In my last post I said that we were away from Goa for a few days. We made a trip to Mysore and back. I had no intentions of writing a travelogue again, the one I wrote about our US trip last year being enough of travelogues for me and everyone else but I found a few pictures of our trip in the camera and the temptation to bug others with them is too much to resist. I will shorten the torture as much as possible.
After many years, all of us in our family were in a position to take a week’s holiday together and decided to go somewhere out of Goa. We kept hearing people - our friends and acquaintances - going on tours and names like Singapore, Bangkok, Mauritius, Manali, Srinagar, Jaipur and Coonoor kept popping up during conversations making us feel that, being cooped up in Ponda, we were missing all the fun. So, we had to go somewhere. After considering Udaipur,Singapore, Malaysia, Kashmir and Kannur and rejecting all of them, we decided up on the time tested Mysore which has never disappointed us. Since we do not have a direct train to Mysore from Goa, we have to take a train to Bangalore and proceed to Mysore from there. We had thought of a pleasant holiday, I mean as pleasant as four of us (all adults. Children are no more children and have their own mind and can afford to act as it directs them) with different tastes and ideas could make it together and had no intentions of passing through Bangalore which was sure to be far from pleasant. So, we decided to drive to Dharwad and take the night train to Mysore.
We started on the morning of 5th June just as the monsoon reached the Goa border, and since it was a Sunday and there were not many mining trucks on the road to fight with, managed to reach Molem, the Goa border, without damage. From Molem to Anmod is the ‘ghat section’ and the climb starts from Molem. Anmod ghat is wonderful during rains. To see it in its full splendour one has to travel by train from Margao to Londa but travelling by road is rewarding enough. The picture below is just a sample bit.
The road from Londa to Dharwad (once upon a time)was a narrow but beautifully canopied stretch of road through the forests, till the mining trucks carrying iron ore to Goa from Hospet devoured it completely. It took the government nearly fifteen years to trace it again and now it is under reconstruction. Those who are unfortunate enough to have some compelling reason to travel to Hubli - Dharwad by road, take a detour via Khanapur which traverses through a very bad patch of about twelve kilometers to join the Belgaum - Bangalore highway at Kittur, by which time they would have exhausted all the curses they have in their vocabulary. I went by that road once last year and only because I had been reciting Vishnu Sahasranama all the time, managed to come out unscathed. We heard that the road to Dharwad via Dandeli and Haliyal is good though a bit longer and had decided to try that road. It is really good. There is not much traffic on the road and both the sides are densely wooded. The road is smooth though curvy and my son, who was driving, did his best to test the stability of our car and the stretchability of our nerves. He enjoyed himself while I got an ulcer or two. We made one brief halt for lunch and another to look at the Supa dam from a view point and arrived at Dharwad by three in the afternoon.
We rested for a while at our friend Sri Dhakad’s place in Dharwad and having consumed enough fats to last us the next three years through their very tasty Rajasthani dinner, caught the night train which deposited us at Mysore the next morning.
Mysore suites all tastes in our family and we usually spend time peacefully just eating and lazing around. However this time we decided to visit our family deity ‘Srikanteshwara’ at Nanjangud and a nearby hill called the ‘Himavatgopalaswamy betta’ (‘betta’ is a hill in Kannada). The last time I visited lord Shrikanteshwara, I had to stand in a jostling queue for nearly an hour (after buying the privileged hundred rupees ticket- Lord Venkateshwara of Tirupati has taught profitable business practices to all other deities) before I came face to face with him. This time I had decided that if a similar situation prevails, I would offer my pranams from the outer precincts and turn back. Our association is long and I was sure that he would understand. It was a pleasant surprise to find the temple free of crowds and it was much more pleasant to find the surroundings clean and -very important- having a very much usable pay toilet and other facilities.
I said that I do not intend a long write up but the habit does not die easily. I will try to shorten the remaining part.
‘Himavatgopalswamy betta’, one hour from Nanjangud.
A deviation of about twelve kilometers from Gundlupet on the Mysore - Ooty highway.
The deviation bit - Horrible road, beautiful surroundings.
Buy a ticket at the forest guard posted at the base of the hill, who instructs you to be back with in an hour.
Reach the top expecting the tyres to burst anytime and once you have stopped being surprised at the tenacity of your vehicle which survived the road enjoy the exhilarating cool and misty atmosphere said to be so all through the year and hence the name “Himavatgopalaswamy’. (‘Hima’ is mist in kannada).
Splendid view as far as your eyes can take you.
Colourful temple, and a very good looking Gopalaswamy within.
The hill is in a protected forest area and one cannot stray away from the temple to explore the surroundings. One is not allowed to linger around and ‘picnic’ there. You reach the top, take a look and few photographs, offer your prayers to Lord Gopalaswamy and start back. We had heard that if you are lucky, you may see wild elephants roaming in the forest below. We halted at a view point on the way down and tried our best to locate wild elephants. We spotted them only after our driver’s experienced eyes caught them. You may see them in the photograph if your eyes are better than mine.
After a halt by the side of the road for lunch,
Returned to Mysore by three in the afternoon. A very good trip. I hear that there are many such places around Mysore and hope to visit them during our subsequent visits. please do not pray that i never make it to Mysore again.