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Old 10th October 2009, 17:23   #16
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Originally Posted by Majic View Post
Nice travlelogue,splendid narration , exceptional photos especially that of the sculputres of Belur and Halebid. I had been to the place aroudn 12 years back, it looks like it is standing in time. Looking forward to more posts on this thread, continue doing the good work
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Originally Posted by Indian Ranger View Post
Excellent Photographs and wonderful shot by shot narration. The photographs of the architecture both inside and outside are taken wonderfully trying to capture the minutest details. This is lot of work and need patience. Many thanks to you.

I had visited Belur-Halebeedu about 3 years back and brings back all those wonderful memories. Wish to visit this place again some time next year. Keep posting your experiences and sharing those wonderful photos.

I am glued to this thread.
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Wonderful travelogue with exception photos and explanations!

Good show, DaiusPitar!
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Originally Posted by nithinnarayanan View Post
Very good Travelogue. Waiting for the remaining part

Thank you all. Its been as great writing this as it has been visiting the place. Its almost like reliving the visit. One has to really face up, close and personal, to these magnificient complexes to comprehend what works of art they truly are. My fear has been that people who have not been to these places may not be able to appreciate what I am attempting to describe here.

But now that I am back in Mumbai and work, its taking time to sort out the snaps and choose which ones to display, which ones to write about. Its going to be a long haul. And the worst part is that I now seem to have forgotten the stories and myths behind many of the things in the complexes.

Standing there and noting everything is a full day's job. And tiring too. Thankfully, my wife seemed to be taken in by my interest in appreciating these places and shared and participated in it too. It would definitely have been a different story if not for her support and enthusiasm.
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Old 10th October 2009, 17:31   #17
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Default 5: Halebid - Hoysaleswara Temple - 26th Aug '09 - I

5: Halebid - Hoysaleswara Temple - 26th Aug '09 - I

Next stop after lunch, Halebid
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Hoysaleswara temple is a temple dedicated to Hindu God Shiva. When the Chennakesava temple emerged in Belur in A.D. 1117, it
converted Belur into the religious centre of the Hoysala kingdom, overshadowing the metropolis, Dorasamudra, or present-day Halebid. This apparently provided some serious provocation to the wealthy and influential Saiva citizenry of Dorasamudra. The initiative, leadership and a major chunk of the resources for the construction of this temple came from the merchant - aristocracy, the prominent of whom were Ketamalla and Kesarasetti and not from the ruling king (as at Belur).
Ketamalla, a minister of Vishnuvardhana the Hoysala ruler, also built the Mahabaleshwar temple at Chamundi Hills near Mysore.
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It is at least three to four times bigger than the Chennakesava temple in Belur. In fact it was the largest Siva temple built by the Hoysalas.

The construction at Halebid was completed in 1121 CE. The history of Dorasamudra, the capital, begins in the middle of the 11th century with the excavation of a tank on the bank of which the Hoysalesvara temple was later located. This means that the Dorasamudra tank preceded the Hoysalesvara temple by about three-quarters of a century. The tank in the backdrop:
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During the early 14th century, Halebidu was the sacked and looted by the armies of Malik Kafur, after which it fell into a state of disrepair and neglect. Malik Kafur is remembered in history as the cruel but brilliant eunuch lover/general of Allaudin Khilji. He was also called Hazari Dinar Kafur. The story goes that Khilji, was attracted to Kafur for his effeminate beauty. So he purchased him for a hazar dinar, castrated him, converted him to Islam and made him his lover.
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Old 10th October 2009, 21:26   #18
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Daius...wow man a detailed report and nice pictures too.
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Old 10th October 2009, 21:53   #19
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Default 5: Halebid - Hoysaleswara Temple - 26th Aug '09 - II

5: Halebid - Hoysaleswara Temple - 26th Aug '09 - II

The temple is a simple dvikuta vimana (two shrined), one for "Hoysaleswara" and the other for "Shantaleswara" (after Shantala Devi, queen of king Vishnuvardhana) and is built with chloritic chist (Soapstone, also known as potstone). The two shrines which are adjoining, face east and each have a mantapa (hall) in front. The two mantapas are connected giving a large and imposing view of the hall. Individually, each shrine is smaller than the one at the Chennakesava Temple at Belur and contains a simple linga, the universal symbol of Shiva.

