June 29, 2017

Hiremagalur Kodanda Ram Temple

Chickmagalur, the land of coffee, is one of the most beautiful travel destinations of India. The word "Chikmagalur" means the land of younger daughter in Kannda language. There is a small town near Chikmagalur, which is called as Hiremagalur. This word means the land of elder daughter. In Hiremagalur, there is a big and ancient Ram temple is located. This article talks about this temple.

Kodanda Ram Temple is the top most attraction of Hiremagalur. The sanctum along with the beautiful sculptures on the walls of sanctum are the works of Hoysalas. It is dated to the 14th century CE. The Mukha mandap, tower and the other sub-shrines were later additions by Vijayanagaras and other Kings.

The neatly maintained east facing temple has five tiered tower. There are few stucco images on the tower. The images of Shankaracharya, Madhva and Ramanuja together are noticeable. Although these images are new, it is unusual to find the founders of three different schools of thought.

As per the legend, Parasuram lived in this town. Hence, the town was called as Bhargavapuri in those days. (Bhargava is another name of Parasuram). It is believed that Parasuram, who met Ram only after the latter's wedding, requested him to give the darshan of divine wedding. Accordingly, Ram held Sita on his right side and gave darshan to Parasuram. Ram also got his younger brother to his left side. To depict this legend, outside the temple complex, the life sized stucco images of Ram and Parasuram are found.

Even the atheist would turn a devotee by seeing the beautiful idols of Ram, Sita and Lakshman. My vocabulary is limited that I could not explain how exceptionally beautiful these images are. All these three images are very tall and additionally a small image of Hanuman is also found along with them in the sanctum. Ram and Lakshman carry bow in their arms and Sita is found at the right side of Ram. The bronze idols of Ram, Sita and Lakshman are also located in the sanctum.

The flag staff, bali peetha and Ram Paduka are found facing towards the sanctum. The metal idol of Hanuman (in the posture of Vahan) is also found facing towards the presiding deity.

In Maha Mandap, the big bronze idols of Srinivasa-Sri Devi-Bhoo Devi, Vishnu seated on Garud and Kaliya Nardana Krishna are located.

The temple has one prakara. There are many sub-shrines found in the prakara that include:

  • Rukmini-Panduranga
  • Vishnu
  • Yoga Narasimha (big idol)
  • Madhava in the standing posture
  • Venu Gopal
  • Ramanuja
  • Desikar
  • Tirumangai Alwar
  • Periyalwar
  • Lakshmi
  • Nammalvar
  • Hanuman
  • Navagraha (located outside the temple)

In this temple, we could always find devotees keep writing Sri Rama Jayam. The temple authorities have arranged the desks and writing materials to enable the devotees to do so.

The sculptures that are found on the walls of the sanctum are very beautiful. As mentioned earlier, they all belong to Hoysala's period. Most of the sculptures are related to Vaishnavism sect such as Narasimha, Krishna, Garud, Varaha, Vishnu, Lakshmi, Hanuman, etc.

The image of Ganesh is found in a niche.

Happy travelling.

June 28, 2017

Waterfalls near Mullayanagiri

Chikmagalur is truly a hidden gem of Karnataka state in India. The region is full of coffee fields surrounded by hills. This article focuses three specific waterfalls of Chikmagalur region.

Mullayanagiri is the highest peak of Karnataka state. It is a major tourist attraction. Baba Budan Giri is an important place of interest in this region. There are three waterfalls located between these two interesting sites.

Daddabe Falls, which is popularly called as Buttermilk Falls or Jhari Falls, is the first waterfalls that lies on the way to Baba Budan Giri from Mullayanagiri. It is located at a distance of around 17 kms from Mullayanagiri. The last 2-3 kms is allowed to be passed only by Jeeps. Private cars are not allowed beyond one point.

Honnamana Halla Waterfalls is very near to Buttermilk Falls. It lies right on the road that connects Baba Budan Giri. It is a small waterfalls. As it lies right on the road, a lot of tourists stop here and enjoy by taking shower under the falls.

Manikyadhara waterfalls is located at a distance of 3 kms from Baba Budan Giri. Upto Baba Budan Giri, the road is good. After that, there is literally no road. It is very rough and tough and even rocky. The waterfalls can be reached by climbing up many steps to reach the hilltop. The falls is also called as Nellikayi Teertha. It is sacred for Muslims and Hindus. It is believed that Dada Hayath formed this falls, as there was no water source near the caves of Baba Budan Giri. From this falls, one could get clear view of the scenic Devaramma hills.

Happy travelling.

June 27, 2017

Baba Budan Giri - Chikmagalur

Chikmagalur is truly the land of coffee in India. Baba Budan Giri, the hill which is located in Chikmagalur Karnataka state of India, is the site where coffee was first introduced in India. Not only about coffee, but this beautiful site has more things to talk about. Let me explore this unique site in detail in this article.

