We had long planned this outing for the 15th August long weekend. The initial idea was to be in Chikamagalur in the beautiful rainy season. The trip idea further culminated into including a detour through Halebid & Belur.
Meanwhile, another member from the group wanted to go somewhere else for the weekend. She reached out to the group to make a last minute plan happen that may not be as planned – her only requirement, a company to a sudden plan. She was interested in Hampi, but for obvious reasons of unavailability of modes of commute to one of the most popular destinations from Bangalore, it did not happen. But somehow through the group she found one more person desperate for a long weekend outing, and they found a trek package via Thrillophilia to Tadiandamol Trek in Coorg.
Few details of the both the trips below:
1. Halebid-Bellur-Chikamagalur –
For the Bangalore to Hassan & then back from Chikamagalur to Bangalore bus ride, we booked a regular KSRTC Rajahamsa (total approx Rs. 700 per head). From Hassan bus station to Halebid, it costed us about Rs.28 per head.
Halebid was terribly crowded, mostly because of the weekend. We somehow managed to get some good shots avoiding the crowd. Before entering this campus, I thought out loud to everyone, all these old temples have the same kind of stuff, have hardly seen anything different..although I’m a fan of history and ruins across India.
I was proved wrong right the next moment. I have to admit I haven’t seen anything loaded with more intricate work than this place.
After Halebid, we decided to hire a auto rickshaw to check out Belavadi (13 kms away) and continue with it till Belur (another 16 kms away). That trip costed us total Rs.500 for the entire ride.
The temple at Belavadi is relatively less popular, and it was completely empty. However, has a very passionate Pujari taking care of it. He literally was upset with us for being more interested in using our cameras than visiting the deity at the temple. Although he was very interested in telling about the idols placed there, Krishna, Narasimha & Vishnu. Vishnu at the centre, Krishna on the left, Narasimha at the right. The Vishnu idol has been so placed at the centre inside the temple that on a particular day of the year (23rd March), at sun rise, the beam of light directly falls at the face of Lord Vishnu – AMAZING isn’t it!. Apparently, the Krishna idol has been nominated as the most beautifully made idol for Lord Krishna by the Archaeological Survey of India. The temple was spic and span, shining literally, thanks to less crowd coming there.
On second thoughts, all other temples were quite clean too, despite so much crowd visiting daily.
From here, we headed to Belur Temple on the same auto rickshaw. The auto did not take the main route, instead somewhere interior, may be a shortcut. Even though it was bumpy, we witnessed a lot of Flower Farms, Marigolds covered the valley, and you witness orange patches of fields in the valley as far as your eyes can see. There were also sun-flowers, and we missed their yellow blooms just by few weeks, August is their seed extraction season when they dry off. We saw some Rose fields too. We spent some time-out time at the vast campus of Belur. Turns out in our group of 4, all 3 except me had already been there so many times, and they had some interesting stories to narrate about the history of this place.
At Halebid, the temple carvings were tad destroyed, some were obviously current century with names scribbled in, while broken heads and carvings can be attributed to the destruction caused during certain invasions of historical times. As per mythology, after vandalising Halebid temple, these invaders were headed to Belur campus next to destroy the temple, but even a mere 16 kms would have taken longer for the entire fleet to cover in those times. Hence the locals, who had an idea about the invasion, apparently covered the temple campus with mounds of soil, to make it look like a hillock. I do wonder, with lack of machinery, how could they have achieved it. Because clearly, the temple campus of Belur has close to no signs of destruction..
From Belur bus station, we took a bus to Chikamagalur (Rs. 30 per head). We had to further take another bus to reach our Homestay, Coffeeland Homestay, in a near by village called Haandi.
After a scrumptious dinner at the homestay, we all retired soon after the hectic day.
Next day we had plans to check out Mullayangiri, Baba Budangiri Hills & Kemmanagundi.
Early morning we had our Malnad style breakfast, and spent some time meandering the estate. We were told that the coffee plants flower somewhere in April and the place is covered in all white, interesting time to visit!. We then took our taxi and headed for Mullayangiri. The hill-top was a very short 5 minute climb, where the fog was too thick to see anything. We left soon, carrying some hot bhuttas for snack. However our plans went for a toss after leaving Mullayangiri. We were about to ascend for BB Hills, when we had just stopped at the Durgah to take some pictures at the picturesque site. While you try to click a picture of someone standing at a distance with the green backgrounds, suddenly there is an invasion of clouds, and you both can’t see each other! literally thats what happened to us. With mist all over us, we had to make a move, and it soon began to pour heavily. We moved on back to town of Chikamagalur, where it was still pleasant. We also checked out a small local park where a toy train ride was surprisingly fun. The park is really well maintained for a mere fees of Rs.6. We then headed to Town Canteen, for a quick grub as we had skipped our lunch. Had a couple of coffees for the evening, and headed to catch our bus to Bangalore.
2. Tadiandamol trek, Chelavara falls & Tibetan Monastery –
So turns out for these girls too, the whole sudden plan was a big hit and a lot of fun. Here is the summarised write up by Ankita who went for this –