Friday, July 27, 2012


Sidlaphadi is a cave, that housed  the prehistoric man. It is near Badami.
I heard about this just before my visit to Badami. So i decided to have a look at this place. First day I saw Badami Caves, Temples and Fort. At cave area there were so many guides. I hired a guide for tomorrow to reach Mahakoota Temple from Badami via Sidlaphadi.
In the morning after breakfast, we moved on Bagalkot road to reach Hotel Badami Court, a little far from the town towards Railway Station. Just after the the Hotel there is a track going up towards the hill. We took that trail and walked toward a Mobile Phone Tower which was seen on a hill. Now a days Karnataka Tourism Corporation people nailed a sign board beside the road showing the way to Sidlaphadi. A power transmission line is going along with the route, up to a Mobile Phone Tower. Road was pebbled and gravel one. Crossed Mobile Phone Tower and walked further to reach Sidlaphadi. On our way there were some curious rock formations looked like igloos.There was a  descend at the end of the road into a U shaped gorge between two hills. Here we saw a unique rock-formation during the descent. It was an hour walk from the main road.
The cave looked like a big arch, placed on two rocks on both sides,with holes on its top. Locals say they were caused by lightning. So it was called Sidla-Phadi. Thorny bushes were present on the ground here and there.This place was the home to the humans Millions of years ago. Spent some time here to inspect the cave. There were some more caves in its vicinity.
Archaeological Survey Of India conducted research here. They found some Neolithic Pottery and microliths. A replica of Sidlaphadi is seen in ASI Badami Museum.
An hour of walk took us to Mahakoota Temple. We reached the Temple by a steep descent from top of the hill.
Mahakooteswara is the principle deity in this Temple, an abode of Lord Shiva. This Temple was built by Chalukya Dynasty in 6th century AD. The main Temple is highly decorated mainly with Shivapurana stories. Here there are two tanks.One is inside the Temple and another one is outside. Both the tanks are fed by perennial streams. Water oozing is not visible in both the tanks. But you can notice water going out of the inside tank into a canal through a surplus weir. Pilgrims usually take bath first in the outside tank and later inside and go to darshan. The Temple has  nicely kept old charm. There are so many sub shrines within the Temple premises. Some Sub Shrines are constructed in Nagara style. They believed to be constructed on later date. Some of the Sculptures are awesome. Ardhnariswara image on one of the Temples beside the inner tank was fabulous. Ficus trees are every where to give good shade. Every one will be in a state of fulfillment by the charm and grace of this Temple.
I recently visited Mahakoota (13-01-2013). A renovation work is going on inside the Temple premises. Authorities removed some sub shrines to reconstruct.

Mahadeva Temple, Itagi

Mahadeva Temple, Itagi is in Koppal District of Karnataka.
Ever since I visited this Temple, I assume myself as a lucky guy. Because this Temple was a finest piece of example for an artistic sculpture. It was built by Mahadeva, a commander in the army of Vikramaditya VI, a Western Chalukya King, in 1112 AD.
The first look of this Temple from far of an area gives an impression that you reached a remarkable place. The entrance takes us to eastern most open mantapa with so many artistically decorated pillars. It has a dome at the center. The pillars that are hanging from the dome leaves you speechless. We can see immaculate display of craftsmanship in shaping the Pillars. Never I have seen that type of artistry before. Look up into the dome, you will find a lavish sculpture. Not only in this one, but in every one.Overall there are 4 domes. This East faced Temple comprises 68 carved pillars, columns and decorated walls with doors on North and South. All the doorways are fashioned in surprisingly beautiful style. The magnificence and exquisitely carved decorative details of this Temple are the finest example of  Chalukyan Architecture.
This high towered Temple has a cluster of many Temples in its premises. An inscription in this Temple in medieval Kannada states this Temple as "Emperor Among Temples".

