Thursday, December 29, 2016

Places to visit around Bangalore - Part 12

Continued from here.. 

61. Mavuthanahalli
Type: Hoysala Temples
Distance from Bangalore: 220 km
Directions from Bangalore: Bangalore - NH 48 - Tumkur - NH 73 - Arsikere - Left turn - Mavuthanahalli 
About: The Mahalingeshwara Temple here serves as a very good example of Hoysala architecture which  flourished during the12th century. The temple is extremely beautiful despite being in ruins. The locals offer their daily prayers. More 
Mahalingeshwara Temple Mavuthanahalli
62. Rehmangarh/ Kaivara

Type: Hill Fort, Temple Town
Distance from Bangalore: 70 km
Trek Distance: 2 Km (One way)
Directions from Bangalore: Bangalore - NH 77 - Hoskote - Left towards Chintamani - Till Kaivara 
About: The hill fort here was built by Tippu and later improvised by the local Palegars. Much of the fortification remains intact and is currently being maintained by the Forest department. There is a temple dedicated Lord Veerabhadraswamy and a water pond. More 
Rehmangarh as Seen From Ambajidurga
63. Ambajidurga/ Kaivara

Type: Hill Fort, Temple Town
Distance from Bangalore: 70 km
Trek Distance: 2.5 km (One Way)
Directions from Bangalore: Bangalore - NH 77 - Hoskote - Left towards Chintamani  
About: The hill fort here was built by Tippu and later improvised by the local Palegars. Much of fortification remains intact but this place is now abandoned. Trekking here is strictly prohibited. There is a temple dedicated to Lord Hanuman. More 
Clouds Kissing Ambajidurga Fort 
64. Madhugiri 

Type: Hill Fort, Temple Town
Distance from Bangalore: 122 km
Trek Distance: 3 km
Directions from Bangalore: Bangalore - NH 47 - Dabaspet - Right towards Madhugiri
About: The hill fort here was built during the Vijayanagar period and later improvised by Hyder Ali. Though much of the fortification remains intact, the ASI have taken additional measures to restore this fort along with  all precautionary measures in order to ensure a safe climb to people venturing this fort. More
Fortress Madhugiri
65. Nallur 

Type: Bio-diversity Site, Temple Town
Distance from Bangalore: 50 km
Directions from Bangalore: Bangalore - NH 4 -  Hoskote - Towards Devanahalli - Nallur 
About: Nallur's Tamarind Grove is regarded as the first bio-diversity heritage site in India. This site covers around 53 acres in area having more than 300 tamarind trees. The oldest tree here is confirmed to be around 410 years old. There are numerous ruined temples here which were built during the reign of Chola dynasty in the 12th century. More 
Nallur Tamarind Groove
























Thursday, December 22, 2016

Paparajanahalli Fort, Antaragange Kolar

 Though the fort of Paparajanahalli was within a striking distance from the hill range of Antaragange, we missed exploring it every time we were around Antaragange. Thus one day, I finally decided to explore this place and started early in the morning. A vague estimate of distance to this place would be around 8 km from home, which would make it  a 16 km trek on completion.  The initial walk from home was across the national highway which then merged with narrow winding roads leading to Antaragange. A kilometer's walk hereon took me to a hiking trail to this hill and I promptly took a deviation towards this route and continued my climb. After an ascent of around 15 minutes, I reached the Therahalli temple, a very beautiful temple indeed which we had visited earlier during one of our journeys around this place.
Elvis Stone 
Therahalli Temple Antaragange
Mahagopuram, Therahalli
Therahalli Temple Antaragange Kolar
Lord Shiva Temple Complex, Therahalli 
Without spending much time here, I headed towards Paparajanahalli, still following the hiking trail and reached a place from where the route seemed to vanish. Fortunately, a shepherd who passed by informed me about the Pandava caves located close by and gave directions to reach Paparajanahalli. After paying visit to the Pandava caves, I got down and started walking along the roadway to reach Paparajanahalli. On inquiring about the fort at Paparajanahalli, a joyous lady directed me towards the fort. The real trek had just begun. As I gradually gained elevation, portions of the fortification  became visible.
Interesting War Sculpture with Elephants and Horse
A Green Locust
Probably The Fort Entrance 
Fort Wall 
Ruined Rampart
 On my way to the hill top, I met a shepherd who engaged me in a conversation and found me stupid as I had come all the way and all alone to this place. I smiled and moved on. Though not much of  the fortification remains, it is quite evident that a big and grand fort once existed here. After a thorough exploration covering all parts of the hill, I rested for a while at a nice spot and satisfied my hunger with the food I carried in one go. The views from atop the hill  were enchanting. I had to get back home as the weather got warmer. The whole experience was worthwhile.  
Skillfully Executed Stone Uimbrella
A water Pond on the Top of the Fort
Hills of Antaragange
Bird Eyes View of Kolar Town

