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Charismatic Chikmagalur and blissful Belur


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South western Karnataka is beautiful. It is one of the most picturesque places in Karnataka. Coconut trees line up the highway and make it come to life. Perfect, soulful music, thrilling drives and a crazy company is the best way to enjoy the drive along this mesmerizing part of the country. This weekend spontaneity was at its peak when a sudden trip was planned to Chikmagalur and Belur.

A very  wise decision indeed. Chikmagalur literally means “The town of the younger daughter” in the native Kannada language. The town is said to have been given as a dowry to the younger daughter of Rukmangada, the legendary chief of Sakrepatna and hence the name. Chikmagalur was the place where coffee was first cultivated in India. Rivers like Tunga and Bhadra have their sources in the mountains here which are parts of the Western Ghats. Chikmagalur district also contains Mullayanagiri, the highest peak in Karnataka. The city is placed amid a scenic landscape in a fertile valley and it is surrounded by lush green coffee plantation hills. The distance from Bangalore and its situation in the lap of Mother Nature, makes this place a perfect weekend gateway for all Bangalorians. The road to Mullayanagiri is very narrow with views from steep cliffs. Driving to the peak is impossible and includes a trek up the hill from the half-way point. There is a small temple on top of the hill.

The drizzles that you feel in Chikmagalur makes this trip an indelible memory in our minds. The cool breeze starts imprinting all the memories that you want to cherish. Who would not want to see the panoramic view of the lush green meadows and dense forests where cattle graze to their fullest satisfaction, since Mother Earth is very affectionate about the greenery that engulfs the whole mountain.Chikmagalur planes, silver oak jungles, foggy weather, fresh air and the peace of the hills are the things hard to forget. Not to miss the rain drops that splash on your face and you never want to leave the place ever again, if you are lucky enough, you would even find the butterflies encircling themselves around you and giving you Mother Nature’s secret messages if any. I ran through the mountain and shouted at my top most voice to feel the adrenaline rush that I felt after climbing the mountain and running through those deep green meadows with my friends. Truly speaking sitting by the rocks and experiencing peace of mind, with excitement in full throttle took me into an enchanted world of mountains where its vastness and serenity did not fail to surprise me.

It is said that one gets to see entire Mangalore planes and even the Arabian sea if the sky is clear. Sadly we were not that lucky, but we got the rare privilege of walking through the clouds and watching the world below us in its tiniest form. The stunning landscape on the route never lets you get bored during the journey. This trip also lead me to many moments of self actualization since you experience moments of bliss at all times as you make your way through the mountains. To simply say, you remember the drawings and sketches that we drew during our school days with V shaped mountains, the sun and tiny birds besides the clouds with some crooked little cottage below. These childhood memories come to life in Chikmagalur.

The next point on the way back home was Belur, widely known as Belur – Halebidu since the temples and the cities have a lot in common. Belur is the place where art speaks, the sculptures are all crafted to perfect precision and the stones tell a story of rare kind in Belur. There were many sculpted characters on the wall with the likes of Lord Shankar, Goddess Parvati, Lord Vishnu and Goddess Lakshmi. Same were easy to recognize but the others were difficult. Some were broken, some were restored, some were left incomplete. The walls expressed such beautiful crescendo of creativity that one could easily spend months just soaking in all the details if you are a great patron of history and art. The temples main attraction are sculptures which soak themselves into deep meditation once you start noticing the beauty and the hard work that had gone in making them. Each work in this temple is intricate and detailed. Hoysala kingdom might have been proud of building this grandeur. I loved walking barefoot through the old stone of this temple. It is known as Channakeshavswamy Temple and bears great resemblance to the temple in Halebidu. At first Belur was the capital of the Hoysala kingdom after which it was shifted to Halebidu.

Sadly we could not visit Halebidu due to time constraints but this day will be remembered as the spontaneous day which came to reality due to Shreekarthik , who planned the trip beautifully. Thanks to my friends Akanksha, Sauru, Mana, Anne, SK and Urvil who made the blast possible.

Until next time.

Rucha Khot

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