The temple has four porches for entry and the one normally used by visitors as main entry today is actually a lateral entrance (north). There is one entry on the south side and two on the east side, facing two large detached open pavilions whose ceiling is supported by lathe turned pillars. All entry porches have miniature shrines as flanking. The pavilions enshrine large images of Nandi, the bull, an attendant of Shiva. The two Nandi's are supposedly the 7th and 8th largest Nandi's in any temple complex in India.

The entry on the south side which was the original entrance in to the temple.
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A view of the complex from the South East
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An 8 ft (2.4 m) tall sculpture of Ganesha including the platform rests at the South entrance. People used to worship here first before entering the temple complex.
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One of the east side entrances facing "Shantaleswara".
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"Shantaleswara". Note the simplicity of the design within the temple complex and around the shrine. This is in extremely stark contrast to Belur. On the other Belur does not even come close to the grandeur of Helbid complex outside.
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Another view of the east side entrance for "Shantaleswara".
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A view from the "Hoysaleswara" 'Nandi' pavillion of the east entrance facing "Shantaleswara" with its Nandi pavillion.
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The 'Nandi' facing "Shantaleswara". Note the detailed sculptured ornamentation, far more than in the 'Nandi' facing "Hoysaleswara".
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Note the defacing of the 'Nandi' by our infamous 'useless publics' as the guide put it.
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An interesting incident along the same lines; we noticed a young woman crossing the rope to the Nandi seemingly to touch it. For some reason my wife was curious and asked her what she was about. The woman, standing beside her proud and encouraging family, replied that she was going to etch her name along with that of her family especially because she was going to be married soon. My wife just lost it and in the resulting commotion the security guards rushed in (fortunately they have that here :-)). They too got furious (happily so for us) and drove this group out of the temple complex.

Another view of the east side entrance for "Hoysaleswara".
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The 'Nandi' facing "Hoysaleswara".
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A view of the Nandi from within the "Hoysaleswara" complex.
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The "Hoysaleswara" door was shut at the time unfortunately.
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The Sun God Surya in his sanctuary behind the above Nandi; this image stands 7 ft (2.1 m) tall.
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Old 10th October 2009, 21:55   #20
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Daius...wow man a detailed report and nice pictures too.
Thanks there lohithrao!!
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Old 10th October 2009, 22:11   #21
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Default 5: Halebid - Hoysaleswara Temple - 26th Aug '09 - III

5: Halebid - Hoysaleswara Temple - 26th Aug '09 - III

The outer walls have two eaves that run around the temple. The top eaves is at the roof of the temple and the second eaves about a meter below. In between there are decorated miniature towers (aedicule). Below the lower eaves are the wall sculptures and eight friezes. This type of relief work is called horizontal treatment.
Each of the eight friezes carries an array of decoration. Going from the bottom where the temple wall meets the platform, the lowest frieze depicts charging elephants which symbolise strength and stability, above which, in order, are friezes with lions which symbolise courage, floral scrolls as decoration, horses for speed, another band of floral scrolls, depiction of Hindu epics, makara (beasts) and finally a frieze with hansas (swans). No two animals are alike in a total frieze span of over 200 m.
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The below pics show how the artisans made use of corners, recesses and the height of the walls to accentuate the work.
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Another perspective from below the jagati (platform) to show the impressive outer wall
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A perspective of how the friezes run the entire course of the temple
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One row in particular is intended for public education. How thoughtful...
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And, this is how we do it !!!

