Ticket to Kolara

This trip was a quick pilgrimage in the places around Kolara. I had a crew this time of 6 people. Our prime location was Mulabagilu Anjaneya temple. The places around Kolar have their stories knotted to Ramayana, thanks to cousin Shubha for a timely update about all the places. We added Kotilingeshwara, Kurudumale, and Antaragange to the list and it was a perfect itinerary for the day.

Chikka Tirupati

We left at 8 in the morning from Bengaluru. Our first destination close to Sarjapur was Chikka Tirupati. It’s about 30km journey and we reached the temple at around 9. The temple houses a beautiful idol of God Venkataramana and gave a feel of tirupati with the sounds of ‘jargandi jargandi’ at the sanctum sanctorum. We were a bit unlucky since it was the time where they cleaned the idols and we couldn’t see them clearly. With a hope to arrive again, we left for our next location.

Kotilingeshwara

It is about 40km from Chikka Tirupati and can be reached via Bangarpet. The special white paani of Bangarpet was quite famous in Bangalore, but we couldn’t find any on our way via its birthplace.

The Kotilingeshwara temple was famous after it was shot in Shree Manjunatha movie. I wished to visit the place ever since I had watched the movie and it literally houses thousands of Shiva Linga. Sadly the place is highly commercialized. Make sure to set aside at least two hours for this place since there is a fixed path inside the premises for the devotees. There is no exit before you visit all the smaller temples inside and the place gets very much crowded on the weekends. The best attraction of the place is the 108ft tall Shiva Linga which reminds us how small we are in this world.

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They are countless

They are countless

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The 108 feet tall Shivalinga

The 108 feet tall Shivalinga

Mulabagilu

We had a sumptuous meal at Sree Saravana Bhavana on the Bangalore-Tirupati highway and headed next to Mulabagilu Anjaneya temple.

Legend says that after Kurukshetra war, Arjuna went on a pilgrimage and installed the idol in this place. We were at the temple by 2:30 in the noon and waited for a while for the doors to open. A place called Avani which is 10km from here is believed to be the birthplace of Lava-Kusha. We couldn’t visit the place due to the time constraints.

Kurudumale (Koodumale)

Kurudumale is about 10km from Mulabagilu and has a beautiful idol of God Ganapati. The idol is 13ft tall and carved with a single stone. The idol is believed to be very old and the temple around it was built during the Vijayanagara dynasty.

We usually don’t ask for the rains during the travel, but our feet were already burnt by the heated stone flooring in all the temples we had visited in the day. Maybe God heard our prayers and it drizzled a little when we reached Kurudumale. The journey was much pleasant from here onwards.

Adjacent to the Ganesha temple is Someshwara temple which is believed to be built much earlier. The walls have beautiful carvings on them. It has a mixture of two styles by the architects Jakanachari and Dankanachari built during the Chola dynasty. The temple is built without a foundation.

Someshwara Temple

Someshwara Temple

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Beautiful hill behind the Ganesha Temple

Beautiful hill behind the Ganesha Temple

Antaraganage

This was our last location for the day. This place is on a hilltop and has steps to reach the temple. It has a small stream of water that continuously flows to the pond which then flows downhill. We were exhausted by the time we climbed all the steps and disappointed to see that the pond was dried. But the stream still flowed continuously unaffected by the weather around. One can spot some beautiful butterflies apart from the monkeys which are huge in number. The place is also famous as a trekking spot and for cave exploration which I am planning to set aside for the visit here.

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Its a long long walk

Its a long long walk

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The stream

The stream

We bid farewell to Kolar and headed back to Bengaluru humming some old movie songs on the way.

Our crew

P.S:
1. All of us on the team were Aam-Aadmi(Mango People). Though we spotted many farms throughout our journey, we didn’t find a single vendor since the fruits weren’t ripe yet. Pick the best time if you are mango lover too.
2. Special thanks to cousin Madhusudan who made sure we had a comfortable journey with his amazing driving skills.

Ticket to Lepakshi

Lepakshi has been appearing as one of the frequent suggestions every time I look for places to visit around Bangalore. The unique naaga-linga structure had caught my attention easily. I wanted to see it for real. Also, as usual, I started to look for places on the way to plan my day better.

