Friday, December 31, 2010

Season's Greetings and a Happy New Year!

Have a wonder-filled new year! Happy good times :)

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Ettina Bhuja

Perhaps! It is too risky for me to call it the last trek of the year having 3 full days left :) But more or less, I would say, its the last trek of the year. Now that Suz is back for sometime on his official trip to India, we had no other better job than visiting our beloved Western Ghats. And that's how we ended up going to Ettina Bhuja for the Christmas weekend. More than the trek, we were waiting to have our favorite food at Gopu Gokhle's place. As expected (how can they forget those faces who ate all the food?), they welcomed us saying we are the 'familiar' faces. Since we chose not to go on a weekend, we planned to trek up to the hill on Friday and come back on Saturday. 

Ettina Bhuja (in Kannada) is a hill which is shaped like the back of an ox (ettu=ox , bhuja=shoulder). This is in Charmadi Ghats, accessible from a town called Shishila near the famous pilgrim place - Dharmasthala. It is a moderate trek starts at an altitude of 220m from a small village called HoleGundi and reaches the peak at 1180m.
Ettina Bhuja seen from the Holegundi village
We were happy to choose the beautiful day and what we experienced for two days was heavenly! As always, first thing that one encounters in the forest is the flora and fauna. I got to see some surprisingly attractive flora and fauna. Even though I did not know how good the floral population in this particular season, I was sure of sighting at least a few. 

Dark Evening Brown

It looked like a jewel
And some ferns!

After a few steps of walk, we could see the serene lake flowing beautifully cutting through the valleys. One needs to cross this lake to climb up the hill. Crossing the lake gave us a thrilling experience although we wanted not-to-leave-the-lake. Once we crossed the lake, we were threatened by the tough looks of the peak itself. 

Ettina Bhuja peak seen from the base
We reached the camp site very early and we had nothing to do but to laze out the afternoon. After our delicious lunch (packed), we patiently waited for the sunset. by 5.30pm  we started climbing the peak and reached a place from where sunset looked heavenly. It was more like a painting with the backdrop of Amedikallu and the Ettina Bhuja peak!

Sunset at Ettina Bhuja 

Ettina Bhuja peak during sunset
Sunset Panorama
I was absolutely happy during the sunset and could get some real good shots. I loved photographing the evening and expected the same for the sunrise as well. As it turned out, Sunrise was equally beautiful and made our trip worthy beyond words. We reached the top at 6 am and waited for the shine on our faces.

Sunrise seen from Ettina Bhuja
Shadow of Ettina Bhuja on Amedikallu range

During Sunrise
Just after the sunrise, it was the photographers delight. The sky turned out completely blue leaving our shutterbugs not to stop. 
Ettina Bhuja in clear blue color

Amedikallu, Moon and Ettina Bhuja

Having ecstatically satisfied with our last trek of the year, with loads of fun, we returned back on Saturday. While returning, we were welcomed to the new year by little new lives in those lively thick forests of Charmadi. 

Happy New Year 2011
Srik, Suz, Srivathsa, Sandy

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Belavadi Veera Narayana Temple

It was since a very long time I wanted to visit this temple. Apparently I had watched the Kannada movie directed by M S Sathyu, Ijjodu and I fell in love with this architectural beauty. Since we wanted to celebrate 5 year of inspiring partnership with our NGO folks, we decided to visit this place for a day. And thats how we happened to land at this place. 

As we drove past the Halebidu and through the beautiful serene lake, I could remember some of the scenes from that movie. 
Beautiful lake on the way to Belavadi
Belavadi is located 29 km southeast of Chikmagalur town on the Chikmagalur-Javagal highway and 10 km north of Halebidu. It is a very small neighborhood welcoming us into its natural set up of a lake at the entrance of the village. As we walked towards the temple, we were overwhelmingly attracted by its beauty. Fortunately, there were no people other than us at the temple.

