Shettikere Hoysala Temple

After spending a month at home due to work and other factors, it was time for a break from the daily routine. As usual Srikanth decided to join me and upon searching for places to visit, we came across a non descripit temple in Shettikere which was not visited by anyone.

After getting the directions we hit the road and after couple of hours of driving, we reached shettikere. The temple is located in the village itself and the villagers showed us the way.

We were expecting to see a majestic temple in the lines seen in belur, however we were in for a dissapoinment. The temple was completely renovated.

Shettikere Temple

IMG_7925_resize

The temple pillars were painted in various colors and the carvings present on the walls of the temple seemed to have been removed.

We were wondering who would have done this, when we saw the temple priest approaching the temple. We inquired about the renovation and we came to know the temple was in a bad state and the interlocking mechanisms had given way over a period of time and water was seeping in through the cracks.

The villagers had informed ASI and as per the priest, the ASI officer from Shimoga had visited the place for inspection and had ordered renovation of the temple. We could clearly see the numbers marked on the wall.

Renovated Temple

IMG_7930_resizeIMG_7934_resize

IMG_7929_resize

Interestingly ASI has a board outside monuments indicating destruction or vandalism of the monuments would be punishable by monetary fine and / or a jail term and its ironic that the ASI would look to renovate the entire temple just to plug in few cracks.

ASI Notice

IMG_7936_resizeThe priest also mentioned that the sanctum sanctorum has also been moved back from where the diety was originally present. We could see new doors present rather than the old iron doors present originally. We were disappointed in the place and we soon left after having a look inside the temple.

The return journey was quick and we reached by 4.30.

Snaps can be found here

Channagiri Trek

Channagiri is one of the tallest peaks around bangalore. The rest being Skandagiri, Bramhagiri, Nandigiri and Dibbigirri. Standing at 1400 meters it is only couple hundred meters less than nandi hills. These hills are ideal for a one day trek due to the close proximity to the city.

I had read about this trek after completing horagina betta and was planning to do it. With Oct 2nd being a long holiday I decided to do this trek and giving me company were Vinay, Chetana and Vikyath in this exploratory trek.

Members for the trek (Vinay, Chetana, Vikyath-1st photo and Me – 2nd Photo)

IMG_7601_resizeIMG_7603_resize

To get the exact route to the peak, I had referred various blogs and all of them mention about the trek starting from Sultanpet. We however decided to go to muddenhalli, the birth place of Sir M Visvesvaraya and start the trek from there. Our initial plan of starting the trek at 7.30 went for a toss and by the time we started the trek it was 9.30 with the sun already blazing.

The initial path was through fields and lake bund where we could see mountains in the backdrop. Here as well there is no direct route and we have to make our own route to reach the top.

Scenary enroute to channagiri

IMG_7608_resizeIMG_7612_resize

A short stop at the lake for couple of snaps and we began the long climb to the top. The sun was beating down hard and it was a slow climb to the top. We passed through some trees and a dried up water path on the way to the top.

Way to the top through trees and rocks

IMG_7624_resizeIMG_7626_resize

As we climbed further we found two large stones next to each other and we climbed we found a narrow passage through them. The scenery improved as we climbed higher. Couple of snaps and we continued on our way. It was already 11 by the time we reached the half way point and we took breaks in between where ever we found trees and to quench our thirst

Vast Greenary

IMG_7639_resize

Climbing for another 45 min we were at the top. There were already couple of other trekkers there. At the top there is a temple and a small pond. We relaxed for a while and chatted with the others. They had mentioned they had climbed from sultanpet and they were planning to stay back till evening. Spending some time at the pond while dipping our feet in the cool waters made our tired bodies relax more.

Pond atop channagiri

IMG_7651_resize

There is also a hanuman temple atop the hill and we found some tall stones present there. Since we had enough time, various poses were tried and photos were clicked. Enjoying ourselves we spent an hour or so there before deciding to head back.

One of the guys mentioned there is a temple just below from where we came and we took a short detour to have a look at the temple before heading back.

Cave Temple

IMG_7684_resize

Another hour and half we were back to the car thus ending a good trek which was pending for a while.

