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Port Town of Mangalore - Pilgrimage Towns of Udupi & Dharmasthal - Madikeri, District Kodagu - City of Mysore - Shrirangapattan

 

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Travelogue Karnataka - South India @ Content Writer

Visit To Mangalore, Udipi, Dharmasthal, Madikeri & Mysore, India

By Mr. Debashis Bose, Contributing Traveller

This is a description of our trip to South India - six senior citizens who had traveled to a few places in Karnataka,  India.

22-2-06 We started from Howrah by Chennai Mail at 09.0PM.
23-2-06 The whole day and night was spent in the excitement of going to new places.
24-2-06 We reached Chennai at 05.30 AM, one hour and forty five minutes late. We went to the waiting room to freshen up, had breakfast, and left Chennai by West Coast Express at 11.30 AM for Mangalore. The whole day and night was spent in the train.

25-2-06 We reached Mangalore at 05.30 AM. After freshening up in the waiting room there, we hired a car at 07.55 AM. Within 20 minutes, we reached a very nice beach known as Ullar Beach. Since it was morning, the beach was quite calm and quiet. Next, we went to the Temple of Mongola Devi, after whose name Mangalore has been named. Surrounded by trees, there was serenity within the temple. We had some very nice 'Payasam' as prasad. Then, we went to see a Temple of Lord Shiva at Gokarna. This is also a nice place. We also went to Harbour Beach which is another tourist spot.

Mangalore is a port-town on the Arabian sea and there is a confluence of two rivers Netravati and Gurupur, close-by. We could not visit this as we did not go to the new port Panambur - the sea beach known as Suratkal, Kadri hills, Amusement park and the temple of Lord Manjunath (Another name of Lord Shiva) etc. We started by the same vehicle for Udupi or Udipi, only 58 kms away, and reached there at 12.10 PM.

At Udupi, there are lots of good accommodation for pilgrims, all under the control of the Temple Committee Trustee Board, and at quite cheap rates.
The main temple is of Shri Krishna, built in 13th century, by Rev. Madhavacharya, whose birth place is here.
In this temple, there is a chariot which has been presented by Sri Vidyamanya Tirtha Swamiji of Polymer Math, and it has been manufactured by experts of Poompoohaar, with teak wood covered with copper and 25 KG of gold. Many stories of the Mahabharata have been depicted on the chariot. There are lots of fish playing in the nearby Madhava Sarovor (Lake). This temple is very popular throughout South India. Attached to the temple, in a separate building, there are large dining halls on the ground and first floor which can accommodate seven/eight hundred or more persons at a time.

'Prasadam' was served on banana leaves which included rice, sambar, vegetable and sweets. There is no price for the 'Prasadam', but donations are accepted. We observed a rare sight - we saw a few people having the 'Prasadam' on the floor itself. They did not seem to care that they didn't have banana leaves. Though we were not familiar with their language, we understood that they thought they were blessed and fortunate enough to even receive this gift of the Lord. In the evening, we went to the
Malpeye Beach.

26-2-06 We left Upupi by bus at 09.05 AM and reached Dharmasthal at 12.37 PM. This is also quite a popular pilgrimage in South India, and the township has grown up around the temple of Lord Manjunath, and like Udupi, there are lots of accommodations and dining halls available which are controlled by the trustee board of the temple committee.

Swami Manjunath Temple, Dharmasthal

Swami Manjunath Temple, Dharmasthal

On that day, it was Shivaratri and hence there was a heavy rush of pilgrims. We were lucky enough to get suitable accommodation when they found out that we have come all the way from Kolkata. As there was a heavy rush in the dining halls, we had our lunch in a hotel. In the evening, we went to see the statue of 'Bahubali'- 14 metres high.

27-2-06 We left Dharmasthal by bus at 09.00 AM and reached Madikeri in the district Kodagu. During the British rule, this place was known as Mercara. We took shelter in a hotel.
In the evening, we went to a tourist spot known as Raja's Seat, a place from where kings prior to the British rule, used to enjoy the beautiful sunset. Here, in the west, beyond the hill-top, from where the sunset is seen, there is a deep valley and beyond that are the Western Ghat Hill ranges. The view of sunset is really enchanting and colourful. While returning, we visited two temples, that of SriMariamma and SriOmkareshwar.

Sunset from Raja's Seat

Sunset from Raja's Seat

28-2-06 For local sightseeing, we hired a car of an ex-serviceman who was middle aged and jolly. We started at 09.50 AM. First of all, we visited 'Bhagamandala', at a distance 0f 32 km which is a local religious place, and there are temples of Lord Vishnu, Ganapatiji and other Gods. Near-by, there is a confluence of three rivers, viz. Kavery, Konica and Suinjyoti, where ritual rites of the dead are performed. The Honey available here is also well known. Next, we went to 'Thalakaveri', where the river Kavery originates from a 'Kund' or a square pond. In this 'Kund', on 17th October ( Tula Songkrant), bubbles are seen, which signifies the presence of Kavery Amma, and ritual rites are performed with much pomp and show. Within a few metres, there is a hill known as 'Brahamagiri', with 365 steps to go up, from where the view around the place can be seen. Today's last place of our visit was 'Abbey Falls', which is also a picnic spot. The road goes through forests and the area where coffee is cultivated. Our tour ends at 02.05 PM. In the evening, we went once more to the 'Raja's Seat'.

Popular Picnic Spot - The Abbey Falls

Popular Picnic Spot - The Abbey Falls

1-3-06 We left from Madikeri by a hired jeep at 08.50 AM. En route, we visited 'Dubare', where there is a resort and arrangement for boating. Next, our place of visit was an Ecological Park 'Nisorgdham' where the river Kavery has parted to create an island. We had to cross the river by a hanging bridge to enter into a forest of bamboos. There was a roof-top resting place, deer park, arrangement for riding on elephants & boating.

 

Then, on our way further, we went to a Golden Temple built by the Tibetese, known throughout the world as 'Namdroling Monastry'. There is a golden idol of Lord Buddha, 40 ft. high and on his both sides are Padmasovob and Amitayesh. In India, it is the second biggest habitat for the Tibetese.

Next, we stopped at Kushalnagar, to have and purchase coffee. We reached Mysore at 03.25 PM, and took shelter in a hotel. In the evening, we went for a stroll and also booked our tickets for a conducted tour by the Govt. bus for the next day.

2-3-06 The tourist bus started at 08.45 AM from the hotel. First and foremost, we went to the Mysore Zoo, whose other name is Chamarajendra Zoological Garden. Our guide informed us that it is the second biggest zoo in India, only next to that of Kolkata. Here, there are 1500 species of animals, and it covers 250 acres of land. There is a lake inside the zoo, named Karanji Lake, where migratory birds of 45 species arrive in winter.

And there are boating facilities also. Next, we went to Jogmohan Art Gallery. Various articles of fine art are in large numbers as normally they are found in the well known Art Galleries, out of which, worth mentioning is the portrait of Lady with lamp, drawn by S.L. Haldekar, on the first floor. If lights are switched off and you proceed towards the picture, it will appear as though the lady is coming forward. There are other pictures of well known artists, such as Ravi Verma & Nicholas Roerich. Collections of musical instruments are also worth mentioning. The exceptional clock, on the right hand, just after the entrance, is one item which must be seen - every hour one idol comes out of a small gate below the clock, and strikes a plate, as many times to signify the hour and there is military parade with band etc.

Next, we were taken to the Showroom of the Karnataka Govt. 'Kavery'. Items of fine artistic work on silk and sandalwood were there which some of us purchased. Then, we went to the
Chamundi Hills, previously known as Mahabalatirtha, at a height 3,489 ft. from sea level. There is a temple of Shri Chamundeshwari Devi, built 300 years ago of South Indian style, at the top of the hill with the deity of goddess Chamunda Devi, another form of Devi Durga or Mohismordini. Other than the road for the vehicular traffic, there are 1000 steps to reach the temple, where almost in the middle, there is big statue of Nandi on whom rides Lord Shiva, made of black stone, 25 ft. long and 16 ft. in height with ornamental necklace, all made of the same stone, and eyes of Nandi are half closed as if in meditation.

Chamundeshwari Temple

Chamundeshwari Temple

Our next point of visit was the Palace of Mysore. It's one of the finest palaces, so here is a brief description : It's a very big palace with an even bigger garden. Entering through the artistic and decorative gate, there is a temple with the top covered with 18 carat gold. Inside the temple, deities of  Bhubaneshwari, Gayatri, Gopal-Krishnaswami, Nabagraha, Trinoyoneshwar and Barahaswami etc can be found. Architecture of the palace is attractive and pleasing to the eye. We were informed that the palace was built from 1897 to 1912, on the plan of Henry Irwin's Indo-Serasenic style, at a cost of 4.2 million of rupees. Inside the palace, there are statues of marble rocks, The seat of Maharaja, (to be placed on the elephant's back), decorated with 84 KG of 24 carat gold, gems and a battery operated traffic signal.

There is Kalyan-Mandap, decorated with 26 big panels of fine arts made by four Indian artists in 15 years time. There is Durbar Hall on the first floor, (47x13m), with gems decorated 280 KG golden 'Ratna-Singhasan' or throne for the Maharaja, walls decorated with ivory, costly gems, solid silver door, floor of Byjentine mosaic, ceiling of well decorated panels made from mehagony wood etc. There is a museum in a separate building in the rear of the palace and it's collections are worth watching.

Mysore Palace, Mysore

Mysore Palace, Mysore

Then, we went to Shrirangapattan, 15 km from Mysore on the Mysore Bangalore road, on an island created by two branches of river Kauvery. Built in 1454, this fort was occupied by Kings of Vijaynagar, Marathas, then Hyder Ali, and Tipu Sultan. Tipu Sultan was killed by Col. Arther Wellesly due to treachery of one of the Tipu's soldiers. Though the fort has been damaged in the war with British, yet there are lots of places to witness the bravery of Tipu Sultan.

Next, we visited the Phinomina Church, height 165 ft. - India's third largest church. Then, we went to the Summer Palace of Tipu Sultan. Fine handicraft works on timber can be seen here. Tipu's sword, blood-stained clothes of Tipu etc are all preserved. Miniature frescos of Persian style, though slightly discoloured, are still worth seeing.

India's Third Largest Church - The Phinomina's Church

India's Third Largest Church - The Phinomina's Church

After that, we saw the Temple of Shri Ranganathswami, of whom, Tipu was a devotee. Made from a large black stone, the idol is of Lord Vishnu sleeping. There are other idols of Lord Vishnu's avatars or reincarnations. Outside the temple, there is a well decorated chariot presented by Hyder Ali. Our last point of visit was Krishnaraj Sagar Dam & Vrindavan Garden. The dam is 3 km in length, 40m high, on river Kauvery, to feed Seemsa Power House at Shivasamudram.

Sunset from the dam is a view to remember for long. On the other side of the reservoir, water is flowing through steps and plains nicely designed with fountains in between, and beautiful gardens of Mughal pattern, full with colourful flowers on both the sides of the flowing water - a really fine treat for the eyes. Also there are Dancing Musical Fountains - it seems that water is dancing with the rhythm of computerized music, with coloured lights. The garden delights young and old alike. We returned to the hotel by 09.00 PM.

3-3-06 Our tour is almost nearing completion and as mostly happens - there are lots of places that remain unseen. We went to 'Kauvery' The Karnataka Govt. Emporium for making final purchases and left for Mysore Rly. Station by auto 02.50 PM. We availed the Kumbhokonam Express at 03.45.PM and reached Bangalore at 06.53 PM. We took rest in the waiting room and finally left Bangalore Guwahati Express at 11.30 PM for Home.

4-3-06 Whole day and night we spent in the train discussing our latest experiences.

5-3-06 We reached Howrah Station at 03.00 PM, two hours and forty minutes late. Tour ends, we dispersed with the hope of having our next tour programme, as soon as possible.

About Contributing Traveller: Mr. Debashis Bose is a 72 year old retired Railway employee whose hobbies include travelling & tourism, photography and amateur radio. He is a nature lover and prefers to visit little known places as opposed to big cities with the aim of enjoying nature in abundance. Before going on his regular tours with family and friends, Debashis spends time in studying different places and collecting information about them. On returning from the visit, he prepares a travelogue, with sketch map & photos, so that he can inspire others to visit these places and enjoy nature. vu2dba@gmail.com

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