Bandra to Churchgate, Vada Pav, Sugarcane Juice = I am in Mumbai

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Panorama view of Gate Way of India and Taj

Twenty four hours train journey in Udyan Experess was about to end at the destination at exactly eight o’clock on Sunday.  The train was slowing down; it was just one-minute stop at the Dadar railway station.  Passengers were jam packed at the exit door of train to get down.  And yes, it was not a smooth exit for Kiran and me, as we struck in the middle of the compartment with our luggage.  Within a minute, Dadar railway station was packed with thousands of people who just got down from the train.  Train almost became empty and continued its journey towards Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus (CST) railway station.  It was a sea of people at the railway station and the foot over bridge was packed with heavy crowd with no place to climb!  We both stood aside for some time and started sweating.  After waiting for two minutes and having climbed the foot over bridge we got the first-view of our financial capital of India – Mumbai.  Our first sight was huge concrete buildings, multicolor flashing advertising boards, and crowded local market in front of us on a foot over bridge!  It’s our first few minute experience of this city, Mumbai.

Next day morning at exactly half past six we were at Bandra local railway station.  For every six minutes, local trains were transiting Bandra. The train ticket was printed with message that, we can travel in any of these trains to our destination within an hour of  the purchase.  Our journey started with Mumbai’s iconic local train from Bandra to Churchgate, which is the last local station towards the south of Mumbai.  I was in Mumbai to appear for an interview at Tata Institute of Fundamental Research Center (TIFR) for a research fellowship.  By default, our first visit in Mumbai was TIFR Campus.  Having reached the campus one hour early, we had enough time to see the campus.  The campus sits right in the middle of Indian Navy area at Colaba.  The area is called Navy Nagar.  The neat white markings, with  proper sign boards on both side of the Homi Baba road, clean-neat foot paths with less number of people walking, no shops around and an old Afghan Church was the signature of this defense area.  We both spent almost three forth of our valuable day to finish my interview at the campus.  TIFR campus was beautiful in its geographical location.   It is just next to the waters of Arabian Sea and the view of sea from campus main building makes everyone very relaxed and calm.  Undoubtedly, one of the beautiful research centers in India.  Of course we did not have permission to see laboratories and other facilities, so we roamed the entire campus by admiring its beauty. Last but not the least, we did not forget to fill our appetite at the well maintained and air conditioned canteen of TIFR!

Our next visit was to a place where King George V and Queen Marry came to India on the second of December in the year 1911.  To commemorate the landing of the king and the queen at this place, British constructed this monument in Indo-Saracenic style and is now very popularly known as Gate Way of India.  Bombay was the name given by the Portuguese who were the first intruders to India before the British.  When they reached this place they said ‘bom-bay’, which means ‘good-bay’ (good harbor) in their language.  Even today, Mumbai houses its harbor in this place.  Gate Way of India stands with the memory of Indian Independence time.  It is at this place British ended their rule in India.  After independence, the last Governor General of the British and his soldiers left India from this place.  Swami Vevekananda went on his historic voyage to Chicago from this very place.  Truly, ‘Gate Way of India’ is one of the symbols of Indian History. Even today, Mumbaikers use this place to spread peace, joy and brotherhood to the entire world.  The hundred year old heritage wing of Taj Mahal hotel adds another feather to this place and makes one of the iconic architectural signatures of Mumbai.  Kiran and I, took a bus from TIFR and got down two kilometers before Gate Way of India.  We both walked on the Shaeed Bagath Singh road experiencing Mumbai’s traffic and having glimpse of other old buildings.  Finally, we reached Gate Way of India through local roads.

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Taj Mahal Hotel (Both heritage and new wing)

Our walking did not stop even though the Sun was brutal on two Bangaloreans.  We both are in our unusual formal dress because of my interview.  It was horrible to walk in formals under the heat of sun, yet we wanted to explore the city.  The place where ‘Gate Way of India’ is located can be called as the heart of city.  When Portuguese came, they started colonizing Bombay right from this place because of the beautiful harbor they have.  And later British followed the same plan and they also implemented local trains to Bombay.  The then Bombay started to grow right from this place towards North.  The streets, circles, Indo-Saracenic architectural buildings such as Mumbai high court, Chatrapathi Shivaji Museum, Western railway head quarters at this place reflects the period of old Bombay.  Navi Mumbai located almost fifty kilometers away from this place, where you can see Mumbai Metro rail, Mono rail and other recent developments.  Even though you don’t find Metro in South Mumbai, yet it is one of the developed and highly populated cities of India.  After looking at the statue on Chatrapathi Shivaji marg, I suddenly realized that we are standing on the land of Maratha ruler Chatrapathi Shivaji. Chatrapathi Shivaji was the famous seventeenth century Indian warrior king, who ruled Maratha Kingdom efficiently with his administrative and military skills.  Most of the old buildings, a museum, a railway station and an airport at Mumbai were named after him.

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Taking a local train to Marine Line railway station, we reached another signature landmark of Mumbai called Marine Drive.  Almost all the Indian movies and foreign movies which showcase Mumbai will have a scene of Marine Drive.  The beach is very shallow and curvy here.  A four kilometer double road with neat foot paths adjacent to the curved beach adds to the beauty.  Morning and evening walks along this beach are a pride for Mumbaikers as well as tourists.  With street illuminated at night, this place looks magical to the eye.  Kiran and I reached this place at the perfect time!  Evening reddish  sky and cumulative clouds are reflecting in the vast Arabian Sea.  Sun was about set- a perfect framed shot for a photographer.  Over to the camera now….

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Next, we got down at Lower Parel railway station.  Twilight was fading out, here and there advertising neon lights and corporate buildings light was flashing.  After satisfying our dehydrated bodies with sugarcane juice, we headed out to the local market.  Beside Lower Parel railway station life was different.  A slum with a local market selling everything you can imagine, people buying things, eating what they want and children from slums roaming the market and a crowd of people running to catch a local train. This was the real life at this place.  Seeing everything at once was full chaos- a real Mumbai.  Just the other side of the road, huge corporate office building with beautiful sign boards, branded showrooms and a pool of Benz, BMW, Audi cars – a posh Mumbai.  Mumbai is a home to almost all kinds of people no matter whether they are rich or poor.  Our agenda is to finish our dinner in the local market.  We tasted variety of chats and their masalas in different shops and drank fruit juices until we satisfied our stomach.  Our other agenda is to walk from the local market to Worli to see the Bandra-Worli Sea Link Bridge,  country’s unique bridge.  The total distance was two and half kilometers and we had enough energy to walk.  Exploring the streets of Mumbai at night is really fun and we are ready for it.

Bandra-Worli sea link bridge was the first of its kind in the country.  It is a cable bridge across Arabian Sea linking Bandra and Worli.  Five kilometers bridge looks very beautiful from far.  My camera and tripod were busy in taking snaps of this beautiful landscape.  We were enjoying our precious time at this place but were suddenly caught by the Mumbai lady police who were in plain clothes.  We were interrogated for fifteen minutes about whereabouts.  And one lady police scanned all the marks cards and degree certificates from my file.  Even TIFR officials did not verify my documents so much, but Mumbai police did!  After all the document verification was done, they told us photography is strictly prohibited here and not to take any photos.  There are no sign boards displaying photography is prohibited, and when asked about this the two lady police did not have an answer.  They called higher officials and confirmed existing of this rule.  How on earth, we both would know that photography is prohibited at this place without a proper notice board.  We insisted them to put a notice board here, so that it helps other tourists and then left the place.  To our surprise both lady police told not to delete the photos that we have already taken!!  We took a joy ride on India’s first cable bridge by Mumbai city taxi.  Drive along this bridge was awesome but this joy ride also flattened our wallets.

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Bandra-Worli Sea link bridge

On Tuesday morning we were standing at Bandra local railway station with hundreds of passengers, who were heading towards their offices.  It was a peak hour crowd at the station.  Every six minutes, train comes and halts for 10 seconds.  We both were looking all around the station, nearly thousand people used to get into the train and the same amounts of people were getting down.  All compartments were crowded heavily in such a way that there is no place to stand even at the door.  People who got down from the train were never walking, instead they were running.  Kiran suddenly said, “Mumbai never walks, it only runs.”  For south Indians, especially for Bangaloreans these are unseen visuals, yet it is normal life in Mumbai.  That’s how Mumbikers live in Mumbai.  Metallic foot over bridges are another interesting part of Mumbikers life.  Typically, a foot over bridge in Bangalore can take you from one side of the road to other.  But here the story is different; you can walk on foot over bridge for a half a kilometer and even more at some places.  All foot over bridge end at local railway stations.  Millions of people use these bridges every day.  What we observed is that the default friction-pads of metallic surface on which people walk, have completely become shiny surfaces.  The city’s civic body has welded extra friction-pads to the metallic surfaces to give friction while walking!  Only in Mumbai these kind of strange things are seen.  Kiran asked me a question, “How to travel in this crowded train?”  I told him, “It’s very simple. Just stand in the crowd, they will push you in and whenever you want to get down come near to the door they will push you out.”  It’s very easy to travel in Mumbai’s crowded trains.  Today we are heading towards the country’s oldest railway station known as Chatrapathi Shivaji Terminus (CST).

Chatrapathi Shivaji Terminus is hundred year old railway station in India.  This was built by Britsh to remember the golden jubilee of the Queen Victoria in the year 1887.  It was known as Victoria Terminus but in 1996 it was renamed as Chatrapahti Shivaji Terminus (CST).  The architecture of this monument is in the Gothic-revival style.  It was built for a railway station which had the head quarters of Indian Peninsular Railway during British rule and even after hundred years it still a working railway station and also the countries busiest railway station.  CST hoses both local and national trains.  This beautiful building also has the tag of UNESCO heritage site.  CST was also the victim brutal terrorist attack of 26/11, but no harm done to the heritage building during the attack.

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Chatrapathi Shivaji Terminus (UNESCO Heritage site)

Last night we both were in formals and today we became locals.  We started our journey by walk under the hot Sun after having lime juice near Azad Maidan.  We passed by Hazarimal Somani road, M.G.Road and halted near the Flora fountain which reminded us of Avenue road in Bangalore.  Yes, it’s Books!  We scanned through all the books at the stores. Kiran started searching for some exotic books and purchased few of them.  Flora fountain is also one of the architectural monuments in south Bombay.  It was erected in the year 1864 to honor the Bartle Frere who was the governor of Bombay.  It was named after Greek goddess, Flora.  Hutatma Chowk is another landmark located beside flora fountain.  It was built in the memory of members of Samyukta Maharastra Samithi who lost their  lives during the police attack on their peaceful demonstration.  The area around this place is also called as Fort Area.  This place is also famous for many other reasons.  Within a radius of one kilometer, nearly twenty eight bank’s head quarters buildings can be found!  Some of the bank buildings have unique architectures.  Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE) at Dalal Street sits right at this place.  It’s the heart of India’s financial transactions.  And for the people who work in this area, their language would be just money.  Sun has already dehydrated the lime juice we consumed and now it is time for sugarcane juice.  Mumbai’s heat was unbearable for two of us.  Sugarcane juice has almost become water for us; we drank sugarcane juice almost at every junction while walking. Later in the evening Kiran’s stomach gave a push, and then he started suspecting the sugarcane juice he had and stopped drinking further!

