Monday, March 29, 2010

Skandagiri

I read about Kalavarabetta, also known as Skandagiri, in a blog. The only picture on the post was impressive; the person in the picture was above thick white clouds. But I was skeptical about the real beauty of the hill since the place is close to Chikkballapur. We decided to take a chance. We left home around 5AM, had tea at Chikkballapur and drove through it's narrow streets and by 7AM we were at a temple close to the foot of the hill. I was surprised to see the number of bikes and cars parked. It seems most people visiting this place climb during the night and stay back till sunrise and then descend. The parking attendant said at least 150 people on the hill at the moment. One hell of a crowd!

Let me caution new visitors. Beware of local people here. All they do is rob people in the name of vehicle parking charges or guide you the way up the hill. A guide ripped us of Rs.200 to show us the path to the hill from the temple which was hardly a kilometer. These guys can beat any marketing guy in conning.

This is supposed to be a warning to visitors.


FOREST DEPARTMENT
SMOKING ALKOHAL
DRINKS OR PLASTIC DO
NOT ALLOWED IF USED
RS.500=00 WILL
BE FINE C.B.PUR



Durga and me walked ahead for some distance and waited for Deepak and Gulli to catch up. Once they caught up, I moved ahead faster and climbed alone till the summit.


I passed by people descending. These guys had spent the night on the hill. Some careless youngster had injured his leg and was riding piggy ...I saw his ankle was swollen badly. The terrain is rough and slippery with little pebbles. Deepak said that Savandurga has spoiled us with it's smooth open surface.


That's Skandagiri's shadow stretching over few kilometers.




Mist closed in as I neared the summit.


A lonely Basavanna.


The summit is littered with plastic bottles, plates, cups and all kind of trash. One sad place this is. Somehow I ignored the mess and tried to look at the good things around. Few guys from Kalavara village have set up a fast food joint here. Menu is soft drinks, omelette and Maggi noodles. I bet half the mess out here is these guys work.


Of the three peaks, one on the extreme left is Nandi Hills.


I waited for almost 45 minutes for the trio before I headed back thinking if they gave up the climb midway. I had climbed down till the point where I shot the sun through the mist ...we were united and reached the summit. We had sandwiches and water.


It was getting warmer with every passing minute, decided it's time we head back.


Durga called this rock as an egg.



Half way down the hill we rested for a while in the cool shade of a rock which almost formed a cave. I washed my feet and felt good. From here I went down faster leaving the trio behind. At the base, near the painted rock, I stopped at a cucumber shop and waited for the trio. While I waited I chatted with owner, an old man who talked non-stop. I bought some cucumbers and had couple of them ...very refreshing under the hot sun.

One visit is enough to this place. I never ever want to set my foot here again.

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Monday, March 22, 2010

Anugondanahalli Hill

January 24, 2010. Durga, Deepak, Gulveer and I.

Our plan was to go Kaivara. We headed towards Kolar. Stopped for breakfast at Kamat Upachar. A watchman there told us that we had to go to Chintamani first and then take the road to Kaivara. We had overshot 25 kilometers ...we should've turned left at Hoskote itself. We changed our plan. Our new destination was close to Kolar, a hill with a wide plateau on the top. As we drove towards Kolar we picked one hill and decided to climb it. We drove off the highway to our left, through the woods for about a furlong, parked the car and took off on foot. It was already warm.







Full Moon Rock. Also looks like a scoop of butter scotch ice cream.



The rock on the top looks as though it's yawning with it's mouth wide open.


Nature's wonder; how the rock stands balanced for God knows how many years.


I was alone up here while rest of the group was down below.


The higher I went, more interesting the hill was.


This flower could be a close relative of Fire Tree.


A spider web. First time I saw this type of web.


Shadows of the thorns caught my attention.


Flowers look like little ice-cream cones with a cherry on top.


Another spider web with dew on it.

The climb was not easy since there was no ready-made path. Grass poked us all over. Thorny bushes snagged in our clothing. We were not prepared for this terrain. Durga, Gulli and I wore sandals. At one point I took off my sandals and went bare foot. By 12 we decided to head back... the heat was uncomfortable. We had scratches over our exposed skin. The hill is wild and interesting. If at all we plan another visit, we should reach much earlier. Also wear shoes, carry lot of water and make sure we carry a first aid kit.

Back at the car, we washed our faces, hands and feet. It felt great. Deepak suggested we have lunch at a highway dhaba near Hoskote. We almost missed it. Deepak's clue helped locate it. The place was right next to a mosque. Food was great; we had Kerala Parotas, Ceylon Parotas and Naans with some three varieties of spicy dishes.

Burrpp!!

ZZzzz...

.........

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Ramtheerth

From Halasi; a short drive on a dirt track, I turned right into a mango garden and parked the car. From here I had to walk. Not a soul around. I could see the rock hill with a little temple sitting on it's top. I wanted to find out the path leading to the temple. I ran into a ittangi bhatti ...a brick yard.


I found a family who lived here. I wonder if this little house is cool inside. These people pointed out the path and asked me if I was not worried about going alone. I said I'm used to going around by myself.


The path snaked through a paddy field then through woods with patches of dirt and rocky surfaces, shady and sunny, went though a almost dry stream bed. I imagined how it would be trek here in rainy seasons. I heard many bird but saw few ...difficult to spot them in the foliage. I saw one bird about the size of a robin with long tail feathers ...gave me no chance to shoot.


Rocks here are granite ...being quarried. Man just cannot let nature alone.

This seems like a little temple made by quarry workers.


I must have walked for about 20 minutes to reach the temple atop the rock hill. As you see it's a temple made of roughly finished stones.


Water was not inviting, in fact the pond looked scary with it's dark green slimy water. Little frogs scampered across the pond.


As I went closer to the temple, I heard a voice ...mantras being chanted. I stepped into the temple, found a man snoring away in bliss. Inside the sanctum sanctorum two elderly men were going through a ritual of Shivalinga Pooja. It was Makar Sankranti; I guess these men were offering special pooja.




A smaller, roofless structure housed this Shiva Linga.


This rock looks like a lizard head


and a tortoise head from here.



The place was silent and a light breeze helped take the heat away. I wanted to explore more but I had to be back in Dharwad. I've made up my mind to visit this place some time September 2010 ...by which the place should be green and fresh.



.........

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Temples of Halasi

There are three main temples here- Bhuvaraha Narasimha temple and two other temples.

Bhuvaraha Narasimha temple is the most well maintained one.




That's the main temple- Narasimha temple.






The next temple is about a 100m from Narasimha temple, it's easy to miss it. The path leading to the temple is narrow and messy, I hardly felt that would be the path to a temple, it's right next to a shed. Nothing much to see here...









Finally, the last one. Do not even bother taking the trouble of visiting this one.



I was little disappointed with Halasi... however, two youngsters suggested me to visit Ramtheert, a small granite hill about two kilometers away. I trusted their words and drove towards Ramtheerth.

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