Sunday, December 16, 2012

Kavi Mane Karedaga...

After a couple of unsuccessful attempts to drive to shimoga with friends I decided to drop oh no postpone the plan till my love becomes mine. Fingers crossed!! But shimoga refused to get out of my mind. Travel freaks were busy to join & hence it was my sis, bro & Suma who made it along with me. Plan took strength only the previous day when Chaitra helped me book tatkal tickets. Unlike all my jaunts the plan was not so concrete except for two specific places that was a “must” visit.

Shimoga’s chilled morning woke me up when the train was near Badravathi. I had some how missed to carry warm clothes this time in spite of being aware of December weather. This made me tremble in cold. On reaching the station, the vehicle which was booked was waiting for us and in no time we reached University campus where we had booked a room. The cold made us doze off again in the rooms. But nevertheless we all managed to get ready by 7:30am to kick start.

A light breakfast in shimoga city, we next stopped for a little while at Gajanur dam. Almost every dam I have been in the recent past are closed for visitors for security reasons. The dam is long spread across the breadth of the Tunga river.

Sakkarebaylu – elephant camp was all welcoming with few elephants already taking bath in the river. Elephants are one of my favorites creations of god. Sixty year old Geetha was just then fresh after a bath. She patiently posed for the pictures while 90 year old Indira was still in water letting shakeeb her mahout, brush the mud out of her body. Me & Suma pulled our pants and got into this business. Every time Indira moved her body we were scared & stepped back to check if she was fine with us & checked with mahout about every action she did. This huge animal always fascinates me. I admire those tiny eyes which gives a feeling that she is so monotonous meanwhile pious. The mahouts very keenly answered all our queries. They really loved those animals and loved taking care of them.

I was busy playing with my camera & in no time there were 11 elephants taking bath one after the other and lined up to greet visitors. Each one had beautiful names, Indira, geetha, Nethra, kaveri, Kapila, new tusker, saagar, Ganga, Amrutha, Surya, Aale (a goddess in Nepal, named by an nepali officer). Surya, the youngest in the herd played with all the other elephants in the family. He was just 2.5year old and was to start his schooling shortly. Every morning mahouts have tough time bringing him out of water. It was so funny to see the way he made mahout run behind him to catch him. We were not very happy leaving this place, watching those huge animals playing, following his master’s commands was so much fun. The journey in the not-so-cosy car was still so beautiful because of the scenic beauty of the place.

The drive to kuppalli was quiet long. We stopped in front of one of the most beautiful houses in kuppalli. No wonder a poet like Kuvempu had so many inspirations right in this place to write such great epics in kannada. The very air feels so pious & poetic. I would say the place still got so much of positive energy. To describe this place is not in my reach but it was way beautiful than what I had imagined it to be. The moment I stepped in I was spell bound. It’s like a dream. We call this style of houses as “Thotti-mane” in our colloquial language. Every small thing starting from the utensils used, till the mantap that was used in kuvempu’s wedding is so carefully preserved for the generations to come. Every corner in this house has a story to narrate. First floor has a long story on the wall. From the poet’s childhood till his last few days of life is portrayed with pictures. A room is dedicated for the books this great man wrote in his life span. The volumes are so huge that I think one life is not sufficient to relish reading all his work. Me & Suma sat for a while enjoying being there. We picked up few of his books & by very instinct I wrote few lines in kannada about this awesome place in the feedback book.

On our way back, we had a light lunch in the canteen very next to Kavi mane. Very tasty full meal & puliogre was served. We visited kavishaila. Kuvempu rests here forever. Thejaswi’s burial place is also monumented close by.

KavaleDurga (I must suggest to read more about the beautiful history of this place on internet) was the second must visit place I had in my list. This is an old fort with a beautiful view of Varahi backwaters. The fort is still not so famous to the visitors fortunately & hence very clean. Initially we entered a farm & was skeptical for being on the right path. The fort is covered with thick forest and hence the view never reveals its beauty hidden in it. We trekked a short distance and finally found the entrance of the fort with two circular bastions and found a notice board giving a brief description of this fort. We barely had an idea about the distance to reach the top. Since it was already evening & the sun was almost bidding bye for the day we had to put less effort to reach the top. On the way we happened to see few beautiful temples and structures giving a hint of the king’s era. The steps are uneven as we climb up. 

