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Old 6th August 2009, 21:58   #1
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Default 'Xing'ing around ! - 5am to 5am, 823kms.

Synopsis of the trip:
  • Started from BLR at 5am on 2nd Aug 09.
  • Returned to BLR at around 5am on 3rd Aug 09.
  • Total distance covered on the Odo: 823kms
  • Main places visited: Huchangidurga, Santhebennur, Shantisagara, Hallimallapura, Davanagere, Kulahalli & Bagali.
With Sangeetha off to Chennai for a couple of days, I had planned to do a quick trip to Davanagere over last Sunday. Apart from visiting my friend, there were a couple of other places I wanted to cover as a recce trip, to plan a more organized visit with Sangeetha.

Other than Kulahalli and Bagali, I have been to the other places during my college days, when I was scooting around on a Bajaj Chetak. But that was almost a decade and a half ago... and I just had some vague memories from the previous trips.

My plan was to start off as early as possible on the morning of Sunday 2nd Aug, drive to Huchangidurga first, and then to Santhebennur, pass through Shantisagara to Hallimallapura where Kiran would join me. Post lunch we would set off towards Davanagere, visit our friend's house. Then we would go towards Kulahalli, Bagali and drive back to Bangalore overnight.

All the places covered are within a 75kms radius from Davanagere.

'Xing'ing around ! - 5am to 5am, 823kms.-map.jpg

On the music system..."kausalya supraja rama poorva sandhya pravarvathe..."

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Close to Nelamangala. Stuck behind a truck. On the music system MJ's "Speed Demon"... on the speedo for the next 20 minutes "@20-25kmph”...

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Ahhhh... the Tumkur road toll booth. Such a welcome sight!

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I was looking forward to having breakfast and coffee at the Kamat Upachar, but the median break has been closed off. So stopped at the Cafe Coffee Day to pick up a Cappuccino...

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I will not take any more foggy-hill pics, I will not take any more foggy-hill pics... Maybe one last pic?

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After biker gangs... we have the skater gangs!
(This scene is from a blocked off section of the incomplete highway near Tumkur, so it is safe for the kids to skate here.)

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Since I was alone, you'll see a lot of Xing pics ;-)

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Reached Anagodu (After Chitradurga), took a deviation into the country roads and drove on for around 25-30kms and reached Huchangidurga...

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The cloudy weather was perfect for walking around the hillside...

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Nice place!

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The ruins of what must have been a magnificent structure once upon a time...

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Ok, I need to walk up till there now...

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A doorway to the clouds...

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The fort is much bigger than what I remembered it to be...

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Up & up...

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Looks very spooky...

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You can see remains of the moat that once surrounded the fort...

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Green Carpet...

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The palace compound inside the fort...

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Views from the top...

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Unless steps are taken to repair and preserve the ruins, there won't be too much left of the fort...

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The road below...

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The King's palace once stood here. You can find a broken Shivling (probably from a shrine within the palace) and some stone cannon balls strewn around...

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There is a temple inside the fort frequented by people from the surrounding towns and villages...

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Three Musketeers. These kids play a noisy drum-like instrument during the pooja/arathi and ask around for tips.

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Old 6th August 2009, 22:09   #2
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Excellent stuff! Great pictures. Hope you got some rest in between as well. How did you manage?
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Old 6th August 2009, 22:12   #3
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Originally Posted by hotstuff View Post
Nice place!

Attachment 170726
hotstuff.. HOT STUFF man!! Great pictures.. esp the one on the top!
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Old 6th August 2009, 22:17   #4
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Awesome pics and i like the "Doorway to clouds" one most.

keep posting
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Old 6th August 2009, 22:30   #5
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Great place...

It would be unfair if you don't give us some context about the places you chose. I have actually never heard about them.
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Old 6th August 2009, 22:40   #6
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Default A Sunday trip...

More Pics of the fort...

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Took one last look at the fort before heading back towards Anagodu...

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He wants ‘Scooty’ to do something else also

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The road to Santhebennur is lined with paddy fields on both the sides...

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Tractor! The attachments to the wheels are for preparing the rice fields for transplantation of paddy saplings…

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The Santhebennur Kalyani - built by a local chieftain Hanumappa Nayaka in 1658. It is around 330 feet on each side and around 80 feet in depth. The tank and the Musafir-khana beside it were built as a rest-stop for travelers…

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More Pics...

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Brothers or best friends? And what were they watching so keenly??

