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Old 17th January 2010, 09:46   #1
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Cool Pandavapura & Srirangapatana : A day's tryst with history

With the New Year in full swing, and the monotony of work back in our heads, we cherish memories of being away from work and the little pleasures that travel brings to our otherwise existence.

As rightly put forward in the Tata Safari ad, "If you look back at your life, what would you remember?". Well, we certainly do not own a Safari as yet, but then our thoughts are not limited to the vehicle we drive, but to how much we utilize whatever we drive. It was with such a thought that we set about for a little outing to get away from the holds of Bangalore, even if for a day. The fact that my 9 month old daughter is already a travel-bug and totally enjoys drives only added to the enthusiasm.

All the while i was snooping around the quick getaways from Bangalore thread, and when member sdp_1975 posted about a place called Pandavapura, i decided to check out the place. A big thanks to him for providing me with the route details as well as a brief idea on the place.

Here is an excerpt from Wikipedia:
Quote:
The name 'Pandavapura' means "Town of Pandavas". Mythology states that the Pandavas during their period of exile stayed here for sometime, and Kunti, mother of the Pandavas, liked the hillock so much that it became one of her favorite haunts. The town is also named after the Pandavas because of their brief stay in this region. The name "French Rock" dates back to India's Pre-Independence days, the place was used as the camping ground by the French army, which came to help Tippu Sultan in his war against the British. It is believed that French named the small town as "French Rocks", as the town is in the vicinity of two rocky hills. After Indian Independence these rocky hills called as "Kunti Betta" by locals.

Pandavapura is approximately 130 km from Bangalore and 25 km from Mysore. It is a perfect destination for weekend get away.

Pandavapura town is surrounded by well known tourist spots.

Following are tourist spots:

1. Kere Thonnur
2. Melkote
3. Krishnaraja Sagar
4. Kunti Betta
Here is another writeup, i came across about the place:

Quote:
Tonnur or Tondanur, as it was originally known, is a small village near Pandavapura in Mandya District. It played a great role in the history of Karnataka after the arrival of Sri Ramanujacharya, the great Srivaishnava saint and reformer of the 12th Century, to this place. The fact that Sri Ramanuja, after leaving Srirangam entered Mysore through the hills of Nilgiri, visited Saligrama village and stayed for several years at Tonnur before finally arriving at Melkote, accounts for the importance of this place as a pilgrim centre.

Very near the village is a large lake constructed by embanking the gorge between two adjacent hillocks. This artificial lake was named Tirumala Sagara after Sri Ramanuja, who is supposed to have conceived the design. The height of the dam is about 230 metres and the length about 150 metres. Legend has it that Ramanujacharya made a way for the water outflow by breaking the hillock with the help of his tridanda or walking stick.

The outflow of the lake, which emerges through a narrow passage, creates a waterfall known as Ramanuja Gange or Tonnur Madaga. One can get a beautiful view of the lake from the top of the hillock, which is called as Padmagiri.

The water flowing from the channel irrigates a vast land below the tank. The clear water, when it reflects the sky on a clear day, is breathtaking. The landscape around the tank further highlights the panorama. Nasir Jung, the Mughal Subedar of Deccan who visited this place in 1746, described the lake as Moti Talab or the "pearl lake". This calm place is ideal for day picnics.
Link : The Hindu : Metro Plus Bangalore / Travel : Sacred and serene


With these as the base, our plan was put forth, and only needed to be executed.

A preview of the Tonnur lake:

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Old 17th January 2010, 23:37   #2
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Called up fellow member and friend unni.ak and the plan was set. We decided to set out to visit the place on the weekend.

Travelling with a little kid means that even for a one day trip, the preparations required are immense. Gone are the days when wifey and me just said "Lets Go!" and just took off to whatever destination we chose.

I asked Unni to get to my place by 7 AM in the morning, and when he rang the bell right on time, i was astounded, since IST is usually expanded to Indian Stretchable Time by many, including me at times. Had breakfast at my place, and having packed the infant's stuff, we were off by 8:30AM. Not bad when you consider that i estimated our departure only around 9AM.

Since the place was off Mysore Road, we decided to cut through the city to hit Mysore road, and thankfully our decision was justified as traffic was not too much of a bother. Hit the highway, and we observe the usual lot of Bangy registered cars make their way out of the city as is the case on any weekend.

The ikon was purring along with the A/C turned on since it appeared to be a sunny day. In between, the sun played hide-n-seek behind some clouds and we hoped it stayed in hiding for longer. We made it to Mandya in decent time, and decided to have some food at Mandya itself before we go off the highway since we were told by sdp_1975 that good hotels are hard to come by once we get off the highway.

