I realised all of a sudden that it’s been a long time since my last ride. Considering that we are into the last quarter of 2016 I hadn’t done even a single one in 2016! The last one was late December 2015, and to Nuggehalli. This time I decided to do the same route again. I like the temple with its carvings and the road is just awesome to ride on. There will be a time to explore other regions, but a comeback ride after 8 months is probably not the time for that.
The plan was to do it last week, but the weather looked dodgy with a good chance of rain. Just as it was clearing, a bandh happened and I wasn’t sure I’d be able to find stuff to eat. I postponed it to the day after Ganesha. Except that this became a Mandya Bandh, and considering that I was planning to pass through large parts of the district, if not the city itself, I decided to play it safe and shifted it to the next day, September 7th. The weather promised a partially cloudy day with no chance of rain. Just the thing to expect on a September day. It was expected to be cool, though not as cold as winter. In short, perfect conditions for riding.
I set off at 7:45 AM. Fuel was done along the way, and so was air for the tyres. The weather was absolutely splendid. Clear blue skies with puffy clouds left over from the Monsoons, mild temperature, not biting cold, the kind of weather expected and the kind that makes you love riding.
I did my usual pit-stop near the village, and was at the each-time-more-expensive Swati Delicacy by 9:30 AM, where a plate of Idly-vada followed by coffee cost me a cool Rs. 100!
The turning to Nuggehalli was taken and I came across the usual awesome road with a Banyan grove.
For a change, the temple was open. They were apparently expecting some party for a special puja. The inside had ornate ceiling work, though at a smaller scale. The Narasimha was hidden behind a curtain, but other idols were placed outside the main sanctum. The trademark lathing of the pillars from the Hoysala period can be seen here.
As I finished the inside and came out, the expected party turned up with their puja items. The backside was as beautiful as the last time and I got down to checking out the carvings.
There was the story of Krishna overcoming Putana.
Of Kaliya and his family in the river, and Krishna overcoming him.
Of Vishnu being worshipped/pleaded by Gods. That pose of Vishnu is blown up into a bigger idol. And so is the one of Krishna on Kalia above.
There were some of Krishna and his antics, the below with pots of butter and the churning of buttermilk for butter.
The temple of Nuggehalli has the legend of Mallitamma and Baichoja, two sculptors, each taking one side of the temple, the North and the South. Mallitamma was well known and sculpted many temples, Baichoja doing just this one, leaving behind a mystery of what happened to him. A rendering of Krishna playing the flute is seen on both sides, done by each sculptor. The one below is by Baichoja on the south, with Krishna looking a bit dreamy, maybe calm.
The cows are calmer, doing their own thing, while Mallitamma’s are more ordered.
The one below is of Mallitamma on the Northern side. You can see his signature at the very bottom of the image, something that has survived 800 years! Am not too familiar with sculptures, so will just leave the two of them here and you can do your own reading. They are both such masterpieces though!
This is Baichoja’s Vishnu with his signature below, offering this to the viewers with a namaskara and mentioning the village he is from.
I set off from Nuggehalli towards Shravanabelagola over awesome village roads. The road wasn’t pristine, but it let me do a 60Kmph without any discomfort.
I reached ‘belagola, parked the bike, put the jacket and shoes in the locker and started climbing at 12 in the afternoon! Again, the weather wasn’t too hot or too cold. Just perfect to help me along.
I reached my favourite spot, but found no solitude as the whole place was taken over by couples seeking their own kind of solitude. I sat down for 5-10 minutes, and left soon.
The usual Hotel Raghu was closed, so I tried a nearby Jain Bhojanalaya. The meal was simple with rotis with a curry, and rice with dal, sambhar and curd. After having my fill, I headed on to my most favourite part of the ride – the road home avoiding all National Highways. I passed Aghalaya and its massive lake. There were pelicans and storks on the lake.
I passed Kanthapura, Nagamangala, and took a right towards Devalapura. The road was narrower but more beautiful passing through more forests than villages.
I hit Devalapura and with some trepidation turned near Koudle towards Huliyurdurga. The road was bumpy for a couple of kilometres. There was still that 10km to Huliyurdurga that I was dreading. Last time there was work going on. But this time the work was completed, which meant a pristine road till Huliyurdurga! The road from there to Magadi was as good as last time, in fact even better! Magadi was reached by 3 PM and I stopped for a cup of sickly sweet tea. Savandurga was passed and there was no let up in the awesome clouds. Imagine riding a whole day with this kind of sky!!
I had promised to reach home by 4 PM, and I managed to get there at exactly 4, give or take a few minutes. One of the best rides in terms of weather and road conditions. It had been a kind of rule that I’d hit at least one bumpy stretch for some 10-15 kms. There was none of that, just that small 2 km, which was still doable. Hope to do more of this side, and hopefully not let 8 months pass between rides!
The route. Note that the top line is for going, and the bottom for the return.
Note: All photos shot with iPhone 6, using camera+ app and “Clarity” filter applied.