Trek to Devkara falls

October 2, 2015

Devkara is a small village present in the border area of Yellapura and Karwar. Now it is mostly an abandoned village thanks to relocation after Kadra and Kodasalli dam projects.  But this village hides a natural treasure, a spectacular waterfalls which the locals call Devkara Vajra. Devkara stream falling from approximately 200-300m height near Devkara village forms this waterfalls. Devkara stream  eventually joins the Kali river. This falls can be approached from the Kadra side as well as from Yellapura side. Here is my story of multiple attempts to reach this waterfalls from Yellapura side.

1st attempt

In May 2014, my brother-in-law and I rode a bike from Sonda, Sirsi, traveled to Yellapura and then to ಈರಾಪುರ village. We hardly had any information about the falls then and unfortunately we couldn’t reach anywhere near the waterfalls. All we could get was this distant view of the Kodasalli back waters.

Kodasalli backwaters

Kodasalli backwaters

However we did establish a local contact who agreed to take us to the falls next time.

2nd attempt

I was at Sonda, Sirsi in the first week of Oct 2014 and took that opportunity to revisit Devkara falls. This time we reached the local contact’s place at  ಈರಾಪುರ village and started trekking in the forest route at 10AM. Along with the guide, our local contact was accompanying us with his school going son. The guide took us on a circuitous route and we first reached very close to Kodasalli reservoir at 11.30AM.

Kodasalli dam

Kodasalli dam

We were walking on a mountain range overlooking a valley in which Kali river was flowing. On the opposite side of the river was another range where the waterfalls was present. After walking through the forest for an hour, we finally emerged out on top of the mountain range at 12.30PM. This place was called ಹಬ್ಬು ಕೋಟೆ/ಕಟ್ಟೆ and it provided good view of the distant waterfalls. From that far off distance the falls looked so big and we wondered how gigantic it would it appear from the base. Unfortunately we hadn’t planned for a day long trek and we were just carrying a few raw cucumbers and butter milk which we completely finished at ಹಬ್ಬು ಕೋಟೆ.

Distant view of Devkara falls

Distant view of Devkara falls

Since reaching the base of the falls from here was out of question, our guide offered us to take us around a bit and show us a few places of interest. Thus we proceeded ahead on the same mountain range and reached a place called ದೇವಿಮನೆ. This is some sacred place in the hills where the villagers would come and offer prayers once in a year in November. From this place we did venture ahead a bit to get a clear view of Kadra reservoir. Instead of returning back via the same route, our guide suggested that we could do a full circle by getting down to Devkara village and then climb up ಬೆಂಡೆಘಟ್ಟ to reach back ಈರಾಪುರ village. We didn’t really know how much time and effort that would take, but just agreed.

After a steep descent we were at Devkara village at 3PM. The village is mostly deserted with a few houses still remaining. There is a Ramalingeshwara temple in the village where Pooja is done once a week. A priest comes from a far off distance every Monday for this purpose.

Devkara village

Devkara village

Ramalingeshwara temple, Devkara

Ramalingeshwara temple, Devkara

We were now walking beside the Kali river. A trail exists from Devakara till ಬೆಂಡೆಘಟ್ಟ, but were dead tired since we hardly had any solid food since morning. The journey seemed endless and we finally reached the foothills of ಬೆಂಡೆಘಟ್ಟ at 4.15PM. The climb up is abruptly steep and it took quite a bit of effort and time to reach the top at around 5.30PM. Our enterprising guide could find some tender coconuts in an abandoned house and that came as a big relief to us. But the relief was short lived as it started raining. By the time we reached our local contact’s house, we were completely drenched. We consumed the food that we we had planned to have for lunch here and started back on bike towards Sonda at around 6.30PM. Next 60km drive through the winding forest roads was mostly treacherous with non-stop hard rain. Our adventure finally ended when we reached home at 9PM.

3rd attempt

Though we had seen the waterfalls, that was hardly satisfying since we hadn’t been able to reach the base of the falls. So last week we made another attempt to reach the falls. This time I took Naren with me to my in-laws place. My brother-in-law found a person from Devkara village itself who had relocated to Sonda. He was ready to guide us and we thought our 3rd attempt should be a success since the guide was born and brought up in Devkara village and he should be able to guide us to the base of the falls.

4 of us started in 2 bikes at 8AM from Sonda and reached ಈರಾಪುರ village at 10AM. Thanks to two wheelers, we were able to cover some trail distance too on bike. At 10.30AM we were at the starting point of ಬೆಂಡೆಘಟ್ಟ (470m) from where we had to descend. At 11AM we reached 130m and touched a flowing stream locally called  ಈರಾಪುರ stream which eventually becomes Kali river.  We walked towards Devkara village alongside the stream and at one point, the falls becomes visible towards our left.

