Thursday, March 29, 2012

2 Chikmagalur with family

This was a family trip including Ajay Narayan’s family (Ajay, Preetha and their wonderful twin sons Ryan and Rohit), Sanju Poonacha’s family Sanju, Rohini, their active son, Pranoy and very beautiful daughter, Nikki) and my family (Sunil, Bindu and our children Johan and Giane). We started our Journey on Friday, 23rd March 2012 morning in a Tempo traveller at about 6:15 AM from my home in Ejipura, by the time we picked Ajay’s and Sanju’s family from RT Nagar it was about 7:15 AM.

We had delicious breakfast in an open air restaurant few kilometres after Nelamangala, in the shade of trees, whose low branches was source of fun for the children who plucked the leaves and enjoyed swinging from its branches.

We reached Shravanabelagola by around 10:30 AM. The barefoot climb of 600 odd steps to the top of hill to see the Statue of Gomateshwara/Bahubali was probably a little tedious but well worth the experience. I could say Rohini was the one who stretched herself the most, her sheer desire to see the Statue finally overcoming the constraints of the challenging climb.

The statue is sight to behold, with a height of 57 feet and carved out of a single stone (Monolith). It is considered the World’s largest monolith stone staue. The view from the top of the hill is also beautiful.

We had booked our stay in Texwoods resorts ( close to the Bhadra Wildlife Sanctuary at a place called Muthodi. We reached honnala check post by 2:30, and the 5 kilometre stretch of mud road through thick plantation from here to Tex Woods was adventurous and was not something which our driver enjoyed, it was probably designed for a 4 wheel drive to say the least.

The Buffet lunch at Tex Woods was excellent, with chicken and mutton among the menu.
The rooms here are elegant and comfortable. The place also has good swimming pool and the enthuisiastic children ensured that we spend close to 2 hours in the pool. Swimming, Playing running and catching, and throwing Pranoy with synchronised effort ensuring he had brief flights of 2-3 metres. We went for short walk in the evening which was cut short by the hints from my wife to return as it was getting dark.

Evening was fun sitting around the ‘Campfire’ having a few drinks of Bacardi and attempting to play Antakshari and Dumb Charades. Morning we got up by 7:30 and went for small walk to see the place where they process coffee seeds. It was close to 10:30 by the time we has breakfast and departed to Kemmangundi via, Chikmagalur. We reached Chikmagalur by 11: 45 AM and decided to see Dhaba-Dhaba falls, Baba Budan giri hills and Manikyadhara falls instead of going to Kemmangudi and Hebbe falls in the interest of time.

Dhaba-Dhaba falls which is a few kilometres before Attigundi on the way to Kemmangundi, is close to 1.5 kilometres trek from the main road with a sign board of Jzhari eco resorts as the starting point. In the middle of the walk, Sanju and I decided to take the deviation to Jzhari resorts to get the lunch parceled. But after we had travelled about 400 metres we were told by the Jeep driver from the resort that they will not have food for 10 people as they had a full house and we had not ordered earlier. We went back to join our gang under the falls.

The falls was beauty with the water falling from a considerable height over layers of rock. Bathing in the falls was a great experience with the cold water and force of the fall ensuring we were shivering and our body parts were turning numb in less than a minute.We had to have few sips of Whisky as an enticement to go under the falls repeatedly. On our way back from the falls we took the more adventurous short cuts with its share of challenges.

We had lunch of Paratha’s, Chiken curry and egg omlette in small restaurant in
Attigundi before continuing our journey to Manikyadhara falls in Baba Budangiri hills. The climb down of about 100 odd steps to Manikyadhara falls was not very fruitful as there was very little water, probably equivalent to one of the showers in our homes. This place as I was informed had a lot religious significance, with the presence of the ‘Dharga’ and Dattapeetta.

It was close to 6:00 PM when we reached Thanmaya home stay ( close to a place called Kaimara. Thanmaya offers an old fashioned home, the external view of which can be little intimidating. But inside the rooms and toilets were clean and we soon started liking the place and its different ambience.
The men along with the children started playing Cricket and showing off our abilities with the bat and ball. When it became dark, we had a refreshing shower and played carrom for while, allowing the women and men to celebrate the simple victories with high fives and laughter,

which would have put the ‘podium’ celebrations of the world carrom championship to shame. Soon it was Bacardi time, we had a great drinking session, accompanied by some beautiful songs, thanks to the talent of Rohini, who mesmirised us with her singing. It was past 12:30 AM when we reluctantly retired to our rooms for the much needed sleep.

In the morning we again played cricket for while and by 9:30 AM left to Mullayanagiri, which at a height of 6300 ft is the highest peak in Karnataka. There were some beautiful scenery to behold on the way, and although we did not trek to top of the hill, had good time enjoying the view from place called Sitalayanagiri which also had a small temple, about 2 kilometres below the Mullayanagiri peak.

We reached Belur by 11:30 and went to the main attraction of the area, the Chennakeshava Temple. We fortunately hired a guide for 250 rupees and he explained that the temple was built by King Vishnuvardhana in commemeration of his victory over Cholas in the 12 century, it took over 103 years to build and was completed by his grandson.
The temple has 32 corners and 32 pillars, and about 6,000 statues. The intricate work of the statues, with their distinct ornaments, postures, features and expression was extraordinary and unimaginable.

The statues carved from single stone had visible gaps between the ornaments and parts, creating a 3 dimensional view, which had us astonished with admiration for the people who had created it. We agreed with the guide when he told us that this temple takes days/weeks to see and admire every individual statue, and what we had seen in about 45 minutes was in his words “highlight of the highlights”.

We had delicious lunch of Biriyani and chicken kababs at Belur and left to Halebeedu. Halebeedu, was earlier called Dwarasamudra and was the Capital of Hoysala kingdom around the 12th century. The hoysaleshwara temple here is astounding for its wealth of sculptural details. The walls of the temple are covered with an endless variety of depictions from Hindu mythology, animals, birds and dancing figures. The guide told us that the temple was twice the size of the Belur temple and had 64 corners and nearly 12000 satues. The statues outside were much detailed than Belur, and are amazing work of art. Unfortunately moft of the statues inside were stolen, and most of the designs were incomplete as the artisans had to flee during the attack by the army of Malik Kafur the general of Alaudin Khilji. The city was later deserted and hence got the name halebeedu which means ‘Old Abode”

We departed to Bangalore by 4:00 PM and reached RT Nagar by 8:00 PM, ending a great trip with memories to be cherished. Thanks to Ajay’s and Sanju’s family who were traveling with us for the first time for being understanding and adjusting with the sudden change of plans and late meals.