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.
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