On this trip with plenty of time to spare, I decided that I must now “see” Bangalore. Naturally that meant a leisurely morning walk in the Lalbagh Botanical Gardens where I was thrilled to see the very rare Jade Vine [Strongylodon macrobotrys]. I had first seen it almost thirty years ago as a watercolour in my plant book and never imagined I would ever see it for real. Here they are, green-blue clusters of flowers in all their glory.Read More
One can undertake a road trip from Bengaluru to travel back in time and visit the historic town of Belur. Heritage and history combine in one of the popular monuments of Karnataka, set on the banks of Yagachi River, amidst lush surroundings, in Hassan district of the state. Along with Halebid which was the capital of the Hoysala Dynasty, Belur is an excellent example of south Indian architecture. The temples here are exquisitely carved with sculptures depicting scripts from the Puranas, the Upanishads and other mythological characters from the Ramayana and the Mahabharata. The 12th century Chennakesava Temple at Belur has many figures known as Madanikas or dancers ornamenting brackets and pillars. One can visit Belur and Halebid via Hassan by road or rail.
Best time to visit: November to April
Languages spoken: Kannada, English
Climate: Hot summers and pleasant winters
Holy places: Chenna Kesava Temple, Kappe (Frog) Chennigaraya Temple, The Gravity Piller or The lamp Post, Veera Narayana Temple, The Big Tank or Vishnu Samudra
After our exertions at Mullayanagari Peak, we returned back to Chikmagalur town by mid-day, had our lunch and reached our hotel. I had hoped to catch some of the action from the Perth Test(hoping to watch Sachin’s 100th hundred live), but the Indian team dashed any such hopes by losing the Test in two and a half days. Disappointed by the result, I took the opportunity to slip into a much needed nap.
Our next destination was Belur temple, 25 kms from Chikmagalur. Belur is a small town located on the banks of Yagachi River in Hassan district. The main attraction of the town is the Chennakesava (literally translates to Handsome Vishnu) temple. It was built by King Vishnuvardana of Hoysala dynasty. The temple is one of the finest examples of Hoysala architecture alongside Halebeedu and Somnathpura. Coupled with Halebeedu, this is one of the major tourist destinations of Karnataka.Read More