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Seshachalam Trek

Year: 2006
This trek was conducted by YHAI Andhra Pradesh State Branch.
I came into contact with state YHAI officials after my Har Ki Doon trek. For this trek I reported at Tirumala. As soon as the flag off ceremony we reached Papavinasam Teertham. Crossed Papavinasam Dam after showing permission letter. YH Tirupati unit arranged all those formalities in advance. We soon entered in to greenery. First reached Sanakasananda Teertham. It is believed 108 Teerthams are there in Seshachal Hills. Teertham is a pond where one can take a holy dip. It's all like taking bath in Kapila Teertham in Tirupati. But In Sanakasananda there was no sufficient water to have a dip.
We headed for Ramakrishna Teertham. Unlike other treks, here porters were carrying utensils and groceries along with the trekkers. So there was no need to pitch tents in advance and prior arrangements. After porters reaching a designated camp, cooks started cooking, mean while trekkers were taking some rest.
There are two foot path routes to reach Tirumala from Tirupati. One starts at Alipiri and another starts at Srivari Mettu near Srinivasa Mangapuram. But this route starts from Kukkala Doddi in Kadapa district which is on Renigunta -Kadapa highway. People from adjoining places opt this route to reach Tirumala.
Ramakrishna Teertham:
1.5 km after Sanakasananda, trail reaches a stream. This is the junction point of Ramakrishna and Tumburu Teerthams. Crossing  the stream and following the trail takes you to Ramakrishna Teertham (1.5 km) and continuing along the stream for a while and following the path takes you to Tumburu Teertham. Entering Ramakrishna Teertham opening was a thrilling experience.Trekkers were disappearing into a hole covered with branches and leaves. I also entered to discover a deep down hill path studded with huge boulders. Some of the boulders were knee high and some were more than that. At some places ropes were tied to sticks and ladders were fixes to ensure the safety of the visitors. That maneuver went on for 40 minutes. At the end there was a big ladder to enter into a flat rocky area which we used as a camping ground for the night.  A stream was emerging from one corner, dividing into so many canals on the flat rock area. At the end all were united to make a single fall making a pond. That was Ramakrishna Teertham. We went down to the pond and had bath.
In the night after dinner it was campfire time. Enjoyed it. In the morning took bath another time. Left to Tumburu Teertham on the same path. It took nearly 50 min to reach the top. From there it was 1.5 km to the junction. Visiting Ramakrishna Teertham was a nice experience.
Tumburu Teertham:
It took 3 hours to reach Tumburu Teertham from the junction. Just before reaching Tumburu, there was a pond with crystal clear water with a depth of 5 feet. One or two guys jumped into it. Underneath stones were clearly visible. A marvelous sight. Just after this pond we saw a cave. Some people ventured in.
We put all our belongings beside a stream which would be our camp site for the night. Here also there is a cave. It is believed Matrusri Tarigonda Vengamamba, a poetess, an ardent devotee of Lord Venkateswara, made penance in this cave.
Here there is an amazing geographical wonder. We went along the stream. After a normal walk within the stream, there was a long deep pool. Then started the magic. We were now walking in a crack of a hill. The crack formed a deep, long  gorge of about 300 m long, 25 m high, 10 m wide gorge. Stream is flowing at the bottom of the gorge, which had so many jacuzzi type pools and a waterfall at the end. What a thing! So many people were in awe.
In the morning I went up to the crystal clear pool along with two others to take bath and thoroughly enjoyed.
Bandi Irusulu Teertham:
As we were in the middle of the forest and surrounded by hills, we were unaware when it clocked 8. After a photo session we moved along the stream. We began moving inspecting the surroundings, the leader stopped us to have a stare at the paintings that were believed to be painted by ancient man. Scientific experiments revel they were painted 10,000 years back. All curiously inspected those figures. Some even touched them. Sanyasivani Gavi (an ascetic's cave) came within a km of walk from the paintings in a open area that surrounded by hills with large trees. Many people went in crawling. There was room for only one at some height from the ground in one cave. May be it was made like that to ensure the safety of the occupant from animals, I believe. But another cave beside that was larger compared to the previous one. It was easily accessible. Walk entered into a rivulet studded with medium sized boulders. Before entering the rivulet, one of the organisers showed us a pug mark of a leopard. Shutter bugs immediately went into action. Here there was another attraction. The hill slopes on the other side of the rivulet were very smooth. On the smoothy areas there were some marks. It is believed those were also made by ancient people that lived in that area. When those people sharpened their arrows, those groove like marks remained on the hills. The rivulet was large initially and it became narrow afterwards. We passed Pagadimanu Gundam in no time. A 2.5 km boulder hopping took us to Chakalibana Teertham, which I consider as a beautiful waterfall, with a right side detour. Surroundings were also great, especially the upstream area. A guy went up and appreciated its beauty. I told so many people, who were participating, not to miss that view. Half a km from here we reached  our camp sight Bandi Irusulu Teertham ( axle of ox cart). Water in this Teertham was very clear and refreshing.
In the morning, after another refreshing dip started to come back into "our" world. Passes Pyramid Hill (named because it looked like Pyramid) and Pandi Gunta (Pit made by a wild boar). In any given time there will be water in this pit. In one summer there was no water available to drink in the forest. A wild boar furiously dashed the earth that made a pit. Instantly water emerged from that pit. This was the story behind that. Took lunch at Balapalle Forest Guest House. Reached Kadapa-Reigunta Highway to catch the bus.

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