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Kiran with Books!
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Banks with Bombay Stock Exchage
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Bombay Stock Exchage

Sun was over head, and the clock was showing twelve o’clock.  It’s a perfect time to see Mumbai Dabba Walas at Churchgate railway station.  On the way to Churchgate station we spotted a Parsi temple.  Kiran told me, only parsis can enter this temple.  Mumbai has many parsi temple at different parts of the city and the one at fort area is the oldest of all which is three hundred years old.  Due to last night Mumbai police attack on us, we almost stopped our photography.  I feel an SLR camera connected to a tripod is the problem to Mumbai police.  Unfortunately, we did not have a normal point and shoot camera.  We just saw the temple from outside and suddenly spotted dabbas and cycles of Dabbawalas beside the road.  It was a hundred year old practice of delivering food to the customers office from their homes.  Dabbawalas collect the filled lunch dabbas (food containers) from homes and deliver it to the workplaces on time, and then they return  dabbas to home. Their mode of transport is just carts and cycles. Their unique dress code of white pajamas and white Ghandi Cap distinguishes them from common public. Their services were uninterrupted by any strike or harsh day of monsoon from the last hundred years! Only in 2011, during Anna Hazare campaign against corruption in Mumbai, they went on a day’s strike.  Except this, nothing stopped them in hundred years!  They can be spotted at many places of Mumbai during lunch time.

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Dabbawalas at Churchgate Railway Station
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Dabbawalas cycle with hooks

Seeing dabba walas with their dabbas (food containers), our stomachs started making noise.  It’s now time to taste Mumbai’s Biriyani at Bendi Bazar, which is a like a typical K.R.Market area of Bangalore.  Most of the people who live in Bendi Bazar  belong to Muslim community. Obviously, they make very good Biriyanis and lot of famous hotel can be found at this place.  One person in bus suggested us to go to Noor Mahammadi hotel to have good biriyani at decent price.  Well, what else you need for an empty stomach.  We had chicken biriyani along with Sanju’s chikken curry, a recipe from Bollywood actor Sanjay Datt.  Both dishes were very tasty and satisfied our stomach to the full.  Having gained full energy with good non-vegetarian lunch, we started our afternoon journey on an iconic Mumbai double-decker bus.  It was a joy ride for us and the bus passed by Marine Drive, Mantralayam (Mumbai’s Vidhana Soudha) and Back Bay fishing yard.  One more interesting fact of Mumbai is that except the classy cars of corporate world, all city taxies and government buses uses CNG as fuel.  To our surprise, we could hardly find any bikes on road.  Bike users in south Mumbai are almost zero.  This drastically reduces the amount of pollution in a city like Mumbai.  We know how Bangalore is polluted with vehicles, but here everything is under control.  Majority of Mubaiker’s life line transport is local trains, which runs on electricity!

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Mumbai’s iconic Double Decker Bus

Mahalakshmi local railway station is just three stops from Churchgate station.  Just beside Mahalakshmi station, Mumbai houses world’s largest ‘Washing Machine’!  Yes it’s the world’s largest Dhobi Ghat (Laundry space) attached to a slum.  A fly over beside the station will give a perfect view of Dhobi Ghat.  It sits right under the shadow of corporate world sky scrapers and apartments of Mumbai.  Everyday lot of foreigners visit this fly over just to have a glimpse of the world’s largest Dhobi Ghat.  Again sugarcane juice comes to the rescue to beat Sun’s heat while walking.  We walked along Mumbai’s race course and reached Nehru Science Center, which includes a Planetarium.  Unfortunately, before we reached the place, the last show was already running and so we could not attend the show.  Science center also had museum in the campus.  After a brief visit to museum, we sealed off our one and half day package of Mumbai.  We headed back to the place where we stayed to catch the train to Bangalore.

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Dhobi Ghat of Mumbai

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Our stay in Mumbai was at a crowded place near Bandra station.  Almost at all time we saw huge crowds outside the station along with series of autos piling up making traffic jam, stinking garbage besides the slum dwellers.  This is a common scene at Bandra station.  We stayed at IRCTC retiring room facility at the newly constructed and well maintained Bandra Terminus station, which is just a kilometer from Bandra local station.  And yes, when you are in Mumbai you cannot forget the favorite dish of Mubaikers Vada Pav.  We tasted Vada Pav at different parts of the city and even in our train journey.  We saw people eating Vada Pav in local trains, buses, while walking on foot paths and at many places.  It’s one of the famous traditional foods of Mumbai and is available at all parts of Mumbai.  Before coming back to Bangalore, I renamed this dish as “Mumbai’s Burger!”

India Gate 3 copyMumbai is a city of many signatures and a place which can take you back into history.  When a train halts at Mumbai, thousands of people pool into the city aspiring of their future here.  It’s a home to almost all kinds of people.  Country’s biggest apartments, multi-storied individual residences, beautiful corporate building and the largest slum of Asia, all have their address as Mumbai.  It’s a city which is carefully packed with rich as well as poor at the same place!  And yes, it is also the home to the world’s richest cinema industry known as Bollywood and also the financial capital of India.  You cannot explain Mumbai through words; you can only experience it.  We stayed only for two days in this city and out of these only one and half day we were able to wander the city (only south Mumbai).  Right from the Mumbai Police, we experienced most of Mumbai’s life.  If you ask me to choose the best experience in Mumbai, I will choose local trains of Mumbai.  For me Mumbai local trains are the nerves of Mumbai’s brain.  For Mumbaikers, local trains help them travel from one part of the city to other in a faster way, but for outsiders, this journey reflects the life of Mumbai.  In this journey, you can see joy, young love, business, poor people, student life, office life, jam packed ladies compartment and a very calm foot board lady travelers etc., -Absolutely amazing! And you cannot see these scenes everywhere in India except in Mumbai.  We missed many important places in Mumbai, yet our experience of Mumbai is not small.  Mumbai is a magical city.  In my view, “tourists visited Mumbai” is wrong.  It’s the other way; Mumbai makes tourists visit it!  I am waiting for my second trip to Mumbai.

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Flora fountain, Center of south Mumbai

Date of Visit: 24th and 25th of March 2014
Kiran M and Viswa Keerthy S

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Viswa Keerthy S
05/04/2014.

ನಾಡ ಹಬ್ಬ ದಸರಾ ನೋಡಿದೆನೋ..!

ಜಗತ್ಪ್ರಸಿದ್ದ ವಿಜಯನಗರ ಸಾಮ್ರಾಜ್ಯದ ವೈಭವದ ದಸರಾ ಮಹೋತ್ಸವವನ್ನು ಹಂಪಿಯ ಮಹಾನವಮಿ ದಿಬ್ಬದಿಂದ ಸಾಂಸ್ಕೃತಿಕ ನಗರಕ್ಕೆ (ಮೈಸೂರು) ತಂದವರು ಮೈಸೂರು ರಾಜವಂಶಸ್ಥರು.  ನಾಲ್ಕು ನೂರು ವರ್ಷಗಳ ಸಾಂಸ್ಕೃತಿಕ ಇತಿಹಾಸವಿರುವ ಈ ಹಬ್ಬವನ್ನು ಅಂದಿನಿಂದ ಇಂದಿನವರೆಗೂ ಅದ್ದೂರಿಯಾಗಿ ಆಚರಿಸಲಾಗುತ್ತಿದೆ.  ಅಖಂಡ ಕರ್ನಾಟಕವಾಗಿರುವ ಈಗಿನ ಕರ್ನಾಟಕದಲ್ಲಿ ದಸರಾ  ಮಹೋತ್ಸವ ನಾಡ ಹಬ್ಬವಾಗಿದೆ.  ಕನ್ನಡ ನಾಡಿನ ಜನರ ಸಂಸ್ಕೃತಿ, ಸಾಹಿತ್ಯ, ಕಲೆ, ದೇಸಿ ಕ್ರೀಡೆ, ಮತ್ತು ಪ್ರೀತಿ-ವಾತ್ಸಲ್ಯವನ್ನು ಪ್ರಪಂಚಕ್ಕೆ ಪ್ರತಿಬಿಂಬಿಸುವ ನಾಡ ಹಬ್ಬ ದಸರಾ.  ಈ ಹಬ್ಬವನ್ನು ಕಂಡ ಯಾರಿಗಾದರೂ, ಬೆಲೆ ಕಟ್ಟಲಾಗದ ನಮ್ಮ ಸಂಸ್ಕೃತಿಯ ಹಿರಿಮೆ ಎಷ್ಟು ದೊಡ್ಡದು ಎಂದು ತಿಳಿಯುವುದರಲ್ಲಿ ಸಂದೇಹವಿಲ್ಲ.  ಇಂತಹ ನಾಡಿನಲ್ಲಿ ಹುಟ್ಟಿರುವ ನಾವೆಲ್ಲರೂ ನಿಜವಾಗಲೂ ಧನ್ಯರು.  ನಾಡ ಹಬ್ಬ ದಸರಾ ಬಗ್ಗೆ ಒಂದು ಸಣ್ಣ ಕವಿತೆ ನನ್ನ ಪದಗಳಲ್ಲಿ…

“ಚಿನ್ನದಂಬಾರಿಯ ಚೆಂದದ ಚಾಮುಂಡಿ ನೋಡಿದೆನೋ
ಅನೆದಿಂಡುಗಳ ವಜ್ರ ಕವಛವ ನೋಡಿದೆನೋ 
ನಕ್ಷತ್ರದಿಂದೊಳೆವ ಅಂದದ ಅರಮನೆ ನೋಡಿದೆನೋ 
ಸಂಗೀತ, ಸಾಹಿತ್ಯದ ರಸ ಅನುಭವ  ತಿಳಿಯಿತೇನೋ
ಜನ ಮನಗಳ ನಮ್ಮ ಸಂಸ್ಕೃತಿ ಅರಿಯಿತೇನೋ
ವೈಭವದ ನಾಡ ಹಬ್ಬ ದಸರಾ ನೋಡಿದೆನೋ.”

ಇದನ್ನು ನಾನು 2002 ರಲ್ಲಿ (ಎಂಟನೇ ತರಗತಿ) ಬರೆದದ್ದು.
ವೈಭವದ ದಸರಾ ಜಂಬೂ ಸವಾರಿಯನ್ನು ನಾನು ಮೊದಲ ಬಾರಿ ಕಂಡದ್ದು 2011ರಲ್ಲಿ.  ನನ್ನ ಸ್ನೇಹಿತರೊಂದಿಗೆ ಮೈಸೂರಿಗೆ ಹೋಗಿ ಜಂಬೂ ಸವಾರಿ ನೋಡಿದ್ದೇ,  ಹಾಗೆ ಹೋದಾಗ ತೆಗೆದ ಕೆಲವು ಆಯ್ದ ಚಿತ್ರಗಳು ಇಲ್ಲಿವೆ.