At 11.45AM, we reached 70m and crossed the stream which was utmost knee deep. Next we had to cross another stream that flows from Devkara falls and joins the stream that we just crossed. This stream was flowing with good speed and we had to find a suitable place to crossover. Thanks to our guide, we did find a reasonably safe place to cross the stream where the water was thigh deep at places. We were able to cross it with reasonable ease using sticks for support. We were now at the periphery of Devkara village and were walking along a few abandoned houses and paddy fields.

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Next it was some hide and seek with the waterfalls as it is located in such a place covered with dense forest towards its approach that it is not visible at every point on the approach path. There was no well defined path to the falls, but we had to make one by clearing the forest growth and following the general direction of the waterfalls.

Devkara falls

Devkara falls

At 1PM we reached a rocky clearance from where the falls was visible fairly clearly. Based on our last year’s experience, we weren’t taking chances with food and hence were carrying sufficient amount of Pulao, home grown cucumbers, butter milk and ಚಕ್ಕುಲಿ. We finished lunch on these rocks. We had still not reached the exact base of the falls and hence ventured into the forests a bit more to check if better view of the falls could be had. At 2PM we reached another rocky clearance from where we had a decent view of the falls. We decided to end the quest here since the path ahead to the ultimate base of the falls was difficult and it was already well past midday.

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On the way back, it took two hours for us to reach ಬೆಂಡೆಘಟ್ಟ base and after an hour we were back at ಈರಾಪುರ village. Thus on the third attempt, we finally had satisfying views of Devkara falls! It was not just about the falls, but this also turned out to be good trek worth remembering after my previous trek in the same area.


पक्षिणः जननम् (Birth of Bulbuls)

June 29, 2014
मम गृहस्य परिसरे विद्यमानानां पक्षिणः विषये अत्र, अत्रअत्र पूर्व्ं मया लिखितमस्ति | गृहसस्याणि खगान् आकर्षयन्ति इति विचारे मम गृहमेव प्रमाणमित्यहं मन्ये| एकदा पाकशालायाः नालिकायामेव नीडनिर्माणं कृतं पक्षिणा| अद्यत्वे द्वौ पक्षिणौ अस्माकमुद्याने निवेशनं कृत्वा शिशू प्राप्तवन्तौ । अस्य वृत्तन्तस्य विवरणं करोमि अत्र|
Bulbul's nest

Bulbul’s nest

उद्यानस्य एकस्मिन् भागे मल्लिका लता अस्ति। तत्र वयं अनेकवारं न गच्छामः । एकदा तस्यां लतायां नीडमेकं दृष्टवान् । सामान्यतः पक्षी सुरक्षितस्थले नीडस्य रचनं करोति, किन्तु एतत् नीडं भूम्याः निकटे एव आसीत्। अपि च नीडे अल्पाकारयुक्तौ पिङ्गलवर्णबिन्दुयुक्तौ द्वौ अण्डौ आस्तां!

Bulbul's eggs

Bulbul’s eggs

अण्डं तु दृष्टवान् किन्तु कस्य खगस्य अण्डमिति ज्ञातुं पार्श्वे स्थित्वा पक्षिणः निरीक्षणं कृतवान्|  किञ्चित्कालानन्तरं नीडस्योपरि उपविशन्तं मस्तके किरीटसदृश पक्षयुक्तं पक्षिणं दृष्टवान्| एषः पक्षी बेङ्गलूरु-नगरे सामान्यतः दृश्यते| अस्य नाम आङ्गलभाषायां Red-whiskered Bulbul इति अस्ति| K N Dave महोदयेन लिखितं “Birds in Sanskrit Literature” पुस्तके अस्य नाम गोवत्सकः इति दत्तमस्ति|

Red-whiskered bulbul

Red-whiskered bulbul

पश्चात् नितराम् नीडे एव उपविशन्तं पक्षिणं दृष्टवन्त:। दिनद्वयानन्तरम् अण्डाभ्यां द्वौ अरोमयुक्तौ शिशू बहिरागतवन्तौ। जन्मस्य तत्क्षणं तौ पक्षिणः शिशवः इव न दृश्येते स्म ।

Bulbul chicks - right after birth

Bulbul chicks – right after birth

यदा द्वित्राणि दिनानि अतीतानि, रोमं पक्षं च प्रप्तवन्तौ। शिशोः प्रथम-उड्डयनं द्रष्टुम् अस्माकम् आशा आसीत् किन्तु कदा पक्षिण: सर्वे नीडं त्यक्तवन्तः इति न अवगतमेव अस्माभिः!

