October 20th, 2013 by admin

On the first Sunday of October 2013, me and another photographer friend set out to explore Melkote. It was my first visit there, though I have read about it and has been on my radar for long time.
Early morning he picked up in his car and pretty quick we were on Mysore road after zooming through NICE road (one way toll Rs 60 for car). Did a pit stop for a quick breakfast. Driving through mild vehicle movement we reached Mandya. After we reached the country road after Mandya, it was transportation to another world. The country to Melkote seems to be newly laid and is in awesome condition.
The drive to Melkote through the country side is as good as the destination. One way encountered many things which I had for long lost touch in city life. The green paddy field looking like a a green velvet cover under the blue sky, the rustic rocky settings, water bodies, easy going rural people was all a sight to behold.

Soon we found ourself at the foot of Yoganarashima temple hill. We took the small left road and did a bit of photography. Explored the surrounding. There is a rustic pond, a stone steps leading to some temple on this side of the hill. Then we drove again in minutes to the town. Our first stop was Kalyani (pushkarani or pond). This ancient India’s public bath system. This is a big beautifully made pond. All sides of this water body is embanked with stone steps. There are gates and nicely made structures as well for people to sit and take rest. Faithfuls take bath here and do rituals. At four corners of the pond, they lit fire. This would be awesome sight at evening. Comparatively the pond is clean. Saw one interesting character over there, who was conducting a ritual of putting vermillion on kid’s forehead and was playing an instrument like a small saxaphone.

Next we started climbing steps to Yoganarashima temple which is located on top of a hill nearby. One might have to climb 120 – 150 steps to reach the temple. The hill gives an awesome panoramic view of Melkote town below and the surrounding country side. At the summit of the hill we bought some snacks and beverages. Sat on the edge of a stone and was feeling like sitting on the lap of nature. Unhindered view for miles ahead, pure oxygen filled breeze and wildlife in the form of monkeys, goats & sheep made it very adventurous.  After our rest, we started our remaining part of the short climb. The temple is spacious and has a balcony at its backside. Once you reach the main hall, one has to take a round of the sanctum sanatorium. One can go out of the temple by walking straight or take the left door to enjoy the outside view. On two of the windows found people tying their bangles or charms while making their wishes. It was an interesting sight.

Next we went to Cheluvanarayana Swamy Temple (Lord Vishnu). The temple was closed then. Lastly went to the Raya Gopura (the unfinished gate). It is a beautiful structure and very neatly kept. You can get a completely different view of Yoganarashima temple from here. One can climb to the sides of the gate and sit over there.

Overall Melkote is very good for photography and is a wonderful one day trip. I had wrote a detailed article on Melkote before. You can read that if you need more info.

To view more pictures visit, Travelingbeats Photo Gallery.

June 17th, 2013 by admin

The weekend of 24th May 2013 was a long one with official holidays. We planned to go to Kodaikanal which we thought to be cooler. The priority of this trip was to relax. So we changed our plan from Kodaikanal to Coorg to reduce the travel time and fatigue. On friday morning 5 of us left for Madikeri on a Honda Jazz owned by one of my friend. I have been to Medikeri earlier and you can read about that trip on one of my earlier post: Trip to Madikeri.

We took the route: Bangalore – Mandya – Srirangapata bypass – Hunsur – Kushalnagar – Suntikoppa – Madikeri

The Bangalore – Mysore highway these days is very traffic infested and frequent accidents takes place. The government should seriously think about opening an alternate route from Bangalore to Mysore. In our to and fro journey we saw at least 5 accidents. With increase in commuters food business is thriving big time here. Various food outlets have opened on the sides of Bangalore – Mysore highway. Earlier, it was only Cafe Coffee Day at Maddur. Now nearby a host of new entrants like KFC, Go Goola etc has come up. Some other places to have food on the way are Kamat Lokaruchi, Empire, Adiga’s, Fish land, Right O etc. We had lunch at Right O. It is a platform of multiple food stores like Ammi’s Byriyani etc. Tasted Ammi’s Byriyani for the first time at Rs 150. Pretty decent in taste. But other stuffs are pretty costly here. A mint lime juice cost me Rs 60!

Towards evening as we started to climb the foot hills of Madikeri, we experienced cooler air. The road has improved a lot since I visited in 2006. Earlier roads were very narrow and it was not easy to overtake or cross. Now roads has been widened to two lane and it is in considerable good state.

We reached Madikeri around dusk. With no hotel booking we went to KSTDC Valley View. The hotel has been renovated now and looks good. Unfortunately no room was available. However, captured an awesome sight of Moon on the backdrop of a tree. Then one guy found a home stay who was offering a entire house for 2 days for Rs 8000. We went to see the house located near Raja’s seat and Police headquarters. The caretaker also provides good food at reasonable price. That was a good proposition and we decided to go for it. The ground floor of the house is good enough for 6 – 7 people.

