Friday, March 13, 2015

Shravanabelagola, Halebid Hoysaleshwara, Belur Chennakeshava & the Drive to Sringeri via Coffee Plantations of Chikmagalur

The Views of the Outskirts of Bangalore from the skies was spectacular indeed... Lush Greenery with scattered hillocks was a treat to our eyes. It was Drizzling in Cool Bangalore as our Indigo Flight from Kolkata landed in the Kempe Gowda International Airport in the evening of 9th August 2014. Anna had guided us thoroughly. We wasted no time to collect our luggage, arrived at the the Vayu Vajra Volvo AC Bus Stand to board the bus which took us to Ashoka Pillar Stop... The Bus Services were impeccable, Highways were very impressive as we found beloved Anna waiting for us with an Umbrella in hand at the Ashoka Pillar Bus Stop to receive us i.e. myself and Rishita... Our Dream Pilgrimage Tour to Karnataka was on its way!! Can't Express Our Joy really in words... So Much Planning involved behind this Trip... Bothering Anna time and again with the Travel Itinerary.... He doesn't prefer much mentioning about himself in public but what to do... His presence was just like what Jatil the little boy experienced with Madhusudan Dada in the Tales of Sri Ramakrishna Kathamrita!! We reached Hanumanthanagar by Auto Rickshaw from Ashoka Pillar, met his revered parents... had a sumptuous South Indian Meal at a Traditional Restaurant on Bull temple road, The First Time experience of such varieties of South Indian Food served the local way in Banana Leafs... Divine & Holy Indeed... walked through Old Bangalore areas of Basavanagudi, Hanumanthanagar & retired for the night in Anna's Heavenly Home.

A Tata Indica was pre booked for us which reported timely the next morning. Driver Raghu was a very friendly person having thorough knowledge of the parts we were scheduled to travel...  We Finished a wonderful breakfast with Idlis, Upma & Coffee & Started for our First Destination, the Unesco World Heritage Site of Shravanabelagola. I will ever remember the gentleman whose name we didnt ask, who was so cordial and happily fed us with upma & Tea etc at the Breakfast Counter when he knew we had gone all the way from Bengal which he exclaimed as the "Land of Mother Kali".

Situated at a distance of 158 kms from Bangalore Shravanabelagola  is a city located near Channarayapatna of Hassan district in Karnataka. The statue of Gommateshvara Bahubali at Śravaṇa Beḷgoḷa is one of the most important pilgrimage destinations in Jainism, one that reached a peak in architectural and sculptural activity under the patronage of Western Ganga Dynasty of TalakadChandragupta is said to have died here in 298 BC after he became a Jain monk and assumed an ascetic life style. Jainism in this place is 2000+ years old. The Drive Through the Outskirts of Bangalore City was Wonderful Indeed... Such Beautiful Landscape fascinated us along with the pleasant weather... We reached the Beautiful Town of Shravanabelagola, Climbed up the steep stairs of the Vindhyagiri Hillock & reach atop to have a beautiful glimpse of Bahubali carved out of One single rock... An architectural wonder... 

Post a Veg Thali Lunch at the Town of Hassan (The Native Place of our Ex Prime Minister H.D. Devegowda) we drove to the historical Halebid Temple which housed the wonderful Rock Cut Temples of Hoysaleshwara Shiva...Around 80 Kms from Sharavanabelagola, this is a splendid place of ancient Hindu Temple architecture... Amazing piece of Art & Architecture...The Black Stone Carvings dated centuries back are divine.. The Chenna Keshava Vishnu Temple at Belur is also quite the same. The Decor inside the temple walls and ceilings and the Beautiful Chenna Keshav gave us a magnifiscent charm.

We then drove to the Town of Sringeri in Chikmagalur amidst Coffee Plantations and Tea/Rubber Trees around us In the wet green monsoon month of August… The coffee stop at Badra was eternal! We fell in Love with Karnataka even more by then… I now realised why this soil produced such wonderful men like my Anna…

Journey to Continue!