Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Winged Jewel : Ashy Crowned Lark

       Ashy Crowned Sparrow Lark  (wiki) is a common bird found in stone areas with sparse scrub, dry cultivation, sandy riverbeds and dry tidal mudflats. Though we have spotted this bird many a times, this trip gave us an opportunity to photograph the bird. Below are some captures of the lark's photo shoot!



Ashy Crowned Sparrow Lark (Male)

Handsome! Ain't I?

  This bird was spotted near Devaragudda , Haveri district.

Identification Guide : A field Guide to the Birds of India, by Krys Kazmierczak 

Friday, April 22, 2011

Manyapura - The lost Capital of Gangas

    "Manyapura (Manne)" is home to many temples built by the Gangas. The most famous amongst them  are the 'Kapileswara temple and the 'Someswara' temple. The Someswara temple is in a very bad state with no maintenance. The temple looks engulfed by many outgrown plants which need to be cleaned. There is an idol of Nandi inside the temple which is partly damaged.
Someswara Temple
Ruined Temple
The partly damaged Nandi Idol
Stone  Pillar
Pattika of Lord Ganesha
 Our guides were eager to show us the other hidden treasures of their village about which we had no clue. They took us to Lord Hanuman temple which was completely renovated. But the most impressive part was the pillar on which the lord was inscribed. Within the temple compound, we found an interesting sculpture of  Lord Ganesha , a Hero Stone and again a partly damaged idol of Nandi.

Lord Hanuman Temple and the Pillar
Lord Hanuman
Hero Stone
Lord Ganesha
      Thereon, we moved towards the center of the village which housed a few temples, inscriptions and a Mantap. The mantap currently serves as a storage  place for fodder.
Devi Temple Shikara
The Lady  ( Devi's Reincarnation )
Devi's Temple
The inscriptions
Mantap
Inscriptions
      Just when we had in mind that we had covered all places of historical importance here, the kids surprised us by telling us they had another special place in store for us that was worth visiting. They took us to their school. While we wondered what made them bring us here, they took us to place that looked like a miniature museum. Recently an idol (only the head portion) was found around this place, which is believed to be of either the Buddha or the Mahavira (not sure). Our guess would be Mahavira since the Gangas  followed Jainism. Shravanabelagola, Kambadahalli and other Jain temples were built during their period .
Hero Stone
Mahavira/Buddha
Naga Devathas

Beheaded Idol
        Manyapura (Manne) is a really wonderful place filled with history which has been lost somewhere due to our negligence. There are many other small temples in this village which we sadly could not cover. It is advisable to take help from the  locals to move around the village.

Directions from Bangalore: Bangalore - NH4 - T Begur - Take right turn - Thayamangondlu (8 kms) - Proceed further till the railway crossing (NH207)-Take a  right and immediate left turn - Manne

Distance from Bangalore: About 50 kms 

Places to visit nearby: Nelamangala, Binnamangala, Shivagange, Nijagal Fort and many more.

Trip Date: 14 Jan' 2010

References : 
1 Photographs up and down the  lane  .
2 Nelamangala planning authority .

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Manyapura - The Lost Capital of Gangas 1

