01 July 2008

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

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