Friday, November 28, 2008


15th November 2008

As my car moved from the smooth road of Hassan-Belur to pot hole ridden tracks, my wife was not very happy. It was hard for her to believe that there can be a great Temple in that village. The feeling of seeing an ordinary Temple was looming large on her mind. It was normal as most people are not aware of Temples other than Belur and Halebid in Hassan district.

The village road climbed through a hillock providing some nice view of a lake and village. As we entered the village, the road narrowed and barely enough for my car to pass. There were few diversions for that small road, but villagers were there to assist us to get the right path. As the car stopped in front of the Temple, my wife exclaimed “It is great!!”

It is the Lakshmi Devi Temple that is the main attraction here. Being next to a lake, the area around the Temple looks picturesque. Built in 1114 AD, by a merchant called Kullahana Rahuta and his wife Sahaja Devi, this is one of earliest Hoysala Temple.

The caretaker of the Temple, Putta Swamy showed immense interest in explaining about the Temple. That was welcome as we knew very few things about the Temple.

One of the striking differences from the other Hoysala Temples is that the Temple does not stand on a platform. It is a Chatuskhuta construction meaning that there are four towers. The main garbagruha of the Temple has Lakshmi Devi. A bit of rarity that is not found in other Temples is that main Temple consists of four garbagruhas. One of them has Lakshmi Devi idol as mentioned before and other three contains the idols of Kali, Vishnu and Bhoota natha. It would mean that a person cannot pray to a God by lying down because his leg would then point to other God which is considered as a disrespect to the God.

In the vestibule of Kali shrine, there are two betalas beautifully carved. This is the only Hoysala Temple that has Betala statue.

The ceilings of the Temple contains one of the beautiful designs which are the main highlight of the Temple. One can easily miss this but a guide would take care of explaining those beautiful ceilings. Next to the main shrine is a small Temple of Bhairava.

The lake is at the back of the Temple. Silence, still waters and light breeze and view of the hills far away provide solace to anyone.

How to reach Doddagadavalli:
Doddagadavalli is located on the road between Hassan and Belur. 14 kms from Hassan is a village Kalkere. A diversion to the left on a village road would take to the village. This village road is about 3 kms.

More photos can be found here.

Friday, November 21, 2008

A camera story

I never thought that a small mistake would cost me so much in terms of money and time. It was near Basavana Baayi falls. Negligence for a second made me to slip from a rock and break my digital SLR camera. The lens broke out of camera and took a dip in water. It was found later but the holder was broken and water had entered into it. I knew that lens could not be restored back but camera looked to be in a good condition. On putting another lens and upon switching on the camera, things looked fine. It booted up normally, but when tried to click a snap, I got an error message which refused to disappear even after restarting the camera. It was the first sign that something had gone wrong with my camera.

It was an entry level Nikon SLR and upon searching on net, found out that there was only one authorized Nikon service center in Bangalore. It was at Infantry road. After my Office hours, I went to service center and gave my camera. The persons name was Baalu. Upon further examination of camera, he found out that the plastic was broken. He told that it would take two weeks to examine the camera and provide an estimation of the cost for repair. Two weeks was too much and that was just to examine the camera forget about repairs. It looked like a Government Office affair. Anyway, I had no options and agreed to that.

In the mean time I had to go to my native place. Since, I had planned to visit few places I borrowed my friend Srini’s camera for the trip.

After coming back from my native place, I called up Baalu for the status. It was exactly 15 days and I expected that he would be ready with estimation. I was pissed off with his reply. He had not even touched my camera and the reason he gave was work pressure. I don’t think that there would be so much repairs in that service center. For me it was an unprofessional behavior and asked him to provide an estimate at the earliest. I had to make daily calls to remind him of the work that he was expected to do. Exactly after 22 days, I got a call from him. It was another shock. He gave a list of things that were damaged and told that it would cost Rs 12,500/-. He continued to say that even after that there might be other things that need to be looked into. This was a careless statement and something that cannot be quantifiable is hard to believe. And in addition to that I need to buy a new kit lens.

