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 Shivanasamudra & Talakadu

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Talakadu

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Shivanasamudra Falls

Shivansamudra in English means’ Lord Shiva’s Sea’ . Shivanasamudra is a small island town of Mandya district , situated on the banks of the Cauvery River. Shivanasamudra Falls is ranked among the top 100 waterfalls in the world ! This is also the site for one of the first Hydro-electric power stations in Asia which was built in 1902 and is still functional. We visited the place after monsoon last year , the best time to visit any waterfall – FYI.

TIP – Vasu restaurant in Kanakpura is well know for its masala dosa , so it would be a good stop enroute  for breakfast. After a 3hr drive from Bangalore via the Kanakapura main road, we reached the falls. Thankfully the parking spot was only half full when we reached around 11am. Grateful that the place would not be too crowded we proceeded towards the falls.

Barachukki and Gaganachukki waterfalls are together known as the Shivanasamudra Falls. The eastern branch of the waterfall is known as Barachukki while the western branch is known as Gaganachukki. These falls are located at a distance of 130 kms from Bangalore and 68kms from Mysore.

view from top
Shivanasamudra Falls

There is a watchtower located near the entrance to the falls from where you can view the entire surrounding area, falls et all. The falls were not very visible from this place .It felt great to view all the greenery around us, the bounty of nature all around. As for the waterfall, all I could see was a few narrow series of waterfalls in the distance. Feeling a little disappointed as i was expecting the falls to be magnificent we moved towards the entrance.  But the more closer we reached to the view point, the more scenic the falls seemed. Feeling my spirits lift and with a little spring in our steps my husband & I reached the stairway leading to the base.

The journey to the bottom consists of around 200 concrete steps fenced with railings on both sides to provide safety . There were even lookout points placed midway for those who preferred not to go all the way down. One could even rest here for sometime on the benches placed here before descending  the staircase further. We witnessed many people struggling to climb their way back up from the base, using the railing for support and breathing heavily.

As we had had a light breakfast and it was almost lunch time , feeling a bit low on sugar I began to feel bit nervous about  the climb back up . But that wasn’t enough to douse my exuberance and curiosity to reach the base ! Nooo it didn’t ! Enjoying the easy descent we soon reached the bottom.

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Coracle Ride

The place was crowded !  Filled with people  enjoying getting wet in the water gushing by. As the flow of the falls was not too strong the coracle rides were in operation. Families were eagerly awaiting their turn for the coracle rides so they could get closer to the falls.

All we could feel was the joyous energy around us and the thundering sound of the falls! The falls looked magnificent from here! This is the place where the water from the Cauvery River drops off from the Deccan Plateau at height of about 69 metres forming the famous ‘Barachukki and Gaganachukki Falls’.

After spending sometime enjoying the view, observing all the activity taking place around us and taking few snaps of the gorgeous falls before us we started to ascend the steps. Halfway there i was already lightheaded due to an empty stomach ! TIP – Do not attempt to descend these stairs without   some ’ pet pooja’ (some yummy in your tummy ! 😀 ) and enough water to prevent dehydration & also a cap or umbrella to avoid sun stroke !!!

We unfortunately having not thought of any of the above as we were not aware of the steep decent, had a tough time getting back upstairs ! Never have I been so relieved to have the climb behind me ! Soon we left Shivanasamudra Falls looking for a place to have lunch.

TIP – Finding a descent meal is difficult around these areas so try carrying food from Bangalore itself.

Talakadu

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Temple @ Talakadu

Talakad is a desert-like town located on the banks of river Cauvery, at a distance of about 35 km from the waterfalls. It is a historic town and a famous pilgrimage area of the Hindus as it has several temples. Talakadu once had over 30 temples that today are buried in sand.

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Temple Carvings

Except for the Vaideeswara temple built by Raja Raja I, all the other temples were buried under sand dunes. Out of these, the temples of Pataleeswara, Maraleswara, Anandeswara, Arkeswara, Gauri Shankar, Kirti Narayana and Chowdeswari have been excavated by the Central Archaeological Department.

There is a myth behind this – A story of a curse! Vijaynagar empires viceroy Rangaraya’s wife  Alamelamma is said to have cursed the King and the town before drowning herself in the Cauvery river near Talakadu.

temple1When we visited the place , it was recently opened to the public after the temples were excavated. Talakad is a small town with narrow lanes and small houses. To our surprise there was a looong line of cars waiting to enter the town. Curious visitors and pilgrims looking forward to visit the temple ruins. We could see locals trying to make some income by offering food or acting as guides for the tourists.

After some wait we finally managed to find a parking spot  in an already crowded  lane. No sooner had we parked, a local came upto to us offering to be a guide for a small amount. So off we went with our guide to see the temples some of them which were still active.

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Talakadu

Talakkad is famous for the Panchalinga Darshan – a rare darshan of five Shiva temples. The temples of Pataleeswara (Vasukeeswara), Maraleswara, Arakeswara, Mallikarjuna and Vaideeswara constitute the Panchalingas and are believed to represent the five faces of Siva. The Panchalinga darshana is a popular festival held once in 12 years on New Moon Day in the month of Karthika.

Today this sleepy little town is at the epicenter of some of the latest advances in horticulture and wine making. Often referred to as Bangalore’s Gourmet Valley by name Cauvery Valley, it is still a secret many chefs choose not to share. Fine wines, exotic Zero Pesticide fresh produce, artisan cheese and diverse culinary experiences are changing this once sleepy hamlet.