Click here for Location 

Saturday, December 17, 2016

A Night Trek To Skandagiri

Skandagiri, also known as Kalavara Durga is a very popular night trekking destination among Bangaloreans and is admired for the fascinating views of sunrise. Skandagiri is a  hill fort which was built by the local palegars and further improved by Tippu Sultan. Much of the fortification still remains intact. Owing to the illegal activities and unlawful acts that have taken place here, the forest department has strictly banned trekking at Skandagiri. Long ago (2009), when Skandagiri was just gaining popularity, we were fortunate enough for having an opportunity to trek. One evening, we acted on our spontaneous decision of exploring Skandagiri that night to see a beautiful sunrise next morning. Back then, witnessing the crowds present there and their unruly behavior, it seemed like a disaster waiting to happen.
Good Morning from Skandagiri
We started from home at around 11.30 pm and after picking up a few friends who wished to join us, cruised along NH 7 towards Chikkaballapur. In less than 45 minutes we reached Chikkaballapur and stopped at a place where a few policemen were on patrol duty, to inquire for directions. We followed their directions and reached the hill base, where a person agreed to be our paid guide. We parked our vehicle as per his guidelines and started walking towards the other side of the hill from where the trekking trail began. After ten minutes of walk, we reached a small tea shop and took a much needed hot tea break.
Peaks Around Skandagiri
First Glimpse of the Sunrise 
 Queued Up to Get a Closer Look at the Sun
Nandi Hills as Seen from Skandagiri
 We ensured carrying sufficient lighting equipments such as torches and flash lights. Though the ascent was supposed to be easy, we struggled quite a bit as none of us had done anything of this sort. As this was our first trekking experience, we had to take breaks quite often and progressed slowly.  It  took us close to 3 hours to reach the top of the hill and we were glad to have made it! Our next challenge was spending time until sunrise in that cold winter night. We bade a good bye to our guide after paying his fee and found a nice place to settle down till the sunrise. It was a good two and a half hour wait for the sunrise and seemed to take longer for the sun to be completely out. The  views as the sun rose were simply out of the world and worth every single step we had put forward that night. After a  really long photo shoot, we descended down quickly feeling like achievers! Fortunately, we had another chance of trekking at Skandagiri two years later. While the crowd had grown five-fold this time around, the security personnel were more stringent about the rules.
Moon Lit Trek at Skandagiri
Floating Atop the Clouds
The Fort Wall 
Sati Stones and Hero Stones at the Base of Skandagiri Hill 
  Last weekend (December 2016) when we visited the Nandi hills, its counterpart Skandagiri attracted us for a trek. Later we came to know from our sources here that a strict ban has been imposed on trekking at Skandagiri, even during the day. Although trekking during the day was allowed previously, the forest department has completely banned since the beginning of 2016.It is worthwhile to note that Skandagiri falls under the reserved forest area and any illegal entry could lead to serious punishment. Measures such as restricting the number of people allowed to trek at a time, accompaniment of trained and certified guides, well marked routes, complete ban on smoking and alcohol consumption with strict enforcement, educating the locals about the importance of this hill reserve, setting up an organization for its development involving various trekking clubs, nature conservative clubs, forest department, local villagers and others need to be undertaken to ensure that the picturesque Skandagiri is well maintained and serves to be a sustainable tourist spot, only to make sure that such places are saved for our future generations. It lies within us to be a responsible trekker.

Monday, December 5, 2016

Discovery of India - Ahmednagar Fort

Ahmednagar Fort
Entrance to Ahmednagar Fort
Ahmednagar is a district located in Western Maharashtra. One of the major attractions here is the fort built in 15th century which played an important role until the pre-independence period in India. This is where India's first Prime minister Shri Pandit Jawarhar Lal Nehru was imprisoned and during his imprisonment, wrote the famous book of "The discovery of India". This book gives an account of India's cultural wealth, historical significance and philosophy as perceived by the great Indian Freedom fighter. The fort currently lies under the  control of the Indian Armoured Corps Center and School, Ahmednagar. Built in an octagonal shape, this fort is considered as one of the best designed and the strongest of all land forts in the Indian sub-continent.
Leaders Block of Ahmednagar Fort
Pandit Jawarhar Lal Nehru
Pandit Jawarhar Lal Nehru was Imprisoned here
Pandit Nehru's  Room
The Ahmednagar  fort was built by Ahmed Nizam Shah in the year 1490 A.D. The name of this city is attributed to Ahmed Nizam Shah, the founder of the Nizam Shahi Dynasty who established the town after defeating the Bahmani Sultans. Later the fort and town, both fell into the hands of the Mughal Emperor Akbar  in the year 1600 A.D in spite of the valiant efforts of Chand Bibi, the princess of Nizam Shahi to save her territory. The fort was sold to the the Maratha King, Peshwa III in the year 1759 A.D. after which it went into the  hands of Shindia's in the year 1797 A.D. Finally in 1803 A.D, the British captured this fort under the leadership of General Wellesley and it remained with them until independence.
Preface of the Book"Discovery of India"
The List of Freedom Fighters who were Jailed here
 On the 9th of August 1942, Shri Pandit Jawarhar Lal Nehru along with 11 other freedom fighters namely, Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel (iron man of India), Pandit Govind Vallabh Pant, Acharya Narendra Dev, Acharya J B Kirpalani, Maulana Abdul Kalam Azad, Asaf Ali, P C Ghosh, Pandit Harekrishna Mahtab, Shri Shankar Rao Dev, Dr B Pattabhi Sitaramayya and Dr Syed Mahmud were imprisoned here for their involvement in the Quit India Movement until April 1945. The block in which they were imprisoned  is known as the 'Leaders Block' and is being maintained exactly the same way as it was, during their stay here. All the paraphernalia used by Pandit Nehru during his imprisonment are displayed here.
Ahmednagar Fort
The Fort Wall and Moat 
 Bastion 
The Skillfully Laid Steps

Indian Flag Flying High
Though the movement inside this fort is restricted due to the control of Army, the outer fort walls and the Leaders block are accessible with least difficulty. As we approached an Army officer for taking permission  to walk around in the fort premises, he replied positively with a word of advice to stay within the said limits. We  had a chance only to visit the leaders block after which we could walk along the outer walls of the fort  for some distance. We thanked the Army officer in charge and circumvented the fort as we drove, only to find out that most of the fortification still remained intact. 
Cannon 
Fort Gateway

There are many other places to visit around Ahmednagar such as the Chand Bibi Palace, Meherabad, Cavalry Tank Museum, Rehekuri Black Buck Sanctuary, Shani Shignapur, Shirdi and so on...

Click here for location

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