Saturday, September 20, 2014

Memoirs of Melukote

This is one of my old write-ups being published now. Almost 4 years since I visited beautiful Melukote. Just sharing those few moments of tranquility in serene environment. I documented very less during the journey and content is relatively less. I admire this place for those eye-catching landscapes and lakes. Apart from this I do enjoy savoring those tasty puliyogare (tamarind rice), mirchi bajji and curd rice with mango pickle :D which is quite popular and unique here. I have been twice here, once alone and another time with my parents. I have also plans to visit this place in future too ;).

01 Nov 2009

I frequently travel to Mysore to my elder sister's house and have fun time with my nephew. He was just a 2-3 years old those days and playing with infants is very much exhilarating. Their cute smiles, wicked acts, naughty deeds and more prominently their enthusiasm and energy have great lessons embedded in them [He used to pull my hair and spectacles too ;-)]. After spending few days in Mysore, during my return journey, I used to get lured by the signboards towards Melukote nearby Mandya. Did hear about the place very long time and was also impressed seeing wikipedia entry. On a fine day, I inquired in KSRTC bus station regarding the bus availability from Bangalore. As usual the staff were irish and I did not get proper response from them. One of the staff angrily asked me to inquire in Mandya Bus Stand. I was bit annoyed but can't help. Nowadays things have far improved though.

It was on 01 Nov 2009, I started my journey towards Melukote. Unaware of route to destination, my first target was Mandya and later seek help in bus stand. I caught up with early morning train to Mysore and in matter of 90 minutes I was in Mandya. Later I walked towards bus stand which is few hundred meters from Railway Station. As I reached the bus stop, a bus destined to Melukote was about to start. When inquired, the conductor informed it will be 15 mins more to start. Also the bus was empty and I had tasty breakfast in bus stand hotel itself. Later the bus started moving towards Melukote slowly. Since it was local bus, the movement was at snail's pace. It was fabulous journey though. The lush green meadows, the coconut plantations, the fragrance of Jaggery houses, the flowing canals, the magnificent hillocks and lakes and paddy/sugarcane fields made sure that I never get bored. Also the roads were very well paved. As we neared Melukote, the hills of Yoganarasimha temple caught my eyes. The last few kms were of semi ghat type with hair pin bends. At last 9:45PM, I was in Melukote and it was time to explore.

Apparently Melukote is a hamlet with antique look. It is surrounded by beautiful nature especially numerous water bodies. As I was not aware of this place much, my primary intention was to visit the prominent temples for which the place is known for. The beneath temple deity is Cheluvanarayana swamy while the hillock one is Yoganarasimha swamy. The annual car festival attracts thousands of pilgrims to this place. One has to walk for few distance to reach Cheluvanarayana swamy temple if you are arriving by bus. The private vehicles can drive till temple premises. The first impression of temple was it is ancient temple made entirely of stone. The temples were constructed during Hoysala Empire in respect of Sri Ramanujacharya who is propagator of Vishishtadwaita. Few renovation work was under progress. There were lot of debris inside the temple cluttered all along. The interior was filled with darkness with only few lights. Apparently felt filthy inside. The sanctum sanitarium was closed when I went inside. Few minutes later it opened for public visit. There was small pale bulb which lights up the sanctum sanitarium which people felt like its almost dusk. Nevertheless the deity's idol was beautiful to watch. Since the photography was prohibited inside, I could only enjoy from my eyes. After having darshan of lord, I roamed around the temple premises for a while. The array of pillars were looking magnificent too! There is also free lunch home where devotees are fed with free meals every afternoon. After being satisfied with stroll, I departed towards the Yoganarasimha hill.

I really had to rush to temple since it would be closed for public visit by 12PM. I checked time and it was already 11AM. It is required to climb 300 steps bare foot to reach the temple. There is shoe stand just before stepping up where we need to leave our footwears. One can also take vehicles till mid of hill from where the steps are only around hundred. I had no option other than climbing entire stretch. The pestering of beggars for money all along the steps is an irritating sight altogether. If you lend one, others will throng you begging! Most of the travelers do not owe even single penny to beggars to avoid their embarrassment. These beggars used to curse people who did not lend them money but that was manageable :). The next problem creators were as usual monkeys. There are gazillion of them. Their courage is kind of intimidating for us. Fortunately I did not have any food item and hence nowhere near me. However, I could see them aggressively snatching the eatables from pilgrims.







There were good things to enjoy here too ;-). The landscape from mid of ascension was breath taking. The hillocks and lakes were ravishing to watch. I took many pictures to satisfy my photography thirst. Those were the days, I knew very little about photography relatively. No HDR, timelapse and very few manual mode experiments. Also I had basic manual mode camera and no DSLR. After toiling for nearly 45mins, I reached the temple. There was huge rush for the darshan and had to wait for some time to enter the sanctum sanatorium. I found more people here than in the temple beneath. The idol is marvelous describing the divine anger of Narasimha with sharp nails and teeth. After finishing my darshan, I enjoyed some beautiful landscapes surrounding the temple. Landscapes are well captured at an altitude and consequently some more pictures snapped here. Sometimes I felt precarious due to gravity pull :D.




I stepped down the hill and had local dishes in one of mobile hotel. Puliyogare and curd rice are simply the best here :-). It was nominal Rs.10/- per leaf cup. You can even buy puliyogare paste or powder if you wish but the paste doesn't last long. After lunch it was time to relish the locally grown tender coconut. Once done, I moved towards Bangalore. Caught a bus to Mandya and from there to Bangalore and thus ending one of my enchanting journeys.


Few years later, I visited this place with my parents and spotted few more attractions nearby. I did miss them during my last itinerary. Prominently Akka-Tangi Kola and Rayagopura. That time I had the best mirchi bajji in my lifetime and still the best till date :). Never miss to savor the tasty Puliyogare, curd rice and mirchi bajji with pickle if you are visiting (No photographs though). Overall a great place to visit for a day and refresh in natural air along with serene environment. I suggest to visit during Jan-Feb timeframe.

More info can be found in Wikipedia:

Here are two panoramic pictures composed during my second visit


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