29 May 2012. An email surprised me; a lady from Hyderabad said she had recurring dreams of Lord Hanuman in a forest location, a stream close by. Google search led her to Hanuman picture which matched her dream and that image was in Search for Lalguli Falls. I wondered if this was a prank. Even before I could reply, the lady had sent two more messages asking me to respond. The lady- Sindhoor -seemed determined. I replied with my mobile number. We spoke on June 1, this was no prank. I wasn't sure if June would be a good time to visit Western Ghats because of rains but monsoon was delayed. Nothing would stop Sindhoor, she had decided to make a trip during the coming weeks. I spoke to Raghu of Lalguli about the dream and the upcoming trip to his village. Few days later, Sindhoor's better half Ravi confirmed their trip. They arrived at Dharwad June 15th morning, it was a workday for me. They checked into a room reserved for them at Indraprastha Residency. I met them at the hotel on the way back home and decided the itinerary for the morrow. I told them about my colleague Malatesh who would be joining in. A cab from Janani Travels was booked.
Saturday June 16. Malatesh arrived at the hotel almost same time Yellappa and I reached. Sindhoor and Ravi were ready too. We started off left at 5-30, not much traffic on Dharwad-Kalghatgi road nor Hubli-Karwar road. Sindhoor was worried about wild animals. I told them about the incident at Madhumalai, how my guide lit a beedi to scare away the bear 200 feet from us. By 7-00, few kilometers before Yellapur we turned off Karwar road to Haliyal road. We stopped at a tea shop to buy a matchbox. Couple of kilometers further, we turn left, the road to Lalguli. A stop to stretch out.Hiptage Benghalensis Malpighiaceae. We reached Lalguli by 7-30. I told Ravi that Raghu would be there because he was tied down with a meeting at his office. That's the rangoli at Raghu's house door.
I could see some changes... oh the footpath was now wide enough for a car. The dirt road was made by an excavator :( I do not wish to see the a tar road during my next visit. Narayan Bhat mentioned that a road did exist here earlier when forest contractors brought trucks to load timber. With no such acivity now, the road was unused and vegetation had taken over. Sindhoor wanted some dry branches to make decorative lamps. I could barely find any. I guess with the recent road work, dry wood would have got buried. The road ended at the slope of the stream valley.
We walk about half a kilometer northwards. The fort being situated on a hill is surrounded by valleys, a stream and river Kali. We could see that the fort wall is built along the edge of the plateau. Having lived in these jungles Narayan's eyes catch things which we hardly notice. For instance he located a buried salakee (spade). It was hidden there by folks who come fishing. The spade is used to dig dirt for earthworm. That's Narayan and Malatesh looking at the jungles across Kali river valley, we could not see the river water from here.
search for Lalguli falls.
Back at the temple, Ravi was through with the rituals and he seemed happier now. I had seen pooja being performed in this manner only at temples by poojaris. I did not have any idea about Ravi's detailed preparation.
Lord Anjaneya is magnificent to look, with clearly carved figure. Swamy wearing kaupinam (loincloth) is facing south. Idol height is nearly 3 to 4 feet. The embossment of the main deity is clearly seen. The Lord is facing south, His raised right hand is showing Abhya Mudra giving "Abhaya" to all his devotees. In his left hand He is seen holding the Sowgandhika flower, his right leg is crushing the evil "rakshasa". His Yagyopaveetha adds glory to his body, He is seen with all ornaments. He is wearing an ear ring ("Kundala"), His upper arm is wearing ‘Bahuvalaya’ and in his wrist he is wearing "Kankana", He is seen wearing two sets of ornaments in his neck with his Kesa seen tied & wearing headgear.
His tail is seen raised above the head and at the end folded. The ‘Pranava’ formation and a small bell tied could be seen in the end of the tail, which is normally found in the Vyasaraja Pratishta Hanuman idols.
He is a sight of glory and compassion put together. Based on the idol features i could see he is the "Sri Veera Anjaneya". Sri Veera Anjaneya idol of this open roof temple has all the lakshanas of Sri Hanuman vigrahas installed by Sri Vyasaraja. The bell in end of the tail, Shika, Sowganthika (or Lotus) Pushpa all indicates the Vigraha could have been one of the Vigrahas installed by Sri Vyasaraja.
We received the pooja prasaad. I noticed Narayan squat down while partaking prasaad. Havyak Bramhins here are particular about following their customs. I wish their customs and traditions continue for years to come. It's time to leave; Ravi and Sindhoor take one last look at the deity.
Sindhoor with her dry sticks, she was serious about taking them home.
Monday morning at office, Malatesh surprised me with a pair of betelnut dolls.