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Now I know who were the objects of their attention!!

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Interesting designs. At first I thought they were lions with their heads missing. I took a walk around the structure to see if there was atleast one intact ‘lion’… then I realized that they were actually frogs!

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The Musafir-khana besides the tank (travelers' pit stop from the ancient times)...

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Next, I headed towards Shanthisagara. Arecanut Plantations along the way...

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Shanthisagara is one of the biggest fresh water lakes in India...

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The hills around the lake offer some good trekking opportunities for beginners...

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What looks like a bridge is actually an aqueduct carrying the waters of an irrigation canal across the valley...

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Reminded me of the Windows XP desktop!

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One hill has a Mosque and the other has a temple...

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Old 6th August 2009, 22:57   #7
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Great stuff here! Pity those monuments are being neglected.
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Old 6th August 2009, 23:00   #8
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Default A Sunday trip...

Kiran came to the main road to meet me and I followed him to his relative's house...

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While lunch was being prepared, we went to their paddy fields to take a look at the planting...

'Xing'ing around ! - 5am to 5am, 823kms.-61.jpg

More Xing pics...

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Planting paddy is back-breaking work...

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Walking on the Edge...

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After lunch, we headed towards Harapanahalli and then towards Kulahalli...

'Xing'ing around ! - 5am to 5am, 823kms.-66.jpg

More Wind-Mills...

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After a couple of kms of extremely bad roads, we reached Kulahalli...

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The Maddaneshwara Temple...

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From inside the temple there is an entrance into the underground Tunnel-Complex. We hired a couple of local kids as guides to take us into the caves / tunnels...

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The entrance...

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These tunnels were probably built as hiding places or as an escape route by some local kings long ago. It is a labyrinth of tunnels, doorways, narrow passages...

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There are some places where you can walk, there are some places where you need to stoop and there are places where you actually have to crawl. It is pitch dark all through...

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Some of the passages seem to be flooded by ground water...

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And it is damp all along. Certainly not recommended for anyone with claustrophobia...

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We spent a good amount of time exploring the caves and tunnels...

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Oye! I think I am stuck!!!

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Old 6th August 2009, 23:22   #9
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Default A Sunday trip...

This is how dark it actually was...

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A crab in the water in one of the passages...

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After about 30 mins we emerged at the other end of the tunnel-complex...

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It was quite late in the evening by then...

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There are lot more structures to be explored in this village; on the agenda for the next trip with Sangeetha.

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PT classes in the village school...

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Our Guides...

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Went into the temple again for Darshan...

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Till date I have been chased by dogs, this was the first time I got chased by Geese!!!

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By the time we reached Bagali, it was quite dark. This is actually a 30 second exposure pic...

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Just walked around the place and took some pics with a promise to be back here soon...

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We reached Davanagere, met up with our friend and headed back towards Namma Bengaluru at around 11pm...

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Since I was feeling a little tired, we stopped for a Chai, decided to get an hour’s sleep before proceeding, lowered the seats, set the alarm on the phone and got an hour’s shut-eye...

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Are these red wheels or am I seeing things??

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Reached Nelamangala by around 4.00am and it took us more than an hour to reach the city limits from there, thanks to the early morning traffic jams.

Got a couple of hours of sleep before freshening up and heading off to office to start the week.

Now that I have a better idea of the places to see + the road conditions etc. I'll be planning an encore trip along this route with Sangeetha shortly... The idea is to do a 2 day weekend round trip, covering these places + some other spots worth visiting.
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Old 7th August 2009, 08:28   #10
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Lovely travelogue with lovely pictures that make us feel as if we were there. That was an amazing journey through the tunnels, for me best done through your pictures. Thanks for the travelogue.
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Old 7th August 2009, 09:34   #11
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Nice pics, very nice pics.
There is fun to do lone trips.
This trip reminded my lone trip to Wai.
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Old 7th August 2009, 10:34   #12
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Wonderful! Very Adventurous.

If you had spent a little more time, maybe you could have dug up a treasure too !
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Old 7th August 2009, 19:46   #13
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Excellent stuff. Luv your keen observations. Hope we can enjoy many more of these pictorials
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Old 7th August 2009, 22:45   #14
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- Thank you all for your appreciation & comments.

Originally Posted by MuraliR View Post
Wonderful! Very Adventurous.
If you had spent a little more time, maybe you could have dug up a treasure too !
- How I wish!