4 days old bulbul chicks

4 days old bulbul chicks

Disclaimer:
संस्कृतं न जानामि न जानामि पाणिनिम्।
पदार्थमपि  न जानामि क्षमस्व वागीश्वरि॥


पक्षिणः नीडम्

November 3, 2013
मम गृहस्य पाकशालायां chimney यन्त्रः अस्ति। तस्मात् यन्त्रात् एका नालिका गृहस्य बहिर्गच्छति | तया नालिकया पचनसमये उद्भवः वायुः बहिः प्रसरति | एकदा अहं गृहस्य बहिर्भागतः तां नालिकां प्रवेशं कुर्वन्तं पक्षिणं दृष्टवान् | तत्क्षणमेव मया अवगतं – यत् नालिकायां नीडस्य निर्माणं कर्तुं पक्षिणः इच्छा अस्ति इति | प्रतिदिनं पचनसमये नालिकया उष्णवायुः आगच्छति, अतः एतत् स्थलं नीडनिर्माणार्थम् उचितं नास्त्येव इति मम अभिमतमासीत् | पक्षिणः कार्यभङ्गं कर्तुं यदा यदा सः नालिकां प्रविशति, तदा तदा अहं यन्त्रचालनं कृतवान् | किन्तु पक्षिणः निश्चयमचलमासीत् | तेन नीडनिर्माणकार्यं न स्थगितमेव | अतः अहमेव पराजयं स्वीकृत्य पाकशालायां अनिर्दिष्टकालपर्यन्तं यन्त्रचालनं न करणीयमिति मात्रे पत्न्यै च सूचनां दत्तवान् |
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अल्पाकारयुतस्य (४ अङ्गुलि) अस्य खगस्य नाम scaly breasted munia इति आसीत् | द्विवासरपर्यन्तं प्रतिदिनं प्रतिक्षणं तृणमानीय पक्षिणौ मातापितरौ नीडनिर्माणं कृतवन्तौ | नीडस्य मुखभागमेव नालिकायाः बहिः दृश्यते स्म | बालखगान् द्रष्टुमस्माकमाशा आसीत् किन्तु मासानन्तरं काञ्चिदपि खगान् वयं न दृष्टवन्तः | प्रायश: बालखगैः सह मातपितरौ नीडं त्यक्तवन्तौ इति वयं अचिन्तयन् |

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किञ्चित् कालानन्तरं यन्त्रस्य वार्षिकसेवासमये (yearly service time) यदा नालिकया नीडमाकृष्ट्ं तदा नीडस्य मात्रं दृष्ट्वा अत्याश्चर्यमभवत् | ४ अङ्गुलि लम्भस्य पक्षिणः नीडं ३२ अङ्गुलि आसीत् !

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Disclaimer:
संस्कृतं न जानामि न जानामि पाणिनिम्।
पदार्थमपि  न जानामि क्षमस्व वागीश्वरि॥


पक्षिणां कलरव:

February 16, 2013

मम गृहस्य पार्श्वभागे एक: वटवृक्ष: अस्ति। प्रस्तुतमासे तस्मिन् वृक्षे बहूनि फलानि भवन्ति। अस्य वृक्षस्य फलं पक्षिभ्य: अतीव रोचते। प्रात: काले एव अनेकानि पक्षिण: फलं खादितुम्  आगच्छन्ति। बहुविधानि पक्षिण: अस्मिन् वृक्षे दृश्यन्ते।

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विशेषत: अनेका: पिका:आगच्छन्ति। कोकिलानां कलरवं श्रुत्वा एव अहं प्रतिदिनम् उत्तिष्ठामि। घटिकायन्त्रस्य आवश्यकता एव नास्ति। प्रतिदिनस्य एतत् अनुभवं मधुरं भवति।

कोकिल:

कोकिल:

 

Disclaimer:
संस्कृतं न जानामि न जानामि पाणिनिम्।
पदार्थमपि  न जानामि क्षमस्व वागीश्वरि॥


Burude and Wate Halla water falls

December 7, 2012

During my previous visits to my in-laws place in Sonda, Sirsi I have visited various waterfalls. While I described Mattighatta falls here and Benne Hole falls here, the rest of the waterfalls in the Sirsi-Yellapura region are covered here. When it looked like I have visited most of the waterfalls in the region, I came across Burude falls which is located in Siddapura taluk of Uttara Kannada district. As usual, my brother-in-law and I started quite early  on a Sunday morning with the intention of seeing Burude falls as well as Wate Halla falls which I had unsuccessfully attempted a few years back. We were doing this in November which is usually a good month to visit these remote waterfalls. Some of these waterfalls are so remote that two wheeler is the best mode of transportation to reach them.

Burude or iLimane Falls

We first reached Siddapura from Sonda, Sirsi and continued on Siddapura-Kumta road for around 20km reach a place called Kyadgi. Just after Kyadgi, one can see a sign board instructing us to take a right deviation for Burude falls. From here it’s around 5km to the falls. Somewhere midway on this road, we had to cross a stream on bike and continue on road on the other side. Then we cross a small cluster of houses name iLimane due to which this falls is also referred to as iLimane waterfalls. One can drive up to the point where tourism department has built an open shelter for tourists. After descending down 20 steeply built concrete steps, we had to do some serious descent to reach the base of the waterfalls. The waterfalls is absolutely not visible from the shelter and steep descent makes this falls almost unapproachable for family kind of tourists.

