Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Day 1 & 2 : Chitradurga


It was time to turn our dreams into reality - from a long time we kept planning a long drive. It was tough for dad's, anu's and mi vacation to intersect (Mom anyway would always be on vacation :-)) Things were well planned and finalized, months ago. The map in my Scrap-Book looked something of this sort....

Started with our splendid SH17, and my new DigiCam. :-)

We started at around 1:30PM : Our afternoon and evening drive was simply superb. The deserted roads and the mild day, added further to it. The previous night's discoveries, had resulted in a completely discharged battery, thus couldn’t have Srirangapatana, on the banks of river Cauvery as our first pit-stop. So, our first pitstop was at Pandavapura, for the SugarCane juice & for some fresh hot Jaggery. In spite the loads of luggage, I still did make some space in the Boot-store, for a few lengths of sugarcane.

Drove further, recalling my trekking experience, in the surrounding hills.

ShivaTemple : This was our second pit-stop, en route diversion, from SH17 to NH4. A Shiva temple, on the bank of a lake - which was said to be constructed by my Dad's devotee friend. It didn't look any special, though... We had plans of refreshing; While we saw Cattle and Humans in the lake, just couldn't imagine getting into it, but, Dad managed to... :-)

It was here that, I explored the 'Plug and shoot' option in my Digicam.
Soon, we were at NH4. The concentration of cars on this highway was less than our SH17. We just could see trucks, trucks and trucks around. The road was dull, busy and monotonous. But, well layed and illuminated. Appreciating and Praising A.B.Vajapayee, we continued………

NH4 is the longest National Highway in Karnataka and runs for a total of 658km. There was some construction going-on on NH4, where we took the wrong deviation and landed at the dead-end, during a wrong hour. But, I got a chance, to display my driving skills and exhibit my dare devilry. :-)

Without further delay, reached the proper deviation of NH4. This highway was a splendid route to drive. Reached Chitradurga, via Sira and Hiriyur. We stopped at the ‘Naryanapura dam’,the first in our list, still 3 more to go. We had left home @ 1:30 PM, reached our destination @ 9:30 PM. A good long drive, blessed by mild drizzle and good roads. At last, after a long time!

The Chitradurga mutt, is located outside the city, felt at home, although we were 300km away. The full moon and the mild drizzle further added. We went around for a walk after a humble dinner, just to explore. We could see Deers and Stags wandering around, which I mistook for a calf, as it was least expected. :-) This place was just wonderful! There was this huge Anchor, which I fell in love with [the next day, I did manage to collect a flake of iron for myself]. I wanted to get myself, pictured beside this, so, walked back to our cottage, to get my digicam recharged.

As usual, recited my experience to a few pals - courtesy Airtel's corporate plan. Finally had to stop, as my cellphone batteries didn’t allow me to. We weren't tired, but were forced to sleep, since we had decided to start early the next day.

"Gud N8!"


It was 6, and we were ready for the trek. Sunrise at the entrance was captured. This is from the first set of photos shot outside with my new Nikon. They are here, for you to rate. We had a good photographer and a skilled driver by this time. :-)

The Goddess of Chitradurga : This was our first stop, on the way to the fort.

At the Fort entrance : We were at the foot of the hill @ 6:50. It was a breath taking view. A magnificent fort on the hill, stood before us. It made me just watch in agape!

The Karnataka Tourism board read so : The Chitradurga fort was built in 1562 AD, by Timmana Nayka. It was later taken over by Hyder Ali in 1779. The fort is popularly known as 'YeLu Sutthina Kothe', due to its charesteristic 7 lines of defence, with circular, square, hexagonal and octagonal bastings, at intervals; out of which 3 are at the foot of the Hills and 4 built over the Hill. It has 19 dwara, 38 diDhe baaGhelu, 35 guptha dwara and 4 suranga margha.
Bold rock hills and picturesque valleys. Huge towering boulders in unimaginable shapes. Well known as Kallina Kote. 'The Chamundi hills, back at home, was nowhere, compared to this', is what I felt that moment, but still, I just loved trekking that, once in a fortnight. I thought, I’ll lose interest henceforth, as I had fallen in love with this!

The present halts and the past unfolds ....
As already known, the fort consists of 7 zones, in the front, and 3 at the read-end, towards the dense forest. The first 2 zones has been integrated with the city. So, the third zone, is what we hit as soon as we enter the Archeological Survey of India’s enclosure. Huge and high, with some intrinsic carvings rarely.

We got a index board, which displayed 26 places to look for.

Walked around this practically impregneable capital of the Nayak Paleyagars, scrutinizing the fascinating battlements and bastions.

# Kaamana Baavi

# Gaare Areyuva SaaDhana & Charma haaDha maaDhuva saadhana

# Moat between 3rd and 4th Zone

# BanaShankari_Temple, built during the reign of Badami Chalukyas.

# GunPowder Store(Built of soil. But, it still stands there, even to this day). I had seen a windmill, only in my textbook @ school. This was the first time, I saw one in reality. It was still misty, while the fortress wall, hill and the Windmills, were in line of sight.

