Archive | September, 2017

Lepakshi & Shivaganga : Day Trips in Bangalore : 7.30AM – 3.30 PM (Trips 6 & 7)

26 Sep

This blog documents the 7.30 AM to 3.30 PM  day trips by a group of enthusiastic Bangalore explorers from Mantri Classic Koramangla.  We leave after the school bus departs and are back home when the kids return. Thats what we have been doing for the last 1 year – discovering amazing places in and around Bangalore. Energised ancient temples, architectural marvels , 1000’s of years old, lovely ashrams, treks, nature resorts all packed with simple and tasty food makes for a great day trip. Its a Fusion trip and thats the name of the group we gave to this team. The trips are very cost effective and average Rs 500 – 750 / head inclusive of breakfast, lunch and travel. We travel on a Wednesday most of the time – mid week when the places are empty , and because we lave by 7.30 /7.45 and are back by 3.30 we beat the crazy Bangalore traffic.

We started this about a year back – its been fun , in the last 12 trips we have discovered amazing places. This blog shares the itineraries of trips 6 & 7  

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Trip – 6 : Visit to Lepakshi 

Located 120 Km from Bangalore – on the Bangalore Hyderabad road , beyond Devanhalli is the Lepakshi temple. The road is excellent – we left at 6AM and after a relaxed breakfast at Sri Krishna Grand ( You will find many restaurants after you cross the Airport Toll on your left side) we reached by 8 AM.

Lepakshi is a medium sized temple complex –  you can park the car right in front of the temple and enter in a few steps. As per Mythology this was the place where Jatayu fought against Ravana as he was carrying Sita. The main temple is dedicated to Virbhadra and was built during the Vijaynagara reign.Virbhadra is a fearsome form of Shiva. He was created by the wrath of Shiva and destroyed the Yagna  of Daksha, after Daksha’s daughter and Shiva’s consort Sati self-immolated in the sacrificial fire. The temple also has an Altar for Durga and Lord Rama. A small room led by a narrow alley is said to be the place where Sage Agastya meditated.

Its a semi finished temple – the main Sanctum Sanctorum area is complete but the courtyard and Kalyana Mandapa is unfinished. The main temple has intricate carvings the inspiration for many textile designs and the famous Lepakshi hanging pillar.

A 30 min drive from here is a place called Vidurashwatha. This is a small village known for the Ashwatha tree which is believed to have been planted by Vidura.  The tree fell down in 2001. But part of the trunk is still preserved.  It is interesting to see hundreds of Nagadevata idols installed around the tree. Don’t forget to visit a small memorial built for 35 freedom fighters who lost their lives when police opened fire on them. This incident is knows as Jallianwala Bagh of South India.

The roads were excellent and we were back in Bangalore by 11.30 – Lunch at the Orchard Hotel on Palace Orchards , a short stopover at the Chitra Kala parishad and were back home by 2.30.

(Lepakshi temple is in Andhra – can be very hot in summer , best time to travel is Nov – Feb)

Trip – 7 : Shivaganga Trek 

Shivaganga known as Dakshina Kannada is a Shiva Linga shaped 2700 feet peak located about 75 km from Bangalore near Tumkur at Dobaspete. The place is famous for its ancient temples and as a Trekking destination.

We departed Koramangla at 6 AM and reached Shivaganga at 8 AM after a nice breakfast at Shree Rathnam a nice and efficient Veg restaurant – It has a big inviting poster and you can’t miss it. (The restaurant is located after a 10 – 15 min drive post the 2nd toll). As you drive out from the restaurant look around for a flyover and take the access road and then a left – don’t go up the flyover.

There are three sets of temples – the 1st is a 10 min walk up – the path forks , the right side goes to the Gavi Gangadeshwar , Devi Temple and Patalganga , while the left side is the way up the hill. Legend has it that there are underground tunnels that connects this temple to the Gavi Gangadeshwar temple at Basavangudi.

