Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Murughavana - Of Chitradurga

The mention of Chitradurga in  Karnataka state, reminds us of the sprawling fortress straddled with seven hills. It became popular by the name of "Onake Obavva" who single handedly killed the soldiers from Hyder Ali's troop who broke into the fort from secret tunnel in the year 1779.

Chitradurga is a place about 200kilometers from Bangalore and the theme park is about a kilometer away from the Fort.
The best place to relax after wandering in the fort is the "Murughavana Park".  A theme park quiet well planned, well maintained in the rural locale, with stone statues of different taste. Absolutely serene; dotted with huge trees randomly for ample shade; uniquely built stone statues of various freedom fighters, common people, scenes of rural areas and plenty of extinct dinosaurs.  A pleasant park to cool your nerves even on a warmer afternoon. 

This is only a photo based post and all pictures are i-Phone clicks!


Saturday, October 21, 2017

Key To Happiness

PS - Beloved friend- Google.
It  was yet another normal day. A compulsorily ordinary coffee-less morning for me. I came across this topic called Key To Happiness. 

The morning was already lazier and the topic that is nothing but a illusionary truth called irony that casts spells in our minds. Saying you are happy and if you want to be more..do this and do that. To top it up we have social media full of philosophy and gyaan that makes you supposedly happy. Some even have pictures of pretty dogs preforming jigs with catchy captions reading, like this if you want the puppy to be happy. Happiness these days is  available at the amazon festival too.  eh? Or the Flip Kart big festival. Find your dreams here, find your happiness here, is what they lure you with.

In order to possess more gyaan for myself I started meditating. What an profound discovery I started making. Take deep breath, think of you, your family, your actions. And I could see all were happy. Only I was looking for it somewhere in  closed room with eyes closed. My husband an workaholic is happy by himself. My kids were too happy with schools, play, painting, joining puzzles and book reading. And here I was, researching what is happiness? How does it look like. Is it resembling the big box from the Amazon bonanza festival. Does it have a key then?

Seriously seeing, we are so addictive as well as bored of our life and being our full self that at times in despair we fail to notice that the new green patch in our garden or the first bloom of marigold in the spring itself is such happier moment. 

We are always in dire need of things. Anything that pleases us. The new book in the market , or the new white Lingerie the lady wanted or the extra TV in the house, the man wants . And once we possess it we forget the euphoria too soon and aim at the next set of stuff we are supposed to want. The few breaths that we huffed in between went unnoticed by our scowl. And for God's sake, happiness is not confusion. The illusion of a fake rainbow in your backyard after the sunset is actually what you have to paint it yourself.  The need of material things are like the same. Luxury is a requirement not a happiness criteria. There is a key to the new refrigerator that made you happy. But if you are actually happy and content then please secure the keys in your pocket till the next model of refrigerator is introduced in the market.

Happiness lies in the most under utilized tense- the Present Tense. Rather it's searched in the past tense or chased in the future tense. Pity we are like the asphalt roller, that rolls back and forth and repeat on the same spread. We fail to insist upon ourselves, that happiness is not a milestone.  It is endless. How dreadfully or how enjoyably you take your journey there makes you happy.

And if there's ever  a key to it, then it is you. Do what pleases you. But for gods sake don't ridicule your neighbor if he is laughing to himself. He may be seeing things you don't. 

If at all there is a key to happiness, we are experts in misplacing the sets. Because we are too busy fixing the nuts bolts and the screws of life.

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Converses With Pain

You know it, you unsought 
unasked unwelcome emotion, 
you are most disgusting aren't you?
troubling a peace mongering living soul
is what you are known for after all?

you are a treacherous beast
I mused until a moment now
only when I decided to fight you
with my will, love faith all in queue

I resolve, you rather stay close to me
along as long  you define thee
how you articulate my emotions
grow along, my will and you abreast

as I ascend thousand  green brambles
watched, laughed, by unreachable pink roses
hearing faint deep voices so familiar 
may be echoing from a distance

ironically prescribing faith, peace
you do complete my lost part to full
awakening my lost hopes  a cure
apparently, you do care for sure

 I appeal, you are fine,  nested close to me
foster my inner voice to a threshold 
so unaware of my own dreams, 
prick me yet pat my back, 
entrusting me in my whole soul, my realms
- Sush

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Part 2 - Avani - Reaching The Zenith Altitude

Continuing our journey from Temples at foot hills to the trek. Previous post on this blog featured introduction to Avani and the magnificent temples at the foot hills.