After taking rest little bit went out to purchase food. One of my friend suggested to purchase food from Hotel East End. Food really sucks there. Never buy food from there. For veg food, we purchased from Coorg Sahara Restaurant (Hotel Coorg Regency), Opp. RTO, GT road, Medikeri. Ph: 8951287438. I recommend this restaurant as pricing was reasonable and food was tasty.

At night relaxed walking in the front space of the house in peaceful cool breezy oxygen filled air in dark. Next morning woke up around 4.30 am. Went out and found a wonderful sight of the moon setting behind the hills opposite to the house. In a while the cloud and moon started playing hide and seek. It was awesome!

Morning had a nice breakfast of dosa prepared by the caretaker. Following this, drove to Mandalpatti. The drive through the secluded road was very enriching and peaceful. On the way we saw banana and jack fruit in the wild.  After reaching a circle we inquired at the tea shop for Mandalpatti. The man offered to take us there on his 4 wheel drive Mahindra jeep for Rs 1000. We parked our car there and went on jeep. From this point its like off road driving and a four wheel drive vehicle is preferred. The sight of the jeep gave a feeling as if it is ready to go to the scrap house. But to our amazement, it just ran past every hurdle. Mandalpatti is part of the Pushpagiri hill range. This place is not very crowded as many people do not know about it. There is an entry fees of Rs 20 per person. We climbed and reached the windy plateau of the hill. An awesome surrounding enriched my view. We enjoyed strolling around and taking pictures. There is a view point structure built on the other side of the hill.  This to and fro drive to Mandalpatti is one of the best off road drive I ever had. Though it was kinda bone shaking but it was fun.

Visit Travelingbeats Photo Gallery to view more pictures of Coorg

Then back at the circle we had tea and snacks. Then went down hills to a falls inside the jungle. It was just the start of monsoon but the falls had water flowing. Walked into the stream and enjoyed its cool water. The driver told he can arrange for tent stay here. Definitely it will be worth trying a stay here. For sunset, we reached Raja’s seat. As expected it was heavily crowded. Though we did not get to see sunset because of cloud, we did photography of flowers and surroundings. Sensing rain we headed back. In no time, the sky opened up and what a brief spell of heavy rain it was. This resulted in a traffic jam on the road leading to Raja’s seat and it reminded me of Bangalore.

At night, we found hotel Brahmagiri is out of business. Now Fish land operates from there. So purchased dinner from there. Food was pretty decent.

Next morning, we headed back for Bangalore. On the way, we went to Golden temple, Bylakuppe. We had lunch at Potala Kitchen, run by Tibetan. It has clean, decent ambiance and awesome food. We ordered for various items but what stood out was chilly chicken and chicken momo. They also offer pork items.

Address:

Potala Kitchen
1st Camp, Tibetan market,
Bylakuppe
Ph: 08223 – 252888
Cell: 9900555454

Then headed to Ranganathittu bird sanctuary. After strolling little bit by the banks of river Cauvery we went for a boat ride. Was able to click parrots, Asian open bill stork, pelican, bats, Cormorants, crocodile etc. River Cauvery provides a great ecosystem for the birds with its awesome collection of fishes and trees on its banks here. The evening ride on Bangalore – Mysore road was filled with traffic and accidents. We gave a halt at Maddur Cafe Coffee day. By 10.30 pm was in Bangalore completing a very fulfilling drive trip.

May 27th, 2013 by admin

Location: Belavadi village, Chikmagalur district, Karnataka

Distance: 157 km from Mysore, 213 km from Bangalore, 29 km from Chikmagalur, 10 km from Halebidu

Route: Bangalore – Tumkur – Tiptur – Arasikere – Banavara – Javagal – Belavadi (211 km)

2nd route: Bangalore – Yeshwanthpur – Nelamangala – Kunigal – Chanarayapattna – Hassan – Belavadi (235 km)

Accommodation: No accommodation available

Food: No restaurants nearby

Veera Narayana Temple is another superb temple in the Hoysala temple circuit. This too typically do not feature in the itinerary of the regular tourist. The temple is located just before a lake on the left hand side in the now node script Belavadi village. The temple is said to be constructed by Hoysala Empire King Veera Ballala II in 1200 AD. The temple has three shrines dedicated to Lord Vishnu (Narayana). The architecture of this temple is grand and comparable to the popular Belur and Halebidu temples. Once you pass the main gate you will see the trade mark lamp tower and two gopura (tower) flanking the temple from two sides. The temple has extensive stone work and brass metal work. One that caught my attention was the pillars and the polished stones used in these pillars. They still shine as if they were built a few years back. The symmetrically placed pillars and stone works on that gives an awesome feeling. There are extensive works on the ceiling and the walls as well. Looks like this is also a living temple and regular puja (prayer) takes place.

Visit and enjoy the architectural splendor with your own eyes!

To view more pictures visit, Travelingbeats Photo Gallery.