Our next place to visit was Sir MV’s house in muddenhalli. The samadhi or the legendary statesman is also present very close to his house and there are directions given when we reach the place. A short stop at his samadhi to pay our respects and we went to see his house

Statue of Sir MV

DSC_0002_resize

Photography is not permitted inside the house which is converted into a museum. All the achievements of the great man are cataloged there. The museum also contains the various awards he had received including Bharat Ratna.

Our last place on agenda was the Bhoganandeeshwara temple which is built and rebuilt by the Cholas, Gangas and the Hoysalas. The different parts of the temple were built by different dynasties. The priest at the temple told us about the different parts of the temple. The intricate carvings remind of the hoysala temples in belur and halebid.

Bhoganandeeshwara Temple

IMG_7703_resize

IMG_7697_resizeIMG_7701_resize

IMG_7692_resize

IMG_7702_resize

The temple has also has a pond and as it was a long holiday there were hardly any visitors there. Looking at the fishes in the pond, we spent some time there chatting and relaxing before heading back to the city thus concluding a well spent day.

Pond @ Bhoganandeeshwara Temple

IMG_7706_resize

Snaps can be found here

Cambodia Day 4: Beng Mealea

Today would be our last day in cambodia as we would be heading back to phonm penh for the flight to thailand the next day. We decided to cover Beng Mealea today as it is located on the way to phonm penh and we can head back there after covering it. The temple is located 40 kms from siem reap and is thought to have been built at the same time Angkor Wat was built.

The temple is completely in ruins and only few walls are left standing. The temple has the carvings of the churning of the milky ocean. The walls also have very few carvings in them.

The ruins of Beng Mealea

IMG_5818_resizeIMG_5821_resizeWith moss growing everywhere the place has a mystical feel. One can get to feel and experience a Tomb Raider effect when you go to Beng Mealea. 

Moss covered Ruins

IMG_5843_resize

IMG_5838_resize

IMG_5850_resize

IMG_5863_resizeWe spent some time walking around the ruins and exploring the small tunnels in the temple, before heading back to the Car to continue on the long drive to Phonm Penh thus ending a fantastic visit to the ancient empire.

Roopkund Day 4: Ali and Bedni Bugyal

The weather which was clear turned bad at night and it began to rain heavily. The rain had not subsided in the morning when we got up, and this was the sign of things to come for the rest of the trek. It was initially decided we would leave at 6 in the morning was postponed to 7 and by the time we left didna it was 7.45

The initial climb was easy and as we entered the forest the steepness increased. As usual myself and benji were ahead with the rest of the guys following us. The trail was pretty straight forward and we continued the climb with short breaks in between.

A couple of hours of climbing and we reached a place where the trail came to an end. We were looking around for the continuation and soon found it. The steepness increased as we climbed further up and soon we could find the clearing from where we could see the vast expanse of the grasslands

Finally around 10.10 me, benji and poonam reached ali bugyal. We had noticed mist covering the area and we were hoping we could get a clear view once we reached the top

Ali Bugyal Covered in Mist

The guide who had reached ahead of the rest of the group asked us to go to the pond a little further up and wait for the rest of the group to arrive. We were also asked to have our packed lunch while waiting

The pond and the mist

The mist had played spoilsport and we were deprived of the magnificient view everyone were expecting from the bugyals

We waited for the others to join us and after they finished their lunch we started towards bedni bugyal which would be our camp for the day. The mist would clear occasionally revealing the greenary everywhere. Those who were in front were happy to pose of a few shots

Greenary everywhere and happy faces amongst mist

3 more hours of trekking and finally we reached our camp site which was situated admist mountains. As usual we got hot pakoras, soup and tea upon reaching the camp. It was drizzling intermittently when we arrived at the camp and the place as usual was clouded in mist.

Lokesh told us since we had already gained sufficient altittude, there was no need to go for an acclimatization walk. However those who were interested in venturing out, bedni kund and the tea shop were the attractions nearby

With nothing much to a few of us headed out to bedni kund which was covered in mist. The kund is a fresh water expanse of water which was surrounded by a wall with mountains on either side. There is a saraswathi temple near the pond, which people visit during the nanda devi raj jat which happens every 12 years

Bedini Kund and the temples

Having spent some time there taking snaps we headed for the tea shop to have some tea before going back to the camp.

