RoadTrip-Part 3 : Sringeri

Travel to the Temple Land of Sringeri in South India with us ! 🙂

Sringeri Peetham , pic credit – Sringeri.net

Day #4:

The distance from Chikmagalur to Sringeri is around 90kms by road which takes around 2hours to travel.

We took the Chikmagalur-Sringeri road which turned out to be a forest road. A well maintained road with a thick cover of trees on both sides.

The route was a continuously winding one , not meant for weak stomachs ! After stopping for a light snack at Hotel Advaith Lancer at Sringeri, we headed towards the temple.

Sringeri

Sringeri is home to a number of historic temples. Of these, Sri Sharadamba Temple and Sri Vidyashankara Temple are very prominent. Other historic temples nearby are Hornadu,Kollur .

Sringeri Matha Entrance

 Interesting Facts – [Sringeri Sharada Peetham is one of the four Advaita Vedanta monastery (matha) established by Adi Shankara around 800 AD in Sringeri (Karnataka), the others being Dwaraka (Gujarat), Govardhana (Odisha) and Jyotirmath (Uttarakhand).

The Sringeri Peetham has been a library and a source of historic Sanskrit manuscripts. Along with other Hindu monasteries , the contemporary Sringeri matha has been active in preserving the Vedas, sponsoring students and recitals, Sanskrit scholarship, and celebrating annual Adishankaracharya jayanti (gurupurnima).]

Most temples in South India have a magnificent tall tower at the entance. This one turned out to be a very colourful tower with intricate carvings. What an attractive sight! Ofcoz i couldn’t resist from taking a snap of it . 🙂

How beautiful is this !?

On entering the matha (temple complex) you encounter an open hall to the left and the two temples to the right. The temple which is closest to the entrance is the Shri Sharadamba Devi Temple, formed in 820 AD.

Sharadamba Temple

It is a temple dedicated to the Goddess of Knowledge & Wisdom – Saraswati Devi. You will witness many parents bringing their children here for the ‘Aksharbhyasa Ceremony’ .

pic credit – Sringeri.net

It is a Hindu tradition, which is observed in the season of Aksharabhyasa or Vidyarambham. In this ceremony, preschoolers are introduced to the alphabet and the world of learning. The ceremony is usually performed during 10th day of Navratri(Saraswati Puja). But it is not uncommon to see people performing the rutual on other days as well.

Aksharabhyasam , pic credit-poojalu.com

During the ritual, children sit on the lap of either of the parents and are made to write their first alphabet with their index finger on a plate of uncooked rice. The sign of the alphabet is also made on their tongue.

Interesting Facts – [The Sharadamba temple, has grown from a simple shrine dating to the time of Adi Shankaracharya. In the fourteenth century, Vidyaranya is said to have replaced the old sandalwood image with a stone and gold image. The temple structure itself continued to be made of wood till the early 20th century. After an unexpected fire that damaged the structure, the current structure was built in the traditional south indian style of temple structure. Fact Credit – Wikipedia]

The temple further away in the complex is the Vidyashankara Temple, dedicated to Lord Shiva (built during the Vijaynagara Empire era (1338 CE)).

Vidyashankara Temple

It is ancient looking, made completely of stone and reminds one of the bygone era. You can’t help but feel in awe of it.

Interesting Facts – [ The temple architecture is also an exhibition of the astronomical expertise of medieval south Indian temple builders. The main temple hall features 12 pillars designated for the 12 signs of the zodiac. Windows and doors along the temple walls are arranged such that equinoxes sunrise views reach the deity. The northern and southern gates enable the sunrise view from the hall during solstices. The Vidyashankara Temple was built in the year 1338 A.D. It is a unique monument built entirely of stone combining both Hoysala(Chalukya) and Dravidian architectural styles. Fact Credit – Wikipedia]

To the end of the complex is the river bed of Tunga River and a bridge to go across. Here on the temple side of the river you will see fishes as big as your arm fighting amongst themselves to be closest to the river bed! Trying to get first to the food that is being offered to them by the devotees. A major tourist attractions here, especially for the little children.