At the halfway mark – about 1 hr of trekking you reach an ancient Virbhadra temple and a underground water tank called Okkal Theertha. These are all cave temples and the priest claims that the idols are thousands of years old.  The views are beautiful and it was breezy all thru the trek. ( there are two ways up – the shorter route bypasses the temples in the middle )

As you near the top of the hill you will see a massive Nandi and at the summit there are two small temples. The oral also has the suicide drop point – from where queen Shanthala a Hoysala queen committed suicide.

The trek is a medium grade trek – takes about 90 minutes one way . Total distance is ~ 2 Km one way. The trail has rock steps for almost half the distance, the last 15 – 20 minute stretch is very steep. There are monkeys all around – so do carry a stick to scare them and don’t carry and food items in your bags. There are shops on the way for water and juice.

We started  our climb at 8AM – reached the top by 9.30 , spent 30 min at the summit , had a few glasses of refreshing lemon water and were back at the base by 12 noon. On the way back we had lunch at the Orchard Hotel near Place Orchards and were back home by 3 PM.

The temples open only by 9 AM – so on the way up you may miss it. Weekends tend to be crowded – I have been there on a Wed and a Saturday. Its empty on weekdays. Summers can be warm – Nov to Feb is the best time.

 

 

 

 

 

City Temples & More : Day Trips in Bangalore : 7.30 AM to 3.30 PM (Trips 4 & 5)

17 Sep

This blog documents the 7.30 AM to 3.30 PM  day trips by a group of enthusiastic Bangalore explorers from Mantri Classic Koramangla.  We leave after the school bus departs and are back home when the kids return. Thats what we have been doing for the last 1 year – discovering amazing places in and around Bangalore. Energised ancient temples, architectural marvels , 1000’s of years old, lovely ashrams, treks, nature resorts all packed with simple and tasty food makes for a great day trip. Its a Fusion trip and thats the name of the group we gave to this team. The trips are very cost effective and average Rs 500 – 750 / head inclusive of breakfast, lunch and travel. We travel on a Wednesday most of the time – mid week when the places are empty , and because we lave by 7.30 /7.45 and are back by 3.30 we beat the crazy Bangalore traffic.

We started this about a year back – its been fun , in the last 12 trips we have discovered amazing places. This blog shares the itineraries of trips 4 & 5 

Trip 1,2,& 3  :  https://vak1969.com/2017/09/13/day-trips-in-bangalore-7-30-to-3-30-trips-1-3/

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Trip 4  : A city trip in and around MG Road (Suryanarayana Temple – Someshwara Temple – National Gallery of Modern art – Planetarium) 

We started at 7.45 and our first stop was the Sun Temple at Domlur. This is probably Bangalore’s and India’s cleanest temple. It feels like a 5 start hotel with green polished marble maintained spotlessly clean. Its a short 10 min drive from Koramangla ( if the Inner ring road is not jammed) – the temple is built and managed by a Reddy family. the Main deity is the Sun God – Surya , but there are idols of Saturn – Shani , Vaishno Devi , Lord Rama, Ganesha and the Navagrahas. You can access the temple from the airport road or the Inner Ring Road (Take a left at Murugan Idli on the IRR and it takes you right to the temple). On a Wednesday at 8 AM we had the temple to ourselves.

A quick stop for piping hot Idlis and Kesari at the Udupi joint on Indranagar 100 feet road and we headed to the narrow bylines of Ulsoor to visit the ancient Someshwara temple – built by the Cholas over a 1000 years back. The temple was forgotten by Bangalore until the UK premier came to Bangalore and made a visit. Its in decent shape and the sanctum sanctorum is highly energised. Lucky for us as were inside the current went – and it was beautiful to be in the heart of the temple with only the  Diyas giving you light that was ethereal.

We completed breakfast and the Someshwara temple by 10.30 and headed to the National Gallery of Modern Art near Cunningham Road – a short distance but in the Bangalore peak traffic it took us over 30 minutes. The NGMA is a wonderful place for art lovers. Its large , green and serene and you are lucky if there is a exhibition on display. they also have a small cafeteria which serves some lovely snacks and fresh juices. Depending on your interest in Art you could spend time here –  1 hr is sufficient for an amateur.

