara(ಉದ್ಯಾವರ) to reach Pithrody(ಪಿತ್ರೋಡಿ).

@image : River side at Udyavara Padukere.

If one enquires for Udyavara beach at locals, no one would actually help. This is because, no body visits Udyavara beach and the beach is on a wrong side of it. Udyavara Padukere(ಪಡುಕೆರೆ) is its actual name. Padu in Kannada means west and kere a water body. In Bangalore, kere means a lake, but what that means here….a Sea!!

We have to cross an overflowing river to reach the majestic beach. How do you cross the river? With a rower, rowed by a kind old-man.

@image : Crossing the river in a boat.

The river Udyavara is inhabited by varieties of birds ranging from billed ones to ducks. Thrill is when you see not many people around, but only these chirps and a river. A tar road is nicely laid in between the river and the beach. How good that looks can’t be explained here! The joy of exploring a lonely beach, with Arabian Sea roaring high, and a river rushing for its holy maté. We heard that the river met see at about 3KMs distance from this place.

The place was joyful, enchanting, exhilarating. The Arabian Sea looked excitingly royal here, than at Malpe.

@image : A distant island on the river at Pithrody.

We spent a lot of time on the river side than on the Sea shore. Sea shore looked monotonously same, but the river gives life a new meaning altogether. Rivers are the lifelines of humanity, whereas Seas, a meaning for the lives of these rivers! River was huge in width, it flew surpassing a couple of islands and it rushed pretty fast too.

Maravanthe(ಮರವಂತೆ) is another such place that is located on the National Highway with Sea on one side and the river on the other. People flock there to witness this beauty where a National Highway dissects both the water bodies. A similar scene was available to us that day, though only a country road distinguished the river with its huge partner; the whole visual belonged to us, just the two of us! Our joy found no bounds.

Spending about an hour in this brilliant deafening encounter with nature, we moved ahead. The rower waited for his lonely passengers of mid day, and we made our inroads into the river again to reach our parking area.

@image : Kunjarugiri darshana.

We then rode to Kunjarugiri(ಕುಂಜಾರುಗಿರಿ), a small hillock amidst dense forest range, where an age old temple of Sri. Durga Parameshwari exists. Temple was open for darshan, and we had a good time with monkeys checking on our luggage curiously, until we drove them off.

The temple is a simple structure, built in the trademark Dakshina Kannada style, decorated with Mangalore tiles for roofing. Sunset visuals are a treat from here, they said.

@image : Sree Pajaka Kshetra.

We then rode to Pajaka(ಪಾಜಕ), the place where Sri Madhvacharya was born. So, a Vedic school exists at this very place, with a temple like structure built around the main house. The caretaker took us around the place explaining what happened when and where, when Sri Acharya was studying there. It is a nicely maintained spiritual place, where one can feel the divine vibrations making this place really a special one.

On our way back to the main road, we visited another temple called Parashurama(ಪರಶುರಾಮ) Kshetra, which is on another hillock opposite to Kunjarugiri. Though the temple was closed, we felt good at this place, and continued with our journey not waiting for the priest to come.

Our next halt was my aunt’s place at Kulayi(ಕುಳಾಯಿ), a few KMs before Mangalooru. And as we reached her place, it was dark and all were waiting for us there.

They had a different plan for us, to take us to Panambur(ಪಣಂಬೂರು) beach to witness the sunset. But since we reached there after sunset, we missed a fair chance of getting beached again!

Day I:

Bengalooru -> Nelamangala -> Kunigal -> Chennarayapattana -> Hassana -> Belur -> Yagachi -> Chikkamagalooru -> Balehonnuru -> Sringeri -> Agumbe -> Hebri -> Seethanadi -> Udupi

Day II:

Udupi -> Malpe -> Bengre -> Udupi -> Udyavara -> Kunjarugiri -> Pajaka -> Katapadi -> KuLayi

To be continued……….

04 July 2008

A ride, on a beach!

