January 22, 2007

Sringeri Kalasa Hornadu

Starring : Me (alone)
Total Cost : 800 INR
Start Time : 8pm, 20th January, 2007
End Time : 7am, 22th January, 2007
Photos here

Motivation:
Saturday(20th Jan,2006) was pathetic as it could get. Spending a day in Bangalore(especially on weekend here has never been so easy for me).One of my pals had come down to my place and we wanted to have his lunch at McD(McDonalds@Forum) - appreciating his sense and taste i took him there and 'feasted' on a burger and coke - came back home - showed him my travel pics and bid adieu.Time:7pm.

Saturday was already over and i decided that i cannot afford to waste my Sunday like this. Decided at 7:45pm that I will visit Sringeri. Caught a bus to Majestic from Koramangala and reached the KSRTC bus stand by 8:35pm.
Luckily caught a bus to Sringeri - and got an end row seat ;)

Implementation :

And thus began my journey. Met a man(in his 30s) in the bus who introduced himselves as a 'vyapari' (businessman) and he told me that i can cover Kalasa and Hornadu along with Sringeri in a day - sounded good to me.


The bus journey from 4am was horrible. The roads were amazingly bad and i could feel each every spine in me; i was shivering badly, as i had just one wind-cheater with me.


Reached Sringeri at 6:45am (Sunday morning).I could see the beautiful Vidyashankara Temple from the entrance. Took a couple of shots from my cam and headed towards the Tunga river flowing adjacent to the temple.I was already told by my parents and my roomie to check-out the fishes in the Tunga river.I do not know the breed of the fishes - but these were one of the most healthiest fishes that i have ever seen - spanning aroung 1-2 foot long, black in color, they were silently feeding on the 'pori'(rice) and the marsh.I was still shivering , but decided that i will take a dip in the holy-tunga ('Tunga paana - Ganga snaana').To much surprise, the water wasnt so cold(or i didnt feel it, for i was all lost in the surrounding tranquility!!!) and i kept myself immersed for around 20-30mins;came out and took some snaps of the devotees and fishes.


The Vidyashankara temple amused me a lot - the architecture resembles that of Belur/Halebeedu. The raised pedestal surrounding the temple is a characteristic of the Hoysala architecture.spent some time pondering the resemblances in the architecture and appreciating the same.Then spent some time in the Sharada Devi temple (which is in the same campus). Goddess Sharada was decorated with flowers and her glowing face was like a magic potion to all the devotees.


I have been wanting to visit this temple for the past 3-4 years ; wishes fulfilled and time being 8:30am i decided to start for Kalasa from here ( also, i was informed by the temple authorities that the anna sadana will be at 1:30pm in the temple).


The serpentine roads through coffess estates was amazing.I could see the coffee harvest season in progress , with loads and loads of coffee seeds lying by the road to be picked up.


Kalasa

Reached Kalasa at 10:45am.

This small viallage+town is the abode of Sri Kalasehwara Swamy.The temple stands on a small hillock.

It is believed that during the wedding of Lord Shiva with parvati in Benaras(Varanasi) caused a heavy tilt in the earth's rotation and the earth started to move in bacause of the presence of all the gods and goddesses.Lord Shiva requested Sage Agasthya to travel downw South , so that the weight could be compensated. But Sage Agasthya had his own inihibitions and wanted to attend the marriage.Shiva promised him that he(Agasthya) will be able to see and enjoy the marriage from South. It is said that , it was here in Kalasa that Agasthya came and Shiva gave him the 'darshan'.Sage Agasthya could see the marriage from here. Hence, the marriage between Shiva and Parvati is celebrated with much grandiloquence every year here.The linga is a swambhoo linga - that is , it has
emerged from the ground.

A small shop-owner inside the temple narrated this entire story and also told me that the 'punya'(blessings) that one gets by coming here is slightly more than the one that one gets by going to Benaras.He also informed me that the Mangala-Aarthi will be at 12:30pm and i can watch that , have food(anna sadana) at 1:00pm and then start for Hornadu.

This sounded good to me; waited for the aarthi to get over and had a mediocre lunch at the temple. It consisted of Rice+Sambhar(canarian) and Buttermilk.


Bought Coffee(80INR per KG),Tea(80INR per kg) and raisins(30INR per 300gms).The coffee is of the type 'Arabica-Robusta', with 80% coffee and 20% chicory) - this is a brand which is local to this part of the region.


Started from Kalasa at 1:50pm and reached Hornadu by 2:20pm.


Hornadu

This is the holy abode of Goddess Annapoorneshwari(the Food God, according to Hindu Mythology).The anna-sadana here is considered to be really good and people flock here to have a divya-darshana of the goddess and cherish the anna-sadana(which is like a prasadam).
I had lunch here too ;) and rested in the temple verandah for 2 hours.

Had a darshan of the Goddess(yea-yea...after lunch!!!) - Mata(Mother) Annapoorneshwari was amazingly beautiful and words cannot describe the grace and the aura that was filled in the Garbha-gruha of the temple. I couldn't move my eyes away from her - but alas, the crowd from the back were yearning to catch a glimpse of her and i had to move on :( but still the image of Goddess is still in my eyes.

Around 4pm, i went on a small stroll and trekked a little in the adjonining forests.Also, happened to see a Jain Basadi here.