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Burude falls – top two sections

The river flows down in 5 steps here, each forming a nice waterfall. Only first three of them are visible and one could reach the top of the 4th one but not the base. We did make some attempt to reach the base of the 4th waterfall, but the vegetation was simply too thick and we had to retreat.

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At the top of Burude falls

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2nd section of Burude falls

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The stream flows down to form more falls after this…

There was enough water in the stream even in November to make the visit worthwhile. It will be very difficult to visit these falls in rainy season due to leeches. The ideal season to visit is between September and November.

Wate Halla Falls

I had attempted this waterfalls in September 2009 with my wife and other relatives. While we were descending to reach the falls, my wife and I lost the guide and others in the front and were forced to come back. There were so many leeches that it was impossible to stand there a second without a leech getting on to us! This time I was hoping that it would be more easier since it was November.

Wate halla falls

2nd and 3rd sections of Wate halla falls

This falls is approachable from Nikunda on Sirsi-Kumta road. At Nilkunda, take a right deviation into Nilkunda-Devimane road. After a kilometer from here, a stream cuts the road, and after the stream the road forks. The right hand fork is easy to miss, but this is the road that will lead to Wate Halla falls. The stream can be crossed on bike most of the seasons except during the rainy season. After a kilometer’s walk from here, one can see a path descending down into the valley which will take us to the Wate Halla falls. We couldn’t see any other possible routes down the valley anywhere nearby except this one.

1st section of Wate halla falls

1st section of Wate halla falls

A steep descent of 100m will take us to the base of Wate Halla Falls. The stream flows down in 3 steps here forming 3 waterfalls. Wate in Kannada means a variety of bamboo and Halla means valley. The waterfalls thus gets its name due to the abundant presence of this variety of bamboo in the valley.

Visit to Wate Halla falls can be combined with the Unchalli falls which is quite nearby. Again its impossible to reach the base of this falls in rainy season and mostly difficult until September.

For those interested in temples, its worth a quick visit to this temple in Nilkunda.

An old temple in Nilkunda

An old temple in Nilkunda


More waterfalls around Sonda, Sirsi

April 21, 2012

My visits to my in-laws place in Sonda village, Sirsi, Uttara Kannada district of Karnataka have never been dull. Every time I have come back after visiting a worthwhile nearby place, be it waterfalls or temples. You can checkout my previous two trip reports here and here. The visit during December 2011 was no different. I was ready with the details of two more waterfalls. As usual my brother-in-law, who has been part of my earlier explorations was more than happy to accompany me.

Distant view of Mattighatta falls

Distant view of Mattighatta falls

Our first destination was Mattighatta falls. We left home after breakfast in a bike. Bike is the preferred mode of transport in these places. It generally takes us nearer to the waterfalls than any other mode of transportation. To reach this waterfalls, one has to first reach a village named Hegde Katta. Though we took the Hulekal road from Sonda to reach Hegde Katta, one could ideally start on Kumta Road from Sirsi and reach Hegde Katta. The distance between Sirsi and Hegde Katta is around 15km. From Hegde Katta, proceed on Mattighatta road for a distance of around 8km to reach Devanahalli. From Devanahalli proceed further for a distance of around 15km to reach Mattighatta village. From Mattighatta village a downhill drive of around 2km will take you to Kelagina Keri.

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We were told that there are two options to view the waterfalls: first option is to do some climbing and see the waterfalls from a distance and the second is to descend down the valley and reach the base of the waterfalls. Given that it was December, we chose the latter option as water level was likely to be low in December. We took the road in front of the Government school and reached Vaidya mane, a farm house. After getting further directions from the inmates, we started towards Siddi mane which involves walking inside the arecanut plantations. Siddi mane has a cluster of houses occupied by Siddi people who work as laborers in the nearby plantations. A Siddi woman gave us further directions to the waterfalls. A short walk from there would lead us to a river and she asked us to walk “in the” river for a kilometer or so to reach the falls. We were amused by her description of waking “in the” river. We went ahead concluding that she meant walking beside the river.

On the way to falls

On the way to falls

We reached the river and started walking on the banks. The river was pretty narrow and either bushy or rocky on both the banks. We had to cross over to the opposite bank multiple times since it was impossible to make progress on the banks. We realized what it means to walk “in the” river when most of the times we were negotiating the boulders in the river. The water level was low and I am sure it will be very difficult to approach this waterfalls even in the month of September when rains would have stopped. After a kilometer into the river, we finally reached the base of the waterfalls.

At the base

At the base

Even in the month of December, the river had enough water to make the waterfalls majestic. The high rising rocks on either sides adds to the beauty of the falls. The base had thigh-deep water. Reaching the base of such a beautiful waterfalls in such a remote location was a very fulfilling experience. During rainy season, Mattighatta falls could easily add more arms: a nondescript section seen a the top of the rocks could easily turn out to be majestic falls by itself.