The Hyderabad highway was the best pick for my journey towards Lepakshi. I decided to take the state highway via. Doddaballapur while returning and visit Vidurashwatha on the way. This place is known for witnessing an incident similar to Jallianwala Bagh. Also, if my time calculations matched, I wanted to have my lunch at the Ghati Subramanya Temple which is a slight diversion from my return route. The biggest challenge now was the vehicle. I own an Activa and definitely, it’s not suited for such a long journey. This means I need to travel at a moderate speed taking a breaks at regular intervals. But I wanted to take this one risk to avoid postponing my plan further.

Finally, the day was here and I started at sharp 6 AM to make sure there is ample time to spend at places and to accommodate any Murphy’s law. The only thing I had missed to be prepared was the tire pressure of my vehicle. This had kept me under pressure for most of my journey. Almost 90% of the journey towards Lepakshi was smooth due to the flawless national highway and I ensured to stop for every 40KM to take a break.

Lepakshi

Lepaksha is situated very close to the Karnataka and Andhra border. After about 3.5 hours of journey, the first thing I spotted was the Jatayu theme park. This actually didn’t pop in the Google maps when I had searched earlier and unfortunately, it was closed. The place is in close vicinity to Jatayu Moksha Ghat and could be a new inclusion to the place. The next place to visit right opposite to the Jatayu Theme park is the Nandi. The place is well maintained by the authorities. The spectacular statue of Nandi is caved on a single rock.
About few meters ahead from Nandi is the Veerabhadra Temple which was the destination of the day. The entire temple structure is marvelous and built completely with stone. There was not a single inch without the carvings and each pillar had their own story to tell. After admiring the architectural beauty of the temple, I was finally in front of the Naaga Linga. It was exactly as it looked in the pictures and I was spellbound for a while looking at the mammoth sized structure only to be distracted by everyone else around me trying to take pictures with Bahubali pose.

Jatayu Theme Park

Jatayu Theme Park

Nandi

Nandi

Pillar with minute details

Pillar with minute details

Pillars with life-sized carvings

Pillars with life-sized carvings

Lord Ganesha

Lord Ganesha

Lord Brahma and Lord Vishnu

Lord Brahma and Lord Vishnu

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Symmetrically placed pillars

Symmetrically placed pillars

Naaga Linga

Naaga Linga

Naaga Linga

Naaga Linga


I met few travelers there who suggested me to visit Bhairsagar Lake which houses plenty of migrating birds. The well known Penukonda fort is also at a close vicinity, but due to constraints in my timings and the resources, I planned to save these places for my next trip.

Vidurashwatha

The next place in the list was Vidurashwatha, which is about 33KM from Lepakshi. I took the road towards Hindupura and then a diversion to the state highway to Bangalore. I was at an hour deviation from my planned timings, but things were still in control. It was around 12:00 PM when I reached Vidurashwatha. The monument of freedom fighters and the famous Ashwathanarayana temple are next to each other. The place was a witness to the brutal killing of 32 freedom fighters and a monument has been built in the honor of them. Veera Saudha situated in the vicinity has a photo gallery which speaks the story of the struggles which led to the independence.
Ashwathanarayana temple has more than a thousand idols of god Naaga and has hundreds of devotees visiting every day. The temple also houses the Ashwatha tree which was believed to be planted in the times of Mahabharata. The tree collapsed a few years ago and now has a part of it which is worshipped by the people.

Freedom fighter's memorial

Freedom fighter's memorial

Naaga idols in the temple premises

Naaga idols in the temple premises

Things were fine when I left Vidurashwatha and I had to reach Ghati Subramanya Temple which was around 50KM from there. Murphy’s Law happened and it started raining. The breeze was so strong that I had difficulties controlling my two-wheeler. After 15 minutes, it was manageable drizzles and I decided to skip Ghati Subramanya and head straight to Bangalore. When I reached the diversion towards the temple, the rain had already stopped and I chose to take a chance here and continue with my original plans of visiting the temple. It was overcrowded there, but I managed to get the gimps of god and have a sumptuous meal at the temple. Rice, sambar, and buttermilk were all I needed after the long tiring journey. The jaggery-poha payasam was an added bonus.

It drizzled again while I traveled towards Bangalore but the experience was still pleasing.

P.S:
1. Do not travel in a two-wheeler like Active for more than 200KM at a stretch in a single day. It does cause back pain. Now I know 😛
2. The May and June month is a heaven to jackfruit lovers and you can spot plenty of vendors throughout the journey.