Marriage was at around 11 in the morning. So, we had all the day to spend in Udupi. Udupi, a religious town, has innumerable temples in and around it, Krishna temple being the best known landmark.

Kanakadasa(ಕನಕದಾಸರು), a saint in 11th century AD was not allowed to enter the temple, since he belonged to an untouchable community. The singer saint didn’t leave it at that; he worshipped Lord Krishna from out side the temple, when the Lord heard his devotee’s voice. And the idol turned to its back to face Kanakadasa. Untouchability was vanished thus by the Lord himself. The legend says so.

@image : The Majestic chariot for Udupi Krishna, see Kanaka Gopura in the background.

As a testimony to this fact, a Kanaka mantapa stands facing the Krishna idol just outside the temple, and it is said that it was here Kanakadasa got the divya darshana of Krishna, the Lord. Kanaka Gopura and Kanakana kindi are two other landmarks of this temple that speak about saint Kanakadasa. It is thru this Kanakana kindi(ಕನಕನ ಕಿಂಡಿ) that one is to take darshan of the Lord even today.

Udupi temple is not only about the legend of Kanakadasa, but also about various other saints and scholars who has stood firm to uphold the Sanathana dharma. Udupi temple was installed by Madhwacharya(ಮಧ್ವಾಚಾರ್ಯ), a scholar who founded a major school of learning in Hinduism called Dvaita(ದ್ವೈತ). Udupi has maintained that holy atmosphere even to today.

We had a relaxing visit to the temple early in the morning, and by 8:15 we were out on the streets again! There was a scattered plan in place that we had drawn with the help of Rajesh the other day.

Malpe beach was the first on our list. We rode straight into the Malpe fishing port(ಮಲ್ಪೆ ಮೀನುಗಾರಿಕಾ ಬಂದರು) where the early morning crowd was either busy with unloading the fresh fish stock from sea or in buying them from vendors. We were lost for a while seeing at this huge stock of Bhutaya, a seasonal fish variety found in this dry season. I was told that the fishing boats leave the port by 5 in the morning or earlier when they get more fishes. Each boat had fishes in thousands of numbers that are sold in kilo grams just like any other commodity out in the market.

@image : Huge stock of fresh fishes at Malpe.

Bewildered at the site, we ran out to have a beach experience, to Malpe beach. I couldn’t believe that no one stopped us when we rode the bikes straight into the beach, pretty close to the dancing waves! Of course it was tough to get the bikes on sand, but fun when riding along the coast with water rushing to chase us off. It is definitely a ride to remember. We rode for about a kilometer on this sand platue of the Malpe beach. People there stared at us, but they cared very little about our adventures.

@image : The sand ride on Malpe beach.

Later, with the help of locals on the beach, we got our bikes out of the sands, on to the road. Enquiring how to reach Bengre(ಬೆಂಗ್ರೆ), we ventured ahead. By then it was all just 10AM!

@image : River Suvarna - Never tired of running.

Bengre in Tulu(ತುಳು), language spoken in this part of the world, is a place where a river meets a sea. Such a place is called as Alive(ಅಳಿವೆ) in Kannada. Malpe beach has two such Bengres, one on each side. We were now on our way to the one on its left. As we reached Bengre, we got suspicious whether we had come to the right spot, after all. We thought so since there was no noise at all, and the village looked like a normal movie setup of 1970s. But it had no visitor, no activities around. We confirmed that we were at no wrong place by enquiring at a few locals. All the noise here was that of the Arabian Sea(ಅರಬ್ಬೀ ಸಮುದ್ರ) and the river Suvarna(ಸುವರ್ಣ) merging with it forever, none else whatsoever.

It was for the first time that I ever got a chance to witness this pretty natural phenomenon of a river getting absolved in to this huge body of water. Astounded with the visuals, I tried getting into the water, exactly where the merger happened. One thing I observed was the Sea had a sloppy appearance and the river had a sudden depth. The enigmatic green look of the place transfixed into the royal blue as my eyes moved away. The seemingly motionless huge water body overflowing to grab a hapless hyperactive river was all we had there. The water, sand and we two, there was no third human being around!