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2011ರಲ್ಲಿ ನಮ್ಮ ತಂಡ (ಎಡಗಡೆಯಿಂದ: ತಿಲಕ್, ದೀಪಕ್, ನವೀನ, ವಿಶ್ವ ತೇಜ, ನವೀನ)

ಈಗಿನ ದಸರಾ 403ನೇ ವರ್ಷದ ಮಹೋತ್ಸವ.  ಜ್ಞಾನಪೀಠ ಪ್ರಶಸ್ತಿ ಪುರಸ್ಕೃತ  ಡಾ. ಚಂದ್ರಶೇಖರ ಕಂಬಾರರು ಈ ವರ್ಷದ ಮಹೋತ್ಸವವನ್ನು ಉದ್ಘಾಟಿಸಲಿದ್ದಾರೆ.  ಸಾದ್ಯವಾದರೆ ಮೈಸೂರಿಗೆ ಹೋಗಿ ನೋಡಿ ಬನ್ನಿ.

ಎಲ್ಲರಿಗೂ ದಸರಾ ಹಬ್ಬದ ಹಾರ್ಥಿಕ ಶುಭಾಶಯಗಳು.


-ವಿಶ್ವಕೀರ್ತಿ ಎಸ್.
03/10/2013

“ಕವಿಶೈಲ”ದಲ್ಲೊಂದು ಸುತ್ತು…

ಬಹಳ ತಿಂಗಳಿಂದ ನನಗೊಂದು ಮಹಾದಾಸೆ ಇತ್ತು.  ಅದೇನೆಂದರೆ ಕುಪ್ಪಳಿಗೆ ಹೋಗಿ ಕವಿಮನೆ ಮತ್ತು ಕವಿಶೈಲ ದಲ್ಲಿ ಓಡಾಡಿಕೊಂಡು ಬರಬೇಕು ಅಂತ.  ಎಸ್ಟೋ ಸಾರಿ ಕುಪ್ಪಳಿಗೆ ಹೊಗೋದಕ್ಕೆ ತಯಾರಿ ಮಾಡಿಕೊಂಡರೂ, ಕೊನೆಯಲ್ಲಿ ವೈಯಕ್ತಿಕ ಕಾರಣಗಳಿಂದ ಪ್ರವಾಸ ಮುರಿದುಬಿಳುತಿತ್ತು.  ಕೊನೆಗೆ ನಾನು ನನ್ನ ಸ್ನೇಹಿತ ಕಿರಣ್, ಏನಾದರೂ ಆಗಲಿ ಈ ವಾರ ಶಿವಮೊಗ್ಗಕ್ಕೆ ಪ್ರವಾಸ ಹೋಗಲೇಬೇಕು ಎಂದುಕೊಂಡು, ಎರಡು ದಿನದ ಮಟ್ಟಕ್ಕೆ ಶಿವಮೊಗ್ಗದ ನಕಾಶೆ ತಯಾರು ಮಾಡಿ, ಅದರಲ್ಲಿ ಕುಪ್ಪಳಿಗೆ ಅರ್ದ ದಿನ ಮೀಸಲಿಟ್ಟು ಪ್ರವಾಸಕ್ಕೆ ಹೊರಟೆವು.

IMG_0530
ನಮ್ಮ ಶಿವಮೊಗ್ಗದ ನಕಾಶೆ

ತೀರ್ಥಹಳ್ಳಿಹಿಂದ ಕೇವಲ ಹದಿನೈದು ಕಿಲೋಮೀಟರ್ ಕೊಪ್ಪ ಮಾರ್ಗವಾಗಿ ಹೋದರೆ ಕುಪ್ಪಳಿ ಕ್ರಾಸ್ ಸಿಗುತ್ತದೆ.  ಅಲ್ಲಿಂದ ಎರಡು ಕಿಲೋಮೀಟರ್ ಒಳಗೆ ನೆಡೆದುಕೊಂಡು ಹೋದರೆ ಕುಪ್ಪಳಿ ಸಿಗುತ್ತದೆ.  ಇಲ್ಲಿಯೇ ಇರುವುದು ರಾಷ್ಟ್ರಕವಿ ಕುವೆಂಪುರವರು ತಮ್ಮ ಹದಿನೈದು ವರ್ಷದ ಬಾಲ್ಯವನ್ನು ಕಳೆದ ಮನೆ ಮತ್ತು ಅವರಿಗೆ ಅತ್ಯಂತ ಪ್ರಿಯವಾದ, ತಮ್ಮ ಎಲ್ಲಾ ಮಹಾಕಾವ್ಯ, ಕಾದಂಬರಿ, ಪದ್ಯಗಳಿಗೆ ಸ್ಪೂರ್ತಿ ಕೊಟ್ಟ ಕವಿಶೈಲ ಸ್ಥಳ.

IMG_9973
ಕುಪ್ಪಳ್ಳಿಯ ತಿರುವು

ಪ್ರಪಂಚದ ಹದಿನೆಂಟು ಜೀವ ವೈವಿದ್ಯದ ತಾಣದಲ್ಲಿ ಒಂದಾದ ಸ್ಥಳ ಸಹ್ಯಾದ್ರಿ ಬೆಟ್ಟ, ಅದರ ತಪ್ಪಲಲ್ಲೆ ಇರುವುದು ಕುವೆಂಪುರವರ ಬಾಲ್ಯ ಕಳೆದ ಮನೆ, ಈಗ “ಕವಿಮನೆ” ಯಾಗಿದೆ.  ಇನ್ನೂರು ವರ್ಷ ಹಳೆಯದಾದ ಮನೆಯು, ಮಲೆನಾಡಿನ ಒಬ್ಬ ಜಮೀನ್ದಾರನ ಮನೆಯ ತರಹ ಇದೆ.  ಮಲೆನಾಡಿನ ಸೌಂದರ್ಯವನ್ನು ತನ್ನ ಒಡಲಲ್ಲೆ ಇನ್ನೂರು ವರ್ಷ ಇಟ್ಟುಕೊಂಡಿದ್ದ ಈ ಮನೆಯು ಎಂತವರನ್ನು ಏನನ್ನು ಮಾತನಾಡಿಸದೆ ತನ್ನ ಕಡೆಗೆ ದಿಟ್ಟಿಸುವಂತೆ ಮಾಡುತ್ತದೆ.  ಇಂತಹ ಮನೆಯಲ್ಲಿ ಬೆಳೆದ ಬಾಲ್ಯ ಕುವೆಂಪು ತನ್ನ ಮನೆಯ ಬಗ್ಗೆ ಅವರೇ ಬರೆದಿರುವ ಕಾವ್ಯ, ಅವರ ಈ ಮನೆಯ ಒಡನಾಟ ಎಷ್ಟಿತ್ತೆಂಬುದನ್ನು ಕಣ್ಣಮುಂದೆ ತರಿಸುತ್ತದೆ.

IMG_0029
ತನ್ನ ಮನೆಯ ಬಗ್ಗೆ ಬರೆದಿರುವ ಕವಿತೆ

ರಾಷ್ಟ್ರಕವಿ ಕುವೆಂಪು ಪ್ರತಿಷ್ಟಾನವು ಈ ಮನೆಯನ್ನು, ಅದರ ಮೂಲ ವಿನ್ಯಾಸಕ್ಕೆ ಹಾಳಾಗದಂತೆ ನವೀಕರಿಸಿ, ಒಂದು ವಸ್ತು ಸಂಗ್ರಹಾಲಯವಾಗಿ ಮಾರ್ಪಾಡಿಸಿದೆ.  ಮನೆಯ ಒಳಗೆ ಕುವೆಂಪುರವರು ಕುಪ್ಪಳಿ ಮತ್ತು ಮೈಸೂರಿನಲ್ಲಿ ಇದ್ದಾಗ ಬಳಸುತ್ತಿದ್ದ ವಸ್ತುಗಳು, ಆಗಿನ ಕಾಲದಲ್ಲಿ ಮಲೆನಾಡಿನಲ್ಲಿ ಬಳಸುತ್ತಿದ್ದ ದೊಡ್ಡ ಗಾತ್ರದ ಅಡಿಗೆ ಮನೆಯ ವಸ್ತುಗಳು, ಅವರ ಸಾಹಿತ್ಯ ಭಂಡಾರ, ಅವರ ಪ್ರಶಸ್ತಿಗಳು ಎಲ್ಲವನ್ನೂ ಅಚ್ಚುಕಟ್ಟಾಗಿ ಪ್ರದರ್ಶಿಸಲಾಗಿದೆ.  ಕುವೆಂಪುರವರ ವಿವಾಹದ ಮುದ್ರಿತ ಪತ್ರ ಮತ್ತು ವಿವಾಹ ಮಂಟಪ ಗಮನ ಸೆಳೆಯುವಂತ ವಸ್ತುಗಳಾಗಿವೆ.  ಕುವೆಂಪುರವರ ಕೆಲವು ಕಾದಂಬರಿಗಳ ಮೊದಲ ಮುದ್ರಿತ ಪ್ರತಿಗಳನ್ನು ಪ್ರದರ್ಶಿಸಲಾಗಿದೆ.  ಕನ್ನಡಕ್ಕೆ ಮೊದಲ ಜ್ಞಾನಪೀಠ ಪ್ರಶಸ್ತಿ ತಂದುಕೊಟ್ಟ “ಶ್ರೀ ರಾಮಾಯಣದರ್ಶನಂ” ಮಹಾಕಾವ್ಯದ ಮೊದಲ ಹಸ್ತಪ್ರತಿ ಇದರಲ್ಲಿ ಪ್ರಮುಖವಾದದ್ದು.  ಕರ್ನಾಟಕ ರತ್ನ, ಪದ್ಮ ವಿಭೂಷಣ, ಜ್ಞಾನಪೀಠ ಪ್ರಶಸ್ತಿ ಪತ್ರಗಳು, ಫಲಕಗಳನ್ನು ಮೊದಲ ಬಾರಿ ಕಂಡ ನನಗೆ, ಒಂದು ಅದ್ಬುತ ಸಾಹಿತ್ಯ ಲೋಕದ ಬಹುದೊಡ್ಡ ಖಜಾನೆಯನ್ನು ಕಂಡ ಉತ್ಸಾಹ ಮೂಡಿತ್ತು.  ಈ ಪ್ರಶಸ್ತಿಗಳಿಗೆ ಕಾರಣವಾಗಿದ್ದ ಕುವೆಂಪುರವರ ಮಹಾಕಾವ್ಯಗಳು, ಅವರಿಗೆ ಕನ್ನಡ ಭಾಷೆಯ ಮೇಲಿದ್ದ ಪ್ರೀತಿ ಎಲ್ಲವೂ ಕಣ್ಣಮುಂದೆ ಬಂದು ಹೊದಂತಾಯಿತು.