The directions we had were as follows:

From Bangalore, get onto the Mysore highway till Mandya. Once you cross Mandya, approximately 10 kms later on the left side of the road, you'd come across a board in English pointing towards the right for Pandavapura. Take the right and you get onto a 2 lane road which is in good condition. This road twists and turns and meanders its way across farms and sugar cultivations. You'd really enjoy driving along this stretch.

Here are some pics clicked along the way

Pandavapura & Srirangapatana : A day's tryst with history-img_7159.jpg

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Watch out for villagers who have placed hay on the road for it to be dried and grounded. On a couple of occasions, i decided to play the sadist and took the car off the road and drove along the shoulder just to avoid driving over the hay.

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Old 17th January 2010, 23:56   #3
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Keep following this road and as it keeps going, you'll also cross a railway crossing, and you'll need to ask for Tonnur Kere or Tonnur Lake. Approximately 10 kms since we got off the Mysore highway we approach the limits of Pandavapura. Road conditions slightly deteriorate, but you shouldnt really have much of a problem. Slowly, you begin a climb and what you see first are a couple of temples of historical importance about which i shall cover later. You also cross the Tonnur dam along the way.

Since we really didnt have too much of an idea about the place and what to expect, we decided to just follow the road, and see where it leads. There was another gradual climb, and as the road dipped, what lay before us was inviting. The lake to our left had cast a magical spell over us, and we decided to stop and just trek around.

Pandavapura & Srirangapatana : A day's tryst with history-img_7202.jpg

From what we saw, this place isnt too famous with the Bangalore crowd as yet, and with just us around we could realy enjoy the serenity. All this while, the sun was enjoying its game of peekaboo which made it possible to enjoy the locales without being bothered by the heat. Since the little one was hungry we soaked in the picnic atmosphere as she went about her lunch. She was truly enjoying the experience, and jumping with joy expressing delight in whatever ways she knew.

After spending some time clicking pics, and generally doing nothing, we decided to move on and explore what lay futher ahead. Followed the same road and futher ahead we found a place where we could get the car down close to the banks of the lake for some pics. The process involved a fair bit of offroading but we decided to proceed only after carefully evaluating and ensuring there would be no damage to the car.

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Camera was called into action, and pictures clicked to treasure the memories of the trip. By now, it was beginning to get hot, and with an infant in our midst, we didnt want to expose her to too much of the sun. After enjoying the serenity of the place, we moved on, making sure the car climbed back onto the road with no mishaps.

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Old 18th January 2010, 12:32   #4
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Good to see that you have started off on the travelogue. In fact, yesterday another friend and family visited the same place, almost identical itinerary as ours, and thoroughly enjoyed the no-crowd, peace experience. More than anything it is the laid back atmosphere of the whole place that makes it attractive.

Quote:
Originally Posted by benbsb29 View Post
I asked Unni to get to my place by 7 AM in the morning, and when he rang the bell right on time, i was astounded, since IST is usually expanded to Indian Stretchable Time by many, including me at times.
When travel is involved, I'm punctual!!
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Old 18th January 2010, 12:38   #5
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Nice preview of my old town.Waiting for full travelouge
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Old 18th January 2010, 14:28   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by unni.ak View Post
Good to see that you have started off on the travelogue. In fact, yesterday another friend and family visited the same place, almost identical itinerary as ours, and thoroughly enjoyed the no-crowd, peace experience. More than anything it is the laid back atmosphere of the whole place that makes it attractive.
Quite true! In fact, all we knew about the place when starting out was that there was a lake, and a couple of temples.

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Nice preview of my old town.Waiting for full travelouge
Shishir, thats nice to know. You belong to this place, or just lived there?
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Old 18th January 2010, 14:41   #7
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Wow! Good to see a travelouge on Thonnur Kere.

I too had been there yesterday and was near the Thonnur Kere for almost the whole day..

Good news is that the Thonnur Kere and the surrounding areas will soon be developed by my Bro-In-Law into a full fledged tourist spot. Govt. of Karnataka has sanctioned funds for it.
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Old 18th January 2010, 14:41   #8
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Originally Posted by benbsb29 View Post
Shishir, thats nice to know. You belong to this place, or just lived there?
@ben, I am from mysore.The distance from mysore is just 20/25 kms.It was like living there only.We used to go to these places frequently.
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Old 18th January 2010, 15:43   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by arun1100 View Post
Wow! Good to see a travelouge on Thonnur Kere.

I too had been there yesterday and was near the Thonnur Kere for almost the whole day..

