November 12, 2012-Day One
Thanks for all your appreciative comments for Part One of this series. We left Bangalore City around 7 am and as I was introducing myself with the driver, I came to know that he was of the opinion that this was a 2 day trip. I clarified to him that we had booked the car for a 3 day trip. Thankfully, TaxiforSure.com sorted out the misunderstanding by arranging a different vehicle and driver within 20 minutes. Impressive customer service. Our new driver was a young man in his early twenties. Despite being a resident of Bangalore for some years, he was fluent only in his mother tongue, Kannada (Most Bangaloreans speak fluent Tamil, so this was a real surprise). Thankfully he was able to understand(?)whatever Tamil and English I spoke and we managed it adequately over the next three days.
Since we had woken up early, our tummies were aching for the much needed dose of Karnataka’s famous tiffon delicacies. The car change had eaten up around 30 minutes and we now were caught up in the morning rush hour. We could witness scores of sedans and SUVs heading out of city for the weekend. To be on the safer side, I called up my Hotel in Madikeri and re-confirmed my booking. My eyes were searching for a decent B’fast option and 50 kms from Bangalore we found the much acclaimed Kamat Lokaruchi at Ramanagara town(Restaruant signage is prominent on the right side of the road when travelling towards Mysore)
By the number of cars at the restaurant that early in the morning, we could easily guess how popular a hangout it was on the Bangalore-Mysore Highway. I realised many people had made the trip from Bangalore and its outskirts just for their Breakfast. Perhaps 50 kms in this day and age isn’t too much trouble to satisfy your taste buds ! At this restaurant, there is a Buffet spread which includes all the morning’s dishes @ around Rs.120 per head, but being first-timers we opted to taste the specialities of the restaurant. My wife picked her favourite Onion Uthappam and loved it. I selected the Steamed Idli(cylindrical shaped Idli wrapped in banana leaf-pic below) served with delicious Chutney and Sambhar. We followed it, if I remember correctly, with Akki Dosa(A sort of beefed up version of the ubiquitous Neer Dosa). Both the items tasted divine. A not-to-miss restaurant.
Pet puja done, we moved on past Channapatna(famous for its toys), Mandya and at 10.30 AM reached SriRangapatna, a place of great religious, cultural and historical importance. Located 20 kms from Mysore City, the entire town is an Island enclosed by the River Cauvery. The town gets its name from the famous Sri Ranganathasamy Temple. The temple, one of the important Vaishnavite pilgrimage centres was built in the 9th Century and is a mix of Hoysala and Vijayanagar styles of Architecture(Thanks:Wikipedia).
The river Cauvery forms three sacred islands in its path from Karnataka towards Tamilnadu. The Ranganathaswamy Temple at Srirangapatna is situated in the first of those islands and so is called as Adi Ranga. The temple formed in the island at Shivanasamudram Falls is Madhya Ranga and the famous SriRangam(Trichy)temple in Tamilnadu is Antya Ranga. Having visited SriRangam, I was happy that I was completing the second leg of this trio of famous temples. Alas, my joy was short-lived. Will come to that later.
Coming back to our trip, having reached Srirangapatna, I headed straight to the Cauvery river, to have a much needed bath to escape the scorching heat. Though the water flow was minimal, it was more than enough to bring out the child in me. As my better half watched wistfully, I enjoyed to my heart’s content. Also, had the good fortune to see a train crossing the island and wifey had the presence of mind to gem m St the image stored in our Canon. The sharing of the Cauvery waters, a river which is part and parcel of Tamilnadu’s culture, history and folklore has now sadly become a bitter source of dispute between the two states for well over three decades. Hope someday better sense will prevail among the politicians and Cauvery will return from her Maika!
Refreshed after the bath, we proceeded for darshan at the temple before it closes for its afternoon break. But disappointment awaited us because the Sanctum Sanctorum of the main deity, Sri Ranganathaswamy, was closed on the day at as early as 11 AM for some puja preparations and was to be re-opened only at 12 Noon. Already a decent crowd was waiting for the re-opening. We were in a dilemma whether to wait another hour amidst the increasing crowd or skip the darshan. We reluctantly took the latter option since we had to visit the Golden Temple at Bylakuppe(which would require atleast two full hours), spend the evening at Harangi Reservoir and reach Madikeri before nightfall.
As I have earlier mentioned, apart from the temple there are many historical attractions worth visiting in Srirangapatna. Among them is Dariya Daulat Bagh- the summer palace of Tipu Sultan, Gumbaz-the burial place of Tipu Sultan, his father Hyder Ali and mother Fatima Begum & Captain Bailey’s Dungeon where Tipu’s war prisoners were imprisoned and Jamma Masjid. But we saved them for another trip and headed towards Bylakuppe Golden Temple, details of which will be in the next part.