IMG_0027
“ಕವಿಮನೆಯ” ವಿಹಂಗಮ ನೋಟ
IMG_0133
ಕವಿಮನೆ
IMG_0129
ಕವಿಶೈಲ ಕಾಲುದಾರಿಯಿಂದ ಕವಿಮನೆ ನೋಟ
IMG_0032
ಕವಿಮನೆಯ ಮುಂದಿನ ಉದ್ಯಾನ

ಮನೆಯಲ್ಲಿದ್ದ ಕುವೆಂಪುರವರ ಅಧ್ಯಯನ ಕೊಠಡಿ, ಅಜ್ಜಯನ ಬಚ್ಚಲು ಮನೆ, ಅವರ ಮೇಜು, ಶಾಲು, ಬಟ್ಟೆ, ಪೆನ್ನು, ಅವರಿಗೆ ಸಂದ ಡಾಕ್ಟರೇಟ್ ಪದವಿಗಳು ಎಲ್ಲವನ್ನೂ ಒಂದಿಂಚು ಬಿಡದೆ ನೋಡಿದೆ.  ತೇಜಸ್ವಿಯವರ ಸಂಗ್ರಹದಲ್ಲಿದ್ದ ಕುವೆಂಪುರವರ ಬಾಲ್ಯದ ಫೋಟೋಗಳು, ಅವರ ಫ್ಯಾಮಿಲಿ ಫೋಟೋ, ಬೇಂದ್ರೆ ಜೊತೆಗಿದ್ದ ಫೋಟೋ, ಎಲ್ಲವನ್ನೂ ಪ್ರದರ್ಶಿಸಲಾಗಿತ್ತು.  ಈ ಕವಿಮನೆಯ ವಸ್ತುಸಂಗ್ರಹಾಲಯದಲ್ಲಿದ್ದ ಎಲ್ಲ ವಸ್ತುಗಳಬಗ್ಗೆ, ಅದರ ಇತಿಹಾಸ ಮತ್ತು ಶ್ರೇಷ್ಠತೆಯ ಬಗ್ಗೆ ನಮ್ಮ ಗಮನ ಸೆಳೆದವರು ಅಲ್ಲಿ ಕೆಲಸ ಮಾಡುತ್ತಿರುವ ಪಲ್ಲವಿ ಎಂಬುವರು.  ನಮಗೆ ತಿಳಿಯದೆ ಇರುವ ಎಷ್ಟೋ ವಿಚಾರಗಳನ್ನು ಅವರು ನಮಗೆ ತಿಳಿಸಿಕೊಟ್ಟರು.  ಸಾಹಿತ್ಯದಲ್ಲಿ ಆಸಕ್ತಿ ಇರುವವರು, ಒಂದು ಬಾರಿ ಕವಿಮನೆಯನ್ನು ಸುತ್ತು ಹಾಕಿದರೆ, ಅವರ ಸಾಹಿತ್ಯದ ಅಭಿರುಚಿಯು ಇನ್ನಷ್ಟು ಹೆಚ್ಚಾಗುವುದರಲ್ಲಿ ಅನುಮಾನವೇ ಇಲ್ಲ.  ಅಂತಹ ಸ್ಪೂರ್ತಿ ನೀಡುವ ಮನೆ ಈ “ಕವಿಮನೆ”.

ಮನೆಯಿಂದ ಹೊರಗೆ ಬಂದ ಕೂಡಲೇ ಪಕ್ಕದಲ್ಲಿ ಕವಿಶೈಲಗೆ ಕಾಲುದಾರಿ ಇದೆ.  ಕವಿಶೈಲ ಕುವೆಂಪು ಮನೆಗೆ ಹೊಂದಿಕೊಂಡಂತೆ ಇರುವ ಒಂದು ಭವ್ಯವಾದ, ಪರಿಸರದ ತಾಣ.  ಮಳೆಯನ್ನು ತನ್ನ ಉಸಿರಾಗಿಸಿಕೊಂಡ ಮಲೆನಾಡಿನ ಈ ತಾಣ ನಿತ್ಯವೂ ಹಚ್ಚ ಹಸಿರಿನಿಂದ ಕೂಡಿ ಕಂಗೊಳಿಸುತ್ತಿದೆ.

IMG_0045

ಕಾಲುದಾರಿಯಲ್ಲಿ ಕಲ್ಲು ಹಾಸಿನ ಮೇಲೆ ಹತ್ತು ನಿಮಿಷ ನೆಡೆದರೆ ಕವಿಶೈಲದ  ತುದಿ ಮುಟ್ಟಬಹುದು.  ಹತ್ತುಬಂದ ನಮಗೆ ಎದುರುಗೊಂಡಿದ್ದು, ಒಂದು ಸುಂದರವಾದ ಕಲ್ಲುಗಳ ಸ್ಮಾರಕ.  ಇದು ಕುವೆಂಪುರವರು ಅಗಲಿದ ನಂತರ ಕಲಾವಿದನ ಕಲ್ಪನೆಯಲ್ಲಿ ಮೂಡಿದ ಬೃಹತ್ ಶಿಲಾ ಶಿಲ್ಪಗಳು.  ಎಂತವರನ್ನು ಮಂತ್ರಮಗ್ನರಾಗಿಸುವ ಈ ಶಿಲಾ ಶಿಲ್ಪಗಳು ಕವಿಶೈಲದ  ಸೌಂದರ್ಯವನ್ನು ಮತ್ತಷ್ಟು ಹೆಚ್ಚಿಸಿದೆ.

IMG_0069_70_71_tonemapped
ಕವಿಶೈಲದ ಶಿಲಾ ಶಿಲ್ಪಗಳು
IMG_0097_8_9_tonemapped
ಕವಿಶೈಲದ ಶಿಲಾ ಶಿಲ್ಪಗಳು

ಕುವೆಂಪುರವರ ಮಹಾ ಕಾದಂಬರಿಗಳಾದ ಮಲೆಗಳಲ್ಲಿ ಮದುಮಗಳು, ಕಾನೂರು ಹೆಗ್ಗಡತಿಯಲ್ಲಿ ಬರುವ ಕಾಡು, ಮೇಡು, ಬೆಟ್ಟ ಗುಡ್ಡ, ದಟ್ಟ ಅರಣ್ಯ, ಇವಲ್ಲವನ್ನು ಅತ್ಯಂತ ಮನೋಜ್ಞವಾಗೆ ಚಿತ್ರಿಸಿರುವುದಕ್ಕೆ ಸ್ಪೂರ್ತಿಯಾದ ತಾಣವೆ ಕವಿಶೈಲ.  ಹದಿನೈದು ವರ್ಷ ಬಾಲ್ಯವನ್ನು ಇಲ್ಲೇ ಕಳೆದಿದ್ದ ಕುವೆಂಪು, ಅವರ ಜೀವನದಲ್ಲಿ ಮತ್ತೆ ಮತ್ತೆ ಭೇಟಿ ಕೊಟ್ಟ ತಾಣ ಕವಿಶೈಲ ಆಗಿತ್ತು.  ಅಷ್ಟು ಆಳವಾಗಿ ಕುವೆಂಪು ಈ ತಾಣವನ್ನು ಪ್ರೀತಿಸಿದ್ದರು.  ಕವಿಶೈಲದ ತುದಿಯನ್ನು ಮುಟ್ಟುತ್ತಿದ್ದಂತೆ, ಮಿತ್ರರಿರೇ ಮಾತಿಲ್ಲಿ ಮೈಲಿಗೆ! ಸುಮ್ಮನಿರಿ ಮೌನವೆ ಮಹತ್ತಿಲ್ಲಿ, ಈ ಬೈಗುಹೊತ್ತಿನಲಿ… ಎಂದು ಬರೆದ ಕಲ್ಲು ನಮಗೆ ಎದುರುಗೊಂಡಿತ್ತು.

IMG_0079

ಈ ಜಾಗವನ್ನು ಕಂಡ ಯಾರಿಗಾದರೂ ಇಲ್ಲಿ ಮಾತಿಗಿಂತ ಮೌನವೆ ಶ್ರೇಷ್ಠ ಎಂದೆನಿಸುವುದರಲ್ಲಿ ಸಂದೇಹವೆ ಇಲ್ಲ.  ಅಲ್ಲಿರುವ ನಿಶಬ್ಧತೆ ಎಷ್ಟಿತ್ತೆಂದರೆ, ಮರದ ಒಂದೆ ಒಂದು ಎಲೆ ಅಲ್ಲಾಡಿದರು ಸಹ ಅದರ ಶಬ್ದ ಕೇಳಿಸುವಷ್ಟಿತ್ತು.  ನಿತ್ಯಹರಿದ್ವರ್ಣದ ಕಾಡು, ಸಹ್ಯಾದ್ರಿ ಬೆಟ್ಟಗಳ ನೋಟ ಮಲೆನಾಡಿನ ನಿಜವಾದ ಚಿತ್ರಣವನ್ನು ಪ್ರತಿಬಿಂಭಿಸುತ್ತಿತ್ತು.  ಕುವೆಂಪು ಅವರೊಬ್ಬರೆ ಅಲ್ಲದೆ ಅವರ ಆಪ್ತ ಸ್ನೇಹಿತರು ಕೂಡ ಬಂದು ಬೆಟಿಯಾಗುತ್ತಿದ್ದ ಜಾಗ ಈ ಕವಿಶೈಲ.  ಹಾಗೆ ಬಂದಾಗ ಬಿ ಎಂ ಶ್ರೀಕಂಠಯ್ಯ, ಟಿ ಎಸ್ ವೆಂಕಟರಾಯರು ಮತ್ತು ಕುವೆಂಪು ಕವಿಶೈಲದ ಬಂಡೆಯ ಮೇಲೆ ತಮ್ಮ ಹಸ್ತಾಕ್ಷರಗಳನ್ನು ಉಳಿಸಿ ಹೋಗಿದ್ದಾರೆ.  ಇದನ್ನು ನೋಡುವುದೇ ಒಂದು ರೋಮಾಂಚನ.

