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Old 28th January 2022, 11:09   #1
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Default A toast to easing of weekend restrictions - Road trip to Melukote

Welcoming the lifting of the weekend curfew, a ride to Melukote through interior routes was like a breath of fresh air. The window of no curfew weekends is dubious, so to make the most of it, we hit the roads on Saturday morning. The Magadi Road from the exit of (not so) NICE expressway is under construction, and the morning traffic was at its peak. Swerving through the congestion, we stopped at Magadi for a sumptuous breakfast of Tatte Idli from a restaurant that seemed to be the favourite among locals as well as out-of-towners. The horizon is filled with coconut groves and areca nut plantations with interspersed eucalyptus groves.

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The Prasanna Somewshwara Temple at Magadi has a history of over 500 years. Spotting a small board on the road – thanks to the bad roads, I was at turtle speed – I was curious to explore the temple, which dates back to 1500. Recently restored, the temple is well maintained and has a relaxing aura. A few boards in Kannada talk about the prominence of the place. A pillared hall with a platform in the middle is thought to be a seat of judgement. It is where a council is held to pass a verdict. The pillars are intricately carved. At one corner stands an ornate stone pillar, which produces a note when touched with a metal object.

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According to the narrative found at the temple, it was erected by Kempegowda. He is believed to be the founder of Bangalore – widely accepted by historians. Another article – a piece of news to be precise - I read on Deccan Herald about the restoration of the temple says it was built by the grandson of Kempegowda, named Kempegowad III or Kempaveerappa Gowda. Various stories about the history of the place perplexed me, and all I did was just enjoy the architecture and soak in the aura of the site.

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Little ahead from here is the Tippagondanahalli Reservoir, a name familiar to me since my childhood. It is a man-made lake created by constructing a dam. This is the source of drinking water meant for the populace of Bangalore. The next place on the route was Huliyurdurga, one of the Navadurgas around Bangalore. It is also known as the toughest one to trek, and only a handful of people have ventured into giving it a try. We have covered Nandidurga, Savandurga, Kabbaladurga, Devarayanadurga, Huttridurga and Channarayanadurga. Huliyurdurga, Bhairavadurga and Makalidurga are yet to be accomplished.

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We continued onwards and took a deviation towards Sugganahalli from the Maddur-Kunigal Road right outside the town of Huliyurdurga. These roads are covered with ragi harvest spread across the tarmac. Winding around them and occasional herds of cattle and goats, deviating at many places due to road works. Devalapura welcomed us to take a breather. A cup of mocha roused the sleepy senses. Moving along, Nagamangala and later it was smooth roads until Melukote.

The Melukote part of the blog is from our June 2018 trip.

Melukote - a quaint temple town



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One of the many water bodies of Melukote

It was after the famous Srivaishnava saint Ramanujacharya lived here for 14 years it became a prominent center of the Srivaishnavas. Unlike other temple towns, Melukote isn't merely temples and commercial shops around them. This (temple) town has a character of its own. The streets of Melukote will not only take you back in time but also resonates the Agrahara in the novel "Samskara" by U.R. Ananthamurthy. Many grandmothers will be sitting at the veranda of their century old houses and chit-chatting with their friends.

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Kalyani

Melukote is 150 km from Bangalore if you go via Mandya and a 180 via Nelamangala- Kunigal - Bellur Cross - Nagamangala- Melukote. We took the second option and deviated at Bellur Cross, towards Nagamangala onto 150A - this road leads to Srirangapatna - and turn right a little after Chinya. This route is better, except that there is some road widening work in between. Watch out for speed breakers and the construction debris. Otherwise, the traffic is less and it took a little more than 3hrs to cover 180km from Electronic City to Melukote.

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Cheluvanarayanaswamy temple is a pleasant and well-maintained temple. It is mainly stone and wood. The main image is made of Brass. The architecture is stunning with fine details on all the pillars. There are few smaller shrines inside the temple complex. Walking inside this old temple complex is a calming experience. Yoga Narasimha Swamy temple on the hill can be reached by foot in 30min. The steps are very wide and placed apart. You will find many women selling butter milk and peanuts en-route. 3 glasses of butter milk cost just Rs.10. At the time of writing, there was lot of renovation work going on at this temple and surroundings.

