An excursion to the village of temples – Barkur

  Someone has rightly said – ‘This entire planet is home. Staying in one city your whole lif...

Supriya Shah


Kodagu
Best time to visit - January,September,October,November,December
About 100kms west of Mysore, the hilly hamlet of Kodagu (formerly known as Coorg) is located in the evergreen highlands of the Western Ghats. This charming district beckons tourists with its spice gardens, cardamom forests and a sea of coffee plantations. Travel to Coorg for the wide array of adventure activities. Raft through the white rapids of the Barapole river, trek across the grasslands of the Kopatty-Kalugundi trail or quad biking through the Chevalara falls. For those seeking a more relaxed experience, fishing at the Valnoor and Bheemeshwari fishing camps or simply wandering through coffee plantations are some of the most sought after things to do in Coorg. The 17th century Madikeri Fort where the revered Tipu Sultan once held court, and the Omkareshwar temple are among the most famous attractions of the district’s headquarters in Madikeri. While you are here, also visit Namdroling Monastery in Bylakuppe, the largest Tibetan settlement of south India. Go here for a pleasant evening intermittent with monastic hymns, prayer bells and a motley of Tibetan handicrafts.
Panaji
This is the capital of the state of Goa and is probably the smallest state capital. Panaji is also the headquarters of the North Goa District and is situated on the banks of the Mandovi River Estuary is the Tiswada Region. The more popular name is Panaji but Panjim is also a commonly used term. This was the name by which the Portuguese used to address this city. When the whole of India got independence, Goa was still under the colonial rule of the Portuguese who freed it a number of years later. The Portuguese effect is what you will get in each and every thing of Goa and Panjim too. The attractions here are the lovely white church, the food that you will get here and of course the different types of building lined on the sides of the narrow streets. These houses are the remains of the various clans who have ruled here including the Latins and the Portuguese. The houses look beautiful and brightly coloured and many of them have simple yet pretty wrought iron balconies too. Many of these are now either resorts for budget concious travellers or restaurants for the ones who love to taste Portuguese and Goan cuisine.
Mysore
Best time to visit - January,February,March,July,August,September,October,November
Once the seat of the Maharajas of Mysore for six centuries, Mysore is now the third most populous state of Karnataka. But not much as changed in terms of its cultural ambiance and heritage, hence deeming it as the cultural capital of Karnataka. This city is popular for its year-round pleasant climate, silk, sandalwood and many majestic palaces, such as Lalitha Mohan Palace, Jaganmohan Palace and the most visited and grand one being the Mysore Palace. To get an exclusive insight into Mysore's culture, Folklore Museum would be the best place, where a plethora of carved wooden figures, ceremonial headdresses, vibrant masks can be seen along with puppet shows depicting Hindu mythological stories. Mysore Zoo is perfect for animal and nature lovers while the Regional Museum of Natural History serves those interested in ecological history. For those looking for unwinding strolls or simple relaxation, Karanji Lake and Kukkarahalli Lake are the best to visit, preferably early in the morning or evenings. More attractions include Brindavan Gardens, Railway Museum and St. Philomena's Church. Cauvery Arts and Crafts emporium is renowned for an array of silk sarees, carved sandalwood, wooden toys and inlay work, whereas Devaraja market is ideal for a more local shopping experience. Restaurants such as Hotel RRR Restaurant, Malgudi Cafe, Vinayaka Mylari, Sapphire and Anu's Bamboo Hut cater to popular local and international cuisines. Mysore comes alive during the 10-day festival of Dussehra, celebrated in October, when one can witness the entire city bedecked with lights, colours and music, making Mysore a memorable visit.
Calangute
The third day started of late, and as it was our last day, we spent the some time in lazing around in the pool. At around 3 we visited Calangute beach where we enjoyed a few water sports (snorkling, parasailing etc). They offer great packages but it is very important to negotiate the prices. I personally would recommend water sports at this beach.
Mangalore
Best time to visit - January,February,March,April,May,June,July,August,September,October,November,December
Known as the gateway to Karnataka, the picturesque city of Mangalore is famous for its golden beaches, revered temples and delicious coffee. This port city lies nestled between the blue waters of the Arabian Sea and the towering hills of the Western Ghats. The pristine beach of Panambur is a popular tourist destination and also plays host to the colourful kite festival of Mangalore. Adorned with ancient murals, the Kudroli Gorakhnath Temple is frequented by many devotees. The Ullal Beach of Mangalore is a great place to enjoy water sports. Easily comparable to the Marine Drive of Mumbai, the New Mangalore Port is an ideal place to relax and unwind. Mangalore is famous for its Udupi style dishes and staple seafood preparations. The Neer Dosa, Mangalorean fish curry, Cashew Upkari and Rasam are great introductions to this cuisine. Pallkhi, Gajalee, Cochin Bakery and Naivedyam are popular eateries here. There are multiple hotel options for tourists, extending from high-end resorts to budget hotels and even beach resorts. With its easygoing air and calm countenance, Mangalore is the perfect destination to relax and unwind.
Hampi
Best time to visit - January,February,March,October,November,December
Hampi (Hampe) is a village and temple town recognised as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, listed as the Group of Monuments at Hampi in northern Karnataka, India. It is situated within the ruins of the city of Vijayanagara, the former capital of the Vijayanagara Empire. Predating the city of Vijayanagara, Hampi continues to be an important religious centre, housing the Virupaksha Temple and several other monuments belonging to the old city. Hampi is situated on the banks of the Tungabhadra River. It is 353 km from Bangalore. The extant monuments of Vijayanagara or Hampi can be divided into Religious, Civil & Military buildings. The Jain temples on Hemakuta hill, the two Devi shrines and some other structures in the Virupaksha temple complex predate the Vijayanagara Empire. Hampi tourism has special importance for the Hanuman devotees, as mythical Kishkinda, the monkey kingdom was located here. You can see plenty of motifs and carvings of Hanuman all around the sites of which some are brilliantly colourful.

