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Karnataka Darshan

One state, many worlds

“Karnataka – One state, many worlds” is the tagline of state tourism department. The truth of this statement can be peeled when one tours the state – city after city – like we did in the spring of 2012. The state offers excitement to food lovers, travelers, enthusiasts of historical architecture and sociologists. In this blog, I would share my experiences over the places I visited, food I enjoyed and memories that I carried.
Our journey started from Bangalore – the capital city where one finds more trees than people. Trees are surprisingly green and prosperous. Some are very old which have witnessed the changing face of the city. Oh, I missed to watch the movie Parijatha!

Big boys play at night in Tumkur, which was our next stop. The small city has some renowned educational institutions. The journey from Tumkur to Mysore was a delight to eyes. Either side of the roads were dotted with coconut plantations. The majestic Hallikar cattle could easily be noticed with royal horns.
Mysore offered us a weekend! The nearby Chamundi Hills is the seat of Goddess Chamundi and offers perhaps the best site to enjoy a panoramic view of the city. On the bank of river Kapila, the Shiva temple of Nanjangud, famously called Dakshin Kashi, is so sanctified, that I found discreet peace amidst crowd in the temple. A flock of hundred birds welcomed me with joy. The grand chariots outside the temple foretell the scene during the annual temple procession. I noticed people donating jaggery equivalent to their weight! I thought such practices were a matter of past... Thanks to the privileges that we enjoyed, we managed to visit both the temples comfortably despite all the rush of the week.
The enchanting Mysore Palace
Next day was for Mysore Palace. “So what’s the big deal? It’s just another palace with all possible amenities that the King could’ve afforded”, I said to myself. It was a good experience with the museum and shopping, although. As the evening started to set in, the crowd got denser. I was wondering if so much haste and hurry is worth it. The palace altogether failed to impress me until it was illuminated! Deus, I was spell bound! The Catalan group that we befriended aptly remarked, “We have palaces in Europe, but they aren’t illuminated!” Do not miss to try (and carry along!) Mysore Pak from Nandini Parlour or any genuine sweetshop, Mysore Silk Sarees from Government Emporium, visit Wax Museum, Mysore Zoo and horse races. What we missed: the enchanting musical fountain show at Brindavan Gardens, KRS dam.
The historical city of Sri Rangapatna houses Nimishamba temple with river Kaveri flowing by the temple stairs. Here, one has to ask a wish as soon as she gets the sight of Goddess. The city also has Samadhi of Tipu Sultan, his summer palace in good shape and one other palace in ruins. Ranganathaswamy temple, situated a stone throw away from the ruined palace has a black statue of Lord Vishnu in a lying posture. It is one of the three such temples in South India where Lord Vishnu is in lying posture. The other two are in Trichurapalli, Tamil Nadu and Trivandrum, Kerala. People say, “One who takes darshan in these three temples in a single day, has a definite seat in Vaikunth”. Many people do so against all challenges. On the way to Bangalore from the Sugar City of Mandya, try the famous Maddur Vada while passing through Maddur taluka.
Kolar is famous for Gold mines and for being the site of early settlement of Holstein Friesian cattle. On the outskirts of Kolar city, there is an interesting restaurant in Egyptian style. Advantage Bangalorians – to find Egypt so close!
 Tirumala Tirupathi Devasthanam @ 2 am
On February 18, which happens to be the birthday of one of my friend, I decided to visit Tirumala. On my journey from Kolar to Tirupati, everyone who came to know that I am heading for Tirumala, wished me “May God allows you to have a nice/safe/easy/quick/hassle free/complete darshan”. I was overwhelmed with the wishes. Today, I want to thank all of them sincerely. It was a matter of great misfortune that albeit with several privileged arrangements, I could not get darshan of Lord Venketeshwara. However, I will never forget the scene of riding through the roads of Tirumala hills in the chilly night on a motorbike, watching panthers and deers passing by, and a resplendent and tantalising city of Tirupati.
Hubli-Dharwad, in northwest Karnataka, was our next destination where we celebrated Shivaratri (Shiva’s marriage) in Chandramouleshwara temple. Dharwad, together with the sister city Hubli, the second largest city in the State is not only an educational centre but also a centre of historical importance with regard to our Independence Struggle from the British. I would devote this space to salute the epitomes of Women Strength: Kitturu Rani Chennamma and Onake Obavva. Few strange things that I saw in Hubli include an auto rickshaw with a siren, a restaurant offering mini idli, mini vada, mini dosa and all mini utensils, mini glasses, mini saucers! One train was named ‘passenger express’. Surprisingly, the map of Uttar Kannada district itself somewhat resembles that of Karnataka!
With basal diet as Jowar Roti, the North Karnataka has a variety of sweets on their table. Kunda from Belgaum, Basundi from Bijapur, Dharwad Peda and Misra Peda from Dharwad are to name a few. Gol Gumbaj, Bijapur fort and Ibrahim Rauza are must to see in Bijapur. Ibrahim Rauza is supposed to be the model on which Taj Mahal was built. Gulbarga Fort, however in bad shape, and the dargah of Khwaja Bande Nawaz are some other popular tourist destinations. Hampi is believed to be the birthplace of Lord Hanuman and can be reached easily after reaching Hospet in Bellary district.
Nobody who I met contradicted that the people in Mangalore (DK district) are more intelligent than the rest of Karnataka. Yes, call it a perception or a belief – it is deep rooted! One gentleman cited an example: “Even if you cut a joke with the Mangalorians, they would barely be amused, they are all serious like the wise Aryans”. Eating fishes is popular in this part of the State. Udupi is known for a special art of cuisine being spread through a chain of Udupi restaurants in major cities in India.
Hassan is known as the Ooty of the poor. Channarayapatna is a famous site for shooting of movies, Shravanabelagola falls were a treat to eyes and the nearby Gomateshwara temple is said to have the largest Shiva statue in a single piece of rock. The temple complex at Halebidu will leave architectural enthusiasts amazed with profound carvings. Madikeri was not cool, against expectations but the sight of Abbey falls was fascinating.
You get the famous Muddae Balls which are a part of staple diet in Shimoga. Muddae (Ragi/Finger Millet) balls are not to be chewed but to be swallowed. Here I would cut a joke: Once the President called Shri Deve Gowda and said “Aaj aap milne aa jaiye, hame do muddo par baat karni hai”, then Deve Gowda replied “Do muddo se kya hoga? Mujhe kam se kam chaar chahiye!”
To have a virtual tour of everything said and described above, you may like to view my album 'here'. Do visit Karnataka, soon.


Anonymous at: March 15, 2012 said...

thoroughly entertaining and interesting blog kunjmann!

{ reshma M } at: January 30, 2013 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
{ Hai Baji } at: February 04, 2013 said...
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{ Astro Guru } at: May 27, 2013 said...

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{ pawankalyan } at: May 31, 2013 said...

Glad to know that Dear.....hope you had a great holiday at bandipur resorts .... if you have any special experience of on kgudi resort or B R Hills to share with us , that would be nice and helpful to others :)

{ Nishitha KM } at: August 27, 2013 said...

hii..nice post.Thanks for sharing with us.I liked the way you put up the information.I visited br hills resort and also bandipur resorts last weekend with my family. really enjoyed a lot.Do visit once its really awesome..

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