At the top

At the top

On our way back we met the Siddi woman again who informed us that they can host people visiting from outside and they had even hosted foreigners. We climbed back up and reached Vaidya mane. The landlady kindly offered us butter milk which is always such a good drink when you are tired and thirsty.

Our next destination was Shirale falls which is near Yellapura. We reached Yellapura after a drive of 50km from Sirsi. Shirale falls is approachable on Yellapura-Karwar highway after Idugundi and just before the Shirale village. We must have covered 16km from Yellapura when we saw the direction to Shirale falls marked on a bus stand wall. We took a left deviation into a village road, traveled for 1.5km before reaching a village which had a cluster of houses. One person reluctantly showed us the way to the waterfalls after collecting an entry fees from us. The waterfalls is in a private land and hence the entry fees. The water gushes down from a height of around 150ft to form a waterfalls. There wasn’t enough water during this time and we felt it is not really worth visiting Shirale falls. On our way back, the villager who collected entry fees from us described all the trouble he is having with so many visitors coming to visit this falls and creating nuisance and leaving garbage behind. Apparently he has started collecting entry fees to dissuade people from visiting. I wouldn’t recommend a visit to Shirale falls to anyone as it is not really worth for all the trouble and travel involved.

Shirale falls

Shirale falls


Birds in my neighbourhood

June 13, 2010

I moved into Bangalore 10 years back and stayed mostly in well populated areas where the most commonly seen birds were crows and eagles. Recently I have moved into a new locality in the outskirts of South Bangalore where there is a considerable bird population. I won’t be too much off the mark if I say that I see more birds and insects than humans when I spend an average day at home! It has been a very exciting experience going behind these birds with my newly acquired camera and here are some results of the same. I am yet the learn the art of bird watching and hence most of the shots here are taken with maximum zoom (20x w/o tripod of course)  and hence are not all that clear.

The most largest and easiest to photograph are birds which I think are cow egrets. These keep following the cows that come near my home everyday for grazing.

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My work room window opens into a vacant site which has a few Sapodilla (Chikko, Sapota) trees . (This locality was apparently a farm land earlier). These trees are favourite hangouts for some beautiful tiny birds (around 3 inches in length).  I am not qualified yet to identify the names of these birds. Here are some pics of them taken from inside my window with fullest possible zoom of my camera.

Here is another tiny one on the roadside parthenium plant.

Along with Mainas, there is another kind of bird, roughly as same size as Maina which comes in groups of 8 to 10. These are quite fearless of humans and provide some photographic opportunities.

Another bird which allows itself to be photographed fairly easily is what we call ಕೆಂಭೂತ in Kannada.

Parrot is one bird which sounds so common, but I hardly remember seeing it anywhere else than in zoos. Photographing this bird was difficult since it hardly remained at one place at a time. And most of the times, it blended so well with the green foilage that it was hard to spot.

 

This black bird is so often mentioned in various books and poems, but I should confess that I saw this for the first time. It look exactly like a crow, but slightly smaller in size with distinctive red eyes. One could easily ignore this as a crow, but this is the Koel. I was observing it for quite a few days without knowing it as koel, until I heard it calling out, which was unmistakably koel’s sound.  I had read the comparison between crow and koel in the form of poems and stories in the childhood and I was glad to experience it and verify it first hand.  One such saying in Sanskrit comes to mind: को भेदः काक-पिकयोः ? वसंतकाले संप्राप्ते काकः काकः पिकः पिकः | (which roughly translates as this: What’s the difference b/n crow and koel ? When Spring arrives, crow will be crow and koel will be koel)

Here is an other elusive one.

I never knew there were cuckoos which are not black in colour like the below one:

This one posed for the photograph without much hesitation.

Kingfishers are regular visitors to my home given the proximity to the lake.

So moving into this new neighbourhood has been an interesting experience.  There are many other birds which have remained still elusive for my camera, I wish I had a better camera to do full justice to the beauty of these birds!


Lesser known temples of North Karnataka

October 19, 2009

North Karnataka region has many architecturally significant and ancient temples. But a typical temple circuit tour to North Karnataka would most probably end at Badami, Aihole and Pattadakal. Here are some lesser known and lesser visited but equally beautiful temples of North Karnataka.

I was at Sirsi during 3rd week of September just before the devastating floods that engulfed North Karnataka region. Since I had a day to spare, I decided to checkout some temples in Dharwad and Gadag districts whose details I picked up from Karantaka Tourism’s handouts and later from wikipedia. Since the wikipedia links for these temples give more information than what I could potentially provide, I am mostly skipping the descriptions of the temples themselves and would only indicate how to reach the place with a few photographs of each of the temples. This is the list of temples that I covered in the order I visited.

