Shravanabelagola -> Doddagaddavalli -> Chikmagalur -> Ayyankere -> Mangalore -> Kasargod ->Coorg
It took leaves lapsing, for us to finally get ourselves to take a break from work. More so Anand, who has been buried in work for months. The early rainy season was the perfect backdrop to this trip too.After a relaxed morning, we headed off first to Shravanabelagola, which shockingly, he had never visited before considering it’s the most common day trip place to visit from Bangalore. We made a pit stop at a newly opened food court that had only us as the visitors. Gotta love clean restrooms! A leisurely lunch and a cup of lovely lemon green tea with mint later we went on our way.
After a nice drive and a quick lesson learnt on our levels of fitness, on the steps up to the temple, we got there. Beautiful weather greeted us everywhere on this trip and this wasn’t an exception. The view from the top of the kalyani, and the town below was a welcome break from the view of tech parks and traffic. We wandered around the various parts of the temple, and also met some friendly people from Kanchi who gushed “Bangalore folks know all languages”, on knowing where we were from.As much as I love temple ponds, the gates to it were closed so we had to make do with just a view of it from outside. We saw an interesting looking building on our way down the steps and drove towards it. It was the Bhandara basadi. Since it was just the time after which schools had ended, we had to wade through a river of school kids just outside of it, to reach the place. The place had carvings of the 24 thirthankaras and yakshas too. A calm space with no visitors, it made for a pleasant pitstop. We also passed by a couple of basadis more on our way out.
- Bhandara basadi
Our next stop was the Lakshmi Devi temple at Doddagaddavalli. As we got near it, we were sceptical of whether the road would allow the car to pass but an old lady very proudly said that the newly-laid road would now allow us to go on till the temple. The temple was completely empty except for 2 kids playing there. The villagers too seemed surprised to have visitors. We had reached just past 6 but the caretaker was kind enough to open it up for us and showed us around a bit too. Taking care not to keep him too long, we walked around the place having a private tour that seemed just the way we liked it ie., without crowds 🙂
- Lakshmi Devi temple
We headed off to Chikmagalur for the night. The town had grown since A had last been there, now with several new restaurants. We managed to get prompt service at a new one and yummy food that we polished – split a soup, paneer manchurian, rotis and kadai veg. Our hotel too was quite perfectly cosy and we soon called it a night.
The next morning, we got done with breakfast and headed off to Babudangiri. Both of us had been there before but decided we didn’t mind a refresher. The route was gorgeous, with a mild drizzle accompanying us throughout and a dreamy landscape at every turn. We stopped for a minute at the busy pit stop at a “waterfall” and drove on. However almost towards the top, we realised the visibility was nil as it was too misty even at 12 PM! There would be no view to be enjoyed at the top either, so we stopped and instead made our way to Sitalayyangiri that we hadn’t seen before. It was a temple perched picturesquely on the hill and was empty except for a couple of other tourists. I managed to quickly tip toe into it barefoot to see inside and got out soon as it was quite cold. We spent a few moments, me enjoying the view from there and A enjoying the drizzle.We drove back down the mountain to our next stop : Ayyankere lake with a view of the Agumbe and Sringeri Hills.
We saw some boys listening to music loud and having a meal at the entrance but they soon left and the rest of the place was tranquil. We walked around the place and even down to the water, sat a while and wandered around. A family came there after a while, presumably to let a loved one’s ashes into the water. A kind brown dog allowed us to pet her a while, while another one looked on sceptically at the strange humans.
Just as we were about to get into the car, a dishevelled man came up to Anand and started talking to him about where he was from and exclaiming that we were nice people. He randomly was moving in between Kannada and Tamil and was making sense in neither languages. After rambling on for 10 minutes with the 2 of us looking utterly confused on whether he wanted food/money from us, we just about gathered that he wanted a drop to some place on our way back. And Anand obliged! We got into the car with him in the back on high alert for him pulling out a knife from his clothes at any moment and soon realised that the gentleman was also quite intoxicated but mostly silent. At the point where he got off, Anand opened the door for him, since he didn’t know how. He then insisted that I too come to the driver’s side of the car. To my horror, he fell to our feet with gratitude with me frantically telling him not to do so. And after that little misadventure, we headed off to Mangalore for the night’s stay.