Finally when you reach the top of the hill there were two things which caught my attention. One is the beautiful view of the back water spread over vast area & a single rock standing with a small shrine. The shape of this rock is eye-catching. The time of the day we were on the top was perfect to enjoy the sun setting while the breeze would start getting colder. There was no tinge of dark covering the sky yet, so it perfect time to capture pictures of the surrounding landscape. I enjoyed taking pictures and wanted to spend a good amount of time. Provided it was just me with my typical Travel Freaks hanging out there, I would have enjoyed sitting there till I would say bye to the last ray of the sun for the day but my sis stood up to warn for getting down before dark consumes the sky. We also had to spare the driver waiting for us down there so I agreed.

We drove back to reach shimoga at around 7:30pm. Our unplanned trip had a gap to be filled, our return tickets were not yet confirmed. After having seen the impossibility to book train tickets & packed night buses, we decided to book the evening bus to Bangalore. So tomorrow we have just half a day to visit places.

Our driver was param-bhakth of Goddess Sigandureshwari. During my previous visit to shimoga, we had dropped the plan of visiting this place as it was crowded like mad. So this time my driver suggested to catch the first launch which takes us to the other side of the river. As always I was sure to enjoy the launch ride and the serenity early in the morning than anything else but was not too sure of getting people ready by 5:30am. But to my surprise we were all set to start off on time but ofcourse we dozed off in the car. I could not keep myself awake inspite of knowing how beautiful the early morning ride to sagara would be. Bad me. But initially the visibility was very less due to the fog and hardly could to see anything on the road-side.

The first launch was packed with people & we managed to sneak in. The bus & few other vehicles accompanied us to cross the river. The view was great but effort to catch the view of the surrounding nature was difficult in that crowded launch. On reaching the other side we had a light breakfast and enjoyed a bumpy ride in a vehicle which was in an almost-crashing-down condition. The driver ridding this van looked like he was never introduced to the breaks in his vehicle or may be he had sworn on god not to use it or in worst case this vehicle never had one. I was glad we were alive and the first thing I did as soon as I entered the temple was to thank the goddess for this. The temple is very beautiful & people explained her to be a strong goddess who can fulfill all your wishes. As always I can only laugh at all those explanations of being strong & weak gods and those hundred stories they have to prove it. We purchased laddu prashad and started back. This ride was another chance to test our good fortune, this was even more bumpier than the previous one. Back near the launch we managed to catch the corners & so I could capture few good pictures of the place around. We treated ourselves with buttermilk after reaching back.

Another round of sleep in the car while we drove to Ikkeri temple. My favorite temple in sagara. For it has so many memories of my childhood attached with this place. The best one amongst all is to crawl down that huge Basava’s leg which is right in front of the temple. I still remember me & my cousins did that with so much ease and enjoyed doing it again n again. Today it is neither allowed to do so nor can I. The temple is just too beautiful and like any other has a lot of history. It was peak noon and sun was not letting me sleep in the car. We did a mistake of choosing lion safari over another beautiful temple kelladi nearby. Bad decisions are always a part of an unplanned travels. We reached lion safari by late afternoon & was left with no enthusiasm to see anything. Atleast I was too tired to walk any distance, strange of me. I choose to sit near the park till the others were back after greeting some cheetahs, black panthers and pythons.

 Back in our rooms to fresh up. Sumanth did a small round of self-photography, mutual photography. Don’t ask for its meanings, I am sure you’ll kill yourself after the explanations. ROFL!! Our empty stomachs demanded some snacks before boarding the bus, the driver was not too sure of finding anything at that time of the day but finally he decided to take us to dosa point. Here is the best thing happened, Benne Dosa!!! Benne Masala Dosa to be precise. It was soooo yummy that we could not stop for one. As always a round of tea to settle things in the tummy and we reached bus station by 5:00PM.

We thanked our driver for his great hospitality. Throughout the journey he was more excited than any of us. We had booked a KSRTC Rajahamsa, the lesser I talk about it the better. We reached Bangalore by 12:30AM. We had enough time to catch sleep before another busy Monday could start.

Throughout the trip I missed Travel Freaks & as promised we shall have to be there soon! Let's drive > Shimoga!!!