Considering the cost of repairs and new lens, if put some more money I can buy the same model outside. It was meaningless to get the camera repaired by Baalu guy. So, I told him that I was not interested in repair and would take back my camera. After 3 days, I went to Infantry road to collect my camera. To my horror, Baalu tells that he had no time to put the removed parts back into the camera. I was angry and blasted him for his behavior. But Baalu is a man with buffalo skin and he seemed to be least bothered. I told him that I would be coming next Saturday and expected him be ready with camera.

This time I called him before going to the service center. Finally the camera was back in my hand. By that time, a month had passed. That day, the skies opened up suddenly and I was totally drenched out before reaching my car. I was angry at the way things were moving. I had to do something about the camera. It was then I called up my friend Girish. He is a camera expert and asked me to go to a person called Askar at SN Bazar, Majestic.
I came back home and decided to go to Majestic during evening.

It was a Deepavali week and all traffic seemed to be going towards Majestic. I knew that I had to spend till midnight in Majestic area if I take my car there. So, half way I returned back to my home.

On 28th October, I went to Askar at SN Bazar. He talked nicely and opened the camera before me. The damage was indeed severe. The board was broken and there were other damages. I did not wanted to tell him that I had given the camera to service center before but he found out by looking at the things in camera. He assured me that camera can be repaired easily and would cost around Rs 5000/-. He boasted of his abilities to repair any stuff in any camera and challenged me that he would repair in an hour. For me, it was things moving very fast and told him that it is ok if it takes a day. He asked me to come on the next day.

Little did I know that events had just started!!

I would now like to give day wise progress of the repair:

Oct 29: It was a festival day. I promptly went in the evening hoping that the camera would be ready. Askar had opened the camera and told that he was waiting for the board which would come shortly.

Nov 1: I go to Askar to check the status of the camera. He has got a new board but still in the process of fitting it. He asks me to come in the evening. I go to Sapna book house next to SN Bazar and buy few books.
I went in the evening but the status is same. He asks me to come the next day.

Nov 2: I am a bit clever now. I make a call to Askar and learn that the camera is almost done but still could not be finished on that day. So, I save myself from going to Majestic.

Nov 5: I call Askar and he tells everything is done and asks me to come there to see something. What is that “something”? He does not tell. My Home, Office and Majestic are all in different directions and not an easy task to go to Majestic on a weekday. I decide to visit Askar on weekend.

Nov 8: It was a shocking day. Askar shows me the flash board on the camera. A chip on the board has been “peeled off”. I had never seen such a thing in life. Askar blames it on service centre people, that since I decided not to repair camera with them, they did this stuff. Hard to believe, but Baalu is not a professional. Finally, it means that repair cost increases.

It has already taken too long. I ask Askar to proceed faster with repair. He tells me that he would finish by end of the day.

When I call him in the evening, it is the same reply again. Come tomorrow!!

Nov 9: I start calling Askar from morning. He is finding it tough to repair. He asks me come at 4 in the evening. I go there promptly only to see the shop closed!! I now decide to try out eating at Malabar Hotel and Udupi Krishna Bhavan. It was on my list for long time. Food was really good.

Nov 10: I had already spent few weeks in Bengaluru because of this camera issue. I was restless and desperately wanted to go out. Thinking that camera would be repaired, I and my wife plan a trip to places near Hassan.

Nov 12: I have started calling him daily. To put more pressure, I decide to go to his shop even though it was a working day. I tell him that my patience was waning and to hurry up the things. He was facing some issues after fitting all the parts in the camera. He promises to deliver the camera in a day.

Nov 13: No Progress.

Nov 14: Askar tells that camera is completely done and is testing it. But he can deliver only on the next day. I have my Hassan plans. This time I borrow camera from Sankara.

Nov 17: I decide to go to Majestic in the evening. But there was a villain out there. Devegowda and his son had created havoc on Bengaluru streets. Going to Home becomes priority and it takes me 3 hours to reach my Home from Office. Few unlucky ones reached their home sometime after midnight. May God NOT forgive the father-son duo for their sins!!!!

