In the foothills of the ever green and beautiful Western Ghats is where i and my uncle had the privilege to spend three days .
I would like to share my experience as well as the places I visited during this trip.
We started from Bangalore and had nearly five hour journey before we reached a place called “Tarikere” (Chikmagalur District).
There was a hoarding displayed in the NH stating that “Amrutesvara Temple, Amruthapura” 8KMS inside from the highway and we thought of visiting the temple.
Amrutesvara Temple, Amruthapura:
The air was damp and a cool breeze was blowing. I was just peeking out of the car window having a glimpse of the town and all of the sudden we reached the temple.
This ancient temple was built by Hoysalas in 11-12th century. The greeneries surrounding the temple were really a treat for my eyes. I can see a lot of coconut and palm plantations around the temple.
When we moved slowly inside I could distinguish the architectural exquisite in the temple. The typical Hoysala symbol a person fighting with a Lion was all over visible in the sculptures. This shrine is dedicated to Lord Shiva called in the name of “Amurtheshwarar” and the goddess “Sharadha”.
After that again we connected to the NH and preceded our travel planning to reach Kollur by night. Before reaching Kollur thought of visiting Jog falls but as usual we were late. We had dinner in a place called Honnavar. The time was already 8.30 – 9 PM and it was too late to reach Kollur which was still 90 kms away so we decided to stay in“Murudeshwara” 65 KMS away from Kollur.
The main attraction in this town is “Murudeshwara Temple” which is near the sea shore. You can also see a gigantic Shiva statue in front of the temple.
The next day morning we started our journey back to Kollur and we reached the legendary “Mookambika Devi” temple in 80 minutes.
Mookambika Devi Temple
The whole shrine was crowded with full of devotees and in that I could see lot of Keralites.
The temple is located at the banks of the river Sauparnika. It is dedicated to the Goddess Mookambika who is in the form of Jyothirlinga integrating both Shiva and Shakthi. The great Hindu philosopher Adi Shankara has established “Shree Chakra” here.
The time we reached was about 8 am so some pooja’s were going on therefore the crowd was held up and all were waiting for the dharshan. It is mandatory to remove the shirts for Gents to go inside the shrine. After all the wait finally the ice broke, people started to go inside the shrine and we had an excellent dharshan. We came out, went around the temple and found the individual sannathi’s present for Ganesh, Shiva and Veerabhadra.
There are buses and trains which connect Kollur to “Tamil Nadu” & “Kerala”. It’s wise to visit “Gokarna” (140 Kms away from Kollur) and “Sringeri” (110 Kms away from Kollur) which are other well-known places nearby Kollur.
Its time to drive again and our next target was to visit Yana which is nearly 140 KMS from Kollur. I was very hungry but it took nearly two hours to reach Honavar to have my lunch in the same hotel where we had the dinner yesterday.
After quenching my hunger we began and it took another one hour and thirty minutes to reach Yana. The vehicle stopped much before the exact place and the local people told us that we have to walk nearly 3 KM to reach the landmark.
Yana is known for its natural rock formation and in that lies a Shiva temple. Before commencing our trip we had done some research but the experience was altogether different.
We were trekking inside the forest and i could hear birds chirping in the trees. The forest was dense and the monsoon has just finished so there was water all the way. The soil was soaking in water and i had to very conscious about my foot landing. When we are so close to nature we don’t need words to express our feel.
I took out my camera and started shooting the pictures. It’s very difficult to take photographs of nature; the simple reason behind is you don’t know which one to leave.
Near the pavement area is saw a huge water stream rushing in between the rocks and trees. It was quite noisy yet a delight for my eyes.
While walking I saw people crossing me and intuitively I started enquiring them about the distance. At last we reached the temple, after all the noises from birds to streams this was quite opposite. We slowly approached towards the shrine and inside there was a priest who started to explain the legend behind this wonderful place.