Came back to the temple by 6pm and rested.Dinner was again served in the temple.Left Hornadu by 9:30pm and reached Bangalore(Majestic at 6am); and in my room by 7am.


Costs:

Bangalore(Majestic) to Sringeri =198 INR
Sringeri to Kalasa = 37INR
Kalasa to Hornadu = 6 INR
Hornadu to Bangalore(Majestic) = 280INR (it costs 180INR in KSRTC bus though)

Misc:
Night Dinner (Fri) = 40INR
Morning Tea(Sat) +Breakfast = 34INR
Sringeri PRasadam = 20INR
Kalsa Pics + Prasadam = 20INR
@Kalasa, Cofee Powder(1kg)+Tea Leaves(.5kg)+Raisins = 80+40+30 = 150INR
@Hornadu , Coffee+Tea = 8INR

January 19, 2007

Lalbagh re-visited






January 09, 2007

Mysore a.k.a Mahishi-ooru

Decided to try some shots with my camera over the weekend - booked ticket for a 1-day sight seeing tour in Mysore via KSTDC(Karnataka Tourism Development Corporation).Never been on a conducted tour before with lots of junta, hence thought of trying this out :)

Mysore is considered to be the place wherein Goddess Chamundi(Durga) slained the daemon Mahishasur. This town was prviously called as 'Mahishi-ooru'.

Tour :
1) Chennarayapatna - famous for wooden toys - went to a Shop

2) Srirangapatna - Tipu Sultan's Capital.There were 4 wars that were fought here, and Tipu was killed in the last(4th) war by the Britishers.

2.a) Daria Daulat - Tipu's Summer Palace
Amazing paintings on the walls of the palace.Photography not allowed inside.The walls(paintings) have been protected with wooden structures(green sheets in the photo) to guard them.

2.b) Tipu's Fort - one of the strongest forts ever built(now in ruins).Britishers ,during the fourth war, brought the Main Palace (inside the Fort) down.There was supposedly only one entrance to the fort; during the 4th war, Tipu's Defence Minister betrayed him and revealed the secret entrance to the Britishers, via which they could enter the city,invade and kill Tipu.The photos show the secret entrance and the place where Tipu was killed.

Place where Tipu was supposedly killed

The secret entrance

2.c) Sri Ranganathaswamy Temple - This is a 1200 year old temple inside the Fort. The presiding deity is Lord Vishnu, reclining on Adishesha(the hooded serpent). The temple has a beautiful blend of Hoysala and Vijayanagara Architecture.From the 'Sri Ranganatha swamy', this town gets the name 'Srirangapatna'.

3) St.Philomina's Church - nice church , though i couldnt find anything great or exceptionally splendid about it.

4) Mysore Palace - One of the must see places in Mysore. This palace was built over a period of 15 years at an estimated cost of 42lakhs then.All the materials that have been used to build this palace were imported from foreigh countries. I was spellbound by the Indo-Sarcenic architecture.There were traces of Gothic architecture at some places. The marriage and private halls inside the Palace were amazingly beautiful. The walls were beautiful painted with various instances of Mysore and royal kingdom processions. Wooden roofs with intricate carvings were treat for the eyes.One could also see the Royal memorabilia inside the palace.Photography is not allowed inside the palace, hence couldnt capture some of the finest pieces of art.

5) Krishnaraja Sagar Dam and Brindavan Gardens
Built by Vishweswaraya during the rule of Sri Krishnaraja Wodeyar, KRS dam is a fine creation that irrigates the Mandya and the neighbouring districts.Mandya is called the sugar capital also, one can find only Sugarcane crops(and some paddy) here - the area is irrigated by the KRS dam. Govt has provided enough aquaducts for this region.

Bridavan Gardens is situated at the base of KRS dam.Couple of years back one had to walk on top of KRS dam to reach Brindavan Gardens, but now Government has constucted a different road and parking facilities to reach the base of the gardens directly.Highyl crowded place - didnt feel like taking snaps.

Pics can be found here

Note:
1) Do not take this trip on a holiday, as the places are highly crowded
2) Mysore palace - must see
3) Cheap tour and places are covered fast; Credits to KSTDC and to the tour guide
4) Not a tour worth photography

Costs:
Tour Ticket Cost (KSTDC): 435 INR
Entry Tickets at Srirangapatna+Mysore Palace+Brindavan Gardens : 40INR
Camera Locker Charges @ Mysore Palace: 10INR
Camera Charges @ Brindavan Gardens: 40INR

January 08, 2007

Moon

Had to struggle with my baby for around 1-2 hours before i could finally have a good view of the Moon('Chand' in Hindi); attached are the non-cropped and cropped versions of the same.

Equipment used:
Nikon D50 with a 70-300mm Nikor lense

Image Metrics:

Aperture: f5.6

Shutter Speed: 1/500s

300mm focal length




January 04, 2007

Finally...'MY' camera

Finally.....I got a Nikon D50 ,last saturday(Dec 30,3006, Saturday).

The kit comprises of:
* Nikon D50
* 50mm 1.8D AF Nikor lense with a 52mm UV Filter
* 2Gb Memory Card
* Carry Bag
* Battery; USB & TV cable etc etc

Total Cost = 37,000 INR :)

Am yet to venture into the wild or to some tourist spot to start experimenting with my new baby; but in the meantime, took some shots back in my room and some snaps from my terrace.
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