Good news is that the Thonnur Kere and the surrounding areas will soon be developed by my Bro-In-Law into a full fledged tourist spot. Govt. of Karnataka has sanctioned funds for it.
Whats the scale of the development and when does it start? Any idea whats being planned?

I just hope converting the lake to a tourist spot is done without much damage to the natural surroundings of the place. Between, i do see enormous potential since its highly untapped.

Quote:
Originally Posted by shishir_bn View Post
@ben, I am from mysore.The distance from mysore is just 20/25 kms.It was like living there only.We used to go to these places frequently.
I find living in Mysore itself quite peaceful, so i can only imagine how good it feels in Tonnur.
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Old 18th January 2010, 15:51   #10
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ben my friend - very nicely written and some lovely photos too.
glad to see the sylvan beauty of these places continues to remain undisturbed at least as of now!
cheers
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Old 18th January 2010, 16:00   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by benbsb29 View Post
Whats the scale of the development and when does it start? Any idea whats being planned?

I just hope converting the lake to a tourist spot is done without much damage to the natural surroundings of the place. Between, i do see enormous potential since its highly untapped.
The project is scheduled to start before March i.e in this financial year, as funds have already been sanctioned.

The development is mainly on landscaping the whole area(1500 acres) , asphalting the roads, parking area, fencing near the water falls and staff for collecting parking, entry fees and security guards..

Besides these, water rides are also being planned.
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Old 18th January 2010, 16:19   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by arun1100 View Post
The project is scheduled to start before March i.e in this financial year, as funds have already been sanctioned.

The development is mainly on landscaping the whole area(1500 acres) , asphalting the roads, parking area, fencing near the water falls and staff for collecting parking, entry fees and security guards..

Besides these, water rides are also being planned.
So finally the development of this place is going to start.This news came up almost 10-12 years back. Atleast this time if it is started then it will be a good tourist place IMO.
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Old 18th January 2010, 16:30   #13
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Development of the area though welcome, will make it crowded. It is ideal now for a picnic. Pack your food from home or some where on the way, drive to the waters edge and enjoy the quiet.
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Old 18th January 2010, 18:54   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by shankar.balan View Post
ben my friend - very nicely written and some lovely photos too.
glad to see the sylvan beauty of these places continues to remain undisturbed at least as of now!
cheers
Thanks a lot, Shankar. Nature in its true form is always beautiful. Human intervention is what robs it off its sheen.

Quote:
Originally Posted by arun1100 View Post
The project is scheduled to start before March i.e in this financial year, as funds have already been sanctioned.

The development is mainly on landscaping the whole area(1500 acres) , asphalting the roads, parking area, fencing near the water falls and staff for collecting parking, entry fees and security guards..

Besides these, water rides are also being planned.
Boating facilities would be quite suitable for Tonnur lake, since the waters are really calm, and thereby no extra effort to pedal against the currents.
Landscaping, along with a park setup will make the place all the more appealing to the weekend trippers.

Quote:
Originally Posted by shishir_bn View Post
So finally the development of this place is going to start.This news came up almost 10-12 years back. Atleast this time if it is started then it will be a good tourist place IMO.
Fingers crossed, just hope its managed well, and not over commercialized.

Quote:
Originally Posted by unni.ak View Post
Development of the area though welcome, will make it crowded. It is ideal now for a picnic. Pack your food from home or some where on the way, drive to the waters edge and enjoy the quiet.
We did a good thing lunching/snacking before we got off the Mysore highway, else we'd have been starved since we didn't pack for food.
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Old 18th January 2010, 20:36   #15
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Soon, the road condition started getting worse, although drivable. However, beyond a certain stage we felt there was no point going further, and decided to turn back. We made our way back the same roads, and searched for the entry to the Tonnur dam. We found the turn off the main road and proceeded up a climb, but not before we were charged Rs.20/- to visit the dam. The receipt which was provided to us had something mentioned in Kannada, along with a seal so we assume its genuine. No way to confirm,though. The way up was narrow at places which meant two vehicles couldn't cross each other unless one gave side to the other. There was a small waterfall too along the way where there were some families who had stopped and were playing around.

Reaching the top, this was the view before us.

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A little kid came to us and asked if we wanted to go to Melkote, since a bus was waiting but we declined.

My wife who has a keen interest in trekking decided to climb up the rocks which were beside the dam, where quite a few people were seen climbing up and coming down. Unni and myself felt it wasn't worth the effort and sat on the benches provided watching the view before us, while wifey went ahead with the trek.


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For a place which didn't seem to be too frequently visited by tourists, it still had litter strewn around.

Some time later after we had reassembled, we left the place. Next on our agenda were the ancient temples which we passed initially while we were on our way to Tonnur lake.
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