I heard about Sirsangi from Dr.Umesh after my visit to Saundatti earlier this year. That's the time I heard about Sirsangi's connection with Girish Karnad's movie Ondanondu Kaladalli, Shankar Nag's first movie shot mid 70s. Ondanondu Kaladalli is one of my favorite Kannada movies. Sirsangi got added to my list of places to visit.
Coming from Gokak...
...it was past 2PM when we entered Sirsangi. Sangamesh, Dr.Umesh's nephew, was waiting for us at Basaveshwara temple. At Sangamesh's place, we had a filling lunch, prepared and served with so much affection. Feeling energized, we were ready for the tour. Sangamesh was our guide. We bid bye to Smt. Gangamma Turamari, Smt. Shanta and Nagaraj.
We started out tour with Desai Vaade. The fort was in a bad state until repair works restored it to the present state. The main gate is under lock & key to keep out vandals. Shantamma Yattinamani is in charge of the place.
Sangamesh got the key and opened the doors.
I felt much of its originality was lost... but still it's an interesting monument.
That's Shantamma Yattinamani.
I was trying to imagine how Shrimant Lingaraj Desai of Shirasang conducted court here... Desai seated in the chaavdi & village folk gathered to seek work or payment or to seek justice ...the place was a seat of power and wealth.
Quoting Dr.Umesh- ...the contribution from Tyagaveer "Lingaraj Desai" (Shirasangi, Navalgund and Saundatti provinces were under his rule) is really great. What ever KLE is today, its because of his contribution (with an initial investment of 6 lakh -"Navalgund-Shirasangi Trust" - in 1906). Even the Shirasangi fort is almost in ruined state (u might have seen "Ondaanondu Kaladalli" Kannada movie..). When ever I pass by Saundatti/Shirasangi fort, I remember about his great contribution to education...
An abandoned treasury. In it's original condition, it's empty weight could be close to two quintals.
Like most Desai vaades, teak wood dominates Sirsangi vaade too.
Intricate wood work decoration is the norm for most vaades.
This is the pooja room.
A plough. It seems the plough was powered by elephants. I felt a couple of bison would do.
RANSOMES, SIMS & JEFFERIES LD
SOUTH AFRICAN EAGLE
We went up to the first floor... a hall where family members would relax. The grills could be cast iron of Brtish era.
I was trying to visualize scenes from Ondanondu Kaladalli... but failed to spot the similarities. Of course over four decades things would have changed. Some scenes of the movie is also shot in another location, an ancient house at Turmuri, a village near Belgaum.
It's not easy to maintain vaades anymore. It's basically a structure built of stones and mud. These structures need regular maintenance which needs lot of manpower.
That's where guards would be stationed. Inside it's a mini hall on a raised platform. It could also serve as a resting place for some of the visitors...
Two videos- Sirsanghi Vaade and Sirsangi Vaade.
Our next destination- Kalikadevi Temple. That's Sangamesh standing next to square which is out-of-bounds for visitors. The metallic grill is completely covered with with coconuts wrapped in cloth, tied by people who have prayed here for their wishes to come true. It seems on Ugadi, one of the priests would stand in the square and throw balls of rice up into the air which do not come back but would vanish.
It's an ancient structure with lot interesting sculptures which would have demanded highly talented artists.
Temple inscription in Halegannada.
Deepastamba. There are two more such pillars on nearby rock hills.
About a kilometer from Kalika Temple is Siddeshwara Guhe or Siddeshwara Gavi a cave temple dedicated to Lord Shiva. It's isolated and located in a shallow valley of rock hills. The atmosphere is peaceful and relaxing.
That's the interior... neat & tidy. Siddayya Kaanti is in-charge of the temple. Siddayya showed us the chamber behind the temple deity. The seems the cave continues as a underground tunnel which links to a holy place ...cannot recall the name.
I heard this story from Sangamesh: some years back an ascetic used to live here doing penance and slowly became popular with local people. With donations pouring in the ascetic constructed few rooms and organised a kitchen, a library and visitors' quarters. But at some point of time, the Swami got involved in other activities... and landed himself in trouble with the law. He was evicted from the ashram and the place was put in charge of local people.
On our way back, we stopped by Babbudangiri Durgah, a Sufi mosque.
I wish I had gone up... some other day.
Desai Vaade, Kalikadevigudi, Siddeshwaragavi and Bababudan Durgah.
A fort, an ancient temple, a cave temple and a durgah; so much to see in this little town! Thanks to Dr.Umesh for suggesting the place and Sangamesh being such a patient guide. One day I'll there to bother Sangamesh again.