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Another interesting object in the temple complex is the rare Garuda Sthamba (Garuda pillar). These are different from virgals (hero stones). Garudas were elite bodyguards of the kings and queens. They moved and lived with the royal family and their only purpose was to protect their master. Upon the death of their master, they committed suicide. The rare pillar on the south side depicts heroes brandishing knives and cutting their own heads. The inscription honors Kuruva Lakshma, a bodyguard of Veera Ballala II. A devoted officer, he took his life and that of his wife and other bodyguards after the death of his master. This event is narrated in an old Kannada inscription on the pillar. "No one before," reads the record, "has set up such a vira-sasana as king Ballala's great minister."
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Old 10th October 2009, 22:16   #22
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absolutely brilliant man.. these pictures are more than required for a good tour with your narration!!
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Old 10th October 2009, 22:19   #23
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Default 5: Halebid - Hoysaleswara Temple - 26th Aug '09 - IV

5: Halebid - Hoysaleswara Temple - 26th Aug '09 - IV

The Hoysaleswara temple is most well-known for its wall sculptures that run all along the outer wall, starting with an image of dancing Ganesha on the left hand side of the south entrance and ending with another image of Ganesha on the right hand side of the north entrance. In all there are 240 such images.

The below pic is the south entrance. Note the dancing Ganesha on the left corner. Sorry, no close up. Overlooked this one. It is the first in the series of wall sculptures. Note the torana atop arising from the mouth of the makaras similar to the ones at Belur. Also note the level of detail in the door-keepers.
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The final Ganesha on the right hand side of the north entrance (todays main entrance). A key point of this Ganesha is that he is turned towards his right. By iconographic and mythological ideas, Ganesha is rarely seen looking to the right and such an image is not kept and worshipped at homes. This representation of Ganesha is unique because it supposedly represents all that is spiritually pure, good and divine in this world. Something that we cannot realistically aspire to in our lives. I forget the Puranic tale which brigns about this concept.
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The entire wall between the two Ganeshas above is conceived as a picture gallery, intended to meet the needs of every one who visits it. The most remarkable achievement of the Hoysala artist is in the manner in which he has captured the Ramayana and the Mahabharata, and the main episodes of the Bhagavata.

In the middle portion of the wall, the entire pantheon of Hindu divinities are presented. It is a manual of Hindu iconography, especially of Siva.

Brahma, Shiva and Vishnu. Note Shiva is in the centre, because this temple is in his honour.
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Shiva with his consort and her ride
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Shiva with Parvati. Note that Nandi is irritated shown by the wide open eyes and raised tail. This is to seemingly suggest that he is Shiva's ride only and does not want to be shared by Parvati too.
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Krishna holding up Mt. Govardhana
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Indra on Airavat. Note Airavat's flapping ears, tail, raised leg to convey a running motion.
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The familiar Narasimha avatar pulling out the intestines of Hiranyakasipu. But without the pleading Garuda
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Old 10th October 2009, 22:26   #24
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Default 5: Halebid - Hoysaleswara Temple - 26th Aug '09 - V

5: Halebid - Hoysaleswara Temple - 26th Aug '09 - V

Shiva dancing inside the demon Gajamukasura. Note that he is inside the elephant demon by way of the two legs on the top. In fact the level of detail is such that you can see Shiva's left thumb coming out of the elephant's skin on top. I couldnt capture that on camera.
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A horribly emaciated dancing Kali. Note the ghoul on Kali's left
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Durga slaying the buffalo demon (Mahisasuramardini)
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Varaha avatar of Vishnu killing Hiranyaksha and rescuing Goddess Earth on his shoulder.
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Vamana avatar of Vishnu. The first one showing the great King Mahabali solemnising his promise of three steps of land with the ritualistic water drops. Note Sukracharya pleading with Mahabali to stop and not make the promise.
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Mahabali offering his head for the third step because Vamana had grown big and occupied all space between earth and heaven in two steps itself. Note Mahabali's eyes popping out with fear whilst keeping up his promise.
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Arjuna fighting the Kauravas while his son Abhimanyu is now well and truly caught inside the Chakravyuh.
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Bhima killing the elephants sent against him by the Kauravas with his mace and tossing their dead bodies in a heap to his rear
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Somebody get an Indian Dan Brown to begin here or what?
Symbologists, iconographists, epigraphists, conspiracy theorists!! I command thee to have a blast of your life beginning here!!!

