Saturday, September 24, 2011

Drive to Malwan

April 13, 2011

April-May is the time of the year Durga and Deepak spend few days with me and a trip to some near by place gets planned. Our first and second such visits were Om beach and Ulavi. For Deepak, holiday means spending time on a beach. And I had heard about Sindhudurg, the island fort in Arabian sea. We booked accommodation with a home-stay in a village about 3km from Malwan. Sindhudurg sits about a kilometer in the sea and is visible clearly from Malwan fishing jetty.

We left Dharwad by 11AM, hit Belgaum by 12, the drive on NH4 was a breeze. At Belgaum we turned off NH4 towards Amboli. The narrow urban road got twistier and wavier as we drove closer to Maharatsra. Our first stop was at Nangatarasakari Waterfall. Peak of summer, the falls let out a hiss while it roars during monsoon.


This place is packed with tourists during monsoon. That's Durga and mom.


Lunch was at Vittal Kamat close to Amboli. We went past Amboli Dab Daba, barely any water. Turns in the shaded ghat road got tighter as we drove downhill. As Savantwadi got closer the weather got warmer. About 25km before Kudal we joined the Goa-Mumbai highway, traffic was heavy. Soon we were at Kudal, the busy little town. We turned off the busy highway towards Malwan. The road winded through green hills. We took a short break to stretch our legs and to take a closer look at an interesting flower.


Durga got a bunch of them.


A type of flower which retains its beauty even when its dry.




At Malwan, we took the road towards Tarkarli, 3km down the road we found Kiran Sarmalkar's home-stay place. The place has a rural feel. The house is surrounded by huge trees with plenty of birds flying around. Durga did not like the place, she was expecting a seaside resort or a proper hotel :( Beach was 5 minute walk from this place and I was excited to go. We freshened up, had tea and our host Kiran led us to the beach.

That's Sindhudurg, our destination for the morrow.


This beach is not the type where you enjoy playing in the sea. Its a fishing folks' beach ...boats, nets & other fishing gear, fishermen sorting fish, some relaxing after day's work, dogs, cats... a busy place. Unfortunately this isn't a clean one either ...fish, crabs, snakes and a variety of other dead sea creatures litter the sands. Worst of all, this is one open toilet for the fishing folk. One filthy beach! However, we managed to find a slightly clean stretch and spent time watching the Sun and enjoying fresh sea breeze.

Durga found a violet shell with white stripes. First time I'm seeing this pattern.


As we walked around a bit, we happened to notice few more. Looks like its a commonly found shell here.


A Crab hole. Wonder why a crab hole doesn't get filled in easily when it gets run over by waves. But if you or me dig a hole, it just vanishes with one wave. Crabs are born marine engineers.


A lifeless crab.


Another lifeless crab with a tail like appendage.


Lifeless eye wide open.


A black backed heron?


A young dog posed to charge at something.


One last catch for the day.


Sun being masked by mist and clouds. Kiran told that sunsets are beautiful here but this day the sun would go out of sight much earlier then usual.


We walked back to our home-stay. Freshened up again, drove to Malwan for dinner. I was asked to check out Chaitanya Restaurant which is supposed to serve real good sea food and vegetarian Maratha Thali. We did enjoy food here but felt the prices bit high. Back at home-stay, Durga and mom hit the bed early. Deepak and I made a deal with one of the boat operators to ferry us to Sindhudurg and back. All set for next day.

That's the board Kiran has put up to catch tourists' attention. There are many such places between Malwan and Tarkarli. Many people choose prefer home-stays to the expensive seaside resorts.


Back in the room, sleep did not come easily. It was warm and mosquitoes attacked from all directions. Wish I had a mosquito net. I barely slept through the night.

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Saturday, September 17, 2011

Hangal Fort and Billeshwara temple

May 27, 2011.

Bird's eye view of Hangal. Anekere lake stand out prominently. I heard that elephants were given bath here and hence the name- Anekere -elephant lake. Present day Hangal fort remains is marked in two places. I got to see the one marked in the circle but not the ruins on the lake bank.


I feel the fort was much bigger, probably occupying the circular boundary adjoining the remains of the fort.


