Sunday, January 1, 2017

A one day drive to Shravanabelagola - Hassan district Karnataka

The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes
- Marcel Pronst

I was under the impression that travelling could be an experience only if I travel solo. I was completely fascinated by the tales of solo travelling. But my trip to Shravanabelagola in Hassan at Karnataka broke that myth. 

Well! Solo travelling might work for many but for me a trip with somebody who would just like to travel can work. I have cautiously and deliberately avoided the words ‘share the same passion’. After this trip, I firmly affirm the above mentioned quotes. Travelling is not about seeking new places but new perspectives. 

When I look back, this trip proved to be the most wonderful trip ever.

The experience and that ‘so good feeling which you feel from inside’ could not have happened if I had travelled solo. The 600 steps to reach the biggest monolithic statue would have been a big hurdle if I had travelled alone. I could not have managed them by myself.

Those hours, we spent under the shade of a rock after climbing majority of the steps chatting about personal, professional and worldly things made the experience more personal. A slight breeze that blew during those hours made it more memorable.  

Neither am I against solo travelling nor am I making a sweeping generalisation. My point is : if you love travelling, grab any opportunity that come on your way. Whether it is solo or group does not make a difference. It’s all about you and your personal experience.

We travelled to Hassan from Bangalore. As it was an unexpected trip, we started off a bit late. It took around four hours to reach Hassan. Once you are out of the chaos of city traffic, the rural landscape will make your drive a pleasant experience. When you reach Shravanabelagola, you can see the statue from afar.

As I am a person who do not love being amidst a crowd, the month of September proved to be the right time. 

At the entrance, I saw her.

As footwear are not allowed, you can buy socks from the local vendors for Rs 60. After the visit, most of us discarded them in a dust bin kept there.

If you think you cannot handle the steps, there is chair - carrier like a palanquin.The views are different and mesmrrizing after climbing each steps. It’s all about rocks.

This white pond and the view is majestic. 

When you think that you have finished the Herculean task of climbing the steps, this appears. You can sit for a while here and start the next phase of climbing.There is no doubt that you will get thirsty after climbing all those steps. There are big tanks set up for drinking water.

Now let's get some facts about the statue ( I have taken them from wikipedia )

 * The 58 feet tall statue of Jain deity Gomateshwara is the tallest monolithic statue in the world.

* Shravanabelagola has two hills Chandragiri and Vindhyagiri. The statue is located on the Vindhyagiri.

* The statue is one of the most important thirthas ( pilgrimage destinations ) in Jainism.

* The base of the statue has an inscriptions in Devnagari script, dating from 981 AD. The inscription praises the king who funded the effort and his general, Chavundaraya, who erected the statue for his mother.

* Every 12 years, thousands of devotees come here to perform the Mahamastakabhisheka, a spectacular ceremony in which the statue is anointed with water, turmeric, rice flour, sugar cane juice, sandalwood paste, saffron, and gold and silver flowers.

*The next Mahamastakabhisheka will be held in 2018. 

*It is called 'Statue of Gommateshvara' by Kannadigas, but the Jains refer to the same as "Bahubali".

24 Thirthankara's are kept in individual rooms in a circled roof around the statue.

Some inside views of the temple.

A view of the city and the sky from the temple

The descent was much easier. The coconut water will taste like ambrosia. We just drank and drank.

A view of the small market nearby. It's near to the place where you keep your foot wear.

We returned by around 6 pm.

PS : All pics are copyrighted

published here as UNEXPECTED DELIGHTS

Saturday, December 31, 2016

God bless you to experience more adventures that can evolve you as a better person. Happy 2017

Wherever you go, go with all your heart 
- Confucius

Mysore - Palace, Chamundi Hills and Zoological Garden

Whenever I visit a palace or any historical place, I used to feel that I was walking through history. I had the same expectations when I went to visit the Palace of Mysore which belonged to the Wodeyar dynasty of yesteryear. Sadly, I couldn’t connect to the history, this time.

It took me around 2 hours to see the entire Padmanabhapuram palace in Kerala which I visited it, last year. But the Mysore Palace is much bigger than the Padmanabhapuram palace and still the visit took only half an hour. Because, only a small section of the palace was open to the public. Besides, the place is too over crowded which was a big turn off when it comes to explore the other extended activities going in the premises of the palace. For instance Camel riding. 

The palace hardly reminded me of the prosperity of yesteryear but extravaganza.

Cameras are not allowed in the palace.

If you really want to enjoy the view of Palace, you can go in the evening, especially on Friday, Saturday and Sunday at 7 pm when the palace will be illuminated for about 15 minutes.


Mysore palace will always be the first choice of anyone who wants to visit Mysore but not mine. I was deeply happy when I went atop the Chamundi Hills. You can see entire Mysore from the top of this hill. Besides, the famous Chamundeswari Temple is situated on the top of the Chamundi Hill.