What a sight it is ! To watch hundreds of fishes at the river bank fighting over pieces of flattened rice being thrown out to them !

These fishes are considered Holy and are called ‘Devare Meenu’ in the local language which means ‘God’s Fishes’

Trying to get a picture of this scene was indeed a difficult feat to accomplish ! More & more devotees crowded up the spot as we made our way out of there.

Tunga River Bed

There are few other tourist attractions in Sringeri that one can visit, they are mentioned below :-

Sri Parshwanath Swamy Basadi

Sri Parshwanath Basadi (Digambar Jain Temple) is situated in the heart of Sringeri Town. The date of construction comes to about 1150 A.D. The main temple is 50 feet long and 30 feet wide. Completely built of stone.

Sirimane Falls

Sirimane Falls is located at a distance of 5 km from Kigga near Sringeri, a popular pilgrim center.

Kigga, a small village which houses the beautiful waterfalls. Kigga is about 16 km from Sringeri. Water from falls feeds coffee estates and paddy fields in the downstream. A moderate entry fee is collected to maintain the walkways and viewpoints.

 The money collected also supports a small hydraulic power plant which is built adjacent to falls which lights Kigga houses. The entire activity is controlled and maintained by local bodies.

Hanumanagundi Falls

Hanumanagundi falls also known as Soothanabbi falls is located on the way to Hornadu Via Kudremukh. Distance between Sringeri and the waterfalls is 36 km. Waterfalls lies inside Kudremukh National forest which is famous for Shola Forests. Gangamoola , the birthplace of Tunga, Bhadra and Netravati rivers also lies in this region.
Fact Credit – Wikipedia

Next Post Link given below. . . .

RoadTrip – Part 4 : Agumbe – Manipal

Mangalore, the gateway to Karnataka

The city of Mangalore gets it’s name from the 9th century Mangaladevi Temple located 3kms southwest of the city centre. Mangalore now officially called Mangaluru is the chief port city of the Indian state of Karnataka. It is situated at a distance of 350 kms (7-8 hours by road) from Bengaluru. It is one of the fastest developing cities in India. It is a mix of the old and the new, of tradition and modernism.

Puttur, Mangalore

The people of Mangalore are very friendly and are always ready to give a helping hand making this one of the safest cities to travel to. Solo/Women travellers must consider this as an option while choosing destination. It is located close to other tourist attractions like Murudeshwar , Mysore and Coorg .

Being a coastal region summers get really hot and humid , monsoon season brings in heavy showers which lasts for hours and at times more than a day without much respite. So the best time to visit this green city is from the month of October to February when you get to enjoy a lovely chilly weather.

There is no shortage of budget , mid range or luxury hotels in Mangaluru. Lots of service apartments have also sprung up all over the city to cater to the evergrowing demand.

While in Mangalore one must try the local delicacies specially the seafood variety, but rest assured vegetarians wont be disappointed either !  Snacks like the Mangalore bhajji, Mangalore buns , variety of dosas,vadas & idlis and many other local dishes can be found at the numerous udupi style restaurants available all over the city. Nendran banana bhajjis at Woodlands Hotel has always been my all time favourite ! Neer Dosa , Patrode , Kori-roti, ghee roast dishes, bangude gassi , chicken sukka ….oh the list goes on and on ! And if that isn’t enough I still have to mention the Konkani community specialities like bibbe-upkari, val val , kadgi chako etc, or the delicacies cooked by the Mangalorean Catholics like pork bafat, sanna dukra maas, sorpotel etc…A real foodie haven it is ! The munchies like banana chips, chaklis, coconut macaroons, ghee cakes, plum cakes are a must try as well. Those looking to be adventurous must try Khali(toddy), a country liquor prepared from coconut flower sap .

Gadbad @ Ideals Ice Cream Parlour !