Chandramouleshwara Temple, Unkal, Hubli

Unkal is located at a distance of around 5km from Hubli town on Hubli-Dharwad road (SH73) towards Dharwad and is close to Unkal circle and Unkal lake. The approach to the temple is horrible and you begin to wonder if you are in the right place when you have to navigate through dirty roads of a slum locality (well almost a slum). But suddenly a well maintained temple becomes visible and appears as a total misfit in the area. ASI has a pretty good job of maintaining the monument in whatever space they could get around the temple.

Chandramouleshwara Temple, Unkal
Unkal1

Decorated window, Unkal
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Nandi on the temple wall, Unkal
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Natya Ganapa, Unkal
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Banashankari Temple, Amargol, Hubli

Amargol is located at around 5km from Unkal towards Dharwad on SH73. Similar to Unkal, the temple here is also located in not so good surroundings.  It took some effort to Locate the temples of Unkal and Amargol as many locals whom we enquired hardly knew about these temples.

Banashankari temple, Amargol
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Pillar of Amargol temple
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Amruteshwara Temple, Annigeri

Annigeri is situated at on NH63 at a distance of around 35km from Hubli towards Gadag. The main temple dedicated to Amruteshwara is very beautiful. I didn’t have time to checkout other temples in this town (Banashankari, Basappa, Gajina Basappa and Hire Hanuman) which are probably not architecturally significant.

Amruteshwara temple, Annigeri
annigeri1

Decorated wall of Annigeri temple
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Ganesha on the temple wall, Annigeri
annigeri4

Trikuteshwara Temple, Gadag

Gadag is situated at around 57km from Hubli on NH63.

The Trikuteshwara temple complex has mainly a temple for Trikuteshwara (which has 3 Lingams representing the Trinity) and Saraswati Temple which has heavily decorated pillars. A visit just to see these pillars is worth anytime. The other temples in Gadag town are the Veeranarayana Temple where the Kannada poet Kumara Vyasa composed the epic Bharata or the Gadugina Bharata

Ornate pillar, Trikuteshwara temple, Gadag
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Pillar of Trikuteshwara temple
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Trikuteshwara temple, Gadag
trikuteshwara3

Temples of Lakkundi, Gadag

Lakkundi is situated at around 70km from Hubli on NH63 and is 12km from Gadag. Lakkundi has so many temples that the locals have put a few of these places of worship to other uses (like imaginatively constructing a house with a temple wall forming one of the walls of the house!)

A house adjacent to a temple in Lakkundi
lakkundi1

The Kashi Vishweshwara and Surya Narayana temples face each other. The entrance to these temples have very delicate decorations.

Surya Narayana temple, Lakkundi
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Kashi Vishweshwara temple, Lakkundi
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Pillar of Kashivishweshwara temple
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Decorated entrance of Kashivishweshwara temple
lakkundi5

Adjancent to Kashi Vishweshwara temple is present the Naneeshwara temple.

Naneeshwara temple, Lakkundi
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A couple of hundred meters from Naneeshwara temple,  a museum and a Jain Basadi are present.

Jain Basadi, Lakkundi
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Jain Basadi, Lakkundi
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An idol in Jain Basadi
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On the other side of the highway, Manikeshwara temple is present with an elaborate and stepped Kalyani (pond). In my limited exposure to temples of Karnataka, I would consider this as a unique Kalyani for this style.

Kalyani, Lakkundi
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Kalyani, Lakkundi
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Dodda Basappa Temple, Dambala, Gadag

If you have reached Lakkundi, you will repent if you return without a visit to the Dodda Basappa temple of Dambala. Dambala is situated at around 10km from Lakkundi. The village road from Lakkundi to Dambala was in a decent condition (well almost decent) during my visit.

The Gopuram of Dodda Basappa temple is simply majestic. The exterior decorations of the temple are also very good. The temple houses a Shiva Linga at one corner and a fairly big Nandi (Basappa) idol at the other end.  The platform hosting the Basappa was under rennovation during my visit. It is interesting that this temple is not known as some Ishwara temple, but is known by its Nandi (Basappa).

Dodda Basappa temple, Dambala
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Gopura of Dodda Basappa temple
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There is a small Someshwara temple just opposite to Dodda Basappa temple.

Someshwara Temple, Lakshmeshwar, Gadag

If you are in Dambala, you have two options: either go back to Gadag/Hubli via Lakkundi or proceed further to visit the temples of Lakshmeshwar and Kundgola and rejoin Hubli. One would need a bit of motivation to choose the latter option given the typical hot climate of North Karnataka and the poorly maintained roads connecting these places. I took the village road from Dambala to Shirhatti (can’t remember the exact distance, must be around 35km) and joined SH6 at Magdi (8km) and reached Lakshmeshwar (13km). Apparantely, Lakshmeshwar is directly connected to Gadag by SH6.

The Someshwara Temple at Lakshmeshwar is a fairly big and beautiful temple where daily worship is still performed.