This breath taking view requires a few extra breaths lost as you huff and puff away uphill and prepare your lungs for the fresh fill of the mesmerizing breeze. And also prepare your little hearts to greet few monkey families and tutti -frutti squirrels up there. It is overwhelming to watch the monkeys  just wait for the devotees to beak the coconut outside the temple as a part of ritual and then they could feast on the fruit by chasing the devotee with it's scary growl. And the few squirrels just wait to feast on the left over pieces of coconut or any other fruit.

Seemed like the avatar of an Hanuman family himself appeared with absolute thirst, to the top of the hill and waited for visitors to pour water to quench his throat to his fill. And there were plenty of them. Remember, they are harmless but definitely defensive. So, never tease them by walking with lot of food in hands.

Now, as you march over uphill, you pass by more heritage spots, each narrating a holy story from the Ramayana that can actually calm your nerves spiritually if you believe in Gods and Goddesses.

A small door-less entrance takes you inside the place where sage Valmiki lived as he wrote the Ramayan. The Ashram is now consisting of a neat stone statue of the sage.

It's a well-known fact , whether one calls it mythology or one believes in the story, that Sita Devi after being exiled sought refuge in "Ashram" of Sage Valmiki. Soon in this stone abode she gave birth to her twin sons. With a mark of respect by married women, locals have practiced hanging green bangles at the top of the entrance door of this stone room which has been named "Sita Nilaya".

A touching glow. An imaginary oil lamp marked with some paints on the rocky pathway outside the "Sita Nilaya" is yet another belief by people from decades ago that it was the spot where the lady placed the lamp after sun set and hence even now the place glows with such tiny remembrances. Really amazing to witness such tiny details from Ramayan coming true and much to some of us who call it mythology it seriously surprises that locals have inherited stories from their ancestors who have supposedly been in the era after the medieval. 

And the popular "DhanushKoti" is supposed to be where Rama's brother Lakshman, who upon learning about the scarcity of water in Sita Nilaya, pulls his bow and arrow "dhaanushkoti" and splits the rock into two, to create a stream of water among the rocks. Again people believe that it never dry, even in perching summer, of today. We simply admired the tiny grey and black fishes in the water that connected us to our childhood rainy endeavors where we gathered tiny fishes in "tea strainers" that were our fish nets, from water streams formed by rain water.

One of the tarn that fascinated me
There definitely is plenty of resting spots on the way to the hill. These tarns are the best. You can not resist picking up oval bubbles, flip them horizontal and throw it spinning in the water. Can you? That's exactly what we did too. The lotus is the proof that it is stagnant water and hence it is not recommended to dip your legs or hands in the water.

Finally as you reach the top of the mountain puffing and panting,  we reach out to  the "Sita Temple" from the side entrance. The landmark where Sita Devi calls for Mother earth to slide open and snare her within her bosom.  This temple is one of the rarest  temples dedicated to Sita Devi in India.  A idol of the Goddess is worshipped every day by priest.

Right behind the temple is where you see two big boulders as mark of spot where Sita devi took her last journey under the mother earth. The picture 2 on the right above is where it is and a tradition of devotees squeezing themselves under the two boulders has been practiced. Call it belief or blind belief, these Hindu praxis leave me as astonished as spiritual.

Whatever is the story about, the nature leaves you in an awe as you fill your lungs with the breeze from the top of the hills watching the splendid bird eye view  of Avani.

The colourful Lingeshwar Temple as seen from the top of the hill

Key - Notes - Remain the same as in part-1 of this post too.
  • Avani is an absolutely cute village hosting no restaurants at all. Warning - Carry ample food. Small shady hotels will provide you scrumptious hot meals but the interiors are pretty puking dirty.
  • Clean water bottles are however available but make it to pick up your Gatorade if you wish to.
  • Don't expect a good connectivity of public transport. Plenty of taxis will be available for hardly an hour and half, drive from Bangalore.

Thursday, October 05, 2017

Rock Climbing In The Mystical Avani -PART 1

Myself at the top of the rock mountain of Avani.

From the land of gold mines; dotted with varied sized rocks; the Rockies of Karnataka; a reminiscent of Gabbar Singh of the popular Sholay; lotus filled tarns; clusters of compactly packed colourfully painted kutcha houses; mystical primordial stone temples of medival era  in rocky environs. This is a wee bit of what AVANI is.