# The Grindig Stone : This is star shaped, with four grinding stones. The centre pillar has been destroyed.

# View of the Fourth zone

# Kariwarathi temple, a small one under a tree; less impressive.
We entered the fourth zone. And all the while, I just wished, this was in Mysore...This marvel of military architecture has 19 gateways and 38 postern entrances too, of which the fourth gateway is indeed the best. Rising 25 feet in height, the ornamented pillars and walls contain fascinating relif figures.
The archeological survey of India, has done a perfect job. Providing route maps, name boards and indicators at every step, not only in the identified site, but, throughout. Anywhere you get lost, you’ll end up finding a route indicator.

# Ennhe koLha : This is a 9th feet deep, KoLa, carved in a rock, which was used to store oil. This had a small pipeline carved in stone from which Oil flows out to the smaller reservoir. It even had the Ennhe Kawalugarana ManHe, beside it.

Inside the Fourth zone : Also known as Vishada kaaThi baaGhelu/VeeraBhadrana baaGhelu.

# Bombe Mantapa : The place where all carving works were done. These were for later installation at a different location. Some samples displayed, for approval.

The entire fort was not built in the same era, as one thinks. Each zone displays, different styles of architecture and emblem, of the dynasty. The Shathavahanas, Kadambas, Badami Chalukyas, Hoysalas & Vijaynagar kingdoms, have contributed their style of art and architecture, to the zone constructed by them. After the fall of Vijaynagar empire, this was ruled by the Palegaras in 1505. The Veera Madhakari Nayaka, being the notable one. That was not the end, this was even ruled by Tippu and the British Empire. My entire history text was there. Just that, I wasn’t aware. Infact mom, dad & bro, were as good as our Guide. 'The brandishing of swords, the neighing of the horses as they rise on their hind legs, the proud death of soldiers', all seemed to come alive with the Fort which spoke, adding to that was our Guide's detailed, comprehensive explanation.

# The 6th Zone : This was built during the reign of Hoysala and Vijaynagar dynasty. The emblem of Hoi-saLa depicts the same. We get to see the Hindu-Islamic style of architecture.

# Elephant Rock : This for you to imagine. They are called by their imaginative names. We even saw a Titanic rock, failed to capture. Its all that man can relate to and more. :-)

# Aanhe Ganapathi Temple. Itseems, lot many Kannada films were short here.

# Zone 6: Rabbit Rock and Rat rock

Zones 1,3 & 6 had two entrance, known as, HeBhaGhelu and the maremaChena baaGheLu. Just to mislead enemies. The arrangement is designed to trap intruders between the gates.

# Uyyalehe Kambha, Deepada Kambha and Ekanatheshwara Temple, build by Shathavahanas.

# Entrance to Mutt : The MurughaRajendra mutt was previously situated inside the fort. This was later moved to the present location, on the outskirts of the city, during times of famine.

# Ookali Honda - for celebration of Holi - the festival of colours.

We further entered into the remains of 'Administration Block'. The mint and the chest was seen. The Coins found in the 20ft Khajane during excavation, belonged to
different dynasties, and can be seen in the adjacent museum.

# These were meant for the Horse : Intelligent Horses! We humans don’t follow the lane discipline.

# Akkana Hondha and TanGhi Hondha : Madhakari Nayaka, had married Pannamma NaaGhathi and Renukhamma Naaghathi. Each reservoir is named after these sisters, who later ended their lives due to the customary sati system, prevailing during the times.

# Aanjaneya and Kashi Vishwanatha Temple.

# TaNNiru DHoni : The water here was chilled, in contrast to the hot sun. We met a group of civilized people from our neighboring state, near this sweet n clean water source trying their best to pollute this, ignoring the board. We got an opportunity to shout at them, from peak to pinnacle.

# 7th zone and beyond : Every one’s aware of the veera Obbava, and her loyalty.The kingdom survived the 1772 attack by HyderAli, due to her devotion. But, finally lost to Tippu Sultan in 1779. Each successive ruler has made his own addition to improve the vantage position of this fort. Tipu Sultan built a palace, a mosque, granaries and oil pits here, after he took over. Of this stark palace, only the lofty pillars remain. We got to see, Obbavana manhe, the Temple, and the rock on which she died, and not to mention 'OBBAVANA KHINDI'. The opening in the rocks still remains as a historical witness for the story, beside the Tanniru doni a small water source which holds cold water round the year. All of us did manage to creep and crawl through it.

