Temples of Dakshina Kannada and Udupi – Day 2 Travelogue

Having retired early on Day 1 (October 7) we got up early on October 8 (Day 2) and decided to see if we could do the darshana again in the temple. We reached the temple entrance, around 8.15 AM. We checked out the areas where the queues start. It was pretty crowded, we thought it may not be that crowded but were wrong. Apparently Monday is considered auspicious by devotees of Lord Shiva and hence the temple was busy already. We figured out that the darshana would take a long time and decided to head for breakfast. We went for breakfast @ Hotel Arpana opposite the bus stand. It was decent and definitely better than Trupthi restaurant, where we had dinner the previous day. The idlis and dosas here tasted better. Having finished breakfast, we packed our bags checked out from Sannidhi Guest House and headed out for the next stop  – Udupi.

We decided to follow the route GPS shows us. So we started out at 10.15 AM and took the road to Ujire from Dharmasthala. About 1.5km after Dharmasthala we found a beautiful temple on our left side. It was the temple of Lord Rama, its architecture based on temples of North India. Apparently this is one the few places (some say only place) where Lord Rama is in sitting posture, in South India. The idols of the gods are made in marble and most of the temple interiors are made of marble. There are a host of other deities in the temple and would easily take half an hour of your time. Once we were done, we started out on our journey to Udupi.

Soon we hit the town of Ujire, which is a small town with a lot of educational institutions – most of which are run by the temple administration of Dharmasthala. We drove through this town and took a left turn towards Belthangady. The road so far was pretty good. After taking the turn and driving for a few kilometers we reached Belthangady, which is a pretty big town. There was some traffic and slowed us down a bit. No sooner had we passed Belthangady, we reached another small town Guruvayankere, there are two routes from here one through Venoor-Moodabidir-Mulki-Udupi, which is slightly longer than the route we took. The GPS showed us not take this route, but continue straight on from Guruvayankere, towards Karkala. This route was very scenic and passes along the fringes of the Kudremukh National Park. We saw a few sign boards about the National Park on this route. It passes through a few villages and there was some traffic on this road, mostly of buses coming from Karkala and going to Ujire and Dharmasthala.

Soon we hit the highway NH 169, and were driving towards Karkala, where the GPS showed us to take right onto SH 1. This road later took a left turn to put us back on SH 37. This stretch around Karkala was not as good as the other stretches on this drive. After driving for about 30km on this road and passing through a small settlement called Moudebelle, we reached a junction on the outskirts of Udupi where a left turn would take us onto NH 17 and then Udupi, the right turn would take us right into the town from the south eastern side. Having visited Udupi before and knowing where our Hotel was, we decide to avoid taking NH17 and went straight into the town which was about 7 kms from this junction.

We drove into the city and found our way to Hotel Century Executive on Mosque Road. We had stayed here during our 2010 visit and had booked the same place, as we liked the Hotel in terms of price, service and its proximity to Krishna Mutt. The checkin was a breeze and we had lunch in the restaurant attached to the Hotel. The restaurant is called Sheela Utsav and is a pure vegetarian restaurant. It’s pretty decent and reasonably priced too. We decided to rest for while before the visit to Krishna Mutt.

Having rested for a while, we decided to visit the Krishna Mutt early to avoid any crowd that may be there. We were surprised to see the temple relatively free and had a peaceful darshana of the deity. Having spent quite some time in the temple, we came out and visited a Shiva temple opposite the Krishna Mutt. We then walked back to the hotel, had coffee. One of the major positives of Century Executive, is its proximity to the Krishna Mutt, it is a 5 minute walk.

Having some spare time in the evening, a friend had suggested us to visit a Kali temple at Ambalpady about 3km from the town. To reach Ambalpady, head out on the road from Udupi bus stand towards the main entrance of Udupi on NH17. After about 1.5km you will see a Big Bazaar towards your left, take the right turn opposite to Big Bazaar, travel for another kilometer (cutting NH 17 along the way) . After crossing NF 17, take the first right and then the first left. At the end of this road, is the temple of Mahakli and Janardhana. It’s a nice and quiet place where you can spend some time.

We then came back to the hotel, finished dinner in the restaurant and retired for the day. Kollur was in our sight for the next day.

Day 2

Dharmasthala – Udupi  and Udupi local travel

Total Distance : 102 km (Dharmasthala – Udupi) + 10 km (Udupi Local)

Stay : Hotel Century Executive, Mosque Road, Udupi

Temples of Dakshina Kannada and Udupi – Day 1 Travelogue

It was decided by family that we would visit a few temples in Dakshinna Kannada ( South Canara) and Udupi districts of Karnataka. It was sometime since we last visited these temples and we thought it was time to go pay our visit. After some planning we finalized the list of places to visit and it was in this order – Dharmasthala, Udupi, Kollur, Kateel and Kukke Subramanya. We decided that the dates would be between Oct 7 – Oct 12, choose these dates as it falls just before the festive Navaratri season and the crowds would be less, it indeed turned out to be the correct decision. We were all set and started on Oct 7.