At a distance of about 100km from Bangalore City, AVANI is a small village in Kolar district of Karnataka. Apart from housing varied ancient temples, it is also a popular location for rock climbing. It has been a heritage site and a not so popular sightseeing site in Karnataka I would say. Probably because of not so craggy mountains which is a fascination for the trekkers or for the reason that most of us believe in the stories of Ramayana as "mythology". Apparently, I thoroughly enjoyed the rock climbing as well as the spiritual vibes around the heritage spots and temples nestled in the huge boulders with a couple of "serene sounding" tarns.

Twinkling Star of Avani

As you drive inside this village, you recognize the colourfully painted small kutcha houses. My fascination of an Indian Fairy tale. The popular scene of a rural Indian village where in beautiful women and little girls cat-walk with plastic pots carrying water from ponds or lakes.  Small shops selling lovely scented candies, local soda in orange and yellow, "beedi",  sachets of pickles, shampoo, tooth paste or mosquito coils hung in the exteriors, line up the non asphalted dung smelling roads. There is  something in these tiny villages. Guess what? The innocence. The loving smiles immersed in brilliant radiance of friendliness spells a cast of our rich social culture. 

Avani received a prominent place mainly due to the legends associated with it. As per the local belief, sage Valmiki, the author of the epic Ramayana was residing here. This is the land where Goddess Sita sought refuge after being exiled by the Lord Rama and eventually gave birth to her twin children Lava-Kusha. It is also said that the war between Lord Rama and his sons Lava and Kusha took place in this village. 

In the center of the compound stands the Ramalingeshwara Temple

At the bottom of the hill, the first shrine that we come across is the  ancient temple compound known as the Ramalingeshwara, Lakshmaneshwara, Bharateshwara and Shatrugneshwara, built by the Nolamba rulers in 10th century. According to legend, Rama was performing Ashwamedha Yaga when his Horse was tied up by Lava and Kusha. Even after repeated requests by Lakshmana, Bharatha, Shatrugna and others, they did not free the Horse and fight took place between them. When everyone lost to Lava and Kusha, Rama himself turned up and had to fight. Later this was disrupted by Sita. This is a sin since the fight was between father and the sons and other relatives. Sage Valmiki then instructed the brothers to install the Lingas in their names for absolution of the sins.  

The back-view from temple exteriors projects the sight of the uphill route to the Sita Temple
The entire compound comes under the purview of the Archaeological Department and is well maintained. I was overwhelmed to be greeted by a lady police officer, a tourist police and became out best guide for the entire day.

A view of the Epic three boulders 

The local people have been believing that spot as in above picture is the one where in Sita Devi climbed onto to view the scene after Lord Hanuman informed her about the battle challenged by her twin sons on her own husband unknowingly about their identity. It has been neatly marked by arranging three boulders one over the other in memory of the embarrassing event.

Beautiful Lotus Pond at the foothills 

Nature's best gift to a rocky hilly area is a serene pond. Feels so full of life. The brightly coloured lotus just adds onto the peace it spreads onto your spiritual trek you look forward to, en-route the Sita Devi temple on the top of the hills.

As you begin your march of almost an hour , snaking among the rocks, sometimes sneaking onto tipsy cliffs or sometimes a few neatly constructed stone steps, you will come across several historical landmarks on your way. Iam afraid we did have no encounters with creepy reptiles other than little cute squirrels or some chameleons under every warm boulder. Most cacti plants attracted swarm of flies and that's a warning to steer clear your way off those thorny little green monsters.

Translation of the kannada text - Way to Valmiki Ashram
In search of gabbar if any

On top of the mountain far away in the background, we see the "Sita Temple" the landmark where Sita Devi calls for Mother earth to slide open and snare her within her bosom.  This temple is one of the rarest  temples dedicated to Sita Devi in India.  

Maha Shivaratri and Ramalingeshwara rathostava are the famous festivals that are celebrated with great pomp and fervor here. 

More on AVANI will appear as part-2 of this post.

Key - Notes
  • Avani is an absolutely cute village hosting no restaurants at all. Warning - Carry ample food. Small shady hotels will provide you scrumptious hot meals but the interiors are pretty puking dirty.
  • Clean water bottles are however available but make it to pick up your Gatorade if you wish to.
  • Don't expect a good connectivity of public transport. Plenty of taxis will be available for hardly an hour and half, drive from Bangalore.