Leaving Mangalore without trying the mouthwatering famous sundaes at Ideals Ice cream parlour would be a crime ! If you visit one of the popular branches you will find a huge line of people waiting patiently for their turn to have a taste of the popular sundaes like ‘Gadbad’(a must have!), ‘Chocolate Dad’, ‘Tiramisu’ & ‘Parfait’ to say the least. The good news is that the line comes to an end before you know it and you will not regret the wait . It has even earned a place in Wikipedia as the biggest ice cream manufacturer in Mangalore with a market share of 80% !

Apart from the mouthwatering food, Mangaluru is also known for its holy temples & pristine beaches. . . . . Some of the must visit places in Mangaluru are :-

Kateel Shri Durgaparameshwari Temple – Kateel is considered to be one of the holiest temple towns in India and is located 26kms away from Mangalore. The temple is situated on an islet in the middle of the sacred river Nandini. Thousands of devotees visit the temple daily to seek the goddesses blessings . . .

[pic credit – kateeldevi.in]

Kadri Manjunath Temple – This temple is located in Kadri,Mangalore itself. It is a historic temple said to be built in the 10th or 11th century. The bronze idol of Lokeshwar about 5 feet high is said to be the oldest of the South Indian Temples. Annual Jathra Mahotsava – a 9 day festival is held here during the month of January.

Kadri Temple [pic credit – mangala travels]

Mangaladevi Temple – It is situated at Bolara in Mangalore. It is dedicated to Hindu Goddess Shakti in the form of Mangaladevi. It was built in the 9th century. People looking to find a good lifepartner often visit the temple to give offerings and receive the goddesses blessings.

Mangaladevi Temple [pic credit – mangaluruonline.in]

 Pilikula Nisargdhama – it is a multi-purpose tourist attraction located in Vamanjoor, Mangalore. It has a huge lake where boating is carried out. There is also a zoo, Manasa water park, botanical garden, 3d planetarium and  golf course situated there.

Boating @ Pilikula Nisargadhama [pic credit – hello travels]

Mantra Surf Club – India’s first surf club is located at Mulki just 24kms away from Mangalore. People looking to learn surfing can do so right here in India!

Mangalore has many clean and beautiful beaches, to name a few :-

Panambur Beach – It is the most popular of all beaches thus making it the most crowded as well. It is one of the safest and best maintained beaches in India. Horse rides, buggy rides, water sports such as jet skiing, parasailing, surfing, boating can be enjoyed here. This beach is known for its stunning sunsets. Every year in January the International Kite Flying Festival takes place here.

Kite Festival @ Panambur Beach [pic credit- around mangalore]

Tannirbhavi Beach – It is less crowded than Panambur beach. The long sandy coast with calm waters makes for a very soothing, peaceful scenery. There are food stalls available here. Water sports facilities such as boating , jet skiing and surfing are also available. There is no public transport available to this beach. One should take their own vehicles or a ferry from Sultan Battery. Do stay back to enjoy the mesmerizing sunset.

Sunset @ Tannirbhavi Beach

Someshwara Beach – Located in Ullal, it is famous for its picturesque sunsets and its rocks called ‘Rudra Shilas’. There is an old Someshwara Temple at the end of the beach which is visited by many devotees and tourists.

Someshwara Beach [pic credit – trip advisor]

Kapu Beach – This beach is situated about 45kms to the north. There is a lighthouse situated on this beach which adds an old time charm to the place. The lighthouse is open to visitors. One can even try their hand at scuba diving at this beach is what i’ve heard !

Kapu Beach

There are so many more temples , churches and beaches to visit in Mangalore, so yes one must definitely think of Mangaluru while choosing a destination to explore ! 🙂

Day Trip to Hogenakkal

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A year back we decided to visit the Hogenakkal Falls as it is one of the many tourist attractions near Bangalore. . Also called as the ‘Niagara Falls of India’ by many it is located at a distance of 180 km from Bangalore making it a perfect one day getaway. It is located in the Dharmapuri district of Tamil Nadu. This place is famous for its medicinal baths and coracle boat rides . Carbonatite rocks in this site are considered to be the oldest of its kind in South Asia and one of the oldest in the world.