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Akka-Tangi Kola (Sisters' pond)

The largest pond -Kalyani- is breathtaking for its gigantic size and the architecture around, made famous by movies. There are many other ponds around this small town, most popular are the twin ponds known as -Akka Tangi kola (sisters' pond). Dhanushkoti is a short ride from the town and view from here is spectacular. On the way to Dhanushkoti is Raya Gopura, again made famous by movie populace.

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The view from Danushkoti

The house where PuTiNa - famous Kannada Poet, one among the well-known trio of Navodaya poets (D.R.Bendre and Kuvempu being the other two) - was born, can be visited before 5pm, unfortunately we couldn't make it in time. There is a Government Sanskrit College and also a Sanskrit Research Centre close to Raya Gopura.

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The popular Raya Gopura

The best way to explore a town and appreciate what it has to offer is to walk around and eat from local places. Puliyogare (Tamarind Rice) stalls are ubiquitous and you will start thinking puliyogare was invented at Melukote. So, it is a must-do activity at Melukote to taste Puliyogare. Subbanna Mess is the most recommended for a sumptuous meal of white rice, Puliyogare- Rs 80 per meal.

Accommodation is limited; a few places we came across:
1) Ahobila Yatri Nivas- TeL: 087227 16468/ 070260 92345. dbl Rs 650.
2) Yadhugiri Guest House- 7676767638. Available on hourly basis.
3) Bangur Yatri Nivas- Rs.400 with common toilet, dbl, A/C Rs.1000. Walk-in.

We stayed at Ahobila, the housekeeping is very poor. Carry your own toiletries and bed sheets.

Road Conditions:

NICE road is being revamped with concrete road. The stretch after Kanakapura exit is a single lane almost until PES exit. After the Magadi exit, roads are filled with potholes and road widening work is in progress, hence our progress snail-like. After Magadi town towards Huliyurdurga roads are wide, except a few places where work remains ‘Work-In-Porgress-Go-Slow’. Couple of deviations due to road widening on Huliyurdurga and Devalapura stretch. Nagamangala to deviation towards Melukote is butter-smooth with occasional curves. The last mile to the temple town has good roads.
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Old 28th January 2022, 16:38   #2
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Default re: A toast to easing of weekend restrictions - Road trip to Melukote

Thread moved out from the Assembly Line. Thanks for sharing!
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Old 29th January 2022, 09:40   #3
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Default Re: A toast to easing of weekend restrictions - Road trip to Melukote

Yet another nice road trip report providing a perfect start to a weekend morning. Just looking at the pictures, it doesn't look like much has changed in Melukote. We had visited it eons ago and yes, given the relatively short distance from Bangalore and now easing restrictions, it would be a good weekend drive along with elders in the family along to relive the nostalgia Thank you!
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Old 29th January 2022, 13:51   #4
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Default Re: A toast to easing of weekend restrictions - Road trip to Melukote

I remember going to Melukote many years ago! Brings back fond memories! Thank you for sharing this. I have to visit this place when time permits!
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Old 29th January 2022, 16:34   #5
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Default Re: A toast to easing of weekend restrictions - Road trip to Melukote

Beautiful pictures. I last went to Melkote around 2013/14 when I took a Volvo Bus upto Mandya Bus Stand and then took a state bus from there to Melkote to attend a wedding. My parents had already driven down to Mysuru the previous day to stay with some relatives and it was agreed that we would meet directly at the wedding venue in Melkote.

The bus ride from Mandya to Melkote was spectacular and very very scenic. On the way back, I drove via Mandya in our Honda City. A truly lovely day spent on the road. Brings back a lot of memories. Thank you for sharing this.
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Old 29th January 2022, 17:00   #6
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Default Re: A toast to easing of weekend restrictions - Road trip to Melukote

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Originally Posted by kiki_13 View Post
Welcoming the lifting of the weekend curfew, a ride to Melukote through interior routes was like a breath of fresh air.
Lovely write up and pictures. Close to Melukote (appx 20 km away) is a place called Thondanur (or Dondanur). Lovely temple town. There is a statue of Ramanujar, a few temples and a hilltop temple. There was a smell of snakes or snake skins when we climbed this temple. The temple purohit told us that the temple normally closed by 5 PM due to the presence of snakes. Lovely spot. Worth visiting if you have not already done so. Thanks for the great write up.
Regards, Balaji
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Old 29th January 2022, 20:52   #7
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Default Re: A toast to easing of weekend restrictions - Road trip to Melukote

