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Sunday 18 December 2022

Ashokan Rock Edicts: Odisha’s Pride

Thousands of battles have been fought in this country the last 5000 years and one gets to read and know about them in various forms. However, one of the largest and deadliest battles, the Kalinga War in 262-261 BCE is etched in History as it took a horrendous human toll (about 2 lakh people were killed & maimed).

The rock edicts

Sunday 13 November 2022

Somnathpur Temple - A Poetry In Stone

Thank you for joining me from Part I

All that occurs within the walls of this temple is uplifting and elevating. In this temple of Chennakeshava in Somnathapura, lies the purest essence of workmanship and abilities of ancient sculptors. As I go around taking a close look at the walls with such fine details, I wonder at the ultimate accomplishments of humans that were achieved sans any powered tools.

Monday 26 September 2022

Somnathpur Temple - A Hoysala Marvel

A childhood memory of an ancient temple with its unbelievable architecture took me back to the banks of River Cauvery in the Mysuru district of Karnataka state. Although one can see the footprints of many dynasties in the erstwhile royal kingdom of Mysore, the one in T. Narasipura taluk is certainly breathtaking.


Besides, if any temple from the Hoysala architectural style stands out amid many bygone structures, it is the Keshava temple at Somanathapura town. It is said to be the most ornate and perfect model of Hoysala architecture. However, one can see the ravages of time as it looks bereft with both invaders and nature taking a toll on this exquisite monument.


Outer wall of the temple

Saturday 9 July 2022

Varaha Temple – Hampi’s Exquisite Past

Long shot of the Varaha temple surroundings 

We were roaming around the rocky terrain of Hampi and were eagerly looking for a glimpse of the elusive Yellow Throated Bulbul, when we stumbled on the ruins of a temple that was never on our itinerary. This recently renovated temple is located on the banks of the mighty Tungabhadra River. It can also be seen on the way to the Vijay Vittala temple from Hampi town.

Saturday 30 April 2022

Nava Brindavana - Living Saints

Thank you for joining me from part 1

For the Madhava community and other followers of Dvaita philosophy, Nava Brindavana in Anegundi, Karnataka is the holiest place after Mantralaya (Andhra Pradesh). Therefore, many visit every year to pay their respects to the nine living saints (as they are known). The revered saints are said to have entered the Brindavana during their lifetime.

A view of Nava Brindavana

Anegundi: Nava Brindavana Shrine

Although Tharangini, Adhikari and I have visited Hampi many times and have also gone out of the way to search for unknown spiritual and heritage spots but we have missed going across the mighty Tungabhadra River due to paucity of time. Spread across the rolling hills of the Deccan Plateau between Hampi-Anegundi, there are many such hidden spots all along the river that an ordinary tourist would miss.

All the nine saints in living samadhi

Thursday 21 April 2022

Kalluru - Weaving Stories In Silk - II

Thank you for joining me from part 1.

The Narrow entrance

The Power looms in 
the room.

Kalluru - Weaving Stories In Silk - I

It was by chance that Meera and I got to visit Kalluru in Gubbi taluk (Karnataka). Meera had to buy some sarees for an event in the family. Her friend, Dev, recommended a visit to Kalluru, a small town that is also an age-old weavers settlement.  This place is known for its incredible silk weaves. It was only when we got there that we realized what an incredible place we were in.

The summer had been at its peak, so we were a bit worried about how the heat of the day was going to treat us, but we were lucky to have a moderately cloudy day saving us from the unforgiving heat. After exiting Bengaluru via Nelamangala, we took the NH75 through Kunnigal and Yadiyur before taking a right towards Kalluru. The roads throughout were excellent and dotted with multiple highway eateries. That Sunday morning, all of them were having a very good business.
We stopped at Food Culture for both our breakfast and lunch on our way back. A little pricey, but the food and ambience were decent. 

Dev met us a few kilometers before Kalluru and we followed him to the saree showroom owned by his uncle. The showroom was already filled with multiple wedding shoppers even as early as half past 10 that morning. For the hardcore saree shoppers, this was heaven. 

The bustling outlet

Monday 4 April 2022

Simha Farms

A trip was long pending in our group of friends and we wondered about the perfect place to visit that would satisfy all our needs – to relax, to be with nature, to have fun, to catch up on some photography, to connect with ourselves, to disconnect from stress, to have some amazing food, to travel or just chill -Simha farms was the first place that came to mind. 

 I had visited this place a few years back and it felt like the perfect place for all of us to visit. Tucked away in Madodi near Nittur, at a 400 kms distance from Bangalore, Simha farms is also very ideal for those who enjoy long drives. 

