Well, I know ... the above route sounds kinda weird. Going to Kolar district in Karnataka and Krishnagiri in TN! But we did it ... read on to know more.
And ... please excuse me for the large photos!
It was about to be just another sunday, before which we decided that we should make something meaningful out of the day. During those good old days of travelling to ITPL, I remembered seeing a board pointing towards Chikka Tirupathi at the entrance of the KR Puram hanging bridge (it's not there anymore :-(). After some research about Kolar district with the help of my newly bought map of Karnataka, we finalised on going to Chikka Tirupathi.
We left home at about 07:45 hrs and took the ORR till KR Puram, where we entered NH4 towards Kolar (going over the cable-stayed bridge). It was a good drive till Hoskote (14kms from KR Puram), after which we turned right onto NH-207 (which connects Doddaballapur-Devanahalli-Hoskote-Bagalur-Sarjapur-Hosur). This is a calm road with a nice country-side view. in between villages, there are plenty of afforested areas. Kudos to the forest department for saving a district which would have been a desert otherwise! By around 9:00 hrs, we thought of stopping for breakfast. That was when we spotted a deserted dhaba. It was a simple but beautiful place, with a small pond (created by water from a borewell) on one side and fields on the other. We had a filling breakfast of aloo parathas and some 'kurukal thindi'. We washed the vessels in the pond, village 'ishtyle', and proceeded. We reached a railway crossing after this point and then comes an important junction - Timmashettyhalli/Tirumalashettyhalli cross, where we had to take a left. Quite a bumpy road from here for some distance, until Kalkunte.
Ranganathaswamy Temple @ Kalkunte:
Kalkunte, or Kalkunte Agrahara, is the native of a sect of iyengars, known as kalkunte iyengars. We never knew that this village existed in Kolar district, and it was a very unexpected program for us. Lord Ranganatha resides in this tiny temple town in a very beautiful temple. After the darshan of the lord here, we proceeded towards Chikka Tirupathi, which is 8km from this place.
Chikka Tirupathi, as the name suggests, is a miniature of the real Tirupathi. The story of this place goes like this. 'Agni', the fire god, during the incineration (dahana) of the forest of herbs (khandava vana), causes burn injuries to the serpent god Takshaka. Takshaka bestows Agni with a curse that he lose his 'tejas'. A perturbed Agni comes to Lord Krishna, who suggests that the way out for him is to please Lord Vishnu, who can restore his 'tejas'. So Agni gets the 'shaapa-vimochana' by performing a penance and pleasing Vishnu. With great joy, Agni builds a temple for Lord Venkateswara at Chikka Tirupathi. The lord here is aptly named as 'Prasanna Venkateshwara'. All the utsavams that are held at Tirupathi are also held here. But compared to the main Tirupathi, not much rush was seen here.
NH-207 near Chikka Tirupathi:
After obtaining the blessings of Lord Venky, we turned right onto NH-207, proceeding towards Sarjapur. By then, it was just around mid-day. This is not at all the time to return! Where to go? The candidates were Masti, Mulbagal, etc, all in Kolar district. But we all wanted some variety, a different kind of spot. It was Ma's idea to go to Krishnagiri dam, Ok ... lets GO!
We continued on NH-207 to reach Hosur by 13:00 hrs, via Sarjapur, reasonably good road. From Hosur, Krishnagiri is 49 kms. The 4-lane express highway (NH-7) is simply superb. We zoomed to Krishnagiri with the intention of having lunch at the dam. The landscape is very scenic and worth mentioning enroute is the hill of Shoolagiri.
There is a fort at Krishnagiri, built by Tipu Sultan, the Tiger of Mysore. It is within the town limits of Krishnagiri. An amazing view, but we kept that for another day's itinerary.
Tipu's Fort @ Krishnagiri:
Tipu's Fort ... one more:
Beyond Krishnagiri, the highway (NH-7) turns left towards Chennai, via Wallajahpet. We took the road towards Dharmapuri, and about 5-6 kms later, turned right towards the dam. The landmark to remember is a huge lake before the turn, and an arch at the entrance of the road. We drove up to the dam, parked the car and settled down beside the reservoir for lunch. It was an amazing view of such a huge expanse of water, stretching up to 4 miles before the dam! After lunch, we trekked the hillock that is besides the reservoir. It was really an enthralling experience to trek after a gap of so many years :-)
Unlike in other dams, in Krishnagiri dam, thay allow you to drive on the dam. It was exciting to drive on that single lane stretch, with the reservoir on side, and the sluice canals on the other deep down below. There is an excellent and well maintained garden and deer park on the other side of the reservoir.
The 3 Musketeers - Krishnagiri Dam Reservoir View:
We left the dam site by around 16:00, stopped for coffee at Nilgiri's, Hosur, and reached Bangalore by 18:15. It was an excellent drive back home, as there was no traffic in electronics city, thanks to a sunday!
Overall tripmeter reading was 265km.