Monday, June 28, 2010

Sahasralinga revisited

May 22, 2010. Third visit to Sahasralinga.

Dadapeer was really thrilled to see this place. He went snapping up with his mobile camera. He kept pointing at several sculptures asking me to take pictures of them.




Some say that's a palette and some say it's made for having food but I just felt that it could made to keep pooja items like flowers, vibhuti, kumkuma, arishina, sandal paste, etc. in place.



This Basavanna looks like he'll get up and come charging anytime.

Elephant head, Shivalinga and a panati i.e. an oil lamp.



Bull licking it's back.

That's Lord Ganapati.





A signature- Chennabasavaraja Lingayya -that's how inscription reads.

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Monday, June 21, 2010

Friend's Wedding

An email from Sudhin announcing his plans to get married startled us ...the BMSCE gang. Engagement some time April at Bangalore and wedding planned for May at Udupi. There was a bunch of email, some congratulating, some asking him if he was crazy to get married at this age, some outright declaring that he's just fooling around. I called Sudhin to find out if he was serious. I could neither believe him completely nor ignore it. He asked me to be present for both functions. I promised to attend the wedding but doubtful about attending the engagement. Few days on, I spoke to Ravi. It seems Ravi checked out and could not find the place (where the engagement was planned) named by Sudhin. Another prank from this monkey- Sudhin. Forget the wedding, this guy is just fooling us.

Somehow at the back of the mind, I felt Sudhin is getting married for real. I called him (about a week for the D-day) and asked him if the wedding was for real... "hoono Sidda, nijavagalu maduve agtidino" - yes Sidda, I'm getting married for real. So I asked him if he's planning to send out invitations. "invitation print madsidino, kodakke time illo" - invitations are printed, I have no time to distribute them. Great! I told him it's customary to send out wedding invitations when one is getting married. And I told him that gang had not believed about the wedding. Including me. "che che yentado idu maraya!" - his favorite exclamatory phrase. "Email the invitation right now." "eeglae madtino" - I'll do that right now. Next morning when I checked my email I did see the invitation ...attached was a scanned image of 3/4th of the invitation. Sudhin's trademark!

Chandrashekar and Anand planned to drive down. Ravi and Kedi said they'll take a bus. Sunil, Chicken and Shiva said that they were tied up. Rest of the gang did not respond. Somehow I knew I would be the only one from our gang at the wedding. 3 days to go, I booked a taxi at Janani Travels, I specifically asked for a Tata Indigo.

A freshly cleaned Maroon Indigo and Dadapeer, the taxi driver. We set off towards Yellapur via Haliyal. This was the first time I traveled the stretch between Haliyal and Yellapur. Barely out of Dharwad, Dadapeer narrowly missed a 10 wheeler truck which came right on us out of a blind curve. Dadapeer was too fast and far too much to the right. Not a good first impression but definitely a lasting one. The stretch after Dandeli cross was even more curvy and Dadapeer drove as though he was driving a rally. His driving gave me creeps. I did not have much choice now other than to turn back and cancel the trip. I told myself "take heart, just keep an eye on the road and watch his driving." My dreams of a relaxed trip vanished.

On Yellapur-Sirsi road, we stopped for a while. Dadapeer had brought a small branch of curry leaves. The car interior was filled with the fresh aroma of curry leaves. This guy is smart, only his driving is dangerous! Dadapeer told me that he had worked in the road contract between Yellapur-Sirsi and half of Sirsi-Siddapur stretch. He told me he controlled a loaded tractor whose brakes failed going downhill in reverse towards a bunch of school kids. He managed to stop it by locking the rear wheel into the trailer tow-lever. Local people hailed his presence of mind. They had to, it was the worst possible situation for any tractor driver.


We stopped at Sahasralinga for about 30 minutes and then moved on. We stopped for breakfast at Panchvati a restaurant on the outskirts of Sirsi. I called Prof. Roopa Patil, a maternal cousin who's employed in the Agricultural Research Station, Sirsi. We met her at the ARS gate and moved on to her house, stayed there for about 15 minutes and then went to a cashew processing unit in the industrial area. We bought some cashew, dropped Roopa back at ARS and headed towards Jog Falls. Dadapeer told me a story about how they could not blast rocks while making this road because of deity's presence. It seems local people offered pooja and metal tridents to be in peace with this God.


As we moved in Jog's direction the sky was cloudier. We expected a wet journey... That's the bridge across river Sharavati.


...Ashoka Emblem standing tall for more than 50 years.


Mysore state embedded on the pillar. Somehow creations of these days lack such touches.



Jog was almost peaceful with water falling off at just two places. I was disappointed. We wanted to climb down and see the falls from the bottom end. Disappointment again. Tourists were banned from going down because of ongoing work on steps leading down into the valley. I shot few pictures and tried to picture the previous two visits. I told Dadapeer we'll go to Bombay Guest House ...that's the other side of the valley. I heard about the view point near Bombay Guest House from Roopa. About a kilometer up the hill, Dadapeer suggested we explore the river bed. I was reluctant but then his enthusiasm caught on. I agreed. Just as we entered the riverbed I saw a small stream dive of the cliff.


