A few more places of interest around Sonda, Sirsi.
In one of my last blogs, I described many places of interest around Sonda, Sirsi. Last weekend I was in Sonda and explored a couple of more places: a beautiful waterfalls known as Benne Hole falls and a newly rennovated temple.
beNNe hoLe falls
There are quite a few falls in the Sirsi-Yellapur region. Magod, Shivagange, Satoddi, Unchalli falls are well known. Another falls which is as majestic as any of these is the Benne Hole falls. This falls is approchable from Sirsi-Kumta road. At 26km from Sirsi towards Kumta, we get a village named Kasage. Near this village, a village road deviates towards left which will lead to the falls. Kasage village is situated after Bandala Ghats and before Devimane Ghats.
The village road is unfit for any car and only jeeps will ply on this road. Only first 4km is motorable and remaining 2km has to be done on foot. We were on a bike which probably is the best mode of transport on such roads. The route runs through what appears as forest and has many turns and forks. Not knowing which turn would take us to the falls, we went straight until the road ended in a small hill with a valley on the other side. Listening to the sound of water flow, we descended down the valley which was full of leeches and reached the stream and not the falls. Unwilling to take further chances, we climbed back, reached the road, back-tracked and took a turn which led to a farm house. The inmates gave us the right directions to the falls after which it was quite easy, but we still had to cover the last kilometer on walk which involved a descent towards the end. The area was full of leeches.
September to November is probably the best season to visit this falls. The waterfalls is formed by the Benne Hole stream falling from an approximate height of 200-300ft. Benne Hole stream eventually joins the Aghanashini river. The stream was in full flow and matched its name (beNNe means Butter in Kannada) aptly. A local mentioned that the falls remains attractive only till December end with full water flow.
One can reach the botton of the falls only when the rains have subsided and rocks are dry.
Satyanatheshwara Temple, Bakkala
Bakkala is a village at around 18km from Sirsi on Sirsi-Sonda route via Hulekal. After 2km from Hulekal, there is a left deviation which leads to this temple. Bakkala (corrupted form of Bakula) is a historic place and is believed to be in existence from Ramayana times. This place finds a mention in Satyanatheshwara purana along with Yana. It is believed that when Hanuman was carrying Sanjeevini hill to Lanka, parts of Sanjeevini plants fell here. This place is known for medicinal plants and a botanical garden comprising these is being maintained here.
The accurate period when the temple was built is not known but is estimated to be built b/n 1555 and 1610AD in Arasappa Nayaka’s time who was then ruling Sudhapura (which is now called Sonda). Temple rennovation work was started in 1999 and was mostly completed in 2009. Some parts of the roof are still incomplete. Looking at the amount of work done in 10 years in this temple, it is hard to imagine how much time and money our ancestors would have spent in building all those stone temples which are scattered all over Karnataka and elsewhere!
The temple exterior and pillars have been re-done using pink and white sandstone. Underneath the temple, below the ground level, a Dhyana Mandira has been built which is very artistically decorated with various paintings involving Yoga mudras, chakras, asanas, dance postures etc. The story describing the uncovering of the Shivalinga and subsequent establishment of this temple has been pictorially carved on the temple walls.
Paintings inside Dhyana Mandira
This temple is worth a visit anytime if you are in Sirsi or Sonda. If not for anything, one should visit this temple to understand what it takes to (re-)build a stone temple. One can’t but appreciate the efforts that would have gone into building of our ancient temples.
A carving depicting Arasappa Nayaka transporting the Shiva Linga