IMG_0111

ಇಷ್ಟು ಅದ್ಬುತವಾದ ಕವಿಶೈಲದ ವರ್ಣನೆಯನ್ನು ಕವಿ ವಾಣಿಯಲ್ಲೇ ಕೇಳಬೇಕಾದರೆ, ಇಲ್ಲಿದೆ ನೋಡಿ…

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“ನೀಂ ಭುವನದಲಿ ಸ್ವರ್ಗವಾಗಿಹೆ…” ಎಂಬ ಸಾಲುಗಳು ಇಲ್ಲಿಗೆ ಬರುವ ಪ್ರತಿಯೊಬ್ಬ ಪರಿಸರ ಪ್ರೇಮಿಗು ಅನ್ವಹಿಸುವುದರಲ್ಲಿ ಎರಡು ಮಾತಿಲ್ಲ.  ಕವೆಂಪುರವರನ್ನು ಜೀವನದುದ್ದಕ್ಕೂ ಪ್ರೇರೇಪಿಸಿದ ಕವಿಶೈಲದಲ್ಲಿಯೇ ಅವರ ಬಾಹ್ಯ ಶರೀರವನ್ನು ಲೀನ ಮಾಡಲಾಗಿದೆ.  ಅವರ ಅಂತ್ಯ ಸಂಸ್ಕಾರ ನೆಡೆದದ್ದು ಈ ಹಾಸುಹೊದ್ದ ಕವಿಶೈಲದ ಬಂಡೆಯಲ್ಲಿ.  ತನಗೆ ಅತ್ಯಂತ ಪ್ರಿಯವಾದ ಕವಿಶೈಲದಲ್ಲಿಯೇ ಚಿರನಿದ್ರೆ ಮಾಡುತ್ತಿರುವ ಕುವೆಂಪು, ಇಂದಿಗೂ ತನ್ನ ವಿಶ್ವ ಮಾನವನ ಸಂದೇಶ, ಸಾಹಿತ್ಯದ ಅಭಿರುಚಿ, ಪ್ರಕೃತಿಯ ವೈಭವವನ್ನು ಇಲ್ಲಿಗೆ ಬೇಟಿ ಕೊಟ್ಟವರಿಗೆ ಉಣಬಡಿಸುತ್ತಲೇ ಇದ್ದಾರೆ.

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ಕವಿಸಮಾಧಿ ಮತ್ತು ಶಿಲಾ ಶಿಲ್ಪಗಳು
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ಕವಿಶೈಲದಿಂದ ಸಹ್ಯಾದ್ರಿ ಬೆಟ್ಟಗಳ ವಿಹಂಗಮ ನೋಟ

ನಾನು ನನ್ನ ಸ್ನೇಹಿತ ಕಿರಣ್ ಕವಿಶೈಲ ಬೆಟ್ಟದ ಮೇಲೆ ಹೋದಾಗ, ಅಲ್ಲಿ ಯಾರು ಇರಲಿಲ್ಲ. ಜೋರಾದ ಮಳೆ, ನಿಶಬ್ಧತೆ ಮಳೆಯ ಶಬ್ದ, ಕವಿಸಮಾಧಿ, ಬೃಹತ್ ಶಿಲಾ ಶಿಲ್ಪಗಳು, ಸಹ್ಯಾದ್ರಿ ಬೆಟ್ಟದ ಸಾಲು ಎಲ್ಲವೂ ಕವಿಶೈಲದ ಭವ್ಯ ಸೌಂದರ್ಯವನ್ನು ಅಷ್ಟೇ ನಿಶಬ್ದತೆಯಿಂದ ಪ್ರದರ್ಶಿಸುತ್ತಿದ್ದವು.  ಮೌನದಿಂದಲೇ ಅಲ್ಲಿ ಕಳೆದ ಸಮಯವನ್ನು ಪದಗಳಿಂದ ವರ್ಣಿಸಲು ನನಗೆ ಆಸಾದ್ಯ.  ಹೆಚ್ಚು ಹೊತ್ತು ಸಮಯ ಕಳೆದ ನಮಗೆ, ಸಮಯ ಹೊರಳಿದ್ದೆ ಗೊತ್ತಾಗಲಿಲ್ಲ.  ಮನಸಿಲ್ಲದ ಮನಸ್ಸಿನಲ್ಲಿ ಕೆಳಗೆ ಇಳಿದು ಬರಬೇಕಾಯಿತು.

ಕುವೆಂಪುರವರ ಜನ್ಮ ಶತಮಾನೋತ್ಸವದ ನೆನಪಿಗಾಗಿ ಮತ್ತೊಂದು ಸ್ಮಾರಕ, ಮಲೆನಾಡಿನ ಮನೆಯ ಶೈಲಿಯಲ್ಲಿ ನಿರ್ಮಾಣವಾಗಿರುವುದು ಇಲ್ಲಿಯ ಮತ್ತೊಂದು ವಿಶೇಷ.  ಬಯಲುರಂಗ ಮಂದಿರವನ್ನು ಒಳಗೊಂಡ ಈ ಸ್ಮಾರಕ, ಸಾಹಿತ್ಯ ಸಾಂಸ್ಕೃತಿಕ ಪ್ರದರ್ಶನಗಳನ್ನು ನೆಡೆಸಲು ಹೇಳಿಮಾಡಿಸಿದ ಜಾಗವಾಗಿದೆ.  ಪ್ರವಾಸಿಗರು ತಂಗುವುದಕ್ಕೆ ಕೆಲವು ಕೊಠಡಿಗಳನ್ನು ನಿರ್ಮಾಣ ಮಾಡಿ, ಸಕಲ ಸೌಲಭ್ಯಗಳನ್ನು ಈ ಸ್ಮಾರಕದಲ್ಲಿ ಒದಗಿಸಲಾಗಿದೆ.

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ಶತಮಾನೋತ್ಸವದ ಕಟ್ಟಡ
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ಕಲಾನಿಕೇತನ
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ಕಾನೂರು ಹೆಗ್ಗಡತಿಯಲ್ಲಿ ಬರುವ ಹೆಗ್ಗಡತಿಯ ಪುತ್ಹಳಿ

ಇದರ ಪಕ್ಕದಲ್ಲೇ “ಕಲಾನಿಕೇತನ” ಎಂಬ ಮತ್ತೊಂದು ಕಟ್ಟಡವನ್ನು ನಿರ್ಮಾಣಮಾಡಲಾಗಿದೆ.  ಕುವೆಂಪು ಬರೆದ “ಮಲೆಗಳಲ್ಲಿ ಮದುಮಗಳು” ಕಾದಂಬರಿ ಓದಿದ್ದ ನನಗೆ, ಅದರಲ್ಲಿ ಬರುವ ಗುತ್ತಿ ಮತ್ತು ಹುಲಿಯ (ನಾಯಿ) ಅತ್ಯಂತ ಇಷ್ಟವಾದ ಪಾತ್ರ.  ಕುಪ್ಪಳಿಗೆ ಬರುವ ಮೊದಲೇ “ಕಲಾನಿಕೇತನ” ದ ಮುಂದೆ ಸೃಷ್ಟಿಸಿರುವ ಗುತ್ತಿ ಮತ್ತು ಹುಲಿಯನ ಪುತ್ಹಳಿಯ ಬಗ್ಗೆ ತಿಳಿದಿದ್ದೆ.  ಅದರ ಜೊತೆ ನನ್ನದೊಂದು ಫೋಟೋ ಬೇಕೆ ಬೇಕು ಅಂತ ನನ್ನ ಸ್ನೇಹಿತ ಕಿರಣ್ ಗೆ ಹಟ ಹಿಡಿದಿದ್ದೆ.  ಆ ಪುತ್ಹಳಿಯ ಮುಂದೆ ಬಂದು ನಿಂತಾಗ ನನ್ನ ಸಂತೋಷಕ್ಕೆ ಪಾರವೇ ಇರಲಿಲ್ಲ.  ಜೋರಾಗಿ ಮಳೆ ಬೀಳುತ್ತಿದ್ದರು ಅದನ್ನು ಲೆಕ್ಕಿಸದೆ ಫೋಟೋ ತೆಗೆಸಿಕೊಂಡೆ.  ಹಾಗೆಯೆ ಕಿರಣ್ ದು ಒಂದು ಫೋಟೋ ತೆಗೆದೆ.  ಅದೇ ಈ ಕೆಳಗಿರೋ ಎರಡು ಫೋಟೋ, “ಗುತ್ತಿನಾಯಿ ಮತ್ತು ನಾಯಿಗುತ್ತಿ” ಯ ಜೊತೆ! ಇದರ ಜೊತೆಗೆ ಕಾನೂರು ಹೆಗ್ಗಡತಿಯಲ್ಲಿ ಬರುವ ಹೆಗ್ಗಡತಿಯ ಪುತ್ಹಳಿಯು ಇದೆ.

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ಗುತ್ತಿ, ಹುಲಿಯ ಮತ್ತು ನಾನು
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ಗುತ್ತಿ, ಹುಲಿಯ ಮತ್ತು ಕಿರಣ್

“ಕಲಾನಿಕೇತನ”ದ ಒಳಗೆ ತೇಜಸ್ವಿರವರ ಮಲೆನಾಡಿನ ಪಕ್ಷಿಗಳ ಛಾಯಾಚಿತ್ರಗಳನ್ನು ಪ್ರದರ್ಶಿಸಲಾಗಿದೆ.  ನವಿಲುಕಲ್ಲಿನ ಸೂರ್ಯ ಉದಯಿಸುವ ಚಿತ್ರ, ಕುವೆಂಪುರವರಿಗೆ “ದೇವರು ರುಜು ಮಾಡಿದನು” ಪದ್ಯಕ್ಕೆ ಸ್ಪೂರ್ತಿ ನೀಡಿದ ತುಂಗಾ ನದಿಯ ತೀರ, ಮಹಾಕಾವ್ಯಗಳಲ್ಲಿ ಶೃಷ್ಟಿಸಿರುವ ಕೆಲವು ಪಾತ್ರಗಳ ಚಿತ್ರಕಲೆಗಳು ಮನತಣಿಸುವಂತಿತ್ತು.

ಇದೆಲ್ಲವನ್ನು ನೋಡಿ ಆಸ್ವಾದಿಸಿ ಹೊರಗೆ ಬಂದ ನಮಗೆ ಮತ್ತೊಂದು ಪವಿತ್ರ ಸ್ಥಳ ಎದುರಾಗಿತ್ತು.  ಅದೇ ಕೆ ಪಿ ಪೂರ್ಣಚಂದ್ರ ತೇಜಸ್ವಿ ರವರ ಸ್ಮಾರಕ.  ತೇಜಸ್ವಿಯವರ ಬಾಹ್ಯ ಶರೀರವನ್ನು ಅವರ ತಂದೆಯೇ ಹೇಳುವಂತೆ ಸ್ವರ್ಗದಂತಿದ್ದ ಕವಿಶೈಲದಲ್ಲಿಯೇ ಲೀನಮಾಡಲಾಗಿತ್ತು.  ಬೃಹತ್ ಶಿಲಾ ಶಿಲ್ಪಾದ ಸ್ಮಾರಕ, ಪ್ರಕೃತಿಯ ಮಗದೊಂದು ಬಾಗವಾಗಿ, ಪವಿತ್ರ ಸ್ಥಳವಾಗಿ ಕಂಗೊಳಿಸುತಿತ್ತು.