That could be Rocket. We moved on... he was very agile, he would just leap from rock to rock.


I was slow but not bad too. ...cannot afford to break bones at this age. We came to a larger stream, weaving it's way through the rocks. Fresh breeze and gurgling water; no words to describe the feeling. Water gently made it's way towards the edge and it seemed to be a hurry as it neared the edge. As the water dives off, the clear water breaks into infinite white drops and some get carried up by breeze.

That's Dapapeer standing right next to the edge. My turn was next ...we felt it's not safe for more than one person there.


That's where water begins it's 250m dive.



I felt great standing there. I shot a few videos too. That's the shot I liked most for the day. The camera was a few inches off the edge. I wish had taken a couple of steps more to the edge ...may be next time.


Clouds were gathering and we decided to move on before the rain made these rocks slippery. We drove up to Bombay Guest House, parked the car and walked down to the view point and beyond. This view would be amazing to see during rainy season. The drop is sheer.



One could spend an entire day here and still not see even half the place properly. We were hungry too. We started off towards Sagar, the road was good and the drive was comfortable. We stopped by a small lake full of lotus and water birds wading over the
leaves.



Two friends peacefully ride their way...


We stopped for a quick meal at Sagar and resumed our journey. We passed through Ripponpet and reached Teertahalli by 4-45PM. We took Agumbe road, after about 5 kms turned left towards Kammardi- the destination for the day. We drove slowly checking with people for directions. We found Pratibakka's (Sudhin's sister) place and there was the bridegroom. I met Sudhin's family- mother, sister & her two high school going kids, brother Nagendra, sister-in-law & two kids, a maternal uncle and some more relatives.

I freshened up, changed into fresh set of clothes and ready to witness Sudhin getting smeared by turmeric.


I was wishing the function to get over soon, I was hungry and sleepy too. It did get over soon. We had a nice meal, mainly rice items. And I hit the sack... it did not matter if I fell asleep but I wanted to be in the horizontal position. Absolutely no mosquitoes! I was really happy about it. Sleep did not come soon, may be it caught on by midnight. By 3AM I woke up to the noise of pouring rain. Except for me and the kids none of the people had slept. I came out, saw the rain battering the tiles above and the wind howling. The darkness added to the fierceness of the storm. I went back to sleep after a while only to wake up by 5 30. Dadapeer was up and cleaned the car ...bridegroom would be travelling in this car. Through with morning routine, I was ready for the day. While rest of the party got ready I went for a short walk. Stones fences were unique to this region of Karnataka i.e. Shimoga district.



By 7-30Am we set off towards Manipal via Agumbe. We had to be in the wedding hall by 9-30 since the muhurath was at 10-30 or so. Other than exams, this would be the very first time Sudhin was ever on time. Believe me I'm not joking. The drive down Agumbe Ghats was amazing... Drivers have to be extremely alert here. I wonder how the road was built in the first place. This is probably my second journey here, the first one was some time 70s ...probably 1976. We reached our destination- Manipal > Westind Country Club, venue of the wedding. Breakfast was served, idlis cooked in leaves. The rituals started, I was surprised to see just one poojari which means the function would be brief. Finally the moment arrived and Sudhin tied the knot. Few more customary rituals and the newly wed couple were all set to receive wishes from relatives, friends and guests.


My intuition was right, none of the BMSCE guys turned up. I wished Sudhin & Sheetal a happy married life. I had to leave now, a long journey lay ahead of us. I wanted to be back at Dharwad by 9PM. I just do not like to travel during nights, not safe. Had a quick lunch. 12-30 we set off towards Udupi. We stopped at Krishna temple for sometime. A shop selling vegetables typical to the coastal belt.


I picked up few things at the main market- onion, pineapple and brinjal. We resumed our journey, now we were driving North along the coastal line. We stopped at Kundapur to pick up sweets from Parijata Bakery and Hotel Sharon. Our next stop was at Kunmta to refuel and then on we journeyed non-stop ...via Sirsi, Yellapur, Kalghatgi and reached Dharwad at 9-00PM.

Two action packed days, I was little tired, the tiredness seem to increase with the thoughts of facing a hot May Monday at office.

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Monday, June 14, 2010

Upuli Buruj, Bijapur

Buruj or Burj means tower in Arabic.

Upuli - there's ambiguity on this. One of the sources said that Upuli is the name of a woman who stayed close by while the other source trashed that story.

Those are the steps leading to the top.





Close to the end of the steps, I saw this tablet fixed in the wall.


At the top, there are two cannons. These cannons look purely functional, probably built to send relatively light projectiles over a long trajectories.




A touch of art here...


Upuli Burj offers a commanding view of Bijapur. I wonder how the city looked during the days of the Adil Shah's reign.

That's Gol Gumbaz sticking out of the horizon.


I kept shooting every 90 degrees turning to my right.




The steps on the way feel much steeper than the way up. The stone steps are slippery, just take care while descending.


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