Slowly the locals came in one by one to enquire whether we were shooting for any film, since Prashanth’s camera on a tripod looked like a filmable camera to them, no surprises at it.

@image : Arabian Sea at Bengre.

Spending about an hour in this deafeningly silent atmosphere with the Arabian Sea and river Suvarna in the background, we headed back to the town. We then realized that we had not had breakfast that morning. So, had refreshing teas at a petty shop before being back on our bikes again.

We had to reluctantly call off our Barkur(ಬಾರ್ಕೂರು) plans owing to the time running against us. We had an old Jain temple in Barkur on our list of places to be visited. But since the major reason of this trip was to attend the marriage, we had to return to Udupi, where the marriage was being held.

We had a tasty breakfast at a local Udupi hotel before getting into the marriage hall. Marriage hall was huge and there were too many people too. We found some place to sit and enjoyed the event by making some comments this side that side, around. We were asked to lunch before meeting the couple. We did so, and wished the couple a happy long life together, and continued with our mega journey.

Our next project was to reach Mangalooru.

Day I:

Bengalooru -> Nelamangala -> Kunigal -> Chennarayapattana -> Hassana -> Belur -> Yagachi -> Chikkamagalooru -> Balehonnuru -> Sringeri -> Agumbe -> Hebri -> Seethanadi -> Udupi

Day II:

Udupi -> Malpe -> Bengre ->Udupi

To be continued……….

02 July 2008


@image : Wall carving from Belur - Ugra Narasimha.

@image : Wall carving from Belur - Shiva Tandava.

Udupi, we took only a little while to freshen up, since we had a visitor whom we could wait no more wait to meet. Rajesh Naik, a fellow blogger, enthusiastic traveler of nomadic variety, a wonderful person more than anything else.

Rajesh was waiting at the reception; we couldn’t guess it must be him since he looked different to what we had imagined. However, since there was no one else, we did. We had planned for a dinner meet and all the three of us took on for this lazy dinner.

Dead tired of a ride close to 440Kms, we had no hint of it when the meet began. Rajesh is considered as a wikipedia about Karnataka’s Western Ghats, and this meet proved again that why he is so. His passion towards forests, water falls and in search of stories, are models to any travel enthusiast. He has traveled across the state with an enthusiasm unmatched. He keeps a low profile of himself.

Today, I saw a presentation running on a friend’s PC that had a collage of a few magnificent postcards from Karnataka. I took no time to yell “Hey! This is pictured by Rajesh, my friend!”

The man has in his voice a magnet that attracted us and had hooked us all through. He shared a few stories of himself which raised eye brows from the listeners. With the same enthusiasm he listened to our stories, of how the journey was that day and how we liked traveling.

We started dining at 8:45PM and we had no sense of what was going on when a waiter came in asking us to leave so they closed the restaurant doors! It was like meeting an old lost friend, so much to discuss, so much to share and so much to learn! We had not yet completed the traveling stories, and it was time to move out, sad. But the little time we got to spend here was the highlight of this whole journey to west.

Meanwhile, there was a discussion about fellow travelers, and when Rajesh mentioned the name of Shreekanth, whom we knew thru his blog. How can we go back not meeting the person we know for such a long time? Rajesh called him and he turned up in no time. It was a pleasant time for all of us, a first meet that never let us feel so.

Shreekanth had to get back early to prepare for an exam that was due the next day. And we continued to have our dinner and when the hoteliers were done with us, it was about 11:30PM. We walked to reach the hotel back, reluctantly parted. Before that, we didn’t forget to hatch our plans for the coming day with the able guidance of Rajesh.

From the heart of civilization to the loneliness of forests, from traffic jams to the solitude of the curvature; from the flat lands to the mountain valleys; from the valley of sunset to the flat lands past Arabian Sea, from the dry and cool Bengalooru to hot and humid Udupi, we had traveled that day. To add to this exciting journey, dinner with Rajesh was like a silver lining to this super memorable day.

