Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Southern Delight!

Trip: South Canara
Major Places visited: Kukke Subramanya, Dharmasthala, Udupi and Horanadu
Other Places visited: Ujire, Karkala, Pajaka, Kunjaragiri
Dates: Oct 1, 2009 to Oct 4, 2009
Who travelled: 8 members--My family, parents, sister-in-law and her kids
Mode of transport: Toyota Qualis- 9 seater
Number of kms covered: 1113

Kukke Subramanya: Took the weather beaten Magadi-Kunigal-CR Patna-Hasan-Sakleshpura-Subramanya route on Oct 1, 2009. The road is good till Hassan and reasonably good till Sakaleshpur. After that there is practically no road till Gundya on the Mangalore highway for about 25-30 kms. From Gundya to Subramnya (about 25 kms) is again a breeze. The driver dared the road and the weather and took us to Subramanya without any trouble. We reached the temple in the nick of the time at 7.50pm. Had a good darshan of Subramanya and Samputa Narasimha. Met the Swamiji of Sri Subramanya Mutt and had dinner at the Mutt before proceeding towards Dharmasthala the same night.
Practical tips: Take the Sakaleshpur road to Subramanya only if you have a skillful driver. The incentive, shorter travel distance. Reach the temple not later than 7 pm to have a peaceful darshan (closing time of temple 8 pm, extendible upto 8.15~8.30 pm depending on the crowd). Call Sri Subramanya Mutt well in advance if you intend to have meals at the Mutt (incidentally the Mutt food is good).

Dharmasthala: Left Subramanya at 9 pm, and reached Dharmasthala at 11.45 pm via Mangalore highway. Thankfuly I had booked rooms on the phone at Saketh guest house run by Sri Veerendra Heggade. We got two rooms with comfortable accommodation for 8. The rooms were clean and tidy and had access to hot water in the morning. We had a comfortable stay in Dharmasthala that night. The next morning (Oct 2, 2009), we went to the temple by 9 am. Parimala, Akanksha and I had darshan by 10 am, whereas the others completed the darshan by 9.15 am itself, courtesy a special free entrance. Had breakfast outside and visited the newly constructed Sri Ram temple at Ujire, before proceeding towards Udupi.

Practical tips: Book an accommodation for your stay at Dharmasthala by phone. Phone numbers are available on the Dharmsthala Website. There are 100s of rooms at Dharmasthala that are well-maintained and it is better to book it in advance as there would be rush for rooms always (room rent just Rs. 50 per day). The rooms can be claimed anytime in the day or night (24 hour reception available). For darshan, do take advantage of the special entrance right in front of the temple, where disabled (with an escort), old, women and children are allowed. However, the right of entry is dependent on the mood of the gatekeeper there. Men are usually not allowed in this entrance as I experienced. Parimala sacrificed her special privilege to come with me for Dharma darshan. It took us 1 hr for this darshan, but was good.

On the way to Udupi: Ujire Ram temple that is about 5-6 kms from Dharmasthala is a marvellous temple constructed very recently. Don't miss this temple if you are going to Dharmasthala. We also visited Karkala on our way to Udupi. There is a very old temple of Venkataramana Swamy and also a Anjaneya swamy temple here. We missed the Karkala Gommateshwara situated on top of a hill, but we heard that it is a place worth seeing.

Udupi: Reached Udupi by 5 pm braving torrential rains all along from Dharmasthala. But it was a memorable experience. Had a darshan of Lord Krishna immediately as there was no rush due to rains. We witnessed the special puja conducted by Sri. Puttige Mutt seer seeking the Lord's blessings for those affected by the floods in North Karnataka and AP. We decided not to proceed any further and stay on at Udupi that day. Got rooms at the Puttige Mutt guest house (Indraprastha guest house). Had dinner at Srikrishna Mutt and retired for the day. Had darshan again the next morning (Oct 3, 2009) and left Udupi by 10.

Practical tips: Udupi doesn't have too many good places to stay and the temple trust doesn't have its own guest rooms. So, you need to make stay arrangements either on your own or through one of the Ashta Mutt accommodations, which are inexpensive and reasonably good.

Near Udupi: Visited two places around Udupi. The first one is Sri Balarama temple at Malpe. This is supposed to have been built at the same time as the Srikrishna temple at Udupi. My father says that the Udupi trip is incomplete if you don't visit this temple.

Next one is Pajaka, the birthplace of Sri Madhwacharya. This is a realy good place. Do visit if you are a Dwaita follower as you can see Sri Madhwacharya's childhood house, the place where he started his Akasharabhyasa, the place where he exchanged cattle for tamarind seeds and the actual stone slabs he lifted to place on milk and curd pots to prevent it from being stolen by thieves. There is also a Durga Parameswari temple atop Kunjaragiri, which is a nice place to visit.

Horanadu: Reached Horanadu at 5 pm via the splendorous Kudremukh national park. The sights and sounds at Kudremukh were simply breath-taking. It is worthwhile to visit this place exclusively and I have decided to do so sooner than later. Horanadu is across a wide river stream and the temple is marvellously structured. The best part about Horanadu temple is its diety (Sri Annapoorneswari) which is big and beautiful. The devotees are allowed to have darshan from about 10-15mts from the diety which makes it a very memorable experience.

Practical tips: Reach Horanadu from Udupi by taking the Sringeri route and take a deviation at a place called BajeGoli. From hereon you have to drive across the Kudremukh national park to reach Horanadu via Kalasa. Don't ever miss the Kudremukh national park and ensure that you take a fully loaded camera. On the way back from Horanadu, don't take the Kalasa route. Take a road that leads to Balehonnur, which is about 40 kms from Horanaadu. From there you can take the Chikmagalur-Hasan-CR Patna road to reach Bangalore.

Reaching Bangalore: We left Horanadu at 7 pm and with the road conditions being bad, reached home only by 5 am the next morning.

Hope you enjoyed this experience. Check out the pictures at: http://picasaweb.google.com/vinaybabu/DakshinaKannada#