A night in Proddatur – The “Second Bombay”

11.12.2016:

18.10 hrs – We were waiting in front of the entrance of Belum Caves for a vehicle which could drop us at Kovelakuntla, so that we can catch us an onward bus to reach Proddatur. My brother Vijay lives there and I wanted to pay a visit to him! After a long wait, a bus came and we got into it and reached Kovelakuntla. The conductor of the bus suggested us to get down there and get an onward bus to Jammalamadugu from where we can get good number of buses to Proddatur.

18. 35 hrs – We were dropped at the Kovelakuntla bus station. We were feeling damn hungry and looked around for some food. The best part of Andhra Pradesh is that one can find a lot of make-shift shacks or carts mushrooming on the road-sides selling hot pakodas, bajjis and other street food. We found a cart where hot mirchi bajjis were being fried and I took some of them while Bilal took some aloo pakodas. While in the coastal region of Andhra, the mirchi bajjis will be slit and some onions will be stuffed into them, here they were cut into pieces and some chat masala was sprinkled over them! Nevertheless, I loved them 🙂 🙂

19.00 hrs – A bus stopped in front of us and we got into it! The distance between Jammalamadugu and Koilkuntla (other name of Kovelakuntla) is around 70 kms. It took us two long hours to reach Jammalamadugu and luckily we got a bus to Proddatur immediately from there. @ 21.10 hrs – Proddatur is another 25 kms from Jammalamadugu. On the way, we saw so many cement factories like Ultratech, Penna etc. By 22.00 hrs – We were at the Gandhi Road Junction waiting for my brother to pick us up. And there he was, freshly bathed and in his t–shirt and pyjamas, whereas Bilal and I were almost mud-colored after travelling all through the day! 😦

22.10 hrs – My brother took us to the Nirmala Sweets Bakery and Restaurant in the M.G.Road and  told us that it is one of the finest restaurants that serves some fine vegan food. We ordered Vegetable Biryani, Nirmala Special Biryani (Steward’s choice) and also Egg Biryani along with some coke. Food tastes better with coke! 🙂 The food was served hot within minutes and we really attacked it! 🙂 😀 Nirmala Special Biryani was too good. They served it with lots of vegetables, spicy and with some fried potatoes and paneer (Paneer 65 and Aloo 65).

22.45 hrs – We were at my brother’s place. After a quick shower, we settled down to show him our pics of various places so far we visited and jumped on the discussion about our next destination. Trust me, we don’t have any planning or a specific circuit! That’s why I described this as a wild tour! Lol!! We started googling the distances of various places in and around proddatur and it was then I came across a video about Ahobilam! And my brother too told me that he heard that it’s a beautiful and must visit place! So, it was fixed! My next destination is Ahobilam!!

23.30 hrs – I drifted into a deep sleep and have no idea when the guys slept! I need to wake up early also, as my brother has to leave for his field around 07.30 hrs and Bilal should also reach his place early that evening!

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The Splendid beauty of BELUR

10.09.2016:

We started off to our next destination “Belur” which is located at a distance of about 22 km from Halebidu at 3.30 PM. We stopped at the Angels Multi-Cuisine Restaurant, to be frank it’s a Bar-cum-Restaurant, but one can only see the board – Restaurant. It was 4 PM when we entered the restaurant and we ordered our food. Food is a sort of ok, but the service was very slow. I would recommend this one 🙂 🙂

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After a good meal, we resumed our journey and reached Belur which was built by King Vishnuvardhana commemorating his victory over the Cholas at Talakad in 1117 AD. Located on the banks of the river Yagachi, Belur, earlier referred to as Velapuri was the early capital of the Hoyasala Empire.  We walked towards the Raja Gopura (main entrance) and entered the temple complex. The Chennakesava temple or the main temple is situated in middle of the complex facing the east. The temple almost resembles the Hoyasala temple in Halebidu, though it is not overly decorated like the latter. This 500 year old temple which took 103 years for completing its construction is made of soapstone and is made of interlocking components giving it a structural integrity.

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This temple has three entrances with doorkeepers carved on both sides and is pretty dark inside. While the Hoyasala temple at Halebidu doesn’t have much of inner architecture, the Chennakesava (a form of Krishna) temple at Belur is famous for its inner architecture. It is said that the temples were built by the famous sculptor Amarashilpi Jakkanna. There are multiple intricately sculpted pillars supporting the roof and each of the statues on those pillars is different from each other. While one is said to Mohini, the other statue is that of a lady holding a parrot while the other pillar is called the Narasimha pillar. But what attracted me the most is the finely carved ceiling in the main temple hall infront of the sanctum where the Lord Chennakesava is seated.

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The Belur temple is famous for its large size splendid carvings of various Gods and Goddesses on its outer walls. A temple dedicated to Saumyanayaki, which has a Garbhagriha, surmounted by a tower is located to the south-west of the main temple and the Veera Narayana temple raised on an elevated basement is to the west and this temple has beautiful sculptures on its outer walls.

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The temple which is now on the UNESCO World Heritage List has a Kalyani (Tank) in the north east corner of the complex. This tank is also known as Vasudeva Sarovara and the periodical temple rituals are carried out in this tank. The temple complex also has a well, whose water is used for various activities in the temple and a gravity pillar showing the scientific skills of our earlier days. The annual Ratha Yatra at the temple takes place between the months of March and April.

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We also visited the Panduranga temple on our way to Chikmaglur and it was another 30 min drive from Belur to Chikmaglur. It was cool in Chikmaglur and the roads were buzzing with people and vehicles by the time we reached here. Our accommodation was arranged at F.J.Comfort Inn which was located a bit interior and away from the traffic. The receptionist gave us a warm welcome and guided us to our room. It was clean, hygienic and importantly the washroom is clean enough 😀

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We quickly refreshed ourselves and went out for a walk through the streets of Chikmaglur and had our dinner at one of the veg restaurants located on the M.G. Road. The food is alright and as we were too exhausted we went back to our hotel without exploring much. We quickly decided our next day’s plan and asked our driver uncle to be ready by 6 AM in the morning 🙂

Time to sleep 🙂 😉