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The Southern Bastion - Srinrangapatnam to Melkote

25th Feb 2014
Photo of The Southern Bastion - Srinrangapatnam to Melkote 1/6 by Poornima Dasharathi
The View from Melkote
Photo of The Southern Bastion - Srinrangapatnam to Melkote 2/6 by Poornima Dasharathi
Photo of The Southern Bastion - Srinrangapatnam to Melkote 3/6 by Poornima Dasharathi
Mysore Palace
Photo of The Southern Bastion - Srinrangapatnam to Melkote 4/6 by Poornima Dasharathi
Photo of The Southern Bastion - Srinrangapatnam to Melkote 5/6 by Poornima Dasharathi
Srirangapatna - An Aerial View
Photo of The Southern Bastion - Srinrangapatnam to Melkote 6/6 by Poornima Dasharathi
View from the Chamundi Temple

Bangalore might have become an IT hub, a new urban center with all the trimmings of a fast-paced, modern life. But history cannot be erased, and on the outskirts of Bangalore stand three places, clustered together, so steeped in history and culture that they stand as testament to their fares. These three places are Melkote, Srirangapatna, and Mysore all of which can easily be reached by the Bangalore - Mysore Highway.  Being not more than a 2 hour drive one way, an overnight journey will give us plenty of time to do justice to these places. 

Our guides will not just focus on the central tourist attractions, but also those aspects of these places that often get shadowed by the more popular spots. Often just pilgrimage sites due to the proliferation of temples, the stories of the temples and gods here do tend to dwarf  sometimes the people of these historical places, whose life, perhaps, was as fantastical as the myths of divinity. The guided tour will take you through the history, culture and nature of these places, where you can walk around, spend time, and enjoy and learn about the place you have visited, instead of rushing around hitting the 'must-see' spots. 

Though located in the inside of India's peninsular land-mass, Srirangapatna holds the quaint distinction of being an Island-Fortress Town. Enclosed by the Kaveri River and its break-off the Paschima Vahini, the Island with its fort, temples and tombs, has island also has a history wrapped into it that spans almost close to a millennium. Apart from the Ranganathaswamy Temple that takes the centre-stage for the visitors here, Srirangapatna has structures that hark back to the Vijayanagar and Hoysala Kingdoms, and the Mysore Kingdom. The Mysore Kingdom, which because of Tipu Sultan and his struggles with colonials, has greater mention here than the others, but for those willing to see, the preponderance of Tipu Sultan and the Temple do not occlude Srirangapatna's history before them.
Photo of Srirangapatna, Karnataka, India by Poornima Dasharathi
As far as majestic history goes, there are not many places that can trump Mysore, often referred to as the 'City of Palaces'. The Mysore Palace built by the Wodeyar Kings is a place where perhaps one can locate how Mysore became as culturally rich as it is for the Wodeyar Kings were great patrons of art and culture, allowing various forms, crafts and styles to flourish and grow in a way that they still exist and temper the way the city is today. However, this is not all, Mysore is not just a place of cultural but also natural beauty. Located at the foot of the Chamundi Hills it has numerous lakes like Kukkarhalli and Karanji. The Chamundi Hills are also important because atop them is located the Chamundeshwari Temple, one of the most important religious sites in Mysore.
Photo of Mysore, Karnataka, India by Poornima Dasharathi
Another Temple town with the same Vaishnavite religious significance as Srirangapatna, pilgrims head to Melkote for the Cheluvanarayana Swamy Temple. However, located on the Yadugiri Hills, the Temple is more than just a place to pay obeisance to the almighty. Commanding views of the smaller temples, shrines and lakes below, including the entire Mandya area, where it is located, from atop these granite hills makes it a place where one would want to go on clicking away. In particular is the view of the Kalyani Theertham, the temple pond, that sparkles emerald green in the light, like a large jewel on the landscape.
Photo of Melkote, Karnataka, India by Poornima Dasharathi