Thursday, August 20, 2009

Lepakshi - I

After we driving to Badami, Aihole, Pattadakal & Hampi last season, we were planning Lepakshi for  sometime now. We had the following 2 choice.

Mysore - Bangalore - Kolar - Gauribidanur - Lepakshi
Mysore - Tumkur - Madhugiri - Gauribidanur - Lepakshi

Gauribidanur and Lepakshi are bordering towns of Karnataka and Andra Pradesh respectively. The first one was dropped for obvious reasons (read - aversion towards living & driving in Bangalore, while away from work).

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The drive to Tumkur is very unlike driving through the Mysore - Bangalore, SH17. Good roads surrounded by crops, Temples, Villages, Lakes & Rivers - a real pleasure in itself.

Sunset at a lake near Adichunchanagiri

Soon we were driving to Gauribidanur via Madhugiri.

Madhugiri Hill and Fort

Some festival celebrations were in progress at the temple there. Hundreds of people had gathered there with offerings. The offerings were unusual - Hen, Lamb, Sheep and Goat is what we saw. Gosh! such scary sight it was. Within minutes there a huge pile of heads of assorted animals and not to mention a puddle of blood. Such a bloody sight it was. While i type this, I think why I didn't dare to click pictures?!? But, I could really never dare then.

Gopura of the Temple at Madhugiri

Offerings being made (above) and people preparing for the cart festival (below)

Trishula on a Tortoise - at some Lakshmi temple en-route

Gauribidanur is the last town in Karnataka, we'll have to converse through this before entering the neighboring state of Andra Pradesh to reach Lepakshi.

`Vidurashwatha` is a small village located in the Gauribidanur taluk of Kolar district in the state of Karnataka. The name Vidurashwatha is derived from that of a big Ashwatha(Ficus religiosa) tree located in this village. According to a legend of the times of Mahabharata, this tree was planted by Vidura. This place has a very famous temple dedicated to the Naga Devatha (Snake God). Hundreds and Thousands of people have performed prathishtapana of the Naga stone in an attempt of fulfilling the wishes.

A lady worshiping at the Ant Hill

This place is know for Monkey menace, which are always harping at people in an attempt to get something to eat.

Not sure why, but I found it very unusual to find such hoardings everywhere in the place. It reads, 'Child marriage is prohibited'. 'Dowry is an evil practice'.

While I publish this, something quickly flashes. Are these practices because of the this Town's vicinity to Andra Pradesh??

The typical Bangle sellers found throughout the Town

A leap from here and you are inside Andra Pradesh.....

PS : We were equipped with hardly any food as we were living at a friends farm house; except for some light snacks. We had reached Kolar a few mins after Breakfast and so, food was never given a thought. Except for some KaDale Puri (puffed rice) at Vidurashwatha, we did not find anything to eat at all. Its even worse once you cross the Karnataka border. The merciless Sun and lack of food. All water bottles were empty by evening. Finally, we managed to find a haunted house which housed a Telephone booth and sold Maaza (warm drink, with exorbitant prices!). Kolar - 'The politically active town' was active that day too as always. Most businesses were closed. None the open Hotels/Darshini's seemed fit, for a visit. So, managed to find a decent Bakery. Only to drive home with the worst Traveler's Diarrhea of a life time!

Next --> Lepakshi - II

Wednesday, August 12, 2009


Last December a leisure discussion is what led to a long drive to Golden Temple at Vellore.

The route was quickly decided : Mysore -> Bangalore -> Hosur -> Vellore -> Kanipakam -> Bangalore -> Mysore

Since the focus was on good roads and long drive, we decided to enter Tamil Nadu via Hosur and exit via Andra Pradesh to reach Bangalore back.

While the drive through Electronic City, Bangalore was inevitable, we were soon blessed with wide-no-traffic roads. It was pure bliss driving this stretch in the fading evening light. An awesome stretch without cross roads, a Petrol Pump or even a Tea Shop.

It was 7:45PM while we reach the Golden Temple at Sripuram. Sripuram is a small village and only now has started drawing attention.

For reasons unknown, the Auto-cop failed to work in the parking lot (I was just equipped with one). The last batch is allowed to enter the temple at 8PM, and we were still at the parking lot trying to fix the Auto-cop. Cellphone, Wallets, Camera nothing at all is allowed in, except yourself. And the only place to store all valuables was the Car, and there we had a Auto-cop failure. 5 mins to 8, we found that the central locking was functional, quickly relied upon that and rushed towards the Temple.

It was 8.02PM, and they denied entry. It took a while explaining them that, we had come a long way.... blah blah blah, in English, Kannada, Hindi and Tamil. The last thing they heard was that we were from Mysore. They said, "Oooooh Mysore, we thought Bangalore. Get in get in". Now what is that supposed to mean ...??...

Photography is prohibited. So, this is inet ppt for those interested souls.


Expands over one hundred acres.
About 1.5 tons of gold has been used!!
The temple is dedicated to Goddess Lakshmi.

You'll have to walk the star shaped path which would take at least an hour, to reach the temple. The temple sits in the middle of a pond. The glittering richness makes for a splendid view at night.

