Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Coorg - A perfect Holiday Destination

Trip to Coorg:
Coorg also called as Kodagu lies in the Western Ghats of Karnataka with Pushpagiri Hills on north and Brahmagiri Hills on the south.  The highest peak, Tadiandamol, rises to 1,750 metres lies in Brahmagiri. Madikeri (Mercara) is the headquarters of Coorg District.

Tourist Places & Routes in Coorg:
Route1: 65km from Madikeri towards north(1-2days)
2.Mallalli falls

Route2:25-30km from Madikeri towards north(1day)
3.Abbey Falls
4.Mandalapatti(Pushpagiri Reserve Forest)

Route3: 90km from Madikeri towards South(1-2days)
5.Tadiandamol(Brahmagiri Wildlife Sanctuary)(Trek)
6.Chelavara falls

Route4:to the east towards Mysore(1-2days)
8.Kaveri Nisargadhama
9.Dubare elephant camp(15km from Nisargadhama)
Inside Madikeri city
10.Omkareshwara Temple
11.Raja Seat

Route 5:44km from Madikeri towards west(1/2day)

Route 6:110km from Madikeri towards South(1day)
12.Iruppu Falls

Covered(8/13) : Mallalli falls, Abbey Falls, Mandalapatti, Bylakuppe, Nisargadhama, Omkareshwara Temple, Raja Seat, Talakaveri, Bhagamandala, Nagarahole

Yet to discover(5/13): Kumaraparvatha, Tadiandamol-Chelavara falls, Dubare, Iruppu Falls

Route 1 & 2: (Covered except Kumaraparvatha)

Route4:(Covered except Dubare)
Bylakuppe: On the highway from Mysore towards Madekeri you pass by Kushalanagara where you have to take a left turn to enter the road for Bylakuppe and about 6km further you end up at Buddhist Golden Temple (Namdroling Monastery). This place is a must see for one time due to its easy accessibility. The main temple has 3 huge Statues of Guru Padmasambhava, Buddha Shakyamuni and Amitayus. There is a Tibetan market which is an ideal place for shopping, though bargains are a little the prices are reasonable.

Nisargadhama: Once you come back to Kushalnagara you enter the forest cover and on the left is the Kaveri Nisargadhama, you need to take entrance tickets to enter this place, and there is a pedal boating available at a very reasonable price, life jackets are also provided and is maintained by the Government. Inside the Nisargadhama one has to cross by a Hanging bridge built across River Kaveri, the otherside of the river is a small forest covered with bamboo trees. They also provide Elephant rides inside Nisargadhama.
There is a Deer park inside the place which has a large protected fence so one has to barely see deers, but the huge fence area makes it feel one among the forest. There were also Rabbits, ducks and other birds found inside within small protected area.
There are shops open up for refreshments and restaurant available at the entrance and also there is parking facility available. There is a restaurant available inside Nisargadhama also.

Omkareshwara Temple:  This temple is dedicated to Shiva & lies inside the Madikeri town. The whole temple area is kept clean and the small pond infront of the temple looks beautiful with the Mantap built at the center of the pond. The Temple was built in 1820 in Islamic and Gothic style of architecture.

Raja Seat: This is one of the most beautiful place in the town, it is a park with a view point at the end and has artificial fountains inside. It has a nice view point with a view of the valley around Madikeri, best time to visit is evening and one can enjoy the sunset and musical fountain after sunset. The king of Coorg was sitting here to enjoy the view of sunset, hence the name “The Kings Seat”.

Talakaveri: Talakaveri is the birth place of River Kaveri, and has a special importance in South India. There is a temple built at this place and a tank built at birthplace of Kaveri river, and it lies on top of the hill giving some breathtaking views of the pushpagiri hills, one has to take up around 500 steps to reach the hilltop from the temple to get a better view of the valley. Best time to visit is in the morning.