The entrance to the farm

Thursday 30 December 2021

Bhutan - The Spiritual Land

Our journey to Thimphu, the quaint capital city of Bhutan was quite interesting but tiring. We zipped through the sub-tropical and alpine zones of this amazing country in a winding and twisted manner. It is a long journey as one has to cross three beautiful dzongkhags (districts) while the scenery changes from stark to ornate to verdant.

Wednesday 22 December 2021

Bhutan - Green & Happy

 As I traveled across the mountainous royal kingdom of Bhutan, the one thing that left its imprint in my mind was how these people were happy with what they had and did not crave for the moon. Leading a simple life, people across the kingdom were either involved in farming or forestry while others were into meditation and prayers. Since most parts of the country are woodlands, it absorbs more carbon dioxide than it emits. 

Monday 29 November 2021

Shivamogga-Tirthahalli Road – A Bird Haven

After spending some time at the Mandagadde Bird Sanctuary which is now an idyllic place for landscape shooting, I decided to explore other places on these breathtaking and sylvan surroundings of Shivamogga-Tirthahalli highway. Making my way back to Shivamogga town, I spotted many openings with spectacular viewpoints on the Tunga riverfront after crossing the Mandagadde village.

Friday 19 November 2021

Mandagadde Sanctuary – A Lost World

Imagine yourself amid mist-laden forests, a meandering river, and the melodious calls of blue, black, scarlet, and white-winged creatures, then you are definitely in the midst of Malenad, the heart of Western Ghats. On a personal trip to Shivamogga town, I could not resist taking an early morning break and traversing the mesmerizing green route from Shivamogga to Tirthahalli.



Saturday 6 November 2021

Durga Temple In Anegundi

- Colorful Prayers, Playful Macaques and Incredible energy

Our trips to Hampi have been quite a few, but each visit we get to see someplace new. Well, that was unintentional rhyming,  but the fact remains that in our last visit to Hampi, we took off to see one more extremely colorful temple in the vicinity.

The tree that has become a prime identity of the temple

Wednesday 20 October 2021

Talakadu -Vaidyanatheswara Temple Carvings

Thank you for joining me from Part III

The Sri Vaidyanatheshwara temple has seen many additions and expansions between the 8th and 14th centuries during the rule of the Gangas, Cholas, Rashtrakuta, and Hoysalas. And, therefore, one can see the footprints of these dynasties in many temple sculptures and carvings.

A plethora of intricate works.

Talakadu: Vaidyanatheshwara Temple

Thank you for joining me from Part II

A visit to Talakadu from Bengaluru is pretty easy and comfortable. One of the most prominent temples of Talakadu, the Sri Vaidynatheswara Swamy temple is full of manifestations of Lord Shiva. This is one of the oldest temples excavated in Talakadu, the quaint pilgrimage town for many devotees of Shiva, and should not be missed. 

Vaidynatheswara temple 

Saturday 18 September 2021

Talakadu – Keerthi Narayana Temple

Thank you for joining me from Part I

As we walked on the hot sands, we were dead tired and wanted to return to our homestay. Suddenly a temple unfolded before us at a very great depth that was so eye-catching that we forgot all our aches and pains. Taking images of that temple became a race against time as the light was fading away and I also did not want to miss seeing the interiors of the temple.
Keerthinarayana Temple

Talakadu - In The Sands Of Time

The nearest places for weekend outings from Bengaluru are many but very few places shine with ancient historicity and a glorious past. So, if one sifts and chooses the right one, there is one such place tucked on the banks of the Cauvery River. Although it is hot and quiet, it beckons one who is interested in the glorious heritage of this country. So, if you are interested – do make a trip to Talakadu. It has a few homestays but nothing more to boast of.

 Cauvery river at Talakadu

Thursday 2 September 2021

Venkatappa Baavi - The forgotten well

After a long sabbatical, thanks to the pandemic, I am here again trying to connect with my writing side and hope I can hold on to your attention for maybe about 3 mins, for that's how long this article is. 
 Our Friday morning started off pretty comfortably, without the regular hectic agenda we usually pack into our trips. But after having to abandon our visit to the Vaali caves, due to an unfortunate leopard attack in the area earlier followed by the multitude of hurdles we had to cross to visit the megalithic paintings, (visit Meera's article here ) we were not sure what to expect at the Venkatappa Baavi. 
A view of the beautiful structure

Sunday 22 August 2021

Anegundi Rock Paintings -II

Thank you for joining me from Part I 

For thousands of years, the Tungabhadra River Valley has been a repository of human endeavor and we see this manifestation in the Anegundi rock paintings. How the pre-historic colors of Anegundi cave paintings have managed to survive on open rock faces for thousands of years is a mystery. They seem to have used red laterite clay for the painting which is easily available in this part of the world.

The Cave shelters from the Iron Age in Anegundi