Chamundeshwari Temple

Little bit of history

The history of this temple can be traced back to 1000 years. The temple started gaining importance when the Maharajas of Wodeyar dynasty assumed power. They were ardent devotees of Chamundeswari devi ( Durga).

On the way to the temple

Zoologial Garden, Mysore
Though I had to walk a lot, I enjoyed it. Some pics from the zoological garden in  Mysore.

All pictures are copyrighted

Monday, August 22, 2016

A day well spent at Ibrahim Sahib Street, Bangalore (Commercial street )

"If you are new to Bangalore and want to explore the city, start with commercial street,"my friend suggested.
But I was a bit taken aback when I saw the street lined up with branded shops and restaurants - there was nothing to feel the pulse of the place. But the feeling was short lived when I took a left turn and reached the " Ibrahim Sahib Street"

Though I asked many " How it got the name?" no one seemed to know.

Here, nothing could mar the sheer joy of real experience. My decision to go in the afternoon proved right as the street has just started waking up and I really got my space to explore the street. It had everything.

On my way, I met them and they were happy to pose for the camera.

If you love junk jewellery and want to try different attires for a low price, Ibrahim Sahib street is the right place for you.

Street food is yet another attraction. But if you think you could different types, then it’s a ‘No’. The usual chat, corn etc are enough to water your mouth.

Though he seemed a bit grave, he was all ready to pose for me.

And then I wandered for a while....

Then came across this church....

The adjacent Jewel street was a bit deserted when compared to Ibrahim Sahib street. But it still caught my attention.

 PS : All photos are Copyrighted

Thursday, April 7, 2016

Kanyakumari - A travelogue - Part 3

Visit to Kanyakumari was an accidental decision. The initial plan was to visit Udayagiri Fort and Peer Mohammed Dargah which were very near to Padmanabhapuram Palace. Say, for about 3km. But, we dropped the plan as Kanyakumari beckoned us.

We did go to Udayagiri fort which consisted of a large botanical garden. But after spending a lot of hours in the palace, we are completely drained out and the idea of a troll in the vast acres of land seemed less appealing. But both Udayagiri Fort and Peer Mohammed Dargah dedicated to Peer Mohammed, a Sufi saint and a Tamil poet  will not be missed, next time.  

 Though we knew that neither could we able to watch the sun set nor could we make it to the Vivekananda rock, we set off to Kanyakumari.

On the way, we saw some women putting ' Kolam' in front of their houses. Since, you wanted to write a travelogue, this would be a photogrpah, you would like to have.We stopped in front of a house where a young woman was engaged in putting ' Kolam. But she shied away saying the Kolam was not good. We persisted with our demand and then her  mother smilingly said
 " Here, I am and you click it. "  And this is it.

 Along the NH, the travel was a smooth one with shady trees on either sides of the road. The journey was uneventful until we reached here. 

There were many small cradles tied down to many branches of a banyan tree. Inside one of them, we saw a small doll placed inside many red glass bangles. Behind the tree, there was a small temple. 

To our luck, two women came there to whom we inquired about it. From the cradles we could already make out that it has some connection with child- bearing. They said the Kovil was called ' Isakkaiamman kovil'. But we could n't ask more as they were in a hurry to visit the temple. Hence, I decided to google.

This is the information, I got from the wiki.

Isakki or Isakkai is a Hindu Goddess of South India. She is considered as one of the village Goddesses, like Māri, the goddess of epidemics. 
The worship of this Goddess is common in the Kanyakumari, Tirunelveli and Salem districts of Tamil Nadu.

Isakki temples  usually have a banyan or bo tree close to the shrine. Small wooden cribs and pieces of women's saris are tied to the branches and aerial roots of the spreading tree. These are vows made by village women who desire to have offspring.

Hence, I again went through my photographs to see if I have captured any pics of sarees being tied to the tree. Yes, there is......

Just near to it, there is a small way-side shop. And, they were preparing something. I was curious to know what it is. They called it ' Rasakkolai '.  I don't know whether it is the correct pronunciation. It somewhat tasted like ' Yellow jalebi' and was absolutely delicious. 

And they make it in this big pan.

I believe, it was the bike trip which helped us come across such beautiful things all along the way which would have otherwise missed, had we taken any other mode of transportation.

After travelling a few kilometers, we reached ' Kanyakumari'. The sight of sea from a farther distance was all alluring and inviting. It took 32 kms from Thuckalay to reach Kanyakumari.

We are dead tired and  just wanted to sit quietly and absorb all the tranquillity from the place. We sat here facing the Vivekananda rock. I was all calm. It was strange that I didn't regret that I couldn't see the Vivekananda rock. Because, I know that I would come back.

The premise was abuzz with activities and I was all pleased to capture them.

 I loved Chana Masala and corn

 I bought this pearl from a shop vendor. He really lured me saying the pearls would not even catch fire. He burned it in front of me and it was true ( below pic )

It was getting dark and was time to return. 
With a heavy heart and a promise that I would be back soon, I bade good bye to Kanyakumari. 

And my belief that travel could really retain my sanity, strengthened.