There it is; a pentagon shaped outline. The fort is currently under the horticulture department who maintain a nursery and a mango orchard. Within the fort is a small temple with a Shivalings in the Garbhagriha.


A - Fort entrance
B - Temple


I met two people here, one of them- Shripad S Akkivalli -was from the horticulture department. Shripad told us that this temple was a Jain Basti many years ago. He shows us proof- sculptures of Mahaveera and Theerthankaras. Many parts of the temple have been damaged with an intention to erase Jaina icons. Shripad mentions that these stones are sculpted as though it were wax. He says that there are many theories to how stones were shaped. One theory he heard from his father about a plant which softened stone.


Shripad believes that a plant exists or existed which sculptors of ancient India used to soften stones so that they could create works of art which we see today in thousands of temples.



Another video of the little temple with simple but beautiful art.


Billeshwara Temple


You can find this temple on the outskirts, on the left side as you drive on hangal-Haveri road. The temple is situated on a slightly elevated patch of ground.

The temple is incomplete; no shikhara, no sabha mantapa, abandoned for some reason.


Shivalinga on a stepped pedestal.


A seven-stage doorway adorns the Garbhagriha. Each of the stages has a theme of its own.


The stages that caught my attention are filled with imaginary creatures- serpents with human heads and lion's body with heads of all types of animals and birds. Very interesting. I feel a kid must have come up with this idea.



Backside of the temple.


One video of Billeswara Gudi.


One of the localities mentioned another interesting monument; Kichakana Gardimane. Gardimane is the colloquial term for gymnasium. Legend says that Bheema slayed Kichaka in the Gardimane. To reach the Gardimane one needs to walk through fields. We were running out of time, I had to attend a wedding at Ranebennur. Perhaps I can stop here during my upcoming trip to Kotipura and Balligavi.

Hangal Fort coordinates: 14°45'36"N 75°7'37"E
Billeswara Gudi coordinates: 14°45'17"N 75°7'23"E

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Saturday, September 10, 2011

Closer look at Tarakeshwara Temple

The sculptures you see below must be relatively recent creations. I say that because of the subjects adopted in these sculptures.


A dancing couple.


A voluptuous woman.


Love-making scenes.




A staff. I remember seeing many more staffs with slight variations.


An archer with bow and quiver full of arrows. A sexy woman. Woman giving birth assisted by a midwife.


A mother breast-feeding a baby. River with tortoises and fish. A man holding an idol.


No idea what the first image is. A woman churning curds. Must be Krishna, holding a flute, surrounded by cattle.


Man displaying strength by balancing an ox-cart on his legs. Must be sugarcane stalks with the a young boy. Looks like the woman is trying to console a crying child.


Closer looks at the man hauling an ox-cart.


A sexy curvy woman. no idea what the other two scenes depict.


Man with a serpent. Must be Hanuman with a three headed serpent. No idea what the third image is about.


A very sexy and curvy woman!


Must be Ardhanareeswara, Bhringi and a dog.


Scenes from Ramayana: Laxmana cutting Shurpanaki's nose. Sita and Rama looking at the golden deer. Maricha dying after being struck by Rama's arrow.


Death of Maricha. Rama shooting with a bow. Hanuman with...


A battle scene. Should be Indra on Airavata. No idea who the third character is.


I wonder who these characters are.


A hunter. A hugging couple. The naked woman seemingly absorbed in worship of some sort.


Another voluptuous woman. Characters with unique attire and hair style. The male character on the right is carrying a whip over his shoulder.


Sages worshiping Shivalinga.


These characters seems to be warriors.


A series of unfinished to about to start images: Posterior of a nude woman. A kissing couple. A standing man.


Some more unfinished work: Love-making couple. No idea... Man hugging a woman from her back.


Must be monkeys building a bridge to Lanka.


My guess: Lord Shiva in hunter form. Shiva-Parvati dancing. The man and woman are upto something...


These little characters are hardly noticed. The floral designs caught my attention.




With so many things to see, its easy to miss out interesting sculptures. In spite of having seen so many such temples I simply cannot stop wondering how people of those days created them.

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