Someshwara temple, Lakshmeshwara
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Someshwara temple, Lakshmeshwara
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It took me 2hrs to cover a distance of around 50km from Lakshmeshwar to reach Hubli. These (Dambala to Hubli via Lakshmeshwar) are some of the worst roads I have driven on and they can hardly be called roads. Since it was dark by the time I crossed Kundgol, I couldn’t visit the Shambulinga temple.


Around Sonda Sirsi II

September 24, 2009

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.

Benne hole falls1
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.

Benne hole falls2

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.

Benne hole falls3

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.

Satyanatheshwara temple

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!

Pillar

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

Dhyana mandira

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

Wall


Around Sonda Sirsi

December 24, 2008

I was mostly unaware of the natural beauty of Uttara Kannada district of Karnataka until my marriage to Veena who hails from Sonda. Since then I have done quite a few visits to Sonda and visited numerous places around it and amazed by the tourist potential (still not fully tapped though) of this green district.

Sonda is small little village in the Sirsi taluk of Uttara Kannada district situated at a distance of around 450km from Bangalore and 20km from Sirsi. It is mostly known as a pilgrimage center due to the presence of three prominent Mutts: the Swarnavalli Mutt, the Vadiraj Mutt and the Jain Mutt. These attract hundreds of pilgrims mostly through out the year. The green surroundings, typical to the Malnad area of Sonda and Sirsi add to the serenity of these places of religious importance.

Here are some of the places I have visited around Sonda, Sirsi, since last 3 years. Please note that all distances mentioned here are mostly approximate.

Madhukeshwara Temple, Banavasi
Sahasralinga, Sonda
Magod Waterfall
Unchalli Waterfall
Satoddi Waterfall
Sonda Kote
Muttinakere Venkataramana Temple
Hunasehonda Venkataramana Temple
Shivagange Waterfall
Mundige Kere Bird Sanctuary
Yana

Madhukeshwara Temple, Banavasi

Banavasi, which was once the capital of Kadamba rulers is situated at around 20km from Sirsi. The village road from Sirsi to Banavasi is very picturesque with green fields all round. There are a few sugarcane fields also which set up the traditional sugarcane crushing units for preparing jaggery (called Aalemane in Kannada) during Jan-Feb. If you are here during this time, you would want to stop by one of these places. You would be offered generous quantities of sugarcane juice straight out of Aalemane. One should taste this know how this differs from the cane juice available in the cities.

The 9th Century Madhukeshwara temple of Banavasi is dedicated to Shiva. It is a fairly big temple and is well protected.

Madhukeshwara Temple, Banavasi
Madhukeshwara Temple, Banavasi

The ornate pillars add to the beauty of the temple. Just outside the Sanctum Sanctorum, a stone structure is placed which looks like a throne or a couch.

Stone Throne

There is a beautiful bull (Nandi) in front of Shiva but interestingly it appears to be watching Parvati who is present in the adjoining temple.

Nandi

The temple campus has many beautiful stone idols of Gods and Goddesses.

Idol

Sahasralinga, Sonda

River Shalmala flows quite close to my in-laws house in Sonda. I have to just cross a few arecanut farms and paddy fields to reach the well known pilgrimage center in the river Shalmala called Sahasralinga. The place gets its name from the numerous (Sahasra = thousand) Lingas carved on the rocks of Shalmala river. Lingas with Nandi of all shapes and sizes can be seen here, some of them dislodged due to the force of water flow. It is better to visit this place when the water level is low when all the Lingas become visible.

Sahsralinga

Sashralinga

Sahasralinga, is approachable from Hulgol, on Sirsi-Yellapur road at around 15km from Sirsi. This place becomes a center of activity on Mahashivaratri day when people throng here to offer Pooja.

Sahasralinga

Magod Waterfall

Magod waterfall is formed by river Bedti which falls in two steps forming two falls. Though one could use an interior village route (Sonda – Upleshwara Cross – Magod Road – Magod Waterfall) to reach this waterfall from Sonda, the ideal way to reach this is from Yellapur which is around 50km from Sirsi. After traveling on NH63 from Yellapur for around 5km towards Ankola, there is a deviation on the left which goes to Magod Waterfall. The waterfall is around 15km from here. The road is reasonably well maintained and one can drive up the falls in a 4 wheeler.

Magod Waterfall (Sept)
Magod

Magod waterfall is visible at some distance from the viewpoint in the valley. From here, it is not possible to reach the base of the waterfall.

Magod

Magod Waterfall (June)
Magod

A nearby place to visit along with Magod waterfall is the Jenukallu gudda viewpoint from where River Kali is visible.

View from Jenukallu
Jenukallu

If you take the interior road from Sonda to Magod waterfall via Upleshwara, you could visit the Kavdekere en route which has a big lake and a temple.