JpegAs the monsoon had just gotten over at this point we were hoping to get a good show at the falls. . After an early breakfast we left from our place and within 3-4 hours after following the Google Maps we had reach the falls. . Can’t imagine going on a road trip without using Google Maps anymore. . Gone are the days where one reached the destination by using the scarcely placed signboards or  asking people by the road who, are as clueless as you for directions. . The most funny thing about asking people for directions as i remember is that even though they are not aware of the way they still want to help you and you end up having to reroute ahead after getting contrasting directions from the next direction giver, hoping against hope that this time its the right direction ! 😀

Of coz not like Google Map makes your life any easier, sometimes it takes you on a route not meant to be taken on 4wheelers or a route which is not exactly the shortest or the most convenient route . . We have ended up cursing Google Map the  innumerable times we have had to reroute or ended up on a longer than needed route recommended by it. But yes in the end we always end up using Google Maps again anyway ! 🙂

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On entering the Gates to the fall all we could see was water everywhere. . Letting on a sigh of relief to know that we would be able to see the falls in all its glory we proceeded ahead .

Crossing the small bridge where the water was overflowing  causing our shoes and pants to get wet  we walked on. . soon we could see many people getting  ‘Tel Malish’( which i call desi style spa 😛 ), sitting in rows enjoying the pampering session which I was finding a bit humorous.

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Tel Malish happening in the background

You will see lots of local masseuse waiting to get clients. Place was crowded with people getting head massage, body massage. Sitting with eyes closed listening to the sounds made by the gushing waterfall, getting a massage must make it a very energizing experience! probably why you will see many people going for it. After getting a massage people would go bathe at the falls within an enclosure meant for this purpose.

One will also come across lots of snack stalls selling fried fish and other delicacies caught fresh downstream. Freshly caught fish are sold by the gorge and also various vendors selling water and snacks go up and down the gorge rowing their coracles. The fish caught include katla, robu, kendai, keluthi, valai, mirgal, aranjan and jilaby. .

Passing the path leading to the main falls watching the water rushing by , we soon reached the bridge from where one can view the falls.You will see lots of monkeys near the falls as well. The water looked muddy due to the recent showers.

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Misty formation at the falls

Hogenakkal Falls is a series of narrow falls along a long line of rock formations with a drop of around 20 meters. Watching the milky white water pouring continuously down with a thundering noise is an amazing experience. Hogenakkal means ‘smoking rock’ in Kannada – the force with which the water gushes down hitting the rocky structure on the other side creates a smoky, foggy effect giving it it’s name.

The water after falling down the falls gushes through a narrow route passing through rock formations on both sides. The river carries sediment which makes the downriver land fertile due to which it gets it’s unclear muddy look. Soon after the falls the river takes a southerly course and enters the Mettur Stanley Reservoir.

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Bath Enclosure

Unfortunately for us coracle rides were not allowed this day due to heavy water flow. Boating in Hogenakkal is allowed during the dry-season as the water falls are not strong enough to disrupt the passage of the boats. One can even swim downstream in off season.

From the bridge across the main Falls one can even view the bath enclosure.People wearing basic essentials hung on to the cage rods enjoying their baths, seeming very much like monkeys caged in a zoo ironically. The entry to the other side of the bridge was closed as well and soon we left the place happy to have witnessed the mesmerizing falls. While researching we had come across a crocodile sanctuary online and as we had time to kill before leaving back for Bangalore we decided to visit it.

Coracle Ride Area - wm.jpg

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The croc sanctuary turned out to be a small sanctuary with a very small entry price. Here old as well as injured crocs were taken care of. We even saw lots of cute baby crocs here. . A nice place to spend around an hour before we left back for Bangalore.

Other places one can visit in Hogenakkal are –

  • Krishnagiri , a fav picnic spot ,one can even trek to Yelagiri Hills.
  • Melagiri Hills , for trekking.
  • Theerthamalai , Subramanya Siva &  Parameswari Temples.