Dinner was served and it was nap time. With the ascent to baguwasa starting the next day

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

KRS Backwaters

With my mumbai trip being cut short,  I could come back in time for the long weekend.  A trip was planned to mysore and dad was insisting on going for a long drive. This made me search for a few places which could be covered in a couple of days. I zeroed in on KRS backwaters which is just a couple of kms from the KRS dam

The next day, we had decided to just go for a long drive, without any destination in mind. With the places settled, we headed out to mysore, while briefly stopping at pyramid valley. Spending some time there we headed to mysore.

The roads were chock -a – block with traffic jams in many places throughout the route, and the normal 3 hr journey took us almost 5 hrs to complete. A break for lunch and we headed to KRS DAM. There was a steady flow of cars towards the dam.  As I was not interested in the dam, i went a little further from the dam. Another half hour or so and I was at the backwaters

First look at KRS backwaters

The dam and the backwaters converge and the place is ideal to spend some time in the evenings. One can also pitch up tents and stay at the banks

The dam

There were few people when we went to the backwaters, they were playing in the water and having a merry time

Another attraction is the virupakshaw temple which is at the banks of the dam

Virupakshaw Temple

We spent some time at the backwaters enjoying the view before heading back

How to reach the backwaters

Mysore->Krs->Do not take the left turn which leads to the dam, go a little further till u find a mud road, take left and proceed further, till u reach the dam gates. The left and proceed further till u reach a village which is a couple of kms from the gate, take left again and proceed further till u reach the temple

A few shots of the backwaters

Snaps can be found here

Makalidurga

After a amazing ride to somwarpet and madikeri last weekend,I was thinking of a trek this weekend. Makkalidurga a small hill 50 kms from bangalore and 10 kms from doddaballapur was choosen for this weekend’s trek. Kiran agreed to join, and we headed out to doddaballapur on sun.

With roads being empty on sun morning we reached doddaballapur in an hour. Asking for directions we proceeded towards makkalidurga.

Makkalidurga

Makkalidurga is a small railway station, which has a temple nearby. The peak which stands at 1350 mts can be scaled in an hour. There is an old ruined fort at the top of the hill and a shiva temple which locals visit.The railway track running next to the temple, makes it an ideal spot for photography and also for bird watching

Railway Lines

We started the trek after reaching the base of the temple. The trail starts from behind the temple and goes all the way to the top. There are marking on the stones, indicating the path. By following the markers one can reach the top.  The climb is gradual and it becomes steep as we go higher. We can also get to see a huge lake and other mountains.

Rivers and vast mountains

As the climb gets steeper, we had to climb on the boulders to get to the top. After an hour of climbing, we reached the top of the hill from where we could see the peak. Taking rest for sometime, we headed to the fort.  There is godown, which was once used, and a small shiva temple on top. After spending some time on the top, we headed back.

Inside the fort

Shiva Temple

Another hour of climbing down and we were back to the base of the temple.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Snaps can be found here

Ettinabhuja Revisited

Shishla Kudi Gudda AKA Ettinabhuja (shoulder of an ox) is a popular trekking spot in karnataka which attracts trekkers.

This peak can be accessed from shishila or from bhirapura. The 9 km trek from shishla takes about 5 to 6 hrs for an average trekker. The distance from bhirapura is much shorter and can be done in an hour or two

I had first been to ettinabhuja in june just on the onset of monsoon along with my friends shasi , prahalad and prashant. With incessent rains and mist throughout the trek , we were unable to see the peak until the very end.

First Look at ettinabhuja during monsoon

When my friend Ina told me she and a few others were going to ettinabhuja in nov I wasnt able to confirm my participation as I was scheduled to fly to malaysia in nov. However things didnt materialize n my visit got postponed.  Luckily for me 2 of the people who had to go had dropped out. When I was asked if I was interested in joining for the trek I immediately agreed as one ticket was left and another ticket was cancelled

With the place set 9 ppl met at majestic bus stand on 21st nov at 9.30 and boarded the bus to dharmastala. The team for the trek (Ina , Girish, Dhimoy, Sandeep, Amit, Chirag, Vishak ,Rutuja and yours truely :))

After a peaceful overnight journey we reached dharmastala at 7 in the morning. The weather was however looking omnious as dark clouds were hovering over our heads ready to open up at any instant

Early morning in dharmastala


The bus to shishla was ready which we immediately boarded. As we proceeded to shishla we kept an eye out on the weather which began to clear which gave us some relief.