Baba Budan Giri is a hill in the Chandra Drona Mountain Range of the Western Ghats. It is located at a distance of around 27 kms from Mullayanagiri, the highest peak of Karnataka. Not only the regular tourists of Chikmagalur region, but also Hindu devotees and Muslim devotees visit Baba Budan Giri.  The scenic beauty of the location attracts the tourists. The spiritual value of this place which is sacred to both Hindus and Muslims attracts hundreds of devotees.

The Hindus believe that Dattatreya, the son of Tri Murtis, performed penance in the cave in this site. Hence, they consider the group of these three caves in this hill as sacred. They call this site as Datta giri or Datta peeta.

As per the Muslims, Dada Hayath a.k.a. Abdul Azeez Macci, a Sufi saint, who was believed to be a direct disciple of the Prophet, stayed in these caves in the 11th century CE. Later, in the 17th century CE, another Sufi saint Baba Budan, by name, also stayed in these caves. Hence, this site is considered as sacred by the Muslims.

This site is a unique one, which is worshiped by both Hindus and Muslims for many centuries.

Baba Budan is said to have brought coffee seeds from Arabia and planted them in this site. Thus, Baba Budan Giri is considered as the site where we had first coffee plantation in India.

The site has numerous tombs at the entrance. Photography is strictly prohibited beyond this point. The site is a group of three big caves. In one cave, the tombs of Baba Budan and three other Muslim saints are found. A mandap like structure made of sandalwood is found in another cave.  The devotees take sand from this cave as prasad.

Visiting these caves is a unique and pleasant experience for sure. In addition, it also provides a spectacular view of hills at the backdrop.

Happy travelling.

June 26, 2017

Kavikalgandi of Chikmagalur

Kavikalgandi is a prominent hill view point in Chikmagalur region. It is located at a distance of around 12 kms from Mullayanagiri, the highest peak of Karnataka. There is a check post in the road that connects Mullayanagir and Baba Budan Caves. Kavikalgandi horseshoe view point can be easily reached by climbing up about 50 steps from this check post.

At foothill, there is a small idol of Hanuman. Atop the hill, someone has recently drawn a painting of Swami Vivekananda. This hill is always windy and pleasant. It gives a breathtaking view of Chandra Drona mountain range.

Happy travelling.

June 24, 2017

Sitalayana Matha

Mullayanagiri is the highest peak of Karnataka state in India. At the foothill of Mullayangiri, at about 2.5 kms from there, Sitalayana Matha is located.

Sitalayana Matha is a temple. However, the site is visited by all tourists who travel to Chikmagalur region, thanks to its scenic location which acts as an excellent hill viewpoint. Sometimes, the tourists are not allowed till Mullayanagiri peak. They have to satisfy themselves with the aerial view of the nearby villages only from Sitalayana Matha.

The temple enshrines a Shiv Linga called as Sitalayana Mallikarjuna. The sanctum also enshrines the metal images of Shiva and Uma. The shrines of Utsava Ganapati and Veerabhadra are also found in the temple. In the prakara, there is a Vishnu image which has two lions on either sides.

Happy travelling.

June 23, 2017


Mullayanagiri is arguably the best place of interest in Chikmagalur region. With the height of 6316 feet above the sea level, Mullayanagiri is the highest peak of Karnataka state of India. This peak is located in the Chandra Drona Hill Ranges of the Western Ghats.

Chikmagalur is easily accessible by road and is located at a distance of around 20 kms from Chikmagalur town. This is considered as the trekker's paradise. The starting point for the 4 km trek is at a place called Sarpadhari. For those who do not trek, there is flight of steps which take them directly atop the hill.

On top of the hill as well as on the way to the hill, the view is breathtaking. It is one of the best places in Chikmagalur region to view sunset. The weather on the hill is mostly windy in all the seasons which makes this trekking as a wonderful experience.

Atop the hill, there is a small Shiv Linga temple. The temple also enshrines the idols of Uma, Ganesh and Hanuman.

It is said that a sage called Mullappa Swami used to perform penance inside a cave on this hill and the hill is named after him. The access to this cave is restricted nowadays.

A visit to Chikmagalur without climbing up this highest peak is incomplete.

Happy travelling.

June 21, 2017

Madras Progressive Union School

George Town or Black Town is one of the oldest settlements of Chennai city, which was established by the British. This congested and crowded area is dotted with a lot of historic buildings, streets and old temples. The Madras Progressive Union School is one of such structures that have heritage value.

The Madras Progressive Union Higher Secondary School is located in Audiappa Naicken Street. It was started in 1888 CE. It is one of the oldest surviving schools of Chennai city.

The two popular political parties of Tamil Nadu are named as Dravida Munnettra Kazhagam and Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam. And, in Tamil language, this school is called as Chennai Munnetra Kazhagam School. :-)

Happy travelling.