     "Manne" is a village of Nelamangala Taluk, Bangalore rural district. Though we knew only of its location  somewhere near Nelamangala, we set out to find this place. After reaching Nelamangala and inquiring, a bunch of people we first met told us we had to travel about 24 kms from here to that place and gave us directions. We were not really convinced with their directions and the distance as our pre-trip research said Manne was only about 8 kms from Nelamangala. We thanked them and proceeded further to ask the next few, but in vain. Since most of them were unaware of this place, we had to move on. Finally we met someone who told us the distance to Manne is about 9-10 kms from hereon. We were pleased by his answer and since it matched our research we moved ahead following his directions assuming they were right . 
     We reached Budihal on NH4 (Tumkur road ) and as per the man's directions we had to make a right turn here. We wanted to make sure we were on the right track and inquired a few people around but none seemed to know about the place. Finally, an elderly person came to our rescue. He gave us the same directions as the first bunch of people had given us (the 24 kms travel) and told us we had to travel about 16 kms  to reach our destination. Without wasting any more time, we proceeded further. At last, we were greeted by a welcome arch of the place which read " Welcome to the Capital of the Gangas - Manyapura ".
Welcome to the Captial of the Gangas- Manyapura (Manne)
       The Gangas are one amongst the many strong dynasties that ruled Karnataka during the 9th - 12th Centuries. They started their rule with Kolar as their capital, then shifted to Manyapura and finally Talakad. Manyapura, the then capital of the Gangas today is nothing but neglected ruins. We would like to add that Manyapura somehow has failed to make its mark in any which way possible unlike Talakad and Kolar. There are many temples here built during the period of Gangas, some of which have been completely renovated while the others are in ruins. We saw that some efforts were being to restore and maintain some of these temples though not sufficient. We had the wonderful company for 4 kids who also guided us across the village to show us different places and we must say they knew much about the same and felt proud too.
The Famous Four!
    The first place we visited  was the "temple of Kapileswara" which is about 1200 years old. It looked very grand, though in complete ruins. The life-sized Dwarapalakas, nicely carved windows  and  perfectly designed pillars are the only remains.
Kapileswara Temple
The Decorative Door Frame
One of the Magnificent Dwarapalakas
A Closer Look
Designer Pillar
Nicely Carved Windows
Window Frame Work
Depiction of Romantic Scenes 
Carvings on the Window
Window from the Inside
Rear View of the Temple
Inner View
A Perfect Picture-Guides, Photographer, Temple, Cows, Cycle, Shepherd  Lady & MUV
To be continued ...................   

Monday, April 11, 2011

Meguti Temple , Aihole

   "Meguti Jain Temple" is another remarkable temple of its kind. Located in Aihole on the Megutigudda, this temple exhibits Dravidian style of architecture. The temple stands on a hill and thus named as "Megana Basadi", meaning the The Upper Temple, which in course of time was corrupted to Megudi or Meguti.
    The temple has a pillared hall in the front, and an antarala  and a sanctum in the back. On its outer walls is the famous Aihole inscription dated back to the 6th century (634 AD) which gives records of the temple construction by Ravikeerti, the commander and minister of Pulikeshin II. This temple has resemblance to the Lad Khan temple .
Meguti Temple
Magnificent Entrance
Door Frame

Jain Tirthankaras
Upper Structure
Roof

Hero Stone
Hero Stones
Fort Walls

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Usgalimal Rock Carvings, Goa

    "Usgalimal" is a  famous place among the European tourists who visit Goa. To Indian tourists, other than the localites, this place is rather unknown.  We  happened to read about this place some time back and made sure not to miss it during our next visit to Goa. This Ugadi gave us a chance of making a trip to Goa and there we were!
    Usgalimal is a small hamlet on the banks of the river Kushavati. In the year 1993, some villagers had found mysterious rock carvings on the river banks. The same had been brought to notice of  the required authorities who further investigated and  found various such rock carvings in the area. The archeologists assign  these carvings to the Mesolithic period (around 9000 years old) as indicated in the brochure printed by the Govt. of Goa.
Brochure
    The rock art is full of carvings depicting symbols of religious cult, cosmology, triskelion, animals like bison, bull, deer, dog, peacock etc., as well as figures of labyrinth and mother goddess. Most probably, the engravings were carved using specially prepared using sharp pointed stone tools.
Bull
The Peacock
Bison
Dancing Lady
Mother Goddess
New Born Child
Large Hoof Carvings
Two Dancing Ladies
Hunting Trap 
Human Feet
Labyrinth
Wounded Bison

Probably a Water Pond
A walk across the River
        There is no entrance fee to this place though there is a full time care taker who also guides the tourists. This place requires more attention and the maintenance. Since the carvings are open to sky, utmost care needs to be taken for protecting them. There are also chances of damaging the carvings due to walking over them. They can be best protected by creating a glass enclosure (see below pic) similar to the one in Shravanabelagola .
Glass Enclosure to Protect Inscriptions
   Directions from Panaji:  Panaji - NH17 - Margao - Take left turn - Quepem - Tilamol - Right turn - Rivona - Colomba - Right turn near mining area - Follow the Protected site board .

  Distance from Panaji: 75 kms

  Places to Visit around: Rivona , Kurdi ,  Surla , Canacona , Margao and many more.

  Trip date: 5 April' 2011

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