Jan 29, 2010


Christmas evening I reached Sirsi around 6-30 PM. It looked as though all hotels were booked full. I managed to rent a room at Hotel Samrat, it was decent enough.

December 26th 2009. I hardly slept through the night. I woke up early and ready by 5 30, it was s till dark. Then I remembered about fuel in my car... I should've filled the previous evening. The hotel receptionist told bunks open only by 7AM and there are no bunks between Sirsi and Yana. I was not willing to wait that long. I decided to go.

I slowed down at Hegdekatte to confirm if I was heading in the right direction. One of the two boys said I was in right direction and I had a flat tire. Great! I parked to a side, fitted the spare tire and cleaned my hands. I inquired for petrol but to my luck was not bright enough. I calculated that fuel would last if I drove carefully. I passed through Devihally, no sign of anything moving. I kept driving... the road got narrower, more curvy and more ups & downs. I started worrying... After a while I decided to enjoy Yana visit and worry later.

I drove past a bus load of school kids walking down the 3km stretch from the main road ...the side road is too narrow for buses. As I parked my car I saw people getting off two other cars... the place will be crowded. Holiday season effect. Number of warning messages were posted to warn people about possible dangers. One of them was something to this effect - "Bees do not like noise. If disturbed they are known to attack. Please maintain calm." I walked down the steep downward sloping dirt path alone listening to birds singing high above on trees tops. It was serene until half a dozen noisy tween boys shattered the peace with their meaningless screams. Many thoughts flowed through my mind...

Wow! This is amazing!! That's what I said to myself when I saw the rocks. For a minute I stood still and started at natures wonderful creation. Yana rocks!

This is Bhairaveshwara Shikhara.

I was surprised and happy to know that we could walk through Bhairaveshwara Shikhara. In through left side...

...and out through the other side. Inside, the floor and walls were covered with a kind of grey colored powder - this reminded me of a iron & steel factory.

That looks like an European castle's turret.

This is Mohini Shikhara the smaller of the two rock formations.

Looks pretty sinister in this angle... like some kind of monster with it's mouth open to reveal it's fangs. I wish to come back again (it would be afternoon) and spend more time studying the rocks in detail. I walked back alone, this time no noisy characters around. By the time I reached my car I was sweating and breathless. Now I can start worrying about fuel.

I stopped by to check out these 3 little caves. I could see thorough the largest one, the one on the top.

I could explore more... fuel... my mind would not rest till some fuel was poured into the tank. I stopped at Devihally and located a shop which had petrol. My mind relaxed. I filled in 4 liters and drove back to Sirsi peacefully and planning about my next destination - Unchalli Waterfall.


Jan 22, 2010

Shiva Lingas of Sahasralinga

Sahasralinga is an important pilgrimage place about 12km from Sirsi. The river flowing here is Shalmala. Many Shivalingas and Basavannas are carved on rocks inthe river. Sahasralinga means "Thousand Lingas" but I doubt that many can be found now.

The pallet is similar to the one I saw at Lepaksi.

My guess: Rama and Sita worshiping Shivalinga.

I heard that river Shalmala's birth place is in Dharwad, very close to Someswara Temple.


Jan 15, 2010


...journey continued from Magod Waterfall.

The story of Kavdikere has a mythological connection. It seems the lake was created by Bheema. During Pandava's exile...

...Panadavas are searching for food in the forest. Bheema come across a cave and finds that Devathas are performing pooja inside. He becomes inquisitive and asks one of the Devis why the pooja is being performed here when there's so much place on this world. Devi says that the cave cleaner than any other place..... Devi asks Bheema to make an ideol of her and install it and hide the cave under water. So Bheema goes to Kashi and gets Ganga water in a sea shell (seashell is called kavadi in Kannada) and poured it into the cave. The cave gets submerged and a small is created. Hence the lake is known as Kavadikere.

Kavdi = seashell and kere = lake.

There's a village close-by. It seems local people have heard sounds of bells and conch at noon from the middle of the lake. It's a local belief that anybody challenging to swim across the lake drowns never to come out again.