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Originally Posted by Bsimhan View Post
Lovely write up and pictures. Close to Melukote (appx 20 km away) is a place called Thondanur (or Dondanur). Lovely temple town. There is a statue of Ramanujar, a few temples and a hilltop temple. There was a smell of snakes or snake skins when we climbed this temple. The temple purohit told us that the temple normally closed by 5 PM due to the presence of snakes. Lovely spot. Worth visiting if you have not already done so. Thanks for the great write up.
Regards, Balaji
This place is called "Kere Thannur" locally. Apart from the statue of Ramanuja and the beautiful temple, it has a massive tank with lot of mystical stories surrounding its existence. If you are a good swimmer, you can swim here and the water quality is very good. There is also stream of water which flows from here to the surrounding areas for irrigation. If you do not know swimming or have kids, this is good place to play in water. There is a local belief that all the back pain, neck pain etc will vanish if you stand below "madaga"(water coming from the tank falls from about 15 feet).

If you are visiting Melukote(plan for morning), then this place is pretty closeby and you should plan to visit here in the afternoon to play in water followed by temple visit by 4ish.

A lot of work that is happening at Melukote is happening by Infosys foundation. They have done some really awesome work in restoration of this temple and surrounding area related to the temple.
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Old 30th January 2022, 10:58   #8
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Default Re: A toast to easing of weekend restrictions - Road trip to Melukote

Excellent write up with crystal clear pictures Kiki. Karnataka has a lot of heritage places. I have planned for a trip this year. Will use your accommodation contacts.
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Old 30th January 2022, 19:06   #9
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Default Re: A toast to easing of weekend restrictions - Road trip to Melukote

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Originally Posted by vijaykr View Post
Yet another nice road trip report providing a perfect start to a weekend morning. Just looking at the pictures, it doesn't look like much has changed in Melukote. it would be a good weekend drive along with elders in the family along to relive the nostalgia Thank you!
I am pleased my travelogue was a good weekend starter. I am sure not much has changed in Melukote, except it has got wider and better roads now. Hope you will get a chance soon to relive the nostalgia!

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Originally Posted by kiredd1005 View Post
I remember going to Melukote many years ago! Brings back fond memories! Thank you for sharing this.
Glad it brought back fond memories... Cherish them!

[quote=anandavinash;5246442]Beautiful pictures. I last went to Melkote around 2013/14 when I took a Volvo Bus upto Mandya Bus Stand The bus ride from Mandya to Melkote was spectacular and very very scenic./quote]

Thanks for appreciating the pictures. I would love to ride this route, hoping the roadwork on Bangalore-Mysore road will complete without any delay.
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Old 30th January 2022, 19:13   #10
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Default Re: A toast to easing of weekend restrictions - Road trip to Melukote

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Originally Posted by Poornavakra View Post
This place is called "Kere Thannur" locally.
If you are visiting Melukote(plan for morning), then this place is pretty closeby and you should plan to visit here in the afternoon to play in water followed by temple visit by 4ish.
I have noted this place to visit on the next ride to Melukote. Thanks for the details.

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Originally Posted by RGK View Post
Excellent write up with crystal clear pictures Kiki. I have planned for a trip this year. Will use your accommodation contacts.
Thank you so much. The accommodation details are from 2018, pandemic has changed a lot of things. Please verify before booking. Have a good trip, Karnataka has got several gems to be discovered.
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Old 30th January 2022, 21:12   #11
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Default Re: A toast to easing of weekend restrictions - Road trip to Melukote

Melukote is an amazing place to visit. Lots of greens, hill country and history to look for. This place along with Thodanur forms a nice weekend run. A lot of temples and their associated history and the connection to Trichy makes a fascinating study.


A view from the top

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Old 31st January 2022, 10:41   #12
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the connection to Trichy makes a fascinating study.
Absolutely true. Shri Ramanujacharya and Shri Swami Desigan's association with these two places are very interesting.
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