Chengappa our guide was waiting for us at shishila bus stand. After embarking from the bus we proceeded to gohkale’s house which would be our base camp. We were told that it was raining for the past 2 days and we could expect rain even on sat. We had decided if it would rain then we would be doing some other peak instead of ettinabuja. Keeping this flexibility in mind we proceeded further

After finishing our morning abulations and having a heavy breakfast we embraked on the quest to conquer ettinabhuja with the sky clearing up.

Guys getting ready for the trek

Sandeep all set and ready for trek

After checking our belongings , we started towards the peak with hope that it would rain

Ettinabhuja as seen from afar

We followed chengappa as he led the way. The initial walk was on the banks of river kapila which we had to cross. The river was in full flow when we had visited in june, however now the current was much less and we could cross it easily

River Kapila

We began our foray into the forest and soon we met our companions for the trek leeches which would accompany us till the top.  After a short walk on the flat land , the climb began.

We began climbing at a steady pace and after a while we took a small break. The climb got steeper and taking frequent breaks we moved ahead. After a couple of hours of walking we reached the first grassland from where we could see the peak more clearly. Though the peak looked quite close, there was still lot of distance to cover, luckily for us the sun was still shining and we were able to cover good ground

Peak seen from grassland

Proceeding further we reached the second grassland , with grass as tall as us , dhimoy and myself cimbed a rock and we could see dark clouds had gathered and it was looking ominous. By this time the others had also reached the grassland and we moved forward.

Lunch was taken and after a short rest we began the final ascent. We reached the final grassland from where the we could see the peak standing in front of us majestically .

This was the place where I saw the peak for the first time when we went in june

After a short photosession we proceeded further. Since we cannot climb the peak directly we have to circle the peak to reach the top. By the time we reached the peak it was 4.45 in the evening.

Gang at top of ettinabhuja

Chengappa was of the opinion that we should climb the peak tomorrow as it could rain anytime and we had to get to the bhirapura temple situated a couple of kms below. As we were resting , chengappa met a local and got the permission to stay in the temple

We left ettinabhuja at 5.30 promising to return the next day and headed to bhirapura temple. As we left the peak we saw the weather had changed dramtically with grey clouds gathering from no where.

Bhirapura temple beckoned us at 5.45, which would be our halting place for the night.

The place was already covered in mist we could hear thunder at a distance accompanied by lightning

Bhirapura Temple covered in mist

A misty evening

Campfire was up and after a hot cuppa we were relaxing when we could feel the raindrops and within no time the rain began to fall.

The rain continued for some more time and later after stopping we began the campfire again and got the RTE’s out. Dinner was soon finished and it time to hit the couch.

10 ppl sleeping along with heavy rucksacks was a tight affair we maanged to make ourseleves comfortable. However the place being too small a few of the guys went to sleep outside by the fire praying it would rain again in the night.

After spending the night in the temple we got up early morning to find the mist still present. As we were getting ready to ascend the peak the sun began to come out of the clouds. The weather cleared up and we began to ascend the peak. With clear weather the peak looked amazing and we began to walk faster to reach the peak

We reached the peak from where we could see the hump.

The Ox’s Shoulder

Clicking some snaps we proceeded for the final phase of ascending the steep stretch to reach the top. The lush green mountains on the either side was a treat for our eyes and with the our cameras clicking we proceeded

After spending some time on top we bid adeiu to ettinabhuja n began our descent to shishla via the same way. While going down the group was split into 3 with dhimoy, sandeep and rutuja leading the way , me , amit, chirag and vishak in the middle and ina, girish and chengappa bringing the rear

Decent was fast with the sun beating down. As I was in the middle we were proceeding a bit slowly, and some how we lost our way :).  We managed to stumble upon a turtle which was equally lost :).

Lost Turtle

We found the trail after searching for a few min and we soon reached the river. After reaching the pickup point me, chirag,amit and viskah called the jeep and rested for a while. The others joined us and we headed back to gohkale’s house.

After a belly filling lunch and seista we headed to shishileshwara temple to spend some time there. Later we boarded the jeep back to dharmastala.

Munching on ice creams and dosas we whiled away the time before heading back to bangalore

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Snaps can be found here

%d bloggers like this: