Friday, October 15, 2010

Mookambika the Power of Silence

For once Google is wrong. It says approximately 7 hours to Kollur from Bangalore. It took me 12 hours. If you discount the stop over time for breakfast and Lunch, it should still be within 10 hours. 7 hours - that is all right we can manage with the kids - My wife's statements.
But why am I traveling to Kollur. It is for Akki's Vidyarambham
and Pranav's Annaprasham
The Route
Bangalore - Tumkur - Tiptur - Bhadravathi - Shimoga - (just before) Anandapuram -Hosanagara - Nagara - Nittur - Kollur

There is an alternative route

Bangalore - Tumkur - Tiptur - Bhadravathi - Shimoga - Ayanur - Rippon pet -Hosanagara - Nagara - Nittur - Kollur

Though the 2nd route is shorter, the travel blogs did not suggest the route. I took this route 1.

We started around 7 am in the morning. Getting the kids up and ready in the morning is really a tedious task!!!! We took the outer ring road all the way up to Yeshwanthpur road and then on to Tumkur road. The proposed toll road from there until Nelmangala was open for most of the stretch and it saved us a lot of time. At the toll gate at we paid 26 Rs for the toll road until Tumkur. We took a left near the over bridge (Pune road) in Tumkur. I called up a colleague of mine (who is from Tumkur) for a good restaurant in the area. He adviced Hotel Vamsi just before SIT, Tumkur. It was around 8:45 am when we reached there. The food and amenities are good. We bought some Kara items (mixture) there.

We proceeded on Bangalore-Honnavara highway. The Roads are really bad in Tumkur. Potholes galore... A definite pattern that I found is that road in all the small towns are broken. Due to rains, invariably all the towns are full of mud and slush.But once we left Tumkur city, greenery started appearing. Tumkur is the highest exporter of cocount in from Karnataka. No wonder there were innumerable coconut grooves in the area. Away from the concrete jungles of Bangalore, this is really a nice view!!!!

The road is full of surpises. Cattle, herd of goats appear in the middle of the road. And suddenly you hit a good patch of road and then right under a tree there will be pot holes. Thud!!!! My santro tyres take the hit! The rear passengers are accomodative! After Birur there is a strech (2 railway crossings) where there is no Road!!! There are only bowlders!!!
The road at the railway cross is like an X Mark! We stopped there for coconut.

I called up a colleague of mine (who is from Shimoga) and tried to find a good hotel there. "Hotel Jwell Rock". Shimoga is fully dug up. Water works. roads dug up. Most of roads are closed. In the midst of rains, we managed to find the location. The food was good but the amenities were not up to the mark. From Shimoga we left around 3pm. A few kilometers through patchy roads and then we were continuing on highway in the rains.

We took a left turn from the highway just before Anandapuram. I felt the difference in the roads immediately.. Thud! . Right after you take a left, there is a railway crossing. From that point Kollur is about 80-90 kilometers. The next town Hosanagara. We were passing through the dense forests of Malnad.

The next stop was Hosanagara. I filled up petrol and asked the person at the petrol bunk for directions and conditions of the road. He said sir it is the similar to the one that you came through. I could hear influences of South Canara in the dialect. "Anna" - big brother. Untu - "is there". 60 km more to go. Next town - Nagara. There are bus services that play on this road. "Hanuman" seems to be the favorite of them all. Hanuman was overtaking me with ease on those Topsy turvy road.

Hosanagar to Nagara strech was as bad as it gets.. More pot holes than Roads. Suddenly a nice temple appears on the way. What was eye catching was a colorful tall building in the midst of a tall tall trees.

Little did I know that I am passing through a historic town when I passed through Nagara.

Nagara is a village in the Shimoga district of the state of Karnataka, India. It is 17 km from Hosanagara or 84 km from Shimoga. This was called "Bidanoor" earlier during the 16th century, this was the last capital city of Keladi rulers. In 1763, Hyder Ali captured this area. Shivappanaika palace, fort, Devaganga tank, Neelakenteshwara temple and Gudde Venkataramana Swamy temple are worth to visit. The fort is built on a small hill, beside a lake. The fort has a system to circulate water around it for safety. On the hill, within the fort, there are Darbar Hall (King's Court), remains of a palace, two tanks called Akka Thangi Kola (Tanks of two sisters), and a cannon. Devaganga tank is a cluster of seven tanks for bathing. Nagara in Kannada language literally means city. The place is amidst green thick forests which are giving way to urbanisation and eventually to deforestation.

From Nagara Kollur is about 40 kilometers away. The Road still remains bad. At one point the landmark showed 10km to Kudachadri and 20 km to Kollur. There is a forest check post on the way. From there the road narrows even further. Hardly one vehichle can ply. ". I was wondering if "Hanuman could turn up on the other side. The downhill climb is approximately 10 km long. It was getting dark and I put on my fog lamps. Right after the descend at 6:45pm we were in Kollur. Sowparnika was flowing calmly through the city.

My parents and a few of Rachana's relatives had already arrived. We stayed in Lalithambika guest house in Kollur. 5 Rooms Booked for all of us. We freshened up and decided to take a darshan. 20-30 people in the Temple premises. Calmness and serenity all around. Annadanam as usual . There are different Shiva Lingas in the sanctum, Inside the inner sanctum there is also an idol of Jagadguru Adi Shankaracharya . Adi shankaracharya during his visit had installed a Panchaloha image of Shree Chakra in the temple.

Vehicles are not allowed till the entrance of the temple. There are barricades setup. There is a small temple of Balmuri Vigneshwara near the enterance.

Rooms are descent but food food in Kollur is a bit of a problem. We had chapathi in the night, from the guest house we stayed. There was a lot of chit chat in the night and I was dozing off because of the long journey.
While I dozed off, I was thinking of the relevance of this temple. Goddess Mookambika is the main god here. Kollur is one of the sacred and important pilgrimage centers of Karnataka. It is one of the seven pilgrimage centers believed to have been built by Parashurama in the name of goddess Parvathi.
Pilgrims visit this temple from all over India. Jyothirlingam is another name of ShivaLinga, which is the main statue here. Mookambika here is in a seated posture holding a conch and divine disc with three eyes and four arms. The lingam is divided into two unequal parts by a golden line and is visible by the reflected sun light.
Kollur is regarded as one of the Seven Muktistala pilgrimage centers in Karnataka. They are Udupi, Subrahmanya, Kollur, Kodeshwara, Kumbasi, Sankaranarayana and Gokarna.
Adi shankaracharya during his visit had installed a Panchaloha image of Shree Chakra. There is also a exquisite sculpture of Panchamukha Ganesha.
Sankara Simhasanam is in a room near the sanctum this is the very place where Adi shankaracharya meditated. Mookambika is regarded as a manifestation of Shakti, Saraswathi and Mahalakshmi. There are also shrines of Subramanya, Veerabhadra, Naga, Vinayaka and Anjaneya.
Navarathri is celebrated here with great pomp and show.
Mythology : The origin of the temple has a long history. Kamsasuran a demon who lived here wanted to become very powerful through his penance. Worried about this Devi along with the help of Shiva, Veerabadra and Ganesha made him dumb and he was later called as Mookasuran. Mooka (In Kannada means dumb). Seeing this the goddess got worried and killed him with her Chakra on the midnight of Shukla Astami from then on Devi is known as Kollur Devi Mookambika.

Commotions in the corridor -Some folks had arrived by the early morning bus.There are lot of busses that ply from Kollur to Kerala. I looked at my watch, about 4am.

I got up around 5 and had bath. Getting the two kids ready is a bit of long battle in itself.

By 7 am we were ready and went to the temple. A handful of people were in the temple premises on the day.
Akki's Vidyarambham was first. She sat in my lap like an obeidient child. Hearing all the mantra that were told. The ceremony involves writing the first words on the tongue and then writing in a big plate of rice using Turmeric. All done well. Next up Pranav's annaprasham. But that starts around 8am. We decided to take a lap around in the inner sanctum. Akki was half cranky by this time, especially since she got up early in the morning and was hungry. After the lap we came out and it was time for Pranav's Annaprasham. Rice mixed with jaggery and ghee. He munched it merrily. Another lap of the inner sanctum with him. Akki was munching chocolates by then.

Finding good food was problem even in the morning. The safest bet - Idly and Vada. After a sumptuous breakfast we went back to the Guest house. Packed stuff and Within a few minutes everyone was ready for the return journey. Incidentally I saw a board at Kollur that said Sagar 54 kilometers. Whether it was there by accident or not is something I don't know. Or may be Sagar is 154 rather than 54! But we decided to stick to the original route. After a brief shopping at the temple premises, we were ready for the return journey.

The ascend looked much beautiful than the descend. May be because we were traveling during the day time. The ascend is through Mookambika wild life sanctuary. Small waterfalls are in abundant in this area.

Throughout the uphill journey I was hoping no vehicle comes on the other side. All except one - Hanuman! .

We stopped by Nagara to take a few snaps.

The landscape of Malnad is really enchanting. Green deciduous forests all around. The people looked vastly different from the typical Karnataka landscape. People having beards is not very uncommon (like in Coorg). Cleanliness all around. And an innate feeling of being with nature which cannot be expressed it in words.

Anyway we have hit so many potholes why not try this route. That is why I decided to try the Ripponpet-Ayanur route from Hosanagara. Till a Kilometer I was thinking. Man these blogs are worthless, they don't point us to the right route. But the situation changed soon. This was like a travel through the bamboo forests, with roads as narrow for only one vehichle to ply! Till Rippon pet (approximately 20 km from Hosanagara) it is the same fate.

Sugarcane, Maize seemed to be the major crops in the area. There is a beautiful lake full of lotus as one reaches Ayanur.

We stopped by Shimoga for lunch, this time at a different restaurant, which is close to Jwell Rock. Food was descend and the amenities were good as well.
We left at around 3 pm from Shimoga. My intention to reach Tumkur before dark. Riding on the Toll road in the night seemed safer. All throughout the journey I saw puppets, like the one below arranged on the right and left side of the road. I need to ask someone to find out the exact reason.

We reached Tumkur around 7:30pm . We took the Ring road in Tumkur, it was least crowded, but I guess it would not have made difference had I taken the road through the city. We ripped through the Toll road, until Nelmangala and then until Bellary road. We had dinner at Mast Kalandar in near BEL circle.

Back home at 10pm. Home sweet Home!

I am canvasing for driving to Kannur during December time (for my Cousins marriage). My wife does not seem to agree especially given the case of handling 2 kids. But my hunch is that I will be able to convince her.
So the next travelogue on a Trip to Kannur via Coorg!

1 comment:

Varun M J said...

Yes board is correct, Sagar is only 54 km from Kollur( Route- Kollur,Nagodi,Nittur,Hasirumakki,Sagara)