People often come here to picnic and relax because of it's peaceful ambiance.

If you want to visit Kavdikere, here are the directions, starting from Dharwad.

Dharwad > Kalghatgi > Yellapur > drive towards Ankola, about 5km down the road, watch out for Magod Waterfall's board on your left > take Magod Waterfall road, about 10 or 12 km into the jungle, watch out for Kavdikere board to your left > take the narrow road, Kavdikere is another 5km

If you plan a weekend picnic you can visit Kavdikere, Magod Waterfall and Jenukalgudda. Watch the Sun set at Jenukalgudda and head back to Dharwad.


Jan 8, 2010

Magod Waterfall

From Sirle, Veena of Sirle, Veena of Idagundi, Vinaya and I came back to Idagundi. Veena's mother packed lunch for us and we tagged Veena's cousin Mahesh and left to Magod. We drove back towards Yellapur, turned off NH63 to our right and from here it was a short drive. Road was in good condition.

The place is breathtaking: river Bedti dives into a gorge 200 meters deep. As you see, it's a two stage waterfall.

We spent some time admiring the beauty and power of nature.

We threw stones into the gorge, attempting to see if it would land into the water below... no chance! The gap is too wide for us to send a stone flying across it. In fact I took these shots standing about two feet from the edge of the cliff. One wrong step... free fall to the bottom of the gorge. I wish to revisit this place during rainy season.

We lunched under a huge tree. Lunch was pulav, white rice, sambar and mitka banana. Lucky we were not harassed by monkeys, they seem to have a bad reputation here.

We debated if we should visit the near by Jenukalgudda but we dropped the idea after Mahesh told us that the place is good to see sunset. Some other time. We moved on to Kavdikere, a small lake with mythological importance.


Jan 1, 2010

Sirle Waterfall

5:15 AM December 25. Veena N, Veena R and I. Dharwad, Kalghatgi, Yellapur, Idagundi...

At Veena's place I met her parents and sister Vinaya. We had good breakfast; paper dosa, ghee, liquid jaggery and coffee. Veena showed her arecanut garden and took us to Ramalingeswara temple. We met one of her cousins... I remember them calling Suranna. We got back home and left to Sirle, about 8km drive.

I parked my car off NH63, at the beginning of a narrow dirt track road to Sirle village. We walked down the steep path. It was cool at the top and got warmer as we went down into the valley.

This is Talegari leaf. Talegari plants are unique to this part of Western Ghats. It seems the plant can be found in few places and Sirle is one amongst them. In fact, our decision to walk was a good one. We would see so many varieties of plants, trees and flowers. I saw a big spider but could not get a good shot of it. The sounds of the jungle were soothing after all the maddening sounds of cities.

Sirle is one big arecanut plantation with 6 or 7 houses scattered around, all homes belonging to one family. Every house is designed to handle arecanut processing... a cauldron packed in a dirt-insulated stove to boil ripe fruits and raised platforms to dry them. Almost everything is from nature. Arecanut stems are used as beams and pillars. Talegari leaves are used to protect things from rain. People here are truly down to earth. They are natural engineers.

That's Veena, Veena's father Nagesh Bhat and Veena of Idagundi.

Nagesh Bhat took me on a guided tour to Sirle waterfall, a short walk through the plantation. Veena's mother and both Veena's also joined us. There's a natural rock arch with a small cave within. The inside of the cave was pretty dark and we did not bother to venture near it... God knows what slithery creatures were lurking in it.

That's a smaller arch within the bigger arch.

The temple shaped rock looks like it fell off the top.

Dry bamboo roots.

The ladies start hunting for black smooth surfaced stones. My guess; to grind chatni.

Nagesh Bhat helps them find some. This particular stone was shaped like a Shivalinga.

We headed back to the arecanut plantation and climbed up towards the waterfall top. Nagesh Bhat & brothers have constructed a small dam and channels to divert water to irrigate the plantation.

Water flows over the dam and then rushes down towards the edge, dives down the cliff kicking up a mild spray and flows down deeper into the jungles.

I look forward to visit Sirle again... during a rainy season.

Two videos-