From here we rushed to the Planetarium – we have all visited a Planetarium as children or with our kids but it was a nice experience to bring the child in you alive to visit as adults  in a hall that was packed with school kids. They have shows in English and Kannada – book tickets in advance to avoid disappointment. Our show was  delayed by 30 min which cost us our stop over at Russel Market – we finally left at 1.15 for lunch at Sunheri –  Woodlands on Raja Ram Mohan Roy road app ITC Gardenia. The still serve you a royal meal at a very reasonable rate. Post lunch we left at 2.30 and were back home at Koramangla by 3.15.

Trip 5  : A city trip (Chokkanathar Perumal Temple – ISCKON Temple Banaswadi – Sapta Rishi Ashram Hennur) 

A wonderful trip that started with a sumptuous breakfast at Krishna Cafe. A small restaurant in Koramangla near Anand sweets that serves delicious authentic South Indian dishes ( Tamil style). From here we headed to our first stop. The Chokkanathaswamy temple, at Domlur  is one of the oldest temples in the city, dating to the Chola period of the 10th century AD. Inscriptions (in ancient Tamil script) on the stone walls of the temple indicate that the main deity is “Chokkaperumal” – Lord Vishnu with his consorts Sreedevi & Bhoodevi. They also indicate that the idols are made of saligrama stone, which is obtained from Nepal. The ancient temple was extensively renovated in the 1970’s – but the main Sanctum Sanctorum is preserved in its original form. Its a small but highly energised temple and when you sit inside close to the beautiful decorated idol with the chants of Vishnu Sahasranama it is a divine experience. You can cover this in 15 – 20 minutes.

Our second stop was an ISKCON temple. When you mention ISKCON Bangalore you automatically think of the temple on top of a hill in North Bangalore near Yeshwantpur. The one we visited at Banaswadi ( HBR Layout) was wonderful – Called “ISKCON Narasimha-Giridhari Mandir ” it is the house of Sri Sri Lakshmi Narasimha & Sri Sri Gandharvika Giridhari. A beautiful temple spread across two levels it has a lovely Goshala.  Budget 45 minutes here.

Our third stop was a unique place – most people in Bangalore would not have heard of Sage Amara a divine light worker who had the blessings and the Guidance of the Sapta Rishis. In 1935, Maharshi Amara meditated for 24 days and nights on a nearby hillock when he saw a huge light falling from the sky near Taponagara. Then, it was revealed to him that a special Spiritual Centre would be established by the Light Masters here.

Manasa Foundaton is established in a newly budding township called Taponagara, by the side of a tiny village called Chikkagubbi which lies one kilometre off Hennur-Bagalur Road, which leads to new Bengaluru International Airport. Taponagara is about 20 KMs away from Bangalore city, India. Taponagara has the Head Quarters of the Path called Manasa. One Kilometre away, in another village called Gollahalli, the Study Centre is established. This area is known as Antar-Manasa.

Taponagara has two important structures: Kundalini Tower where special Kundalini energy brought down from the Higher Plane of Adi Shakti is placed under the ground and the Cosmic Tower which has two pyramids, one inverted pyramid sitting on the other containing the energies and entry points into the Higher Planes.

You can easily spend a day here if you are into meditation , there are many places which are designed for deep meditation. We spent over an hr and then headed back. No good restaurants at Hennur or on the Outer Ring Road and we made the mistake of stopping at Phoenix Markectcity for lunch – the traffic was madness , we should have avoided this and come back for lunch to Indranagar or MG Road.  But as per plan we still made it back home at Mantri Classic Koramangla by 3.15 PM

 

 

 

Pyramid Valley, Bhoga Nandeeshwara, Gave Gangadeshwar ++ : Day Trips in Bangalore : 7.30 AM to 3.30 PM (Trips 1 – 3)

13 Sep

Bangalore has amazing weekend getaways – with Coorg , Bandipur, Chickamagalur close by – its a paradise for travellers. That is well known.