And finally, moi at the Hoysaleswara Nandi pavillion
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Old 10th October 2009, 23:00   #25
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Default 6: Acknowledgements

6: ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

Firstly, within TEAM-BHP..... Samurai san

His amazingly excellent thread on Hampi quite a while back was my inspiration for the Belur Halebid trip.

Unfortunately, I could not access any books or published literature on the two complexes. My research was based on various sources from the net. Hence, given my deficiency of any background in history, I have copied texts from these sources. It is only in fairness that I present the links that I have used.

Text: Gerard Foekema Images: Jayashree Kannikeswaran
Belur Chennakesava Temple - Karnataka

Text and Images: Shruti Nanavaty
Belur Chennakesava Temple - Karnataka

Dr. K. L. Kamat
Kamat's Potpourri: Temples of Belur

Chennakesava Temple - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Hoysaleswara Temple - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Vishnuvardhana - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

An excellent article on both the complexes in 'The Hindu' interview of Professor S. Settar by Parvathi Menon
Hoysala heritage

Lastly, the details of each of the 38 madanikas on the outer wall of the Belur complex is available at:
Visit Belur Channakeshava Temple

Now, further on to the rest of my road trip in a non-historical vein...
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Old 10th October 2009, 23:44   #26
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Default captive narration

Many kudos for this wonderful and captive narration. I appreciate the time and effort you have put in for this. This travelogue actually rekindled my interest in these historical places and hope to revisit soon.
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Old 12th October 2009, 09:07   #27
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Default 7: Halebid - Mysore - Ooty - Cochin - 26th-27th Aug '09

7: Halebid - Mysore - Ooty - Cochin - 26th-27th Aug '09

We left Halebid and proceeded towards Mysore, our rendezvous point with my in-laws who were to reach Hotel Dasaprakash from Chennai.

En route to Mysore
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An attempt to capture the beautiful sunset
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One thing, all the roads we had travelled on inside Karnataka so far had been fantastic. Except the bad village roads that we drifted on to in our first day. The route we took was Hassan-Holenarsipur-Mysore. No offence, but I was always curious about how you pronounce the second place we passed through.

After a big noisy reunion at Hotel Dasaprakash that drew quite a few of the hotel staff curious about the commotion, we wound up the night after a few rounds of French Napoleon brandy. Now this was the second time I was trying brandy. The first being in Kabini just a few days earlier, where my wife recommended a concoction of Mansion House Brandy with Hot Water + Honey + ground Black Pepper. The mansion house tasted bad on its own, but in this combination it was actually great and halted the
progress of the cold I felt I was getting. This Napoleon brandy on other hand actually tasted damn good and is supposedly close to cognacs (I am told there is an indian version of Napoleon too, so important to stress the French connection here).

Any other recommendations on brands of brandy to try? I dont think its easy to get hold on brandy here in Mumbai. It must be a south indian fancy.

One outcome of the brandy was our jamming one of the wrong hotel room keys in to the door of another room. that was fun and embarassing. But the hotel staff was understanding of our disposition at the time, probably because it was a big family together.

My take on Hotel Dasaprakash. This is the place to be if you are not looking for star rated creature comforts and ambience. Instead, this hotel is cheaper than most and has clean rooms, clean linens, clean but old bathrooms. For some reason, the old style design of the building gives it some character that it is lacking in many of the other 'modern' hotels like Ginger Mysore for a similar price. It may not be the best place for a fantastic honeymoon, but as a decent stopover on route to sightseeing Mysore or travelling elsewhere its perfect.