# Beyond Zone 7, we see sihineeru hondha, which is now absorbed in the city.

# Kaavalu gopura and Kaavalu khindi. That was the end of zone 7, so, back to zone 6 for diversion.

# Gopalaswamy Honda: This was meant for the queen. Prohibited area. ;-) This also had an adjcent garden. The reservoirs and lakes were built in such a way that the water flowed from Gopalaswamy Hondha to, Akkana Honda, Tanghe Hondha, Tanniru Hondha, SihiNeeru Hondha and Santhe Hondha(at the heart of the city). You will be amazed at the unique system devised by the rulers of Chitradurga to ensure constant water supply. Those ingeniously placed set of tanks and reservoirs, collected the rain water that fell on the Jogimatti hills and the upper fort before finally filling the moats.

# Sampige Siddeswara Temple : This is said to be from 13th Century AD, from the Vijayanagar reign. his temple gets its name from the hundreds of Michaelia Champaka, trees around the temple.

# Heading towards gaaLhe gopura. It has housed a few ancient Shasanas, and Hidambeshwara Temple.

# gaaLhe_gopura_&_tuppaDha_bathere

# Prison: This was built by Tippu Sultan, after he captured the fort in 1779. This depicts the contrast, between the Hindu and Muslim rulers. The concept of prison not known, until then!

# The oonThe kallu Basava; if you remember Vishnuvardhan and NaagaraHaavu.

On the way back, I collected flowers growing in nooks and crevices, to bring home as memorabilia; hollyhocks, Blue-Bells, Crysanthemum, lots more. It was 10:15, and we
were at the foot of the hill. Panting, sweating and thus stinking! It was time for a sumptuous breakfast.

# Archaeological Museum : Browsed through the Archaeological Museum to glean more of the historic wars, coins and manuscripts.

Post Breakfast :
The next stop was at, Chandravalli Caves. Chandravalli consists of hundreds of caves, upto 80ft deep. Some saints are said to have been lived here. And was even a safe hide-out for the king and his family, during rough times. They were all dark and stinking, with Bats hanging all around. You will come across a large cave with remains of paintings on the walls and 10 lingas, which are said to have been set up by the Pandavas,according to the local folklore.

Vanivilas Sagar : at the Vedavati river - the first reservoir in the State to be with modern engineering techniques.

Lunch Time : We were back at the Mutt. Time for ablution!
The Mutt is surrounded by 3 lakes, and been designed to have 364 aankaNaHas. A huge anchor laid in the garden. No harbors and ports around; wonder how and when it reached this dry land?!? This was something, I was in love with! I finally managed to get a flake of iron, from this Anchor for myself.

We started to move towards our next destination, before sunset. Towards NH13 it read so.

11/10/2006 : 5pm : TungaBhadra Dam

NH13 - The second longest National Highway in Karnataka, and runs for 648km. Long drive, along the stretch of the Highway, lined by Windmills and Sunflower crops on either side, interlaced with sound sleep..... :-)

Unexpected and unknown : The worst part on this stretch is the frequent road blocks by group of saree clad teenage Girls(escorted by Men), demanding money for what-nots.
Its disgusting...The worst experience. They were ready with stones/boulders of all sizes, to match the ground clearence of ANY automobile. Remember to keep all the windows up. SHAMELESS!!

Within hours, we saw water upto infinity - the clouds and the river intersecting; Upon that, we were blessed with Sunset. What else can one dream of...Neither me nor my camera though of a snap. Totally lost in the exhilirating panorama....

You are approching the dam when you see an ocean of trucks, loaded with mineral ore. This stretch of road,is the worser than one can imagine; only fit for the heavily loaded trucks. A right would lead us to Hospet and Hampi, but we stuck to NH13, since we were to cover Hampi on our way back. It was apparent from tens of trucks carrying truckloads of a red, dusty cargo that a lot of mining was being done in these hills. The red dust now with incessant rains, was red mud. It no longer settled on things, it obstinately clung to them. :-)

Towards the dam :

The electricity generating station : Photography was strictly prohibited. Couldn't capture a better pic. :-(

The dam and the main gate : Completely zoomed snap. While trying for a few more click, I was 'fortunately' spotted by a Police man, had to slide down, else get the Nikkon confiscated. Anyways, all dams look alike.... :-|
The dam has a attached garden too, like Brindavan garden. But, well maintained unlike Brindavan garden. Could spot the usual Aquarium, Deer park, Bhel and Samosa corner like everyother garden.

The TBDam is right on NH13, so, out from parking lot and continued on NH13. As usual Trucks, Trucks and Trucks... Poking headlights, huge reflectors mounted on them, unregistered chassis, Dhabas and amazingly designed Petrol bunks. I had thought, NHs would have street lights, like our SH. Never ever did I spot one. Driving was not only risky, but dangerous too; couldn't even dare to think of the music system work. You could see broken and tumbled trucks every now and then. The only thing that occured to me was the movie ROAD!! Although not appreciated by most, I loved it! Vivek, Antara, a Tata Safari on a road, is what ROAD is all about. :-)

Adding to this was a railway crossing. Oops....Trucks lined up for Kilometers togeather, we were lost(I should have opted for a Scorpio or Safari). Finally, courtesy some drivers, we crossed and escaped.

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