@akbaree ; with regards to the context behind these places :

Why did I put these places on the itinerary?
- During my college days in Davanagere, a group of us friends would take off to nearby places over the weekend. I must have visited most of the interesting places within a 150kms radius from Davanagere at some point of time. But there are no photos & no travelogues and memories tend to fade over time.

There are also places which I had never heard about in those days, but got to know about them very recently, thanks to Google! Most of these places are not popular since they are off the main roads and may not be of interest to casual tourists. I am sure if all TBhpians could dig up places from around their home-towns etc. there would be a big list of little known but very interesting places worth visiting.

Quite a few times, while reminiscing about the days gone by, I would remark to Sangeetha that "You should see this place... it is like this.. like that...". Since Davanagere and the places around are within comfortable driving distance from BLR, I was planning to do a 2 day trip to all these places. But things would have changed over time... Since anyway I had to go to DVG, I wanted to check if the roads to these places are in good condition ? are these places still ok / safe to visit ? etc.

Some historical context for the Huchangidurga/Uchangidurga fort:
The exact origins of the Uchangi durg fort seem to be a little obscure, as is usual with many such places, it seems to have started out as a small stronghold of some local cheftians, which changed hands in the course of local wars, alliances etc. The fort was built upon by several generations of rulers from different dynasties. It was a prominent place when it was under the control of a branch of the Pandyas.

Ballala II was the first independent Hoysala king (the earlier rulers being the feudatories of the Chalukyas of Kalyani). The conquest of Uchangi durga was one of the major events of his life, and finds references in his inscriptions (found at several places in and around Chitradurga district). The accounts, of course, are often exaggerated.

The strength of the fortress of Uchangi has been suggested by saying that the Cholas laid siege to it for 12 years without success. But Ballala is stated to have attacked it and brought it under his control, which brought him the title of Giri-durgamalla (Conqueror of the hill-forts).

Uchangi is described to have had a moat as deep as Patala, as broad as the eight cardinal points and as high as the sky ! The fact simply appears to be that Uchangi was a strong fort and its conquest brought fame to Ballala II. One Kamadeva was the then Pandya king and on his seeking for mercy, Ballala is said to have restored to him his kingdom. According to an inscription dated 1177, Ballala had even made Uchangi his capital and ruled from it.

When the scene of action shifted during the time of the Deccan sultanates, the fort changed hands several times, gradually lost prominence, before being abandoned.
Shantisagara lake, also called 'Sulekere'.
This is one of the biggest fresh-water lakes in India, was constructed by Shantavve, a Devadasi, in the 11th century. The water tank spread across ten square miles and fed more than 7000 acres of agricultural land around it. Since Devadasis were were often derided as prostitutes, it was called Sulekere (Prostitute's Lake) by the locals and subsequently renamed as Shantisagar.
Santhebennur tank (Kalyani / Pushkarini)
The tank of Santhebennur is one of the most beautiful tanks in South India. The pushkarini was built with red stone in the 16th Century AD by Kenga Hanumanthappa Nayaka, a local chieftian of Santhebennur. The pushkarni originally had eight mantapas of which only six exist now.

The pushkarni has 52 big steps from its main entrance in the west. Other three sides have 44 steps each. Locals call the central structure 'Karnaji Mantapa’ [Karanji may mean fountain]. There was apparently some mechanism by which water from the tank would come out of a fountain in the central structure.
Kulahalli - Maddaneshwara temple.
This place was recently featured in a TV program on a Kannada channel. Since it is just a few Kms from Harpanahalli, I asked my father about this place. He was posted at Harpanahalli for a couple of years in the 90s and he knew about this place. And the prospect of checking out tunnels & caves etc. was quite intriguiging.

Bagali temple.
About 8 km from Harpanahalli, Bagali has a 9th Century Kalleshwara temple of Chalukya period. There are Panchalinga temples on the premises of Kalleshwara temple and also beautifully sculpted Ugranarasimha idol. The Outer walls of the temple have erotic sculpting. Pillars inside the temple have intricate carvings.

The temple has influences from the Hoysalas, Chalukyas and the Rashtrakutas styles.
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Old 7th August 2009, 23:20   #15
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Really fascinaing thread. Thoroughly enjoyed the photography. Seems like it was one lovely weekend. Fascinating to see the diversity of nature, beauty and rich history our state has to offer. I sure did not expect such interesting places around Davangere. Guess one must expect the unexpected. Hope to see and read more of your travelogues.
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