@image : A panoramic view from the Agumbe ghati.

We had a content sleep that day with all the sweet memoirs running in mind

Day I:

Bengalooru -> Nelamangala -> Kunigal -> Chennarayapattana -> Hassana -> Belur -> Yagachi -> Chikkamagalooru -> Balehonnuru -> Sringeri -> Agumbe -> Hebri -> Seethanadi -> Udupi

To be continued………….

01 July 2008

The magic of Agumbe

By 4:30, we were in Agumbe, the fictious Malgudi made real by Shankarnag. I mean, its here that the ace director imagined and brought to life all features of Malgudi, a fictious town created by the legendary Indian writer R K Narayan in his novels.

@image : Agumbe, the Cheerapunji of south India.

Agumbe is known as the Cheerapunji of the south. Cheerapunji recorded the highest rainfall in a day in India. Agumbe has that credit in the south. The sleepy village of Agumbe has its own charm unmatched. Many of the poets in Kannada have praised this valley of green thru their works of art, immortalising it.

Agumbe is known for its Sunset view. Since it was on a cloud-less day that we travelled here, how could we miss it? Though we had another two hour’s journey left for the day, we decided to stay back to witness the much hyped sunset. 2 more hours for the spectacle, We tried hiking up the hill, and were disappointed to find nothing interesting over there; we tried taking rest on the muddy road for a while, but the passing vehicles alerted us; There was another group of college students that had come to witness the , they reminded us of all the pranky times we had in college; there were monkeys as well to our company; Prashanth tried to capture some of these visuals thru his SLR camera.

@image : The Sun set view.

Finally at around 6:15PM sun showed some mercy on us and his sharpness slowly diminishing gladdened us. He pleased us more when he actually took a position to dive in the sea that was visible afar. Changing colours of the sky had in them an angel spirit, and an imaginary radiant grill. The amazing turn of events before our naked eyes mesmerised us. Sun changing colours from sharp cream to light pink and then to pleasant orange had in him a magical opium that gave us all a kick we were unaware of. Sun went on his journey from being a bad hazy boy of sharpness to a ball of apple, from being a huge mischievous man to a silky blossoming young woman, from being a demon of yellow to an angel of the sky. He was delightful in appearance and blessing in nature.

Though the same sun and same sky we get here in the city, his abnormal naughty behaviour in display at Agumbe was an unforgettable indomitable experience for me. It was for me a skilful show of strength by nature, which I admired superlatively. With such a decorative sun taking a dive in the sea, we were on our saddles again towards his direction, to west, to the coast, as if in search of him.

Udupi was about a 2 hours’ ride from the Agumbe viewpoint. The road from atop the hill till the foothills is a single way carved out of the mountain, dressed in concrete, a highly creepy one. One must be very careful to be driving along here, he must be guarded against a vehicle coming in the opposite direction, must guard himself from the dangers of the darkness, the dead slope, steep, ghat road could deceive anyone. The hairpin bends across this road are better covered under sunlight, or else the dead steep valley besides the road could be as dangerous. We managed to reach the foothill of this enormous mountain before it was too dark, and so, we saved on some of the adventures at least. We were in Udupi in no time, at around 8:15 night, surpassing the famed educational town of Manipal.

We checked into a hotel suggested by our Udupi friend, and this special host of Udupi was waiting for us and we couldn’t wait anymore to meet him.

For wonderful sunset view pics from Agumbe, click here.

Day I:

Bengalooru -> Nelamangala -> Kunigal -> Chennarayapattana -> Hassana -> Belur -> Yagachi -> Chikkamagalooru -> Balehonnuru -> Sringeri -> Agumbe -> Seethanadi -> Udupi

To be continued………….

A ride to the west coast of India

l The green valley l Agumbe l Udupi l Malpe l Udyavara l Kasaragodu l Shiradi l

The Bay of Bengal conquered, and with that came a co-rider’s marriage invitation. That enabled us plan for another Odyssey. This time it was to the west coast, to Udupi. Ganesh’s invitation came as a saucy delight for the ride-mongers, us.

