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All in a day’s work!

May 2007: A weekend drive from Bangalore to Terahalli (near Kolar) to Kaivara (near Chintamani) to Lepakshi (Andhra Pradesh) and back.

This was an interesting Sunday weekend drive as we covered quite a bit of ground (over 300 kms) on the same day. We decided to keep an open plan and set off towards Kolar. We had breakfast at Kamats near Hoskote. Just before we reached Kolar, a lady informed us of a jathre (village festival) taking place in the village of Terahalli.

On the Road

A quick decision was made by the other two occupants of the car (Venky and Deepsan) while I was still half asleep, and we drove up the hill towards the village. The hill was reminiscent of Hampi, with huge rocks dotting the landscape and once we climbed upwards, we could see the plains of Kolar spread out in front of us.

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The village itself was just waking up to activity. We meandered towards the temple area where people were putting up streamers in preparation for the festival to take place later in the day. A temple with a few complexes inside beckoned us and we walked in. There, one of the priests befriended us and gave us a mini darshan of the temple’s premises.

Local  Priest

Outside, people were setting up shop for the day and spreading out their wares. Colourful bangles, big coconuts, knick knacks – there seemed to be something for everybody!

What goes up... Stone goddess

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Since the festival was only in the evening, we decided to move on to the next place : a somewhat big cave called Kaivara at Chintamani, a little distance away from Kolar. Cut out from a rock face on a mountainside, the cave is huge and quite dark inside.

At the entrance, visitors throng the 2-3 small shrines. I am not sure about the religious significance of this whole place, but in India it doesn’t take much to give things a religious twist. Inside the huge hall area, it’s almost totally dark, with light streaming in from the doorway and a few other windows cut out of the rock. Kids play around and parents are busy offering prayers. We wander around for a while, it’s a nice respite from the strong afternoon sun. We find a shaded place outside and eat our packed lunch, trying to keep away a few curious monkeys.

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We’re back on the road again. The countryside is truly beautiful in this season. Though there’s no rain and it’s quite dry, the red gulmohars are in full bloom, resplendent like new brides, giving the whole landscape a bright and colourful aura.

We decide to cross the border and drive up towards Lepakshi in Andhra Pradesh and in less than an hour (when I catch another quick snooze in the back of the car!), we’re already there. The sun is really strong now and we spend some time on the grassy lawn outside the temple, relaxing in the shade of the trees. The watchman wants some money and we slip him a tenner and stretch out.

Temple architecture

Lepakhi is well known for its ceiling paintings. It’s built during the Vijayanagar empire and style (similar to the Vitthala temple in Hampi) and there are beautiful sculptures on the temple pillars and walls.

With flowers in my hair

We walk around the long corridors and then venture out onto the hot burning stones of the centre courtyard. Despite the heat, there are quite a few visitors, including a big group with a guide. We do a round of the temple and then peek into the inner sanctum where prayers are going on.

The Couple

There is a monolithic Nagalinga : supposedly the largest of its kind in India – in the interior court of the temple. A short distance away is a magnificent granite bull and it’s supposedly the largest sculpted Nandi bull in south India and we make a quick halt there also.

Big and strong!

The maintenance unfortunately leaves much to be desired and I do hope the concerned authorities wake up to the wealth of the temple and take some positive steps to restore the structure, the paintings and the frescos. It’s a rather beautiful place and it will be sad to see it go to the ruins.

Terahalli Album
Lepakshi Album

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12 Comments

  1. Lovely write up! I am curious, what is the red couple doing in the B&W snap? Was it a co-incidence of motion when you clicked or are they ‘hugging’. If they were, good for them. We are not good at public display of affection, and I will be happy if you tell me they were indeed being affectionate!

  2. How many sites like this needs restoration or protection in INDIA, tho’ funds are allocated for few atleast, still it is not take care off, due to the greedy act of our civil servants. We have a long way to go to make a country to admire for Infrastructure,heritage sites, marketing the natural resources,social security and cleanliness. We the ppl sud take care for the last part and do a bit to bring to the notice of concerned ppl thru’ blogs like BLR METRO. Your last line kindled me to write this.

  3. Well I did almost the same last weekend; except I didn’t have a destination and reached almost Nagarhole just by aimless driving.

    Lepakshi sure needs a facelift. The frescos are invaluable and should enjoy as much protection as Ajanta does.

  4. Ajay says

    Great Pics.
    Looks like crowded and commericalized place unlike Helibediu.

    Are you any other tourist destination around Chitamani, I hear of Rishi Valley. How is that?

  5. @ Prashanth: Add it to your list 🙂

    @ Chitra: I am not sure but I think she was giving him a peck on the cheek and a hug 🙂 They looked like they were newly married!!

    @ Vinod: Sad, but true… it will be nice to see them well looked after.

    @ Kousik: Open plans are good fun sometimes. Yes, the frescos should be looked after before they disappear.

    @ Srikanth: Get in car and go is best remedy 🙂

    Ajay: Thanks! Not much commercialised at all.
    Never been to Rishi Valley.

  6. cool pics. how far is it from bangalore. can u mail me the route details. thanks.

  7. sathish: no route map! just head towards kolar. and for lepakhi, towards andhra pradesh. i was sleeping most of the way 🙂

  8. Pingback: Lepakshi | Aashiyana of Pamela Santanu

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