A trip to Somnathpura, Talakad and Shivanasamudram

It was me behind the driver’s wheel, and three of my friends – Karthik, Vinoth and Rahul, in my Santro, we started the one-day trip to visit Somnathpura, Talakad and Shivanasamudram. The planner in me had made all plans previously. We would head straight to Somnathpura, from there, would take the road to Talakad and finally reach Shivanasamudram so that we have all time left to enjoy in the falls.

Somnathpura

We left our house in Koramangala at 6.30 in the morning,

and in an hour, we were on the Mysore road leading to Somnathpura. We were hungry by the time we reached Maddur, and had our breakfast in a small roadside hotel.

Just after Maddur, we took the left which goes to Malavalli. The road is good till Malavalli, and from Malavalli, we took a right to Bannur. The road to Bannur was virtually non-existant, and more so as we neared our destination. An SUV would have been ideal under these road conditions, however, my Santro was good enough for me to negotiate the stones and pits that call themselves roads.

In fact, from Malavalli you could head to Shivanasamudram if you plan to go there straight.

Sculptures

But our plan was to finish the far-away places first (also considering the roads).

We reached Somnathpura at around 10 am. From the outside it looks like a well maintained garden. But behind the compound walls is a magnificient temple that strikes you with the intricateness that is the cherised wealth of Karnataka. A Hoyasala temple, this is constructed on a raised platform, and the temple is actually star shaped.There are rows of sharp carvings made on the temple walls. Keeping up with the history of the Hoyasalas, the temple is made of Soapstone, and the typical intricate Hoyasala

carvings found in places such as Belur, Halebeedu and Amrithapura can be found here too. Each suclpture narrates a story and architecture enthusiasts would want to take all their time in exploring just the outer wall of the temple.

One sad part is that the faces of the figurines in the temple walls have been disfigured by the Muslim invaders, and part by the British, that most of the sculptures have a broken or part-broken head.

The interiors of the temple, again, has the typical smoothly carved pillars with detailed work on the ceilings. In fact, going by the looks of it, this temple is architecturally superior to the Belur and Halebeedu temples. It has three gopurams standing on a star shaped pedestal, which

Somnathpura - Entrance

in itself is a postcard picture moment. But I have no clue why the temple and the road to the temple have been neglected by the Government. The temple is just 25 kms from the sandal city of Mysore. The nearest town is T.Narsipur. Somnathpura would be a non-to-be-missed site in the Mysore-Srirangapatna circuit if it is promoted by the Government. Visit my album on Somnathpura

The road alongside the temple leads straight to our next destination – Talakad. Much has been told about this buried-in-the-sand temple around the web. You can find them here, and here.

The main Mahavishnu temple was a sight to watch, and the ASI is actually numbering the rocks there so that the remaining parts of the temple could be restored.

One interesting part of our visit to Talakad was this old lady called Mariamma. When we

Talakad

landed in Talakad, a lot of guides swarmed around us telling us about this place. But was made it clear that we need no guide, because I had read enough about this place

already on the web. So, we first headed straight to the Cauvery which flows nearby, and took a small ride in the coracle.

These are similar to the ‘parisals’ found in Hogenakkal. After we finished our stint with the river, and had a sumptuous meal in a roadside stall, did we meet this interesting person, Mariamma.

As we headed back towards the forest to see the temples, this lady started accompanying us telling us the route. My friend started telling her we don’t need a guide, and I thought it is ok to have one. The way through the trees were confusing, and a guide would ease our search, I thought. So, we took Mariamma as our guide.

She has a punchline. “My name is Mariamma. What is your name?”, which she kept saying whenever she got a chance. Also she said, “Nanage ella gothhu”, meaning I know everything. She actually took my friends digital camera and took our shots. She gave names to the four of us. One was Salman Khan, one, Darshan, one was Upendra and the other, ‘Mungaru picture Ganesa’. We enjoyed her ramblings. She kept calling us Ganesaa, Uppi… follow me!, and it was real fun listening to her.

Main temple

She said all trees around were cashewnut trees, and they would yield the fruit in November. Also, she was quite pious, and kept telling to fold our hands and chant the name of Shiva. “Shiva antha kai mugkoli…”.

I found Mariamma so interesting a personality, that I beleived somebody should definitely have come across her. I googled on the phrase “My name is Mariamma”,🙂 and to my surprise, got an account about her on the web, here.

We saw all the temples of Talakad. The main Mahavishnu temple is the most impressive, and the tales about Talakad are equally interesting too. We left Talakad around 2.30pm, and started for our next destination, Shivanasamudram. Visit my album on Talakad here.

Shivanasamudram, also called “Bluff” by the locals, has two falls, Gaganachukki and Bharachukki. I had learnt that Gaganachukki gives a good view, whereas, Bharachukki is where we could take a bath.

Bharachukki

So, we tripped and bounced on so-called roads and reached Shivanasamudram, where we decided to go to Bharachukki first.

Bharachukki was a breath-taking beauty. Streams of water flowed exquisitely into the valley below and it was a sight to watch. We had to take a flight of steps to reach the foot of the falls. A bunch of people were trying to cross the stream there to reach under the falls, whereas another set were taking the parisal ride, which was here too. We soon crossed the stream and were right under the falls.

I had not known that there is such a beautiful falls near Bangalore and made a mental note to return whenever time gives way. We took bath in the lovely falls for more that two hours. We were so thrilled by the gush of water, that we decided to spend as much time as available at Bharachukki itself, and just give Gaganachukki a view. But by the time we finished

People around the falls

all the bathing and merry-making, it was around 6, and it was starting to get dark. Visit my album on Bharachukki here.

We headed straight to Malavalli from there, took the road to Maddur, and to Bangalore along the Mysore road, carrying along with us truckloads of pleasant memories about the temples, falls, and of course, the ever enthusiastic, Mariamma.

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