The Prasadam served at the exit was heavenly. There is a Kanchipuram Saree showroom and a Gold Souk too for the interested souls.

The next morning we stopped by quickly at the Vellore fort and then drove towards Vallimalai. A beautiful temple on a small hillock. Its said that this is where Lord Karthikeya - son of Shiva and Parvathi, fell in love with Valli. (he has 2 wives, Valli and Devayani).

Ooooh, those love stories are very interesting...

A mantap at the center of the pond at the foot of Vellimalai

Temple at the top of the hillock.

A Pond full of Lotus at the top of the hill

Its a bliss walking around

The young lad in the pic below was our guide. His name was something which we never got to understand or pronounce even after a dozen attempts.

The walk down the hill....

Kaanipakam located in the Chittoor district of Andra Pradesh has a temple dedicated to Lord Ganesha. This had to visited after visiting Lord Subramanya.

And a looooong drive back.

Something I found really unusual was the Toll fee. We had easily spent around INR 135, from entering TN and before exiting into AP. Isn't that exorbitant?!?!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Jaipur - Day 2 - Amber Fort

Previous posts in the series :

Jaipur day - 1
Jaipur day - 2.1
Jaipur day - 2.2

This would be my last Jaipur post in the series.

This magnificent fort-palace is 11km North of Jaipur. We took a bus from Hawa Mahal to Amber Fort (pronounced 'Amer'). Its always fun traveling in those crowded public transports filled with locals with colorful attire. The bus quickly passed by Jal Mahal.

Jal Mahal is a Rajput style Palace on water, which sits at the centre of Mansagar lake. Since it was post monsoon the lake was flourished with water hyacinths. Its said to be build during 18th century for royal Duck shooting parties. Presently with 4 floors submerged under water and just one floor above, its abandoned but preserved. We were however not sure of the causeway which would lead to the palace.

Soon we were at Amber the ancient capital of Jaipur. Its a easy 20min climb uphill. You also can opt for Jeep or a even a Elephant ride for a quick ascent, but, at a hefty price if you are a tourist.

The afternoon sun was merciless. Adding to that the was the burning stoned pathway. Friends cursing, but, the travel freak in simply enjoyed this.

There were houses along, and families involved in making the quilts. And not sure if these were put out for display or for drying.

Finally the view of the fort.

The city as seen from Amber Fort.

The pond at the foot of the hill, as seen from a opening at the fort.

The palace enclosure on entering the fort.

Sheesh Mahal full of Mirrors. Absolutely stunning structure.

On one of the pillars of Sheesh Mahal.

Ganesh Pol which provided passage to inner and private royal enclosures.

The view from behind the palace. If you are observant you can spot a number of Peacocks and Peahens there. Waaaow...

The west side...

Some interesting looking locks adored the huge doors of the fortress.

The Modern Art gallery inside Amber Fort.

It was Sunset time, calm, cool and pleasant when we decided to descend.

Saturday, August 01, 2009

Jaipur - Day 2 contd.

Previous >> Jaipur Day 2

Every new city would interest the travel freak in me. The city, its people, local cuisine, architecture, monuments, museums, are somethings which I instantly start adoring. I become a part of all these during the short stay. But then at the end, our home is the sweetest.

As we exit the City Palace, we saw a vendor selling some fruits. It looked unseen and unknown. I instantly wanted to try them. We approached him and asked him what it was. He said, 'Paani Phal' (loosely translating to water fruit). He peeled and gave us some to taste. It tasted something in between Watermelon and Custard Apple. We bought quarter kilo before we walked towards Jantar Mantar, which is just diagonally opposite to the Palace. We bought a entry ticket to Jantar Mantar (there were plenty of guides, but we weren't interested) and settled down under a shady tree for the Pani Phal.

The scorching sun had drained us enough. The Pani Phal, a shady tree, leisure talk and some snacks. Not long and a team of students arrived, and you can guess how noisy and crowded the place suddenly turned.

We just walked around ever structure.

There was this temple below a tree - a lamp pole, a pathway and a Bench. One of my favorites. Such splendid it seemed.

All these huge geometric structures were interesting pieces. But, I wanted to give my brain some rest and just look at it aesthetically.

Our next destination, Amer fort as seen from Jantar Mantar.

And we walk through the exit. I have an instant gratification for blue. These structures are painted in pink and blue.

While we lazily walked down, I suddenly saw these coutless number of Pigeons near this well. Wow! I remember seeing such numbers only in DDLJ. I utterly love these human friendly creatures. And how badly I wanted to see them from DDLJ days. Buy the time I visited the Trafalgar Square at London (13yrs after DDLJ!), Ken Livingstone had already banned feeding Pigeon and I didn't even see one Pigeon at the square. Aaah, and now finally I did here at Jaipur.

Stood there for quite a while, i really didn't wanted to move on. You ought to ask friends who where there along to know how elated I was and how I reacted on seeing them.

And we walk down the Hawa Mahal road, to take a Bus to Amer Fort.

You are bound to see those colorful shawls, salwars, duppatas, bags, colorful umbrellas, Jaipur slippers, quilts, gems, stones and all bric-a-bac throughout the city.....

Next >> Jaipur - Amber Fort

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