Nov 29, 2010

Ramteerth revisited - part 2

Continued from Ramteerth revisited - part 1.

We climbed a shikaraless temple's stone walls to get a better view of the surroundings.

The Shiva Linga within the walls. The circle looks perfect and design symmetric. I wonder how artists of those days achieved such precision. We got down and Veeresh got busy looking for something ...he would not tell us what.

South-eastern view of the temple.

I was lucky to even get this shot ...would not rest for more then a second at any spot. Kept fluttering around.

Life in a row ...these holes could be for breaking the rock into pieces with straight edges. Probably to be used for the half done smaller temple on which we had climbed.

While i was exploring, Veeresh was busy scribbling away on the rock. He must've spent a good 20 minutes writing... I got curious.

"Art work by Veeresh" was added below the date. It's a work of art indeed. Looks like J is about to swallow O. :)

From here, the surface sloped downwards and then a sudden 20 feet drop, and slopes down again towards a jungle covered valley ...that;s on the right.

Towards the left; more paddy fields. We went back up to the lizard face rock where Veeresh was leaving our team signature. We climbed it, being the highest point of the hill, we got a good view.

Temple from top of the rock. We must've stayed up there for about ten minutes. One by one we climbed down...

but Veeresh was still there. We asked is we should send him kaavi and kamadalu. He can stay up there and become a Swamiji chanting Om Namah Shivaya. I think it was Chetan who remarked he can say Ojoino Namaha instead!

Chetan and Neelaknt were brave enough to stand on loose rock on the overhang.

We took a different way back to the temple ...south-western view.

Colors and texture of dragonfly and rock match so well. Here we spoke about dragonflies' similarity to helicopters. How you could make them lift pebbles when you hold them by their wings.

Chetan spotted this butterfly and both of us approached it very slowly to get closeup
shots. The butterfly did not budge ...we guessed it's time must be up. Its wings look battered, may be it's just awaiting it's end.

This dragonfly reminds me of Rayban glasses with amber tint.

Veeresh becomes Manninamaga- son of the soil. I wanted few plants to take.

Chetan and Neel also joined. All set to become mannina makkalu. We stopped plucking when we had a handful.

This picture is a good picture for a birthday or love you card.

The sun was up and the soil had dried. it was so much easier walking now. We saw short and tall varieties of paddy.

The last leg of our trek back the car.

From here we drove to Sangolli Rayanna's memorial at Nandagadh. All we could see either side of the 4km drive was paddy fields. Rice seems to be a major produce in this part of Belgaum district.

Coordinates: 15°31'51"N 74°34'26"E


Nov 22, 2010

Ramteerth revisited - part 1

My last visit was on Sankranthi, sometime January or February. It was my wish to see Ramteerth just after rainy season.

We met at my place by 5-30AM. Drive on NH4 was a breeze... At Kotur I mentioned about a dhaba popular with truckers. Veeresh wanted to stop there on the way back. He was already thinking about lunch! From Kittur to Bidi it was slow because of road condition. After Bidi the road to Halasi was in good condition. By 7-15 we were at the trial to Ramteerth. I parked the car under a mango tree and we were all set to go.

That's our destination... hill top temple amidst paddy fields and jungle.

Barely 100 meters into our trek, Veeresh said he was hungry. He wished we had brought guavas. I told him we had bread and jam, and we'll be having breakfast at the temple.

We were walking on narrow foot-paths which are actually mud retaining walls to hold water. We had to look before stepping...

Neel got a call from one of his relatives.

A farmer on his morning inspection round.

We found this butterfly... hmm.. is it a moth? Wings look so leathery.

Another farmer heading home with fodder for his cattle. We had to bend down to let him pass. Just behind him is the border between paddy-fields and the hill.

This leaf looked like a giant elaichi fruit.

An abandoned quarry... patches of red is some kind of plant grown in gaps in the rocks.

A spiderweb which held three leaves together.

I asked these guys to imitate poses in cinema posters.

A weaver bird nest. Just below this tress we found a foot long cucumber... Chetan had called it boodakumbalkayi...white pumpkin. Veeresh wanted to cut it open. We had to stop him... some farmer might have kept it here to take it home. I guess Veeresh was really hungry.

I found the color and texture combination irresistible. I just took a shot.

Check out the look in the myna's eye. It took off just after this shot. Did not give me another chance. Little further ahead, at a fork in the path, we took left. A furlong down the path, I had a feeling we were not on the right path... Veersh mentioned we were going down hill instead of climbing. We turned back, found the fork...

We were climbing again.

I let these guys go ahead and took a short break. The jungle seemed to stretch till the horizon.

These rocks looked like seats arranged for a meeting.

A colony of ant homes? Normally they live in one big home...

I wonder why paddy in one field are in different color and cream. Green plants are still tender while cream colored ones are almost ready for harvest.

Temple Shikara... I was also hungry now.

Chetan spotted this butterfly. The most beautiful butterfly of the day.

That's Ugranarasimha watching over the hills, jungles and fields below. I washed my feet, plucked some flowers and kept them on the Shiva Linga in the garbhagudi. We settled down on the temple benches and spread out two loaves of bread and a 500g jar of mixed fruit jam ...Mala's. I actually liked the picture on the bottle and decided to buy it instead of Kissan jam. We had paper plates and a spoon. I spread jam over the slices and made sandwiches. We had a filling breakfast. We packed up and decided to go exploring.

...will continue next post - Ramteerth revisited - part 2.

Nov 15, 2010


How does it feel to be visiting a place again after 25 years?

I had cherished memories of my visit to Sogal with my mom, brother, granny, cousins, uncles and aunts during my high school days. I liked the hilly terrain, the trees, the little stream playing it's way down the hill creating three waterfalls. I particularly remembered a rock shaped like a little chair. I could actually sit on it. I was hoping to see it.

Chetan and I decided to have breakfast and then... Half a dozen restaurants were open for the day. We checked out one and the owner, a young guy was stuck to chair busy watching TV not even willing to move at the sight of customers. Forget it. We moved over to Someswara Restaurant... can see for yourself how busy the little place looks. We had uppit and tea.

This pestle and mortar caught our attention.

The short climb up, statues are plenty here, we were shooting them, these three ladies passed us. As I aimed my camera at them they pulled up their saree pallu to cover their heads.

Nandi flanked by Lord Shiva and Parvati.

That's a double statue of Lord Shiva overlooking the waterfall.

Everything's green...

At the top, I could see the changes, the place had changed so much and I did not like these changes. It's not just the concrete that put me off ...the place was one big mess ...plastic bags and clothes strewn all over.

I remember playing under this waterfall.

just like the boys in the water. Look carefully there are two right under the water.

Inside the Shri Somanatha Mukhya Devastana

it's a lovely ancient temple with a touch of modern insensitiveness ...vandalism in the name of development.

A hero stone with Halagannada inscription. Thank heavens, these guys did not think of painting this too.

With little effort one could probably read the inscription.

We climbed up the hill following the path. The place was unrecognizable. We saw few peacocks here. This is another ancient temple... you can guess what's going on in my mind by now.

The inside wall was covered by paintings of well known saints of North Karnataka, a few Hindu Gods and Bedara Kannappa.

We got bitten by few mosquitoes. We decided to head back down. I wished local people clean up this place and people visitors help maintain cleanliness. A far cry. I said hello to these two little twins in green and pink.

Just before I got back into the car I noticed this little fellow making a big show of reading and writing. He made my morning.

Bye Sogal.