Nov 18: I was happy to see my camera in nice shape. I start to do some preliminary tests. Things are ok but not able to take images with flash. Askar starts to scratch his head and tells that he might have forgotten to join a wire. There were many customers that day and he gets a headache. He asks me to come at 9PM but I know nothing would happen by that time.

Nov 20: It was a day which would end my miseries. This time my camera works. Only hitch was whenever the camera switches on menu come in Japanese language. Aska says that he would get software to fix that next month. I am ok with it. It is not a big task to change the language to English in menu.

Next is the cost. He simply quotes some astronomical figure and within few minutes, he reduces it drastically and finally we agree for Rs 7500/-. Good thing was about the lens. I had decided to throw it off thinking that it was damaged. But he says that it can be repaired; only holder needs to be replaced. Cool!!

It was exactly 2 months before the camera had taken the fall. I hope my camera works fine for the days to come.

All along this period, I was thinking why not change my camera instead of going for this costly repair. Nobody likes to downgrade their stuff, for that matter anything in life. It means that I have to buy a bit higher end camera than the current one and it would cost me a lot. Digital SLR cameras are costly and I did not want to spend lot of money on that when I already had enough liabilities on my head.

This post is a bit off topic from the original intent of my blog, but since camera forms an integral part of my treks and travels, I decided to write my experience here.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Stone Temple, Kalasi

3rd October 2008

Kalasi is a village situated 8 kms from Sagar in Shimoga district of Karnataka.

I have been visiting my uncle’s home in Kalasi since childhood. Always wondered how come a Temple in that village was similar to the ones in Belur though much smaller than the one in Belur. There were stories that it was built in one night and a pond next to it was done in one dig.

But Temple in Kalasi is not popular. Unlike Keladi and Ikkeri, where atleast there are few visitors daily, hardly anyone visits Kalasi.

Coming to History, the stone Temple actually consists of two Temples Mallikarjuna and Neelakanteshwara Temple in the same complex.

It was contructed during early 13th century when the area was under Hoysala rule.

The Temple was in ruins during my childhood days. It has been renovated in recent years. But I do not know why ASI does not put a board giving some details about the Temple. A standard board is placed about some ASI rules which is useless. A preist family lives in the Temple complex and they would be able to explain about the Temple.

How to reach Kalasi:

From Sagar, take the road to Saraba. After 6-7 kms is a nada kalasi bus stop. Take a right turn here and follow the tar road. You will cross nada kalasi village, and then contibue on tar road and the Temple is on the left side of the road.

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Keladi Temples

3rd October 2008

Keladi is a village 7 kms from Sagar in Shimoga district of Karnataka. Keladi was the capital of Keladi Nayakas who rules the areas around Shimoga for nearly two and a half centuries.

Choudappa Nayaka who was the first ruler of Keladi kingdom constructed these Temples. Keladi kings started to rule as a feudatory of Vijayanagar Empire in 1499 AD. Later, when Vijayanagar Empire fell down during the battle of Talikota in 1565 AD, Keladi kings gained independence.

Important rulers of this Kingdom were Hiriya Venkatappa Nayaka, Shivappa Nayaka and Keladi Chennamma. In 1763 AD, Keladi was defeated by Hyder Ali of Mysore and was merged with Kingdom of Mysore.

Temple complex looks like a big house from outside. Once entered, the beauty of the stone carvings is amazing. The Temple is built in Hoysala, Dravida, Kadamba and Vijayanagar style. The Temple complex consists of 3 Temples – Rameshwara, Veerabhadreshwara and Parvathi Temples. Overall, Temple is popularly known as Rameshwara Temple.

Gandu berunda (Bird with two heads)

How to reach Keladi:

From BH road bus stop at Sagar, take the road towards Soraba. Shortly after crossing a railway line, there is road towards left that takes to Keladi. Travel for 7 kms to reach Keladi. The Temple complex is at the right side of the road.