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ತೇಜಸ್ವಿಯ ಸ್ಮಾರಕ

ನಾವು ಕುಪ್ಪಳಿಗೆ ತೆರೆಳಿದ್ದು ಸ್ವಂತ ವಾಹನದಲ್ಲಿ ಅಲ್ಲ.  ಬದಲಾಗಿ ಸ್ಥಳೀಯ ಬಸ್ಸುಗಳಿಂದ.  ಆ ಬಸ್ಸುಗಳೆಲ್ಲ ಕುಪ್ಪಳಿಯ ಒಳಗೆ ಬರದೇ, ತಿರುವಿನಲ್ಲೇ ನಿಲ್ಲಿಸಿ ಹೋಗುತ್ತಿದ್ದವು.  ಅಲ್ಲಿಂದ ಕುಪ್ಪಳಿಗೆ ಎರಡು ಕಿಲೋಮೀಟರ್ ನೆಡೆಯಬೇಕಾಗಿತ್ತು.  ಹಾಗೆ ನೆಡೆದು ಬರುವಾಗಲೇ ಕುಪ್ಪಳಿಯು ತನ್ನ ಭವ್ಯ ಸೌಂದರ್ಯವನ್ನು ನಮಗೆ ಉಣಬಡಿಸಿತ್ತು.

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ಕುಪ್ಪಳ್ಳಿಗೆ ದಾರಿ
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ಕವಿಶೈಲಕ್ಕೆ ದಾರಿ (ರಸ್ತೆ ಯಲ್ಲೂ ಹೋಗಬಹುದು)

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IMG_9980ಪಕ್ಕದಲ್ಲಿ ಕಾಣುವ ಚಿಕ್ಕ ಚಿಕ್ಕ ಕಾಲುವೆ, ನೀರಿನ ಜರಿಗಳು, ಜೋರಾದ ಮಳೆ, ಇದರ ಸೌಂಧರ್ಯವನ್ನು ಮತ್ತಷ್ಟು ಹೆಚ್ಚಿಸಿತ್ತು.  ಸ್ವಂತ ವಾಹನದಲ್ಲಿ ಬಂದಿದ್ದರೆ ಈ ಅನುಭವ ಸಿಗುತ್ತಿರಲಿಲ್ಲ ಎಂಬುದು ನನ್ನ ಅನಿಸಿಕೆ.  ವಿಶ್ವಮಾನವ ಸಂದೇಶ ಸಾರಿದ್ದ ಈ ದೇಶದ ಮಹಾನ್ ಕವಿಯ ಅಂಗಳಕ್ಕೆ ಬೇಟಿ ನೀಡಿದ್ದ ನನಗೆ, ಪ್ರಕೃತಿಯ ಸೌಂಧರ್ಯ, ಇದರಿಂದ ಸ್ಪೂರ್ತಿಗೊಂಡು ರಚಿಸಿದ್ದ ಸಾಹಿತ್ಯಗಳನ್ನು ಕಂಡು, ಯಾವತ್ತೂ ಅನುಭವಿಸದ ಲೋಕಕ್ಕೆ ಹೋಗಿದ್ದಂತು ನಿಜ.  ದಾರಿಯಲ್ಲಿ ಬರುವಾಗಲೇ ಕುಪ್ಪಳಿಯ ಸೌಂಧರ್ಯವನ್ನು ಕಂಡು ಮಾತುಗಳೇ ಹೊರಡದೆ, ನಮಗೆ ಗೊತ್ತಿಲ್ಲದೆ ಮೌನಕ್ಕೆ ಶರಣಾಗಿದ್ದೆವು.  ಮಾತಿಲ್ಲಿ ಮೈಲಿಗೆ! ಸುಮ್ಮನಿರಿ ಮೌನವೆ ಮಹತ್ತಿಲ್ಲಿ, ಈ ಬೈಗುಹೊತ್ತಿನಲಿ ಎಂಬ ಕುವೆಂಪುರವರ ಮಾತು ಅಕ್ಷರ ಸಹ ಇಲ್ಲಿ ಸತ್ಯ.  ನನ್ನ ಬಹುದಿನಗಳ ಕನಸು ನನಸಾಗಿತ್ತು, ಮತ್ತೊಮ್ಮೆ ಬಂದು ಒಂದೆರಡು ದಿನ  ತಂಗಬೇಕೆಂದು, ನನಗೆ ಗೊತ್ತಿಲ್ಲದೆ ನನ್ನ ಮನಸ್ಸಿನಲ್ಲಿ ಇನ್ನೊಂದು ಕನಸು ಚಿಗುರಿತ್ತು.

ಬೆಂಗಳೂರಿನಿಂದ ಪ್ರತಿದಿನವು KSRTC ಸುವಿಹಾರಿ (Sleeper Coach) ಬಸ್ಸು ರಾತ್ರಿ 10:30 ಕ್ಕೆ ಕುಪ್ಪಳಿಗೆ ಸಂಚರಿಸಲಿದೆ. ಕುಪ್ಪಳಿಯಿಂದ ಪ್ರತಿದಿನ ಮತ್ತೊಂದು ಬಸ್ಸು ರಾತ್ರಿ 08:30 ಕ್ಕೆ ಬೆಂಗಳೂರಿಗೆ ಸಂಚರಿಸಲಿದೆ.  ಯವಾಗಲಾದರೂ ಸಮಯ ಮಾಡಿಕೊಂಡು ಈ ದಾರ್ಶನಿಕ ಕವಿಯ ಅಂಗಳಕ್ಕೆ ಒಮ್ಮೆ ಹೋಗಿಬನ್ನಿ.

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 —–
-ವಿಶ್ವ ಕೀರ್ತಿ ಎಸ್
27/08/2013.

Place 7: Devarayana Durga and Namada Chilume

IMG_8671After my visit to Makali Durga in March, I had temporarily stopped visiting places due to other programs.  But one fine day when I received a call from Suhas (my frined), asking me to plan a weekend journey in bike, I instantly told him the place Deverayana Durga.  Devarayana Durga is a hill located at a distance of 65km from Bangalore and situated near Tumkur.  It has a fort, temples, mesmerizing nature and difficult trekking trails.

When we left Suhas home on Sunday it was already half passed seven in the morning.  We took Nice Road at Magadi Road junction reached NH4 which leads to Tumkur.  The sun was still hiding behind the cloud, with less temperature cold breeze and drizzling we felt like we are invited for a new day by nature.  With perfect climate, signal free National Highways and well maintained bike, all these were pushing digital speedometer to show the number 110!  I had an awesome riding experience that day.  After reaching Dabbaspete we took SH3 (State Highway3) and reached Udigere.  Following the KSTDC sign boards, we reached the base of Devarayana Durga.  From here one can start climbing the hill thorough steps or else bike can go up to a parking lot which is at haft way of the hill.  Before reaching parking lot we crossed 13 hair-pin-bends which are not so difficult compared to other hills.

From here we started to climb the hill through steps, which are neatly constructed.  This hill has two temples, Boga Narasimha temple which is at base and Yoga Narashimha temple on top of the hill.  The total height of the hill is around 3940ft above sea level.  History says, this hill was called as Jadaka Durga (Jadaka is a ruler of this region), later when Mysore King Chikka Devaraja Wodeyar conquered this region, the name of the hill was changed to Devarayana Durga.  This hill is also called as ‘Karigiri’, that is kari means Elephant and giri means hill.  When you see this hill from far you can see the hill in the shape of Elephant.  The fort which was constructed here was a very huge fort and has seven doors to enter.  Today you can see the remaining of this fort.  The hill also houses the river Jayamangala’s and river Shimsha’s origin.  After having the glimpse of fort, we
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IMG_8469entered through one door, half way through the temple we met with a deity of Garuda, Rama and Anjaneya.  This deity was very huge in its size and an open temple too, which means no garbhagudi.  It is unique in its construction because all three of them are seen on a single stone.  You can have a splendid view of surroundings from this point.  After this we reached stone mantapa, and then entered the Yoga Narasimha temple.  This temple is very beautifully constructed with a waranda outside and garbagudi dedicated to the deity of Narasimha an awathar of Lord Vishnu.  You can also find the deity of Ganesha and Lakshmi inside the temple.  Beside the temple there is another sacred place called ‘Pada Theertha”, where the water after abhishekha flows here.  This water finally reaches the sacred Kalyani near the temple formed between the rocks.
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IMG_8513IMG_8508IMG_8496Mesmerizing nature, view of other mountains looks amazing at this point.  But the real journey is yet to come.  After the temple, there are no steps to climb the hill to reach the final point called as ‘Khumbi Shikhara’ (top of the hill).  You should trek to reach the top.  We went on searching for route and ended up in wrong direction in our first search.  Later finding the right direction, we started our trekking for next half of the journey.  The trekking path is moderately difficult, searching the correct path in a densely spread bushes was very difficult.  At some point you should crawl under the bushes to reach other point.  After having a 5min trekking from temple, you will reach another plain rocky surface which is directly above the temple.  This is a huge plain rocky area that you can see on this hill.  You can get amazing views from this point.

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The climbing becomes very difficult (especially for beginners) from this point.  As I and Suhas have got little experience of trekking, we started climbing the hill up to the last point.  At one time I was unable to climb the hill by hanging my camera to neck.  Noticing the difficulty, I packed my camera and then started climbing.  With our good habit of climbing, without any trouble we reached top of the hill, which was called as “Kumbhi Shikhara” It has stone mantapa and a bell.  One who climbs the top should ring the bell, and the sound from the bell spreads all over the hill indicating somebody has reached top.  It was our first business to do after reaching the top and we did it.  We took photos of beautiful landscape, chains of mountains, and even the top view of Yoga Narasimha temple.

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The view from tip of the point is breathtaking.  High breeze which hits on your face, surrounding view of mountains will make you forget your tiredness.  I feel that even though nature gives you a difficult path to climb, but once when you accomplish it, nature always displays its charming beauty, mesmerizing views in front of your eyes, which is an unforgettable vision for every nature lovers.  This is true at this place and even at all places.  After spending an hour on top, and listening to Bhavagethe (our routine practice at every hill), we started our descending journey.  During trekking, downwards journey is always difficult than upward journey.  But with our experience, we came down easily without having any problem.  At the base of the hill, you can get Fruit Juice, tender coconut and chaats.  We had light lunch by having chaats and juice and then moved on to our next place Namada Chilume.

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Namada Chilume is a small place just 8km from Devarayana Durga towards Kyathsandra.  If you follow the KSTDC sign boards, it is not difficult to reach this place from the hill.  It is said the lord Rama and his team visited this place during their 14 years exile.  During their stay, Rama searched for water to apply tilaka on his forehead.  But he could not find water nearby, then he shot an arrow at the rock, arrow made small hole in the rock and water came down from the hole.  Rama used this water to apply tilaka on his forehead.  So the place got its name Namada Chilume (Spring of Tilaka).  Today you can see this spring of water here and it is been well protected from government.  Some region at this campus is fenced and visitors can see Deer in this protected area.  Just opposite to Namada Chilume, Karnataka Forest Department has a nursery of medicinal plants.  A nominal entrance fee is collected and this place can also be visited.  After having a nice walk in both the campus, and taking photos, chatting with other peoples, we left the place for our final destination of the day!

