Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Pearls from Crown of Karnataka...

We can spend days together arguing on- “Location” vs. “Place”. I say, every location may not be beautiful. But, every place is always beautiful. This time around, when monsoon was about to set, I enjoyed a two day vacation in one such place, exploring Gulbarga, chest of Red grams, and Bidar, crown of Karnataka (Trust me, both place looked more to be in Maharashtra!), and also visiting Mantralayam, in Andhra Pradesh (Trust me, it looked more like a place in Karnataka!)
Gurudwara Nanak Jhira Saheb

That Saturday was legendary, interviewing two achievers for KnowYourStar.com and attending a family function. Train was scheduled at 9pm from Yeshwantpur. 8pm around, 6 of our friends were waiting for me and my cousin, who was in a hospital consulting with a doctor for the sudden health upset of his mother. We ended up missing the train, for the first time! When situation got under control, we searched for tickets and luckily, were able to book last 2 seats of an Airavat travelling to Mantralayam, starting in less than an hour. I took a deep breath after catching the bus, 5 min prior to its departure!
Bidar Fort Entrance

Sunday, 6.30am, we arrived in Mantralayam, to visit Guru Raghavendra Swami Vrindavanam. It’s built somewhere in 18th century, interestingly, while entering the Vrindavana, Guru Raghavendra Swami stated that he would be there (in the Vrindavana) for 700 years! It was heartening to see the wall pictures (around 30) depicting life of Guru Raghavendra Swami and his previous incarnations tracing back to Bhakta Prahlada and Madvacharya(known for Dwaitha philosophy). River Tungabhadra looked dry but the cloud filled sky made sure that we didn’t encounter the heat this place is known for!

After a heavy breakfast in “Pannaga Udupi Hotel”, we set off to Gulbarga- via Raichur. An hour of bus journey took us to Raichur and to reach Gulbarga, it was a train journey of 4 hours. This is where I penned down…
I see blue horizon kissing soil,
Arch in Bidar Fort
Glittering black fertile soil…
Those scarcely flowing waters,
Midst occasional tall single trees…
I saw an immensely blessed soul,
Toiling under the Sun for our life…
Ensuring us a square of meal,
Forming backbone with his torn attire…
I saw an immensely blessed soul…
Monday morning, after catching well deserved 4 hours of sleep; we were ready for Bidar, couple of hours away from Gulbarga. Bidar indeed had lot to give. We first visited Gurudwara Nanak Jhira Saheb, built by none other than Guru Nanak, around 500 years ago. Pond of never drying clear water, Punjabi neighborhoods and surprisingly, green landscapes. Peaceful delight!

Then we went to the highlight of this trip, a Narasimha temple in a cave. We were in our regular jeans and t-shirt. Guards stopped us when we entered, advising us to change our clothes for better. We found a locker room and just wore a towel to cover our lower half. We entered a cave which was at least 8 feet below the ground. Bats were flying and this cave of approx. 500mtr length, took us by surprise as soon we entered with its water level- almost close to my chest (say 5ft. from ground!). After making our way, we saw the Lord Narasimha at the end of the cave. Storyline goes like this- a demon named Jalasura was killed by Lord Narasimha and for his salvation, Jalasura exists in the form of water in this cave of the Lord.
Narasimha Temple

After changing the clothes, we visited Bidar fort, built by Bahamani rulers and later altered by Aurangzeb of Mughals. Master piece with limited premises open for public. Museum here is really astonishing, with guns to barrels to wooden works to Stone Age utensils to craft works, delight for any art lover. Once we found that it’s too big, even to explore limited premises, we gave up and left to last place for the day in our list, Papanashini Shiva Temple, believed to be worshipped by Lord Rama after his victory over Raavan and Sita Parityaga, to overcome the wrath he gained. This place had serene lake and we decided to trek to the main road, and it was very enjoyable.
Bidar Palace

All the places in Bidar were in radius of 5kms and we (7 of us) travelled in a single auto rickshaw, unbelievable but true! Once we returned to Gulbarga, we visited Market area for special Paani Puris and delicious snacks. Later in the night we caught the train back to Bangalore.

If you are pondering over the missing Sunday night, here it is- it was a jovial occasion of Nikah of our dear friend, colleague at KnowYourStar.com. Special mention for the ambience of hall, KBN guest house, Saath tombs, tasty dinner, amazing weather and loads of fun together, indeed, it was definitely great place to be!

[Wishing Iqlas Ameen and Roohina a happy married life. Thanks to Sharath P R, Kiran E, Vinod B, Basanth S, Ravinder A, Ambarish, Jaikrishna for being part of it. Photo Credits: Sharath P R]