May 13th, 2013 by admin

Eshwara Temple, Arasikere

Eshwara temple is typically not found on the itinerary of a typical domestic or foreign traveler. But it is very beautiful in terms of architecture and rich in history. Eshwara temple is a Hoysala architecture dedicated to lord Shiva. It might have been built around 1220 AD in today’s Arasikere. From Mysore it is around 140 km and 41 km from Hassan to reach here. Arasikere in Kannada (local language) means queen’s tank. In 2012 I was planning to tour the important Hoysala empire architectures in Karnataka. I was researching in this regard, when I found this temple. I visited there in April 2012.

In Arasikere I had to take help to locate it. Located on Eshwara hill road near Malleshwara Bettada road around 1.3 km from Arasikere railway station, Eshwara temple is a serene environment. It was hot in the afternoon, but as soon as I entered the temple it was a cool feeling. The stone craved architecture is compact but very complex and highly developed in terms of its intricate design which are embossed in small space. There are two separate structures. One is the star shaped mantap which leads to the sanctum sanatorium of Lord Shiva. Visitors can sit at the mantap. The design is of typical Hoysala style but in miniature form. It is a living temple as daily puja (prayer) takes place.

Eshwara Temple, Arasikere

The right hand structure is more pillar centric but beautiful nevertheless. Here too the deity is a Shiva linga. At the door a Nandi stay put to guard his lord. This is typical of most Hoysala temples which are dedicated to Lord Shiva. Here some old Kannada inscriptions are also found.

Eshwara temple should be on the itinerary of all serious tourists.

Little further from here on the Amaragiri Malekal Tirupati Hill, there is a Tirupati temple which my driver told is older than the famous Tirupati temple in Tirupati, Andhara Pradesh. It is also know as Chikka Tirupati. One has to climb around 1300 steps to reach the white color temple on the top of stony hill. The deity here is lord Venkateshwara. At the base of hill also there is a temple which we visited. At that point one was marriage was going on.

To view more photos visit, Travelingbeats Photo Gallery.

October 17th, 2012 by admin

Apsara Konda in Kannada literally means pond of celestial women. And it did not let us down! Located in Karnataka, this place remains hidden in nature as a stream plunges into a gorge forming a falls and a pool below. To reach here one has to walk little bit after motorable road ends. First we had to walk uphill and we started to wonder what the heck is here! As we went near the gorge and started climbing downhill, we saw nature’s amazing hidden beauty. It was an alive is awesome moment! It made me feel the sweat was worth it.

After reaching the base, we found there were already kids and families enjoying on the lap of the falls. My friends were talking if we should get in the water. But I was thinking on a different plane. The pasionate photographer in me already dreamt doing a photoshoot and I was pretty much clear about the angles I would want! This is the speciality of such places which makes one think creative. Surrounded by woods with this falls sprinkling water like crystals in the gorge, this place just brought me alive. Awesome is just another superlative here.

Our legs were itching to walk into the water but we did not had bathing gear with us. But we did something more special. First, we folded our trousers and walked into the shallow water of the pool. The water is so crystal clear that we could see the floor. Itermittently, small fishes were doing the rounds of our legs. That was no less an experience! To explore the falls differetly, in filmy style we walked on the stone littered edge of the pool hanging on to roots of trees. The falls was flowing parallel to many bushy tree roots. Then turn by turn we forwaded our head under the falls holding the roots. The splash of clean sweet water on the head and face was so rejuvinating. I noticed a boy was taking bath with soap. I imagined if it were me! Being here is just awesome!

October 15th, 2012 by admin

Arabian sea, Murudeshwar

The coastal area of Karnataka remains little bit on the warmer side throughout the year. But during the summar season it is very hot, humid and scorching heat. I visited Murudeshwar in the month of May, 2011. The sea here is the Arabian sea as in the entire west coast of India. The sea is calm here and inviting. But it was not until the sun mellowed down by early evening that we were able to venture into the sea. Slowy we got in the bathing gear to play in the Arabian sea. As the sea is calm here, one can walk little distance into the sea. I was told the sea bed here is not steep favourable for bathing.

Arabian sea, Murudeshwar

With sunset in the background, we walked into the water. The first touch of cool water made feel alive. As time passed I witnessed one of the best sunset till now. At such places, it simply feels that being alive is awesome. For me alive is awesome when being at such places I can enjoy what nature has to offer. In sometime, we were all drenched splashing water at each other. In between I took out time to capture the beautiful sunset which was unfolding.

Arabian sea, Murudeshwar

Meanwhile I thought its time to enjoy natural spa treatment and let the sea do its job. I sat facing the waves and it was lifting me pushing backwards. Then kept my backside facing the waves and enjoyed the splash of water on the body. It was getting dark slowly. We withdraw from water as we had a bus to catch from Sirsi that night. Fresh water bath is available nearby for a fee.

View more pictures by visiting the links below:

Murudeshwar Sunset Pictures
Murudeshwar Pictures

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