About Barkur

I packed my one day backpack and started around 12 pm from Manipal on a bus to Udupi. We did not exactly knew how to reach Barkur but and so asked the bus conductor. He suggested us to the ‘kin’ bus stop to Udupi local bus stop. We walked for around five minutes and heard a driver calling out Barkur.. Barkur.. We confirmed and once again boarded the bus. It was very hot inside the bus. It took 15-20 more minutes before the bus started, almost drenching me in sweat. As Udupi is adjoined to the sea, the weather is always humid.The bus ticket to Barkur was only Rs.15/- and hence I could make out that the village is not very far. And soon it started drizzling. The bus halted at one of the stops called Brahmavara. Here, two ladies entered the bus with their toddlers. A man accompanying them made a gesture asking us to give them a place to sit. Thus, me and Masroora offered them our seat. From here Barkur was around 3 more stops. We managed to cross this short distance enjoying the cool breeze, standing at the door. We passed by a river called Seetha river. I enquired about the time taken from the bus stop to the Basadi and the temple.We got down at the Barkur busstop and asked the way to the Basadi. On our way, we met a lady in a festive mood with a colorful saree and her hair adorned by a flower wreath. She welcomed us with warmth in her voice and a smile on her face. She started the conversation in Kannada which I did not understand even a bit. But Masroora understood some of it and thus replied back. The lady knew some English words and so told us that the Basadi is very ancient. There are total 365 temples in the village. She showed us the Basadi and warned us about the snakes which might be present in the grass around Basadi.The roads in Barkur were wider enough for a bus to pass by comfortably. There were lush green trees on both sides of the road with butterflies fluttering over the flowers. The basadi was on the right side of the road. We greeted the lady and left for the basadi gate. Basadi is basically a Jain temple and Kathale means dark. So, the history says that the village was built by the Alupa Kings in the Vijayanagara times (12th century) and was further ruled by Hyder Ali, Tipu Sultan etc. There is a huge monolithic pillar at the basadi entrance. The basadi compound has three temples. Although they are in a demolished state now, it has some remnants and visible ancient encrypts. The encryptions are said to be in Tulu. An information board is on the left of the entrance. The temple exactly at the centre is the basadi, but no more contains Jain Tirthankar statues. The There were only some destroyed pillars. One temple behind it was Shiva temple and the other was Vishnu. The Vishnu temple had beautiful carvings. Although it is quoted as the national monument by the archaeological Survey of India, its sorry state with grass growing around and piercing the architecture made me feel awful. Soon after taking some pics around the basadi we headed towards the Ganesha temple. We confirmed the way for the temple and headed straight.
Barkur

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