Melkote and Around – Day Trip from Bangalore

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Melkote is a precious picturesque town prominent for its Vaishnavite Temples. It is also one beautiful town where I believe there is always some movie shooting going on. Me and my friend decided to drive down to Melkote from Bangalore as I have heard a lot about the Lord and I wanted to get His blessings.

 

Bangalore to Melkote:

Bangalore to Melkote is around 157Km. We drove down the Nice road -> Mysore road -> Ramnagaram -> Maddur -> Mandya -> Melkote. This was the first time I was on this route and I figured out that you can just drive down till Ramnagaram and then decide as which way you want to proceed! Almost all the prominent sight seeing places around Bangalore seem to branch out of this junction. I enjoyed the drive down this highway (other than Mysore road and since I was not driving). Watch out for a right to be taken towards Melkote once you are in the Mandya highway. The drive becomes extremely scenic once you enter this road as it is lush paddy and sugarcane fields on either sides with cattle grazing occasionally. Lot of small villages are found en route with chicks, sheeps and calves running around. The drive including stop for breakfast took close to 4hrs. Start early to beat Mysore road traffic.

Paddy Fields on the way

Wikipedia has the history of the place. So let me get in directly into my journey.

1. Melkote CheluvaNarayana Swamy Temple

This is the temple on the foot of the hill lined up with small stalls on either side. Cheluva Narayana means the deity who loves to deck up and He was so beautifully decked up. Around 6 foot tall majestic deity. Unlike other temples where the Utsava Murthy is placed along the main deity, here there is a separate shrine. By the side of the main deity is the shrine for the Alwars. This is the place where Sri Ramanujacharya resided for nearly 15 years performing miracles and there is a shrine for Him as well. The temple has a wonderful small mantapa with beautifully carved pillars which is different from those of Belur, Halebid or Hampi.

Melkote CheluvaNarayanaSwamy Temple Main Entrance
Check the first pillar top for the unique curved carving

 

2. Danushkoti

We next proceeded to Danushkoti. Reason being the temple atop the hill remains open till 2.30pm while the rest starts closing by 12.30pm. So we headed off to Danushkoti. You need to drive a good 5km down the akka tangi kulam and you come up to a small hillock. History says that, when Lord Rama and Sita where walking around these forest regions, Sita felt thirsty and asked for water. Lord Rama shot His arrow in the land and water oozed out. The water does not dry up here. There is a shrine for Lord Rama. Feet of Rama is carved out there. It is considered holy place. The climb up the hill is through uncut steps of the hill. View from above the hill is beautiful.

Walk to Danushkoti
The depression with water

 

3. Melkote Raya Gopuram

Half finished Gopuram. This is where Padaiyappa, Barso Re song from Guru and many more movie scenes were filmed. History says it was done overnight! Overnight! Seriously! If they had just stacked up some stones I would have believed! But this one has some seriously done carvings as well! Pics speak better.

The Raya gopuram
One of the beautifully done lady on the pillar

 

4. Akka Tangi Kulam

Two tanks separated just by a fleet of steps. One tank is salty and the other tank is sweet! That is the surprising element here! There is a shrine for Kulashekara Alwar. The steps of the pond are symmetrically built and it is a treat to watch. The pond is filled with fishes and small turtles were basking in the sun. I did not have a high zoom high definition camera to take those pics. But I was lucky to enjoy the sight 🙂

Adjacent is similar tank

 

5. Melkote Yoga Narasimha Temple

Okay! Now this is a serious climb. Apart from Saturday and Ekadashi I believe some festival was also going on and there were lot of people from around the village who were just pushing us up the hill! And that is how we climbed it with minimal breaks. There are defined steps unlike Danushkoti but then it is steep. The crowd was seriously pushing and shoving and we were in queue for almost half hour with very little ventilation on a hot summer afternoon. The deity was a huge Yoga Narasimha and I guess you can get ticket to enter in apart from regular queue. This is also the temple where the annual Melkote Vairamudi festival is held. The Vairamudi festival is where the utsava murthy is adorned with a crown made of diamonds and taken on procession. In spite of the crowd the darshan was really good. We then came out of the temple and soaked in the views from around the temple and felt the cool breeze! That is the beauty of such place where greenery is present; in spite of a hot summer noon the breeze was such a blessing.