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Our final destination was “Pavithra Hotel” Kyathsandra.  Kyathsandra is a place situated next to NH 4 before Tumkur.  It is famous for its Butter Tatte Idli’s (Plate Idli’s).  Like Bidadi Tatte Idli, Kyathsandra Tatte Idli is also very famous.  Coming to a places like this (a place with a special food) and not eating is literally a crime! (Sentence copied from Rohan who hosts “Strictly Street” TV Show in TravelXP HD channel, one of my favorite programs)  We both had Tatte Idli’s until we satisfy our stomach, and then started our Bangalore journey late in the evening.  Again the riding was wonderful; we followed the same route, and reached Bangalore in time.  After a long time of not having a trip, this trip was accomplished in its high fashion.  Before leaving Suhas home, I told him, hey our next destination is “Kailasa Parvatha” near Chintamani Road.  He smiled at me and said OK WE WILL GO!

Devarayana Durga and Namada Chilume are packed with historic stories, sacred temples, wonderful nature, hard trekking trails and what not!  In my opinion if a place includes all this, it is worth visiting these places by making our time in our busy schedule.  Do visit once.

How to go:
By Road: Bangalore- NH4- Dobbespete- Udigere- Devarayana Durga- Namada Chilume

Food:
Fruit Juices, Tender Coconut, Chat etc., are available at Devarayana Durga.
For hotels you should come to Kyathsandra.

When to go:
All through the year.


-Viswa Keerthy S (July 28, 2013)

Place 6:Shivanasamudra

ShivanasamudraShivanasamudra is Small Island created by river Cavery at Mandya district.  It is located at a distance of 120km from Bangalore and 85km from Mysore.  The river Caveri which flows here bisects the village and creates twin waterfalls known as Gaganachukki and Bharachukki.  Both the waterfalls are separated by a distance of six kilometers.  The beauty of these falls during the monsoon season is unexplainable.  The sight of water falling from a height of 98m is incredible.  The place also houses old temple such as Ranganatha Temple which has rich history in it, and visited by many people.  The River Shimsa which originates at Devarayanadurga joins Cavery at this place.  Asia’s first hydro electric power station was constructed here.  It was called “Shimsa Hydro Eclectric Power Station”.  Public access for this power station was stopped long back.

Gaganachukki can be viewed from two spots, one is from Shivanasamudra and the other is from Darga (Hazarath Mardane Gaib) point.  Best view is from Shivanasamudra place.  Even Darga spot is also good.  All my photos of Gaganachukki were taken from Darga spot. Bharachukki is just 2km from Darga.  Monsoon season is the best season to enjoy the beauty of twin falls.  Nevertheless people come all through the year to see and enjoy the beauty of falls.  If you are visiting Mysore, Shivanasamudra is a must visit place for you.  I don’t have many words to admire the beauty of falls; instead I can show you these pics.

All photos are taken on August 05, 2013.

Gaganachukki Falls

Darga

Caveri River

Gaganachukki Falls

Gaganachukki Falls

Bharachukki Falls

Bharachukki Falls

Bharachukki Falls

Bharachukki Falls

Bharachukki Falls

How to go:
By Road:

Shivanasamudra is well connected by road.
From Bangalore: Bangalore- Maddur- Malavalli Road- Shivanasamudra.
From Mysore:Mysore- Maddur- Malavalli Road- Shivanasamudra.
You can also go in alternative roads.
By Train:
Nearest railway station is Maddur.  Frequent trains are available from Mysore as well as from Bangalore.

Food:
Good hotels can be found at Malvalli and Maddur.
Juice, chats, ice creams, tender coconut etc., can be found near the falls.

When to go:
Throughout the year.
Monsoon season is the best season to visit this place

—-
-Viswa Keerthy S

Place 5: Nandhi Hills

IMG_0627This place is one of the hotspot for people who love nature, calmness, joy, and history.  And it is also one of the most popular sightseeing for Bangaorians.  Nadhi Hills is situated in Chikkaballapur district, which is at a distance of 60km from Bangalore.  The hill is popularly called as Nandidurga or Nandi Giridhama.  The height of the hill is around 1479m above sea level.  History says, during the Chola’s time it was called as “Ananda Hill” (Hill of Happiness).  Even now this phrase is true and you will definitely fall in love for its calmness and pleasant nature when you visit.  Hence most people say that this place is heaven for nature lovers.  The hill includes a Summer Palace built by Tippu Sulthan, Nehru Guest House, Sri Yoga Nandishwara Temple, source point Arkavathi River and a very famous Tippu Drop.  The architecture of Tippu’s summer palace resembles the style of Dariya Dowlath which is located at Srirangapattana.  Inside visit of this palace is closed for public, it can only be seen from outside.  It looks very elegant in its construction.

IMG_0454IMG_0466After taking a quick walk inside the giridhama you will reach Sri Yoga Nadhishwara temple, a temple dedicated to lord shiva.  It looks very old and has rich history in it.  Beside the temple there is an extended sky walk to see the surroundings from the top.  The view from here is incredible.  The chains of surrounding mountains, Skandagiri Hill looks very beautiful from this point.  After this, you should walk little far on rocks to reach the famous point called Tippu’s Drop.  It’s a steep cliff on top of the hill, and the view from here looks very scary and dangerous.  It was said that, during Tippu’s rule, prisoners were pushed to death from this point.  Hence the place was called Tippu’s Drop.  The source point of river Arkavathi can be seen beside this drop.  This river flows across the Bangalore and joins the river Cavery at Sangama, Kanakapura.  There is a beautiful dam constructed to this river near Manchenbelle which is yet another picturesque location to visit.  At last you will find Nehru Guest House, which was constructed during the British Period.  Rooms are available for tourist at this guest house. There is also a Gandhi House, where Gandhiji himself stayed here during his visit to Bangalore, but this guest house is only for dignitaries.

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IMG_0493IMG_0514IMG_0523IMG_0569IMG_0573IMG_0637The houses constructed between the trees by using bamboos are gorgeous.  In case if you pack your food, this junction will become a perfect place for your eating point.  It is worth spending time here which makes us feel very calm and pleasant.  This place becomes heaven if you visit during morning times.  Sun rise behind the cloud looks amazing.  As I said, this is the most popular one day sightseeing place in Bangalore, lot of people visit every year for its beauty, charming nature, pleasant climate and its rich history.  This place certainly gives you a pleasant and a refreshing feeling when you visit.

How to go:

By Road: Bangalore- Hebbal Fly Over- Yelahanka- Doddaballapur- D Cross- (Taka right turn @ this circle)- follow this road until you hit a notice board which says “Nandhi Hills 0km”.

You can also go from Bangalore- Devanahalli- Chikkaballapur- Nandhi Hills.

 Food:

On top there is a hotel called “Mayura” from KSTDC.  And other shops can be found.

When to go:

All through the year.

-Viswa Keerthy S

Place 4:Makali Durga

indian railwayMakali Durga is a fort hill which is 60km from Bangalore.  The place is located in the state high way of Bangalore-Gauribidanur and it is just 10km from Doddaballapur.  The height of the hill is around 1350mts above sea level.  As I said it’s a fort hill, on top you will find the wreckages of the fort, built by Tippu Sulthan.  At the base of the hill, there is a temple of lord Shiva and Nandi.  The railway line which passes near the hill ads up to the beauty of Makali Durga.  There is a small railway station near the hill, which makes easy accessible to Makali Durga through trains.  Unlike the other places for example Savandurga, this place is isolated from common people.  That is, you hardly find peoples here.  No shops, no hotels, no people around makes you still more exciting.

This place is a paradise for trekkers.  It’s a moderately difficult trekking place.  The hill is covered with small thorny shrubs, trees and rocks.  Route markings for climbing the hill are not so good.  Better to search our own route and explore the place.  This makes trekking really exciting and challenging.  If you are a first time visitor it is advised to take at least one person with you who has seen this place earlier.  There is high degree of chance that you may go in a wrong way and end up in worst situation.  As I said there are no shops, hotels around this place, it is good to pack your food.  Most importantly you must take plenty of water.  Remember you don’t get water at this place.  And make sure to drink less water during trekking.  While climbing, the sight from top of the hill is magnificent.  The view of Gundumgere Lake is really an awesome experience.  And the view of the passage of trains and goods carriages through the curved paths will make you still more exciting.  On top of the hill there is a fort built by Tippu Sulthan.  It is almost at its last stage of destruction, and it needs proper maintenance from government. Breathtaking view of the chains of mountains from top is unforgettable.  You could see Nandi Hills and Skandagiri Hill from top.  Night trekking can also be done, but it needs proper planning and arrangement. Overall this place is one of the best one day trekking destinations for Bangalorians.

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IMG_9622I and my friends (Pramod, Naveen, Achyut) left Hebbal Fly over at 9pm in the morning, reached Makali Durga in Naveen’s Innovae car.  Innova car took all the responsibility of making sure that our journey was comfortable.  Thanks to Innova!  My frined Achyut was a professional trekker.  Except Achyut, for all of us, it is our first time visit to Makali Durga.  With Achyut professional guidelines we started to climb the hill.  At first, we felt hard to climb due to rocks and shrubs. But after adjusting to the surroundings climbing was very easy and we took many pit stops while climbing.  Based on Achyut guidelines we took plenty of water with us.  During our trekking we were making sure that we were not dehydrated.   At half way through our climbing, we met other group from ‘Suvarna TV’, who had come for trekking.  After meeting, all of us went together.  The sight from high altitude was awesome.  After reaching top and having the glimpse of the Tippu’s fort, we finished our lunch.  Our descending journey was equally difficult like the climbing; searching route was very difficult while descending.  At last we came down and all through the day our lens was making noise and took some beautiful photos.  Finally Innova took the job of returning us safely to home.  Thanks to Naveen and his Innova.  A one day trek was completed in its high fashion.

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How to go:

Makali Durga is well connected by road.  The state highway to Gauribidanur from Bangalore will pass through Makali Durga.

By Road: Hebbal Flyover- Yelahanka- Rajankunte- Doddaballapur- Follow the Gauribidanur Raod until you get Makali Durga Railway Station. (There is no proper notice board beside the main road. It is advised to ask locals after Doddaballapur)

By Train: There is train which runs all day from Yeshwanthpur at 08:15am and stops at Makali Durga Railways Station.  Return train is at 02:00pm at Makali Durga Railway Station.  Except this train no other train stops at this railway station.

Food:

No hotels, no shops nothing.  Pack your food.  Take plenty of water.

When to go:

It is difficult to climb during monsoon season.  Summer season is the best.

Some of our photos…

Viswa Keerthy S
30-03-2013.

Place 3:Shivagange and Siddagange

Shivagange

ShivaShivagange is a small holy village in Tumkur District, and it is one of the famous Hindu pilgrim centers in India.  The village got its name due to the hill which is present there. The height of the hill is around 1368mts from sea level and it looks the shape of ‘shivalinga’ when it is seen from far.  It is located near Dobbespete, which is 54km from Bangalore.  The place is very famous for its Gangadhareshwara Temple, which is built for lord Shiva.  And it is popularly called as “Dakshina Kashi” (South Kashi) by South Indians.