After some stressful packing in the morning after a heavy breakfast we managed to leave for Cochin via at around 11.30am. The first stop was to be Ooty to drop off my father-in-law for some veterinary college reunion and for lunch. The plan was to reach Ooty by the 36 hair pin route via Masinagudi and leave via the Gudalur-Nilambur route.

Now, this is the amount of luggage that we had. In addition to the 6 adults.
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One of the hotel boys, atop the safari giving me a scare
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Domesticated Gaur en route, Bos Gaurus Frontalis, in contrast to the wild species at Kabini.
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Before we begin the 36 hairpin bend drive up to Ooty.
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We stopped at the what i am told is the cliched "Hotel Nahar's" for lunch. In our case it was the only decent hotel still serving lunch around 2.30. Ooty town was too commercialised for my liking. We left Ooty at around 4/4.30 for Cochin. The drive was through the Gudalur-Nilambur stretch passing via the Pykara dam.

And let me tell you, this bit was among the most scenic drives so far. Possibly because it was the rainy season. More so because this was restricted forest land. The forests seemed almost primary rainforest type. Dense and thick and beautiful. I tried to capture this at a piss-stop but did not succeed.
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The route we adopted to Cochin from Ooty was slightly different.
Gudalur
Nilambur
Wandoor
Pandikkad
Pattikad
Perinthalmanna
Pattambi
Thrissur
and finally
NH 47 to Ernakulam

The Gudalur to Nilambur stretch was awesome. After Nilambur we took this diversion off the main highway and took another route from Wandoor to Pattambi which passed through villages with decent roads. Pattambi to Thrissur was bad at night. But the worst was the under-construction NH 47 from Thrissur to Ernakulam. I made the mistake of not asking our folks at Cochin for the route from Ooty and had just adopted that given in Google Maps. We finally reached Cochin around 11.30 pm with a substantial stressful time having been spent on the Thrissur-EKM stretch.
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Old 12th October 2009, 09:56   #28
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Hey daiuspitar,, you just got me spenting 1hour going through your travelogue, none the less, it has come out very good.Kudos to pictures taken at Halebid, the sculptors are really very beautiful, interesting education on stones. I remember Dasprakash, used to stop there for lunch long time back. I was wondering why you had opted for the Gudalur - Nilambur route when the Mettupalayam route was much quicker, well it is good that you took the longer route but were able to enjoy the scenic beauty.Looking forward to more postings on this thread!
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Old 13th October 2009, 09:18   #29
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Originally Posted by amritnoronha View Post
absolutely brilliant man.. these pictures are more than required for a good tour with your narration!!
Quote:
Originally Posted by bkishore_77 View Post
Many kudos for this wonderful and captive narration. I appreciate the time and effort you have put in for this. This travelogue actually rekindled my interest in these historical places and hope to revisit soon.
Thanks amritnoronha, bkishore_77. You must check out these places at some point.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Majic View Post
Hey daiuspitar,, you just got me spenting 1hour going through your travelogue, none the less, it has come out very good.Kudos to pictures taken at Halebid, the sculptors are really very beautiful, interesting education on stones. I remember Dasprakash, used to stop there for lunch long time back. I was wondering why you had opted for the Gudalur - Nilambur route when the Mettupalayam route was much quicker, well it is good that you took the longer route but were able to enjoy the scenic beauty.Looking forward to more postings on this thread!
Again thanks Majic. I took the Gudalur-Nilambur route on purpose after browsing through the threads on the Ooty routes here on TBHP.
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Old 13th October 2009, 09:44   #30
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Extremely well written travelogue and nice pics too! Waiting for more!

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The route we adopted to Cochin from Ooty was slightly different.
=======
NH 47 to Ernakulam
I think a shorter route would have been the more standard Ooty-Coonoor-Mettupalayam-Coimbatore bypass-Palakkad-Thrissur-Cochin route.
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Blr-s'belagola-belur/halebid-coorg magiceye Route / Travel Queries 10 21st November 2007 15:37


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