Unchalli Waterfall

River Aghanashini forms a spectacular waterfall called Unchalli waterfall in a deep jungle. To reach this waterfall, start from Sirsi on Sirsi – Kumta road and reach Aminhalli (around 14km).  From here a left deviation leads to a village called Heggarne (around 19km from Aminhalli). The road is decent until Heggarne. From Heggarne one has to travel around 2-3km on a jeep track to reach the viewpoint of the waterfall. This last stretch is distance is best done in a hired vehicle or by walk.

Unchalli waterfall
Unchalli

From the viewpoint the falls is visible at a distance. Steps have been built from here to another viewpoint still down the valley which is built directly opposite the waterfall. The water flows down at a great force  raising up a cloud of water drops that could easily drench anyone at the viewpoint. It is common to find leeches in this area. Again one can’t reach the base of the waterfall from this viewpoint easily.

Unchalli

Visit to Unchalli waterfall can be clubbed with a visit to Benne HoLe waterfall which is approachable from a village called Nilkunda, around 14km from Heggarne. From Nilkunda one has to walk around 2km and descend down a valley to reach the waterfall. We tried doing this in September and were unsuccessful. The descent down the valley was so difficult and full of leeches that Veena and I got lost halfway, while the rest of the group went down. With so many leeches around, we had no option but to rush uphill. So no photos of this waterfall 😦

Satoddi Waterfall

Satoddi waterfall is formed by River Kali(or may its tributary) and is situated in Yellapur district. To reach this, start on Yellapur-Hubli highway (NH63), proceed around 2-3km and take a left turn into what is called Bisgod road. From here, proceed around 20-25km to reach a place called Kattige which has a Ganesha Temple. From Kattige Ganesha temple it is around 8-10km of jeep track to the waterfall.

Satoddi Waterfall
Satoddi

I visited this waterfall with my brother-in-law in September in a motorbike and it needed all the village-riding skills of my brother-in-law to negotiate the final few kilometers of slushy road. Even walking would on this road would be difficult with so much of slush all around. But all the effort is worth as this is one of the waterfalls whose base can be easily approached.

Satoddi

This waterfall is present upstream after the backwaters of the Kodasalli dam.

Backwaters of Kodasalli dam
Kodasalli dam

Sonda Kote

Sonda was once a royal city ruled by Swadi Kings and one can still see some of the remains at various places around Sonda. One such place is the Sonda Kote which is present on the banks of River Shalmala. Though it is called Kote, I couldn’t find any fort here. It looks more like a place where some royal remains have been protected by ASI. A small temple, a few cannons and a decorated single stone Kallina Mancha (Stone Cot) are preserved here.

View at Sonda Kote
Sonda Kote

Kallina Mancha at Sonda Kote
Sonda Kote

Muttinakere Venkataramana Temple

Muttinakere is a small lake in Vaja Gadde area of Sonda. Alongside this lake is a small but beautiful 17th Venkataramana temple built in Vijayanagara style. This temple has been renovated and is well maintained. A visit to this temple is worth if you are in Sonda. Daily pooja is performed here.

Muttinakere Temple
Muttinakere temple

Carvings on temple wall
Muttinakere temple

An abondoned temple near Muttinakere
Muttinakere

Hunasehonda Venkataramana Temple

This is another small temple present in Sonda dedicated to Venkataramana. To reach this temple, from Kamatgeri in Sonda, proceed towards Sirsi for around 1km and take a left deviation and proceed another 1km on the un-asphalted road. There is a lake alongside the temple. The carvings on the temple walls are interesting. Daily pooja is performed in this temple.

Hunasehonda Temple
Hunasehonda temple

Shivagange Waterfall

This waterfall is formed by River Shalmala (As far as I know). The approach to this waterfall is from a place called Hulekal, which is around 13km from Sirsi towards Sonda and 5km from Sonda towards Sirsi. From Hulekal, take the Jaddigadde road and travel for around 25km to reach Jaddigadde. From here it is around 2-3km on a Jeep track which is best negotiated by walk or a two wheeler.

Shivagange Waterfall
Shivagange

A viewpoint has been built from where the waterfall is visible at a distance. Me and my Uncle tried to descend down the valley to get closer to the falls but after a while found it too hard to negotiate the thick forest growth in the monsoon season. So had to return satisfied by the long-distance view of the waterfall.

Shivagange

Mundige Kere Bird Sanctuary

There is a small lake called Mundige Kere in Sonda which attracts hundreds of birds (mostly Cranes as per my very limited knowledge about birds) in June.  I am not sure if this can be called a sanctuary, but is definitely a place is worth visiting when you in Sonda and have some time to spare. From Kamatgeri in Sonda, proceed a few yards towards Yellapur and take a right deviation near Kasapal primary school and proceed a 1km further.

Mundige Kere
Mundige Kere

Yana

Yana has become a very popular tourist spot now with hundreds visiting it in the weekends. So no more details except for a few photographs.

Rocks of Yana
Yana

Yana

Yana

– with inputs from Veena Bhat, Vinayak Bhat, M S Bhat and Krishnamoorthy Bhat.