Bhagamandala: Bhagamandala comes on the way to Talakaveri. Bhagamandala is famous for its Bhagandeshwara temple and triveni sangama infront of the Temple. This is where river Kaveri joins Kannike and the mythical Sujyoti river. Here river kaveri is at its early stages with very less force of water which is flowing from talakaveri. There are no restaurants available at Talakaveri, so one can have food at Bhagamandala.

Route 6: (covered except Iruppu Falls)
Nagarhole National Park (ನಾಗರಹೊಳೆ ರಾಷ್ಟೀಯ ಉದ್ಯಾನವನ): The park covers 643 km2  and is the second largest National park in karnataka after Bandipur and is recognised as a Tiger reserve. It was recently closed for tourists with supreme courts ban on tourism in tiger reserves of India.
One can spot Asian elephants, spotted deer or Chital, Sambar, Indian bison or gaur, Peacocks and langur monkey in abundant.
Sloth bears, four-horned antelopes, wild boar are also found inside the jungle.
Although rarely lucky ones can spot tiger, leopard, jackals, striped hyena, Indian pangolin, Red/Indian giant flying squirrel and wild dogs.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Somnathpur Keshava Temple


Keshava Temple of Somanathapura/Somnathpur (ಸೋಮನಾಥಪುರ): This temple is a perfect example of the Hoysala style of architecture built in 1268 A.D. It has three sanctums on the west, south and north to Keshava, Venugopala & Janardhana, all connected. It is an ornately carved temple of magnificent craftsmanship depicting Vishnu, Lakshmi, Saraswati, Ganesha, Rati-Manmatha & Mahishasura. The ceilings and door jambs leading to the sanctum sanctorium are exquisitely carved. The temple is in the care of the Archeological Survey of India as a protected heritage site
Somanathapura is just 50km away from the Shivanasamudra waterfalls so both can be covered in a single day from Bangalore. Nearest city is Mysore just 35km away.
Keshava temple has one of the best preserved stone carvings of ancient architecture of India, in a very good condition.

Keshava Temple of Somanathapura
 Stone carvings on the wall of The Keshava Temple

Basement Frieze Animated riders top a band of elephants that rests upon the temple platform. Elephants are often found on the lowest course of the walls, as here, where they are considered to symbolically support the temple on their backs.In another section of frieze, horsemen wielding swords and spears trample fallen warriors underfoot. Below, a convoy of elephants carries baskets and fruits. Almost every person and animal in this frieze, including the fallen warriors, is given an individualized attribute or posture.
Section of frieze at Keshava Temple
On the left, dancing Ganesh; on the right, Vishnu seated "at ease" on Ananta. Between the panels is a female drummer
Lord Ganesha & Lord Vishnu
Indra, the king of the gods, rides with his consort Shachi on the royal elephant. Among his attributes is a vajra (thunderbolt) held aloft in his right hand. The elephant is probably caparisoned like the real elephants of the time; its tusks are filed, as was often done to prevent injury to the animals' riders and keepers.
Stone carved pillars inside the temple; each of them has distinctive design
The entire fabric of the temple is covered with sculptures; hardly a square inch of space has escaped the carver's hand. The main panels, which are elaborately-worked Vaishnava images, rest at shoulder height atop a banded frieze of processional figures and scenes from the Ramayana; above, a second band of sculptures underlies the richly carved sanctuary roof.

Corbeled Dome of Keshava Temple.
It was so dark inside the temple that only a flash light can make the roof visible.
Intricate Craftsmanship at temple's roof
Statues of Lord Keshava, Lord Krishna and Lord Vishnu
Lord Keshava, Lord Krishna and Lord Vishnu
Garuda - Vishnu's mount lacks obvious bird-like features in this sculpture. With his legs in flying posture, he supports Vishnu and Lakshmi on a spray of lotus.
Krishna Playing the Flute - Krishna, surrounded by attendants, plays the flute beneath a tree. His dress and crown are richly ornamented. The typically rococo (ornate and intricate) manner of such sculptures makes the Hoysala one of the easiest styles to recognize in Indian art. 
Krishna Playing the Flute

Timings: 9:00AM to 5:30PM