With the heat beginning to get to everyone this summer in Bangalore, I thought this would be a an appropriate visual for everyone. It’s such a nice feeling – to fall into the water, looking upwards and feeling the spray all around you… SPLASH!
I frankly don’t even remember the last time I did this… do you? The sheer pleasure of this seemingly simple act is quite difficult to measure. Or express in words.
We spotted a group of boys having a lot of fun in the water on a day trip to the town of Kolar. That’s the place you go in search of gold. Or at least it used to be. The Kolar Gold Fields (KGF) have since closed down so we couldn’t really go in search of our pot of gold after all.
The idea was to ride to Kolar in sleek horses, in full cowboy (and cowgirl) attire and swing up to some poor unsuspecting locals and say “Sona ke paas le jao!?” Okay, so this was all of course mostly in my vivid imagination. We took a Ford Fiesta instead.
Kolar is well-known for a few temples steeped in history and we headed to this one called the Kashi Vishveshwara temple at Antargange. This is where water gushes out of a Nandi bull statue (where all the boys were having themselves a frolicking good time) and streams throughout the year.
The water supposedly flows underground (from the Ganga – well there’s no way to prove otherwise) and sprouts up on the earth here in South India. At this very spot – and therefore the name – Antargange.
Once the boys finished their water games, they all sun themselves while we roam around the smallish stone temple and area which houses the main lingam. The rocky hillsides around this area are also good for trekking in case you’re feeling adventurous. Unless, it’s the peak of summer when you’d be well advised to do what the boys did – take a dip instead.
Our next stop is the Koti Lingeshwara temple. For those who need a translation, Koti is crore and linga refers to Shiva (linga). There are around 86 lakh lingams – not that I can imagine anyone actually counting them – and the aim is to reach a crore. It will suffice to say that there were many more than can fit into your imagination (and mine, vivid as it is).
Rows and rows of them. Basically, everywhere you look around, there’s only one thing you will see. Lingams. The tallest one is around 108 feet tall accompanied by a large Nandi bull.
People come in from far and wide to see this temple.
In case you’re interested, Kolar has much history – having gone through it’s share of battles that ancient people indulged in at the drop of a hat. Actually, we still haven’t been able to get rid of that habit. So the Cholas and Pallavas (remember ancient history) contributed their bit to the local scenery till the Vijayanagara kings took over. After their fall, there were more feuding lords (really, what else would they do but feud?) trying to take control.
Then it came under the rule of Mysore Rajas. Hyder Ali Khan and Tippu Sultan. The latter was ultimately defeated and the territory was then shared by the Mysore Rajas, Hyderabad Nijam, Marathas & Britishers. This town came under the rule of Maharaja of Mysore and became the district head quarters. Krishnaraja Wodeyar was responsible getting the roads and railways connected.
So that’s a brief history of Kolar. The Kolar Gold Fields too has an interesting past. It was one of the major gold mines in India but was closed in 2003 due to reducing deposits and increasing costs. The mine is considered the world’s second deepest gold mine and is supposed to have been mined for gold during the last 2000 years or so. We, of course, missed the bus.
In case you want to venture out to Kolar, it is about 69 kms away from Bangalore on the Chennai-Bangalore National Highway No 4.