The demon king Bhasmasura by severe penance obtained boon from Lord Shiva. The boon was such that when the king placed his hand over any one’s head they would burn into ashes. In order to test his powers he tried to place his hands on Lord Shiva’s head itself. Knowing this Shiva disappeared from that place and sought the help of Lord Vishnu. Vishnu transformed himself to a beautiful Mohini who lures Bhasmasura. Mohini challenges the demon king for a dance competition for which he agrees to compete. During the dance Mohini performed a dance move with hand over the head. Without realizing the demon king placed his hand over the head and he was burnt to ashes.
There are two rock hills, the bigger one Bhairaveshwara Shikhara (“Shiva’s hill”) and the smaller peak Mohini Shikhara (Mohini’s Hill). During Maha Shivaratri festivities are held here for 10 days.
The rocks there have very rich Limestone deposits. After all these energy consuming arduous walks we finally returned back to the wagon and started to head towards Sirsi.
In Sirsi we went to Marikamaba temple which is dedicated to Goddess Durga.
What struck me the most is the maintenance of the temple which was really good. A must visit pagoda if you are there in Sirsi.
It was very difficult for us to find a accommodation at Sirsi on that particular day. In the end we got a nice room in Hotel Shivani. Time was already half past nine and as usual when i saw the couch pounced back on it without any further examination.
The defiance of getting up after having such a exhausting trip last evening is invariably tough. The next morning we commenced our journey and were marching towards a awesome place called Sahasralinga..
Sahasralinga is about 12-13 KMS away from Sirsi. I could hear the flow of water in the river while passing through it. The river there is called Shalmala and i saw lot of Shiva Lingas on its path.
I took lot of snaps of it and without any doubt its one of the beautiful sights i have ever seen.
Sonda – Vathiraja Mutt
After completing Sahasralinga we were steering to Vathiraja Mutt. It was raining but still i wanted my car window to be opened slightly to have a look outside.
We arrived near the Mutt and i began to walk inside. Bell was ringing, slogas were chanted and my uncle was busy inquiring some information in the Mutt’s office.
All around the Mutt i could see lot of flowers so i thought its time for my camera to shoot some pictures. The Brindhavan of Sri Vadirajateertha was crowded by people and suddenly i heard a voice saying can you come here. No price for guessing it was my uncle calling me standing outside of the brindhavan.
Its required to remove the shirts to enter the shrine. I went inside, completed one full round and came back .If you wish to spend some time peacefully this is the right place to be in. There are lodging available which is provided by the Mutt itself.
It was time to have morning meal and we found a small tea shop nearby the Mutt. It was already jam-packed and i couldn’t resist myself anymore. I entered hoping i do get a seat and eventually i got one.
Idlli’s and dosa’s were dancing in my plates and its not the the time to count how many. The food offered was so delicious you couldn’t even compare it with so called 5 star and 7 star hotels.
Banavasi – MadhuKeshwara Temple:
From Sonda we were back to Sirsi and from there parading towards the old town of Banavasi.
While we were travelling i saw lot of corn and Sunflower plantations.
Once the capital of Kadamba dynasty now the prime attraction of this town is the Madhukeshwara temple which was built in 9th century. The main deity is Lord Shiva. Every year annual cultural fest is conducted in Banvasi by the Karnataka government.
This particular landmark is an architectural masterpiece and you can find the carvings of the deities all around the temple. One of the unique feature of this temple is the Nandhi itself which is tilted slightly so that i can see both the God and Goddess in a single shot.
Another notable feature is the Ganapathi idol which is cut-down to Half and the remaining half is said to be present in Varanasi.
You can find the sculptures of all mythical Hindu Gods in this temple.
Its time to have some enjoyment and no better place to have it than Jog Falls. We again commenced our journey towards Shimoga and before reaching there thought of spending some time in the gorgeous Jog Falls. During the travel i spotted public in the roadside halting wherever they found it to be comfortable. It was evening time and water was gushing in between the rocks on the falls. People of all ages were very crazy capturing photos of them and their family.
From there we moved to Shimoga , halted there and next morning initiated our journey to Bangalore. I thoroughly enjoyed this trip and hopefully people who read this also feel the same.