I discovered after nearly 25 years in Bangalore that the city also has a plethora of amazing sights that can be covered in less than a day. We call it the 7.30 to 3.30 trip. Leave after the school bus departs and be back at home when the kids return. Thats what we have been doing for the last 1 year – discovering amazing places in and around Bangalore.

Energised ancient temples, architectural marvels , 1000’s of years old, lovely ashrams, treks, nature resorts all packed with simple and tasty food makes for a great day trip. Its a Fusion trip and thats the name of the group we gave to this team – which is me (1 man) and about a dozen women with a lot of positive energy.  The trips are very cost effective and average Rs 500 – 750 / head inclusive of breakfast, lunch and travel. We travel on a Wednesday most of the time – mid week when the places are empty , and because we lave by 7.30 /7.45 and are back by 3.30 we beat the crazy Bangalore traffic.

In the last one year after I retired – I realised that one of the most frustrating and thankless jobs is that of an highly educated housewife. Housework ( especially kitchenware)  is 24by7. Its monotonous and it never stops. Even if you are 40+ there is a child in you – and who doesn’t like to travel and see new places. A time comes when pubbing and partying becomes boring. So exploring the city is a good pastime. Its like a monthly holiday.

We started this about a year back – its been fun , in the last 12 trips we have discovered amazing places. This blog shares the itineraries of these trips so that you can replicate the same with your friends.

Trip – 1 : Pyramid Valley , Kanakpura Road

Pyramid Valley is a serene and peaceful place full of greenery. Its like an Ashram – you can meditate, be by yourself , even stay there and attend some programs. I have been wanting to attend their full moon meditation session. The place is the Karma Bhoomi of its Founder Brahmarshi Patriji.

Departure from Koramangla 7.45 AM , Arrival 9.30 AM ( We could have reached faster by the NICE Road – avoid the BTM / JP Nagar , Kanakpura Road – it was jammed – maybe better now with the Metro)

Google maps will take you to this place – its a small detour from the Kanakpura main road on your left – there are signs and it comes after you cross The Art of Living ashram.

Watch a Video explaining the concept of the Pyramid Valley and the meditation techniques taught there and then enter the massive 160 ft X 160 ft Pyramid – supposedly the largest in the world for meditation. They claim that the intensity of meditation inside a Pyramid is 3 times higher. And yes the Meditation is indeed intense at the topmost raft right below the cone of the Pyramid. Visit the store and then drop by at the Cafeteria for a wholesome snack. they also serve free lunch at around 1 in the afternoon.

We had some Upma & Coffee and then on the way back stopped by at JP Nagar – at a nice homely place for Pasta and were back home by 3 PM.

http://pyramidvalley.org/about-us/

 

 

Trip – 2 : Bhoga Nandeeshwara Temple , School of Ancient Wisdom (Near the Airport) 

On the foothills of the Nandi Hills – an outstandingly beautiful temple with intricate sculptures that is over 1000 years old and was developed by multiple dynasties over centuries – The Cholas, Pallavas, Hoysala’s, Ganga and the Vijaynagar empire  – and you can see their unique architecture styles in the three sanctum sanctorum’s of the temple that houses Lord Shiva in his 3 forms – as a child (Arunachala)  , youth (Uma Mahesh)  and Adult (Bhoga Nandeeshwara) The Chola Pillars, Pallava Stupas ( similar to the Shore temple) and the intricate carvings of the Hoysalas adds to the grandeur and peace of the temple. This temple is one of Bangalore’s best kept secrets – if in the US this would have been a UNESCO world heritage site.

The shrine of Arunachaleshwara representing Shiva in his childhood it was built by the Gangas, Uma Maheshwar was built by the Hoysalas and Bhoga Nadeeshwara was built by the Cholas.

A very well maintained temple, spotlessly clean, with a beautiful tank that is supposed to be the source of a small river – you can easily spend 90 – 120 minutes enjoying the beauty of the place.