Gangadhareshwara TempleApart from the temple, the hill also includes Pathala Gange, Olakal Theertha, Nandi and Shanthala Drop on top.  Each of these places has deep history in its creation.  At the base of the hill you will find lord Shiva temple, which is Gangadhareshwara temple.  The temple is very famous for its mysterious abhisheka.  It is believed that if you perform ghee abhisheka, the ghee will turn into butter.  Inside the temple there is old cave, which is now locked with iron gate and they say this cave connects with the other cave, which is at Gavi Gangadhareshwara temple in Bangalore.  Beside this temple you will find Pathala Gange, which is a small underground spring.  It is formed between two huge rocks and there are narrow steps to go down to see it.  Historically it is said that Pathala Gange is connected with the Antaragange which is in Kolar.  But it is hard to imagine this connection today, as both the places are very far from each other.  Olkal Theertha is another mysterious location in the hill.  This place is found exactly at the mid way while climbing the hill.  One has to go in narrow place between the rocks to find the small spring.  It is a small pot hole in the rock, if you see from top with a torch, you can see water inside.  It is believed if a person is good and dutiful; he can touch and feel the water, others cannot!  After this temple, climbing became very difficult due to the narrow steps of rocks.  On top of the hill you will find Nandi and a small Shiva temple.  You will also find queen Shantala’s suicide point known as Shantala Drop.  The view from top of the hill is mesmerizing.

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Olakal Theertha

Climbing to top

view from top

It is place which is a combination of historic temples, religious believes, mystery, trekking and a mesmerizing nature.  The experience you get is unforgettable.  A must visit place for people who love to explore places and the history.  The landscape view from high altitude and some of the breathtaking spots in the hill is amazing.  Most part of the hill is rocky, and a proper iron railing has been put to climb the hill.  You will find lot of monkeys all over the hill, and they are always ready to attack on your belongings.  When you visit, make sure to take something for monkeys.  Overall it is a fantastic picnic spot for one day!

Siddagange

Siddaganga Mutt

Sree Sree Sree Shivakumara SwamijiSiddagange is small village which is 10km far from Shivagange.  It is located near Kyathsandra which can be reached through NH 4 from Bangalore.  Siddagange houses an ashrama called Siddagange Mutt,the oldest ashrama in Tumkur District.  It also has gurukula which offers education, food, shelter for poor children’s.  Siddagange mutt is now headed by Sree Sree Sree Shivakumara Swamiji, who is called as Nededaduva Devaru (Walking God).  He is continuing his humanitarian work even at the age of 107years.  Every day they perform ‘Annasantharpane’ (food) at the free of cost for the pilgrims who visit this place.  It also has a hill which houses the temple of Siddalingeswara and Siddalingamma.  Everyone who visits Shivagange always visit Siddagange.

How to reach

1. Frequent KSRTC Buses available from Majestic.

2. There is a railway station at Dobbaspete and Kyathsandra. And frequent train is available from Majestic Railway Station.

3. It is best if you travel in own transport.  From Bangalore take NH 4, reach Dobbespete.

Food:

There are good hotels at both the places.  Kyathsandra is famous for its “Tatte Idli’s”! Don’t forget to taste it.

When to go:

All through the year.

I with two of my friends Naveena and Naveena went to these places in train.  Our journey was comfortable in train, and we climbed both the hill and even took the blessings of Shivakumara Swamiji.  Meanwhile took some beautiful photos.

-Viswa Keerthy S
10-11-2012

Place 2:Ramanagara

On the way to Mysore through SH 17, you get small town called Ramangara which is 50km away from Bangalore.  The town is famous for silk and it is called as ‘Silk Town’ and it also has Asia’s second largest cocoon market.  Apart from all these, this town is also famous for tourist spots and heaven for trekkers.  The town Ramangara is surrounded by seven hills, Shivaramagiri, Yetirajagiri, Somagiri, Krishnagiri, Revanasiddeswara betta, Jala siddeswara betta and Sidilakallu betta.  Of which two of the famous hill was Revanasiddeswara betta and Ramdevru betta.

Revenasiddeswara Betta

It’s a hill located at the scenic location of Ramanagara.  The height of the hill is around 3066ft above sea level.  View from top the hill is beautiful.  There are totally 3 temples on the hill, Renukamba temple at base, Bemeshwari Temple at midway and Reveanasiddeswara temple at the top.  On top you will also find Rama temple beside a small pond.  This place is rich in history, and history goes back to the period of Ramayana. Almost all age group people climb the hill to get the blessings of Shiva.   It’s a well known Shiva Temple in India.

Climbing the hill is not so difficult, as there is a proper arrangement from the government.  But the view from top of the hill is amazing.  You will really enjoy the view of many hills which surrounds Ramanagar.  If you are good at rock climbing, it can be done.  Overall it’s a nice place to go in bike for one day.

How to reach:

From Bangalore frequent KSRTC bus available to Ramangara.

The place is just 11km from Ramangara Bus stand.  You can get local bus which goes to kanakapura from Ramanagara, and get down at Averehalli.  From there you have to walk 2km to reach the hill.

Food:

No good hotel near the hill, but you can find hotels at Ramanagara Bus stand.

When to go:

Throughout the year.

Ramdevru Betta

This is another hill located before Ramangara Bus stand.  Its height is around 3000ft above sea level. It’s popularly called a “Sholey Betta” as an Hindi movie “Sholey” shot here.  As the name suggest, lord Rama temple present on top of the hill.  And also Parvathi temple nearby, and a Kalyana Mantapa built by Kempegowda.  Inside Rama temple there is an idol of Sri Ram, Lakshman, Sita, and Hanumanth in a single stone, which is the unique of this temple.  It’s popularly known as “Pattabhirama”.  Beside this temple there is pond called “Rama Thirta”.  Hisotry goes like this… temple priest said, this temple is nearly 1000 years old, and it was believed that lord Rama himself visited this place in his 14 year exile.  During this time there was a demon called “Kakasura” (kaka= crow) who was ruling this hill, and it was said that lord Rama killed kakasura here, and even today not even single crow fly near the hill! And the pond called Rama Thirta was also build by Rama, during their stay here.  And the deity of Sri Ram, Lakshamn, Sita and Haunman was believed that Sugriva installed here.

The hill is situated in the forest region.  There are nearly 350 steps to climb, to reach Rama Temple.  On the way you can find Anjaneya temple.  You can get the best view of surroundings while climbing the hill.   Beside the Rama temple, there is a way to go on top of the hill.  This route is little difficult to climb. But once you climb this, you can get a amazing view of Ramanagara town, and Mysore Bangalore high way, and other hills.  Beside the Ramdevru betta there is ‘Saptharushi hill’ i.e.  At different angle you will see small seven hills.  If you are good at rock climbing, its a good experience to climb this.  Including Hindi movie sholey, this hill was shot in one of the famous movie called “Passage to India”.

How to reach:

From Bangalore Frequent KSRTC bus available to Ramanagara.  From Ramanagara bus stand 5km, Auto Rickshaw available.

If you are going in bike, after you get welcome board to ‘Silky City Ramanagar’, take a right turn after you get Ramanagara Jail.  You will see a sign board of Ramdevra betta.

Food:

Hotels available at Ramanagara Bus Stand.

When to go:

Throughout the year.

Our Journey:

Suhas and I planned to visit these two places on October 21st Sunday.  I went to his home at 07:30am morning, It was drizzling outside, we delayed our departure for half an hour, and finally pulled his bike outside at 8am. Unfortunately bike did not start, self start was not working! Bike battery down, nothing much was happening with kick start.  Starting trouble!  After trying out for 15 minutes, we discovered that there was no petrol in bike!!  Taking my camera, tripod and our bags, we pushed bike to petrol bunk which was 1.5km from his home.  This was an exercising start for us.  After that, bike riding was smooth, we took NICE road from Magdi road, reached Mysore road, from there Ramanagara.  Nothing troubled us.  In one day we saw the places, took some good photos, videos, got to know many interesting fact about the places.  Over all it was worth spending one day for this place.

some of our photos..

Place 1: Savandurga Hill

     This is one of the most beautiful scenic location for Bangaloreans which is located just outskirts of Bangalore city.  Savandurga is a small village situated off Magdi-Ramanagara state high way.  The village has two hills namely karigudda (Black Hill) Biligudda (White Hill) and a temple.  Most interesting fact about the hill is, it is the largest monolithic in Asia.  The height of the hill is 1226m above sea level.  This hill is surrounded by Savandurga Reserve Forest with lots of flora and fauna. This makes the place very scenic.  Most of the people don’t call these hills by their actual name; instead they are celebrated as Savandurga hill.  The origin of the name date back to the 14th century.  It was called as Savandi.  Later Samantharaya ruled Magdi for several years, during those days it was called Samanthadurga.  But over centuries the name changed to Savandurga hill.  This hill is also called as “Mrutyu Kupa” means people were pulled to death here.  Even the name ‘Savandurga’ also resembles the same meaning in Kannada.  Kempegowda is another ruler who ruled Magdi in 17th Century.  He built the tower (Kempegowda Tower) on top of the hill.  The tower also houses Nandi.  This is the ultimate point of Savandurga hill.

      The hill is a paradise for trek beginners.  At some point while climbing the hill, rock climbing is thrilling.  A proper route marking can be found throughout the hill.  The scenic view of forest and Manchenbelle Reservoir while climbing the hill is beautiful.  And good place for shutterbugs.

     Manchenbelle Reservoir is a Dam constructed to Arkavathi River, which originates from Nandi Hills.  This reservoir can be seen on the way to Savandurga and can be visited. This is one of the good location for bird watching during morning time.

     Other nearby Places:

  • Manchenbelle Reservoir (10km from Savandurga hill.)
  • Magdi Ranganathswamy Temple (13km from Savandurga hill)
  • ISRO Telemetry Tracking System (can be seen on the way to Bangalore via Ramohalli)
  • Doddaladamara (Near Mysore Road)

How to Reach:

  • Savandurga is well connected by road; best way of transport is to go in bike or car.

Route:
a) Bangalore-Mysore Road- Doddaladamara- Ramohalli- Manchenbelle- Magdi                         Ramanagara Road- Savandurga.
b)Bangalore-Magdi Road- Hospet circle, Magdi Road- Magdi Ramanagara Road- Savandurga.

  • KSRTC shuttle service available from K.R. Market to Savandurga. Time: 6:30am departure from K.R.Market.

Food:

      No good hotels around Savandurga.  Fruit juice, tender coconut and water bottles can be available at the shop near savandurga hill.  Better to pack your food.

When to visit:

Throughout the year, preferably on weekend.  Travel in groups.

 I and kiran planed one day and covered Savandurga hill, Manchenbelle Reservoir, Ranganatha swamy temple in my Hero Honda bike.  Our overall distance was around 120km.  We manage to take a decent time lapse video of cloud moving from the top of hill.

here is our time lapse video…

some of our photos…