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


Anonymous said...

Hi Shrik,

I too was on tour to dakshin kannada and udupi, but didn't see much as u guys. Repenting now.
Thanks for the post.

Prashanth M said...

Srik, one correction the croc's name is 'Babiya' not 'Babita' :)