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Tuesday 28 February 2023

Brahma Jinalaya - The Outer Mantapa

In our efforts to bring more stories to spottedowlets, Meera and I decided to visit Gadag, with the intention of exploring both nature and the extravaganza of ancient architecture in and around that place.
We will be attempting to bring in as much information as possible from all the temples we visited, hoping to do at least some justice to magnificent structures we visited. 

Meera has already given a brief history of Lakkundi, so let’s dive in. Starting the journey from the Jain temple or ‘Brahma Jinalaya’ at Lakkundi,  we visited this fascinating structure at midday during midweek. Needless to say, we had exclusive time there. 

A view of the temple

Sunday 26 February 2023

Lakkundi – A Medieval Wonder

Lakkundi, the village and streets

There are still some hidden, ancient heritage spots in Karnataka that do not see much interest or tourist footfall, and reasons are many for that. Lakkundi is one such place in Gadag district which is neither part of the Hampi tourism circuit nor part of any other circuit. Just about 11 kilometers from the town of Gadag, Lakkundi, once a powerful Kingdom is today a veritable treasure trove of temples and stepwells.

Thursday 2 February 2023

Chitrakarini Temple: Creative Heights

Thank you for joining me from part I

Have you ever heard of a temple that is dedicated to a woman painter? Well, Chitrakarini temple must be the only temple in the world acknowledging the skills and creative expressions of an artist.
Chitrakarini Temple

Chitrakarini Temple - The Paintress

If you are visiting Bhubaneswar on a leisurely holiday, try to explore temples that do not see crowds nor much interest. Apart from Lingaraj, Rajarani, Ananta Vasudeva and other such famous temples in this city, there are other architectural monuments that are ancient and highly impressive for their carvings.
View of main temple. The four outer towers are not seen here.

Thursday 26 January 2023

Odisha’s Rajarani Temple: Symbol Of Love

The Raja Rani temple

Odisha’s Rajarani Temple: Symbol Of Love - Part II

Continuing from Part I

Temple wall having columns with floral, ornamental carvings

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