2006 - Shravanabelagola
- Shets, Vinod, Pungi, Kabira
- Kabira (Obviously any reference to the first person will mean Kabira).
a way to start the new year with and what a place to visit!!! Here is how it all started:
I had to come back to India sometime during January for
my work permit. I then struck a deal with my team that I could come back during the New year's eve if I could complete the
work allotted. I somehow managed to "finish" the work well before the deadline what with the huge incentive of a visit to
Bangalore looming large over the horizon. Anyways,
I told Shets that I would be coming over on Sunday and asked him to plan something for the day. The catch was that most of
the members were not in town that day and as such even if something was planned for the day, there would be limited participation
as is the wont of the gang. Vinod was one of the guys who would stay back and in a fit of frustration asked Shets to plan
for any damn thing with him game for it. The count climbed to 3 then with me, Shets and Vinod ready to "rock" ( pun intended
). Pungi was also goaded into making the trip as his father could take care of the business for the day. With Pungi came his
Sumo also w!hich meant that we need not make any alternate travel arrangements. All said and done, the only thing yet to be
decided was the eventual destination :))
I wearily trudged down to Bangalore in the wee hours of the new year and tried
as I might, I could not grab even a wink of sleep. I felt that the day would turn out to be nothing special as there was no
word from Shets about the plan. Finally, I heard the welcome ring of the phone and Shets it was asking me to be ready in about
a hour's time. Where were we headed ???? Search me !! He told me that Pungi was ready with his vehicle which came as a bolt
from the blue as that was the last thing that I expected. No offence meant, maam. Sumne thamashege :)) Shets also told me
that Vinod wanted to go to Yediyur and that his parents would also accompany us on the trip. I was frankly disappointed at
this mis-judgement from Vinod as we could not be our normal ( indecent ) selves with family. But, we were okay with it and
we had to try hard to remain "good boys". Vinod was his usual late self and I called him up after he was more than an hour
late from the scheduled meetup time. Shets !
and Pungi had already come to my place by then. It was then that Vinod told us that he would be coming alone.
This was another mis-judgement from Vinod as he should not have told his parents that thay need not come especially when they
were looking forward to it.
It was then that we had a brainstorm as to what
our destination should be. I came up with Mekedatu and the Maddur temple that we donated money to. We collected the details
from Tiski about the same and were almost decided about the place when we had a change of heart and consensus was that the
Maddur temple should be visited by a majority of the group and not a fragment as was the case now. It was to be Yediyur then
combined with a possible visit to Shravanabelagola.
We started on our way to Yediyur then with Rao
as our driver. Shets had not had his breakfast but we thought that we would have the same after darshan at Yediyur. Moreover,
lunch time was nigh and there was no point in having breakfast then. We stopped at a roadside bakery and had a vegetable puff
each. We reached Yediyur and were immediately greeted by a huge swarm of devotees waiting to pay their obeisances to Lord
Siddalingeshwara, the presiding deity at Yediyur. We did try to stand in the "queue" but it was clear that it would take us
a minimum of an hour to get to the sanctum sanctorum by which time it would be too late for us to visit Shravanabelagola.
However, we could see the idol from about a distance of 50 feet and we dutifully bowed our heads satisfied that we had had
Lunch was the next item on the agenda and we
made our way into a Dhaba which was near a huge lake just beside a bridge. The ambience was scenic and the food also was pretty
decent and our meal consisted of some Roti, Curry and Curd Rice. After this rather sumptuous meal, off we went to the shrine
of Bahubali, the embodiment of nirvana.
The road was not as worse as we imagined it to
be and we made our way to Shravanabelagola through innumerable paddy fields and agricultural lands, lush green after the advent
of the fantastic monsoon that season. Pungi also tried his hand at driving a couple of km after which sanity prevailed and
he handed the reins back to Rao, our driver.
Now, history has it that Bahubali was a prince
who had a tiff with his brother and turned to Jainism for solace. He gave up all worldly possessions denouncing them as evil
and started his penance standing upright and eventually attained "moksha", the supreme release. It was Chavundaraya, the minister
of the Ganga dynasty, who decided to construct a structure befitting
Bahubali's stature. He decided upon a huge monolithic structure, which is still the tallest of its kind in the world, to be
built atop Indragiri. Indragiri and Chandragiri are twin mountains at Shravanabelagola with Chandragiri containing temples
in honour of the Jain thirthankaras and Indragiri being the abode of Bahubali.
Climbing the inexhaustible number of steps to
reach the structure is an arduous task in itself as Vinod would readily vouch for. We did manage to climb them and reach the
place with Vinod visibly tired to the hilt. But the climb was worth it as the statue is as close as it gets to making an exact
replica of a man. Even the "minute" details have been taken care of and with finesse at that :)) In essence, the art of sculpting
cannot get better than this. After covering Bahubali at all angles possible and with proof that we did visit the place, it
was time to get back. Pungi was the one who was the most happy of the lot as this place is one of Jainism's most sacred places
and it was his first time here. He wasted no time in calling up his folks back home and telling them that he was here.
Chandragiri was our next logical step but Vinod
was in no shape to make the climb as he was turning over a new leaf that day. But, he was not doing the right thing as you
cannot refrain from doing anything drastically. Any process can only be gradual with the fossil fuels being a prime example.
Anyways, we decided not to force Vinod into the climb and me, Shets and Pungi started the ascent. This was a steeper climb
and we could see that some soothing compound was laid on the rock so that summer does not take toll of anyone's feet. We had
a look at all the temples at the place numbering around 24, one for each thirthankara. Shets and I tried our hands at marriage
brokering with Pungi as the potential bridegroom. But none of the brides was worth a look, let alone a second one :(( We then
decided that we will flaunt our wares sometime later and at a different place.
After the descent, each one of us had "Elneeru"
which was the need of the hour. It was time to get back to Bangalore and off we went on NH-13 again. We stopped at Channarayapatna on the way
to have snacks and what a wonderful idea it turned out to be. We had a fantastic plate each of Thatte Idli which satiated
our appetites. On the way back, we had a nice music session by all of the team. Finally, it was back to Bangalore after a hard day's work. On the whole,
this was an unexpectedly nice outing thanks to all who made it possible.