Temple at top the hill
View from the hill

 

6. Melkote Kalyani Pushkarani

Huge temple pond which is down the hill. Neatly done steps. There are signs of “Keep the pond Clean”, kept everywhere but nobody seems to bother. In spite of no bathing or washing the pond was in a sad state. You can get a good view of temple from here.
By the time we had finished all this it was 3pm and we had reached around 11pm. We stopped for lunch and proceeded to Thonnur lake.

Kalyani with the temple in the background

 

7. Thonnur Lake aka Thondanur Lake

Thonnur lake also known as the Thondanur lake, is a huge water body. It is on the road to Pandavpura. I forgot the cross name, from that cross one way leads to Melkote and the opposite to Pandavpura. About 10km from the junction is the thonnur lake. You need to take a right and pass through seriously small roads which makes you wonder if you are lost. Then finally the sign board shows up and you go atop a small hill. There was a deep depression with some water and I was like is this all? I was mistaken and it was on the other side with not so well defined steps leading to it. Our bad time it was super crowded with some unruly office crowd that we could not have a good time there. It is super huge, deep and so be careful on the steps. Sun set or rise should be looking awesome. We were getting late and headed off to our next destination.

Magnificent Thonnur Lake
Endless paddy fields. View from Thonnur Lake

 

8. Sri Nambhi Narayana Temple

Just 500mtrs down the Thonnur lake is the Nambhi Narayana Temple. Unfortunately when we went the premises was closed as some pooja was going on. Since it was getting late we had to leave without getting a darshan.

Nambhi Narayana Temple

 

9. Sri Krishna Temple

Right opposite the Narayana Temple is the Krishna Temple. This is a reasonably big temple complex, nothing architecturally great but if you are religious do stop by. The sanctum sanctorum has 5 to 6 feet tall deity in sitting form! Huge! Lord is accompanied by His consorts on either side. It is a sight to behold. After getting blessings from the Lord we started our way back to Bangalore. Well I hoped Nambhi Narayana temple would open by the time we came out but it did not.. It was already past 5pm so we had to rush back. I believe there are few more temples around. The Krishna temple complex looks similar to the above Narayana Temple complex.

Food:

Is it not incomplete if I write a travelogue without mentioning the food 🙂 For breakfast we stopped at the famous Maddur Tiffany. Had nice Maddur vada, idly and strong coffee. The vada is a must try here. For lunch we stopped at the Subbana Mess Melkote. Just next to the arch leading to CheluvaNarayanaSwamy temple is the Subbana mess. In spite of the crowd we were warmly welcomed and given a seat. It is a small mess with some chair as well as floor seating, serving deliciously home cooked food. We had yummy plateful of Puliyogare which they are famous for, along with home made pickle and spiced buttermilk. And ended with a cupful of piping hot belle sakare pongal. They have the sugar one too and we asked for the jaggery one. In spite of the thick color of jaggery, the pongal was rightly sweet, loaded with shards of coconut. A warm kind uncle stopped by and told us the history of the humble mess and that it is running the 109th year!! We walked into their shop and picked up puliyogare mix, chivda, bhoondi, chutney powders and some snacks (who knows when we will get a chance again!). Evening on the way, we made it a point to have maddur vada and coffeeeeeeee 🙂

One more from the highway

 

The highways are lined up with channapatna toys. They have really nice stuff for the kids. It started pouring heavily as we were reaching Bangalore. Like any other trip, felt really bad to return back to the city! The only suggestion to give is, if you are not religious, go on sunday or weekday or when you are sure there is no festival. If you are religious then any days is yours. We also met a person at the temple who gave a temple tour plan which included, Belur ChanaKesava, Srirangapatna, Chammundi, etc. Apart from the famous ones he mentioned a temple called, ‘Saumya Narayana Temple’ at Nagamangala, further down Pandavpura. It has the same effect as visiting Kalahasthi, meaning Rahu Kethu doshas will be gone!

 

Oh one more thing! Lingaa shooting is going on at Melkote and they are doing a wonderful job of inducing havoc to the functioning of the town!

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2 Comments

  1. ambisiva June 2, 2014
  2. Chitra M June 7, 2014

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