Belavadi Veera Narayana Temple
It is said that, this ornate trikuta (three towers) temple was built in 1200 CE by Hoysala Veera Ballala II. And each of the shrines has a complete superstructure (tower on top of shrine) and is one of the largest examples of Hoysala architecture. While the famous temples at Belur and Halebidu are known for their intricate sculptures, this temple is known for its architecture. 

Panoramic view of the temple
We were all stunned by its remarkable architecture and wondered how good the sculptors thought process would be while building this temple. One striking sight that remains in ones memory after seeing this temple is the beauty of the pillars and its colors.

Pillar at the temple
Pillars and Mantapa inside the temple
And those carvings on the outer walls were stunning. It was a kind of aesthetic overload to our eyes after seeing those highly skilled work on the walls of the temple. Wonder who would've trained those sculptors on those required skills. 

Carvings on the walls of the temple
And the best part of the visit was the place was not crowded in spite of being a Sunday. Good that some good places are left out unspoiled. To the extent that there are no food joints or restaurants in Belavadi and no place near the temple to sit and do a picnic either. 

Vimana Gopura
Well, after having craved so much to visit this place, witnessing this magnificent piece of architecture made me ecstatically happy. 


Monday, December 13, 2010


ಕತ್ತಲೆಯು ಕರೆದಿಹುದು
ಬೆಳಕಿನಾ ಅರ್ಥಕೊಡಲು
ನಾ ಹಿಡಿದ ದಾರಿಯು
ತಿರುಗದೇ ನಿನ್ನೆಡೆಗೆ

ನೀ ಬರುವ ಹಾದಿಯಲಿ
ಹನಿಯೊಡೆದು ಮುತ್ತಾಗಿ
ನಾ ನಂಬಿದ ಮನವು
ಕಾಣದೇ ದೃಶ್ಯವಾಗಿ

ನನ್ನ ದನಿಯ ನಿಶ್ಯಬ್ಧ
ನಿನ್ನ ಗೆಜ್ಜೆಯ ಮೌನ
ಕೈಹಿಡಿದು ಕವಲೊಡೆದ
ನೆನಪೇ ಆಸೆಯಾಗಿ

ಕೇಳದಿರುವ ಸಾಲಿನ
ಕ್ಲಿಷ್ಟ ಒಗಟಿನ ಜೊತೆಗೆ
ಮನವು ತುಂಬಿಹೋದ
ಕ್ಷಣವೇ ಸಿಹಿಯಾಗಿ

Wednesday, December 1, 2010


Excerpts from the book flow by mihaly csikszentmihalyi

Describing the Indian tribes of British Columbia: 

The Shushwap region was and is considered by the Indian people to be a rich place: rich in salmon and game, rich in below-ground food resources such as tubers and roots - a plentiful land. In this region, the people would live in permanent village sites and exploit the environs for needed resources. They had elaborate technologies for very effectively using the resources of the environment, and perceived their lives as being good and rich. Yet, the elders said, at times the world became too predictable and the challenge began to go out of life. Without challenge, life had no meaning. 
So the elders, in their wisdom, would decide that the entire village should move, those moves occurring every 25 to 30 years. The entire population would move to a different part of the Shushwap land and there, they found challenge. There were new streams to figure out, new game trails to learn, new areas where the balsamroot would be plentiful. Now life would regain its meaning and be worth living. Everyone would feel rejuvenated and healthy. Incidentally, it also allowed exploited resources in one area to recover after years of harvesting...

Well, I was thrilled reading this piece in the book flow. We always think about culture which has a major role to play in our lives to lead it meaningfully. It is so good to see the culture giving such an enrichment to the lives of the people. For them, without challenge, life has no meaning. And taking challenges often keeps us happy in whatever we do. 

Similarly there are so many cultures to quote; and the one I had experienced was the culture of the Tribes (called Soligas) of Chamarajanagar district. They plant a tree for every occasion; irrespective of whether it is good or bad. Their culture gives a complete meaning to what they contribute to the place they live in and they respect it. By doing so, they would reach the optimal experience in their lives. 

Such cultures have attained a good fit between the psychological needs of their people and the options available for their lives.