Plans started to blossom, with the number of riders being reduced to two. We charted the route map, by calculating the distance v/s time with Bangalore as the starting and Udupi as the end point.

On Saturday, the 1st of March 2008, we both took off on this exuberant journey, I and Prashanth. We started about 30 minutes delayed by the original plan, but made up for it by zooming past the NH4 non-stop for 150KMs, till Chennaraya pattana.

From here we moved to Belur thru Hassan, a district head quarters. Since we were there in Belur much ahead to the planned time, we thought of paving a visit to the temple.

All thru the journey from Hassan we were treated with an amazement, where herds of people in small groups of their own, walking in the same direction as us. After enquiring, we learnt that these were the pilgrims who headed to Dharmasthala to take part in the annual Shivaratri celebrations. People on ‘padayatre’ were on this holy walk from Bangalore, Mysore and other different parts of the state. It was an impressive sight that beholdeth the power of devotion.

@image : Soon arrived Belur after a satisfying ride on wonderfully laid roads past the scenic lakes and mountains.

Belur temple, a magnum opus crafted in rocks, is an eye-catcher for art enthusiasts from across the globe. It succeeded in amazing us. The statute of the deity is a huge one with beautiful carvings added with apt decoration. Here Vishnu is worshipped in the lady form, Mohini. Vishnu enacts Mohini to destroy a greedy and lusty daemon named Bhasmasura. The Velapura, where Mohini ends Bhasmasura, is this. Belur, is its modern name.

@image : The dancer queen Shanthale immortalised as a Shila balike in Belur temple.

Highlight of this temple is not the story of the place, but the magnitude of its high-class intricate stone carvings, both interior as well as the exteriors. The stony wonder of this temple is said to have been carved by the great sculpturer of the yore, Jakana.

@image : A temple for Kappe chennigaraya stands besides the main temple.

Very minute details attached to each row on the borders of the walls, the stone pillars with out-right carvings depicting the stories of Hindu mythology, the famed shila-balike statues that are placed on the upper walls of the temple, etc are all magnetic in nature and are works of wonder.

@image : Intricate and detailed carvings on the walls of the temple.

@image : A statue of Hoysala, emblem of the kings who built the temple.

The temple stands as a testimony to the great cultural heritage of Karnataka. Paying a tribute to all those responsible for this magnum opus, we exited to continue with our Odyssey. We were up towards Sringeri next, thru Chikkamagalur.

Just as Belur ended, we spotted a huge store of blue waters that seemed like a lake. The colour of water body was an addictive one; such a blue, I had never seen before. We stopped to enjoy that scene, and found out that it was the backwater store of Yagachi reservoir which was pretty recently built. @image : The Yagachi river.

A small reservoir on Yagachi River is a treat to the eyes. Spending over an hour in the serene atmosphere, we started again reluctantly.

Chikkamagalur, being a district head quarter welcomed us with its small town characteristics, and a bunch of coffee estates. We initially thought of stopping for lunch there, but since it was too early for it, we decided to push the lunch to Balehonnur, and rode nonstop. Balehonnur, we couldn’t find any good hotel, and that prompted us to ride non stop to Sringeri. We were in Sringeri by 2:45 PM, by when the temple was closed for darshan. However, we went in and played in the holy waters of Thunga, behind the temple complex, for a while, and prostrated before the closed doors of the temple, praying in Goddess Sharada to eliminate the darkness from our lives, we moved out, in search of a place to hog.

Halted at a hotel for lunch and took some time before venturing to Agumbe which was about 30KMs further. By 4:30, we were in Agumbe

Day I:

Bengalooru -> Nelamangala -> Kunigal -> Chennarayapattana -> Hassana -> Belur -> Yagachi -> Chikkamagalooru -> Balehonnuru -> Sringeri -> Agumbe

To be continued………….

l The green valley l Agumbe l Udupi l Malpe l Udyavara l Kasaragodu l Shiradi l