Monday, October 25, 2010

ಸಿರಸಂಗಿ ~ Sirsangi

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.



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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.

Shiva-Parvati


Ganesha


Shanmugha


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.

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Monday, October 18, 2010

Sree Veerabadreswara Temple, Belavadi

September 10th.

Our first stop of the day. Belavadi was not on the agenda. We had almost gone past it, we turned back.

That's Sree Veerabadreswara Temple of Belavadi. It is an ancient structure with a touch of modernity ...paint!


Who ever is the artist, his taste matches mine. I liked the white, red and gold combination.


Ancient sculptures of a small pillar and a raised bowl can be seen here.


More gold ...at least gold does not camouflage tiny details in the sculpted doorway. However the temple is maintained well.


The entire yard surrounding the temple is watered and swept clean.


Ancient sculptures of snake gods.


The orange colored structure is also an ancient structure, probably it is the temple mantapa where travelers could rest or it was used to hold meetings.


If I'm not mistaken, this is the very structure from which Madiwaleswara of Garag is supposed to had appeared and thrown gold coins to people of Belavadi.


The brave warrior queen Belawadi Mallamma,


and Raja Eshaprabhu.


Beautiful paintings by Ningappa V Karikatti.

We stopped on the ramp leading up to the bridge across river Malaprabha ...actually it seems more like backwaters of Saundatti reservoir.


We drove on to our next destination of the day- Sogal.

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Monday, October 11, 2010

Gokak Waterfall and Hanging Bridge

My last visit to this fabulous waterfall was some time 1998 or 1999 ...with Dad and Dipi.

Sept 10, the day before Ganesh Chaturti, we had few places on our agenda for the day. Just before reaching Gokak we had visited Sogal and a short stop at Belvadi. There are few more interesting places like Arabhavi, Godachina malki Waterfall and Dhupdaal. However, we left them out for the day since we had to be in Sirsangi well before sunset.


British era stone buildings housing a cotton gin greet tourists. I heard the mill here is still in British Government's name, not yet acquired by India.


We first went to Mahalingeswara temple, passed by another temple whose name I did not bother to check.


I wonder why stones are painted. The picture below is the rear portion of Mahalingeswara temple, the only part which is not colored.


That's the front portion, except the floor, not a square inch of stone is spared.


Who ever is in charge of this temple's maintenance must be a chromomaniac. Anyway... we paid our respects to Mahalingeswara, one of Lord Shiva's many avatars.


We moved towards the rushing river, passing by several other tourists of all ages. Youngsters busy shooting away each other with their cell phones. The mighty Ghataprabha leaps down 52 meters with a deep rumble and sends up white mist.


That's the hydro-power unit which feeds the cotton mill's power requirement.


Everything is silent again ...Ghataprabha flows snakes it way through the valley.


We moved closer to the water, found a ledge, I stepped down carefully, to get a view of the underside of the diving river.


On the ledge, as I moved towards the diving water, I was sacred but managed to control my feelings. For a moment I felt as though water is going to pull me into it. Few minutes later, Chetan joined me.



It was a kind of fatal attraction ...I knew it was not safe to be there but it was fun to fight fear. Do watch this video...




Small drops started raining down from the clouds above, that's when I decided to climb back to safety. We spent some more time appreciating the rocks, the river and the wonderful hanging bridge.


Only on reading this banner did I realize that this bridge was not for general public. Yet I, like other tourists, chose to ignore it. Apart from this banner I saw a notice that this suspension bridge is designed to take 30 people's load but, I could count double the number. At times large groups would move together, overloading the cables holding us. The bridge would sway scarily as we pass through the mid-section of the span. People ignorant of engineering concepts are blissfully unaware of the dangers they are treading on.


A small Shivalingu temple across the river. We had bought roasted corn here. It took a while for us to finish them.


A tortoise between the doorway and Lingu. The tortoise looks as though it's trying to crawl forward.


...we had climbed up get a better view.


Back to the bridge ...on of the cables. You see they are really not that thick.


I avoided large groups by stopping on the columns and until traffic thinned.


View of the river minus the falls ...middle of the picture, water level falls 52 meters.


Looking the other way ...Ghataprabha rushing down the slope.


Safely across the river, we got into the Indica. As we drove back, I asked Shrikanth to stop, I wanted to locate the spot from here I shot Gokak Falls years ago. It was difficult with so much of overgrown jaali-kanti blocking the view. Anyway we stopped by at Volkart Rock for few minutes.


The park is taken over by jalli-kanti. In fact the entire Gokak area is covered by jaali shrubs ...a major source for green color in this terrain.

This must one of the turbines or a valve.



Soon we were out of Gokak cruising the highway towards Saundatti ...our final destination of the day- Sirsangi.

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