June 20, 2017

Adipatta Vinayakar Temple - Chennai

This temple, which is literally not known to the outside world, is located at the junction of Mint Street and Audiappa Naicken Street in Sowcarpet locality of Chennai city in India. Looking at the style of Dwarapalas and vimanas, I believe the period of the temple must be 18th century or 19th century CE. Nothing much is known about this temple. Well, if you ask me the name of this temple, that is also not known. The local people call this as Adipatta Vinayakar temple. The word "adipatta" means "beaten up" in Tamil language. I could not gather more details about the reason why this deity is called so.

This temple is literally hidden behind the shops and hardly any passerby could notice. There are regular visitors to this temple. They visit the temple not to get darshan of the deity. But, they just come here to draw drinking water and to have chit-chat. This temple has become a regular meeting point for such people.

The east facing temple has no tower. The sanctum enshrines Ganesh and his two consorts Siddhi and Buddhi. There are two more shrines located adjacent to the sanctum, which enshrine Vishwanatha Linga-Vishalakshi and Subramanya-Valli-Devasena. There is a separate south facing shrine for Vishalkshi. Ayyanar is found near this shrine.

The vimanas of all the three shrines look very old. Without renovation and paintings, they really look original and beautiful.

All the three shrines have koshta images on their outer walls.

Skanda and Idumban (?) are found as the niche images on the wall of Subramanya shrine.

Ganesha in different forms including the one with five heads are found as the niche images in the shrine of Ganesh.

Dakshinamurti, Vishnu, Brahma and Durga are the niche deities found on the wall of the shrine of Vishwanatha.

Navagraha is also found in this temple. The Dwarapalas images are very interesting and look unique.

It's a peaceful, beautiful and small temple.

Happy travelling.

June 16, 2017

Vridhagireeswar Temple - Chennai

Unamancheri is a small village located near Tambaram in the outskirts of Chennai city of Tamil Nadu state in India. In this village, there is a beautiful Vijayanagara period temple of Kodanda Ram is located. Hardly at a distance of about 200-300 meters from this temple, there is another ancient temple of Lord Shiva is located. This article is to focus on that temple.

Vridhagireeswar is the name of Shiva in this temple. This east facing temple does not have tower or flag staff.

Vridhagireeswar is a big Shiv Linga found in the east facing sanctum. Vridhamika is the Goddess, who is found in the separate south facing shrine. Both the shrines and the small Maha Mandap are situated inside an enclosure. The pillars in the Maha Mandap have many interesting sculptures. At the entrance of this entrance, the idols of Ganesh and Subramanya-Valli-Devasena are found.

Nandi mandap and bali peetha are found facing towards the sanctum. But the entrance to the enclosure is at the south direction. Hence, there is a wall between the east facing Shiv Linga and Nandi.

Nardana Ganapati, Dakshinamurit, Vishnu, Brahma and Durga are found as the Koshta Murtis. All are new idols and they do not seem to belong to the original period.

The idol of Bhairav and Navagrahas along with their respective vaahans are also found in this temple.

I heard that the copper plate inscriptions that are found in Kodanda Ram temple have references about this temple. It is believed that this temple was also built during the period of Krishnadeva Raya of Vijayanagara.

Happy travelling.

June 15, 2017

Periyandavar Temple - Chennai

This article is about a lesser known temple of a lesser known deity located in a lesser known site. Unamancheriy is a small village located at a distance of around 13 kms from Tambaram in the outskirts of Chennai in Tamil Nadu state of India. Kodanda Ram temple in this village is a beautiful Vijayanagara period temple. Behind the temple of Ram, there is a tank and if we cross the tank, we could reach Periyandavar temple.

Who is Periyandavar? As I mentioned in few other articles earlier, we could probably count the Vedic deities of Hinduism, but it is not possible to count the village deities (Grama devta). There are innumerable village deities all over India. In Tamil Nadu, Madurai Veeran, Ayyanar and Muneeswaran are some of the famous village deities. Periyandavar is also a village deity of Tamil Nadu, but he is lesser known. He is found in few villages in Kanchipuram and Chenglepet localities. Periyandavar is considered as the incarnation or form of Lord Shiva. As per the legend, due to a curse by Uma, Shiva took the form of a human and wandered on the earth. This form of Shiva is called as Periyandavar.

In this village called Unamanchery, a small temple of Periyandavar is located. This is small temple which enshrines a big stone idol of Periyandavar and a much bigger stucco image of the same deity behind the stone idol. Periyandavar is found in the standing posture. He has four arms and holds whip and sword in his upper arms. He sports a big mustache.

The temple also enshrines the idols of Uma Maheswari, Ganesh and Subramanya-Valli-Devasena.

Below the stone idol of Periyandavar, a small Mukha Linga is found. It also represents Periyandavar. Adhikara Nandi with his palms folded is found facing towards the presiding deity.

This temple is situated in a proper village setup and is very peaceful. It is surrounded by paddy fields, trees and few hills at the backdrop.

The temples of Nagathamman and Gangai Amman are situated near this temple.

Happy travelling.