We left Koramangla at 7.45 AM and reached our breakfast joint – Indian Paratha company at 8.45 AM. This place is located on the Bangalore Hyderabad highway just after you pass the Airport. Being a Wednesday it was empty  – the Parathas here are outstanding and the service was excellent. (Weekends the place gets really busy)

From here the drive time to Bhoga Nandeeshwara is less than 30 minutes – we were at the Temple by 9.45 AM. Departure from Bhoga Nandeeshwara at 11.30 AM and reached our next stop – The School of Ancient Wisdom on IVC road by 12 Noon.

The School of Ancient Wisdom is a doorway to transformation and enlightened living. Its a mystical place that was founded by the saintly  Manize Sait (Late)  under the guidance of the masters. Its a centre where the belief is on the concept of energy – and Ram one of the founders of the place was an excellent guide. We had a lovely veg lunch here and left by 2 and were back home by 3.30. (You have to inform them before hand if you plan to have lunch here)

Trip – 3 : Brahmins Cafe – Ramkrishna Ashram – Gave Gangadeshwar Cave Temple – Jain temple  

This trip was in the heart of Bangalore in and around Basavangudi.

7.45 AM we left Koramangla and we reached our first stop – the Legendary Brahmins Cafe . You have limited option of dishes – Idli, Vada, Upma, Kesari, Coffee. They serve only Chutney – but its the tastiest Chutney you can eat. A standing joint the food is tasty and the service is very efficient.

Less than a km from Brahmins Cafe is the Ramkrishna Mission Ashram in Basavangudi. A well maintained green enclave which has a large meditation hall , a rock commemorating the spot where Sarada Devi meditated, and a rock bench on which Vivekananda was supposed to have spent time when he visited Bangalore.

This is where we found a unique flower – which has a hood and a small Shiva Linga in it. The Couroupita guianensis, known by a variety of common names including cannonball tree  is sacred to Hindus, who believe its hooded flowers look like the nāga, and it is grown at Shiva temples.

The centre also has a large book store that has an excellent collection. ( Budget 30 – 45 min at the Ramkrishna Ashram) – added advantages clean bathrooms and very convenient parking.

Next stop was the Gavi Gangadeshwar Temple – a rock cut cave temple of Shiva where the Linga is a Swayambu and every year on Jan 14th the light rays mysteriously fall on the Shiva Linga from a narrow gap in the windows . A narrow tunnel behind the Shiva Linga is home to many ancient sculptures of Gods and Rishis and the priest claims that there is a hidden tunnel between the temple and Varanasi. He also added that the temple was from the Treta Yuga and more than 5000 years old. The temple has astrophysical relevance and is highly energising.  We visited the temple on Jan 11th on Thiruvathirai (Arudhra Darisanam) – surprisingly the temple was empty and getting ready for Jan 14th. It would have been impossible to visit a famous Shiva temple in Tamil Nadu on this day.

(For more details http://www.livemint.com/Sundayapp/X3uvXrojiRaPr31fhf6IQI/The-mysteries-of-Bengalurus-famed-Gavi-Gangadhareshwara-tem.html)

Right next to the temple is the Samadhi of Narayan Maharaj an enlightened soul. A short walk from here on a hilltop is a Hanuman Temple. During his exploration of the area of the town he was planning to build, Kempegowda-I came across the hillock housing the swayambu Anjaneya Swami in the Karenji area. He built the Gharbhagraham for the Anjaneya Swami and also arranged for the performance of the Pranaprathista of the deity. He made arrangements for the performance of the daily pujas in the temple. It is believed that Janamejayan, the grand son of Abimanyu, had done penance at the hillock in which Anjaneyaswamy’s idol is located. (Budget 30 – 45 minutes) and then we headed to our next stop – the Jain temple at Basavangudi. Budget 30 minutes here.

And we wrapped up the busy morning with lunch at Kamath Bugle Rock – a place that serves excellent North Karnataka food. We covered a lot of ground between 7.30AM and noon and could do justice to the excellent meal. Departure at 2 and we were back home by 3.