Day 1, October 7 2012 : Bangalore – Dharmasthala

  We finished breakfast at a hotel close to our place in Bangalore and started off at 9.30 AM. Our place is in South Bangalore and this being a Sunday, we decided to take the Ring Road via Deve Gowda Petrol Bunk – Nayandhalli (the flyover over Mysore road is now ready and the messy junction crossing is not a problem) – Kanteerava Studio Junction – Gorguntepalya and hit Tumkur Road (NH4). This was a breeze and there was absolutely no traffic anywhere along the way. Once on NH4 we took the elevated road, paid a toll of Rs 20 and were in Nelemangla in no time. Here we took the left turn towards Hassan / Mangalore and were on NH 48. This is a fantastic highway one of the best I have driven on. After about 4 km from Nelamangla there is a toll booth where you pay Rs.36 as toll and zoom off towards Hassan. The stretch from here to Bellur Cross is an absolute charm. Most of this route was covered in Cruise Control mode. Took a bio-break at a Coffee Day and moved on towards Hassan. There is another toll of Rs 36, a few kilometeres before Bellur Cross. Most of the road after Bellur Cross is still being widened, however the quality of roads are good and one can maintain a good average speed. We were in Hassan by 12.30 PM, as it was a tad too early for lunch we took the Hassan bypass and headed out towards Sakleshpur. The double roads end where the Hassan bypass begins. We reached Sakleshpur around 1.15 PM, the road from Hassan to Sakleshpur is not a double road but still very very good. After crossing most of the town, we stopped for lunch near the new Bus Stand at a place named Hotel Ashritha. This is a pure vegetarian restaurant and serves decent food. We finished lunch and started off to Dharmasthala at 2.30 PM. The dreaded Shiradi Ghats begin about 7km after Sakleshpur. Had heard various reports about the quality of roads here, but I was pleasantly surprsied. The road was bad in stretches, but not as bad as I expected. Finished driving the ghat in about 1 hour. about 50km of Ghat roads is not really bad. The roads get better after Gundya and we were soon at the point where we needed to take a right turn towards Dharmathala. There are sign boards about 2km before the turn, so there is no chance one will miss the turn. The road from here to Dharmasthala is average at best. After about half an hour, we were in Dharmsthala. It was 4.10PM.

   We had booked ourselves in Sannidhi Guest House operated by the temple administration. After entering the town, we found our way to the guest house and settled in. I was amazed by the quality of this guest house. It is probably the best accommodation in Dharmasthala. The charges per room, per night is Rs 1000 (pricey by Dharmsthala standards) and can be booked by calling the temple administration office. Once we freshened up, we went to the temple for darshana. Since the queue for the normal darshana was pretty long, we decided to go for special darshana at Rs.200 per head. With this special ticket, we bypassed some part of the normal queue, but not as much as we expected. Anyway, we had a nice darshana of Manjunatheshwara. 

   After the darshana, we checked out see if we could have dinner at the temple dinging hall. It was way too crowded and decided against it. If you are looking to eat out in Dharmsthala, I am sorry, you don’t have much choice. You can either eat in Trupthi restaurant opposite Nethravathi Guest House or Hotel Arpana opposite the Bus Stand. We were closer to the temple so we choose Trupthi for the dinner that day. Dosa, Idli, Avalakki (Poha) were the items on offer. We had some idlis and dosas, returned back to the guest house and retired for the day.

Day 1

Bangalore – Dharmasthala : 310 km

Stay : Sannidhi Guest House, Dharmasthala

 

 

Working with Collections.copy

There is a static method named “copy” in the java.util.Collections class. I had never used this method till now and for some code I was writing I just needed to copy a collection to check something, while the “source” collection could change. I needed to check the collection at “this specific point”.

The javadoc for this method is like this,

Copies all of the elements from one list into another. After the operation, the index of each copied element in the destination list will be identical to its index in the source list. The destination list must be at least as long as the source list. If it is longer, the remaining elements in the destination list are unaffected.

So I decided to write my code like this,

List<String> sourceCollection = new ArrayList<String>();

sourceCollection.add("element1");

sourceCollection.add("element2");

List<String> destCollection = new ArrayList<String>(sourceCollection.size());

Looks ok ? Expect it to work? Unfortunately it won’t. You get anIndexOutOfBoundsException with the message – if the destination list is too small to contain the entire source List

Strange? I thought so too, but after further analysis I knew what was wrong. This line of code should give you the answer,

List<String> destCollection = new ArrayList<String>(sourceCollection.size());

This does create a new list, but there is a catch. It’s “initial capacity” is 3, but the “size” is still 0. As a result, although you thought it would work it will not.

They way to fix this this unfortunately like below,

List<String> destCollection = new ArrayList<String>(sourceCollection);

The above statement copies the data from one collection to another, it’s a shallow copy. Then you call the below code to achieve what you really want to, which after looking at the code of Collections is again a shallow copy !!!

Collections.copy(destCollection, sourceCollection);

The only positive thing about this is, it doesn’t allocate new memory and you can reuse the memory.

Learning from this,

  • Collections.copy is not really useful
  • The javadoc is also not clear and that doesn’t help at all
  • If you really want deep copies, iterate and clone each object and put it in the collection

Travelogue Leg 2 – Bekal

This is the second entry in a series of posts describing my trip during the last week of 2010. In the last post I talked about Madikeri and the places we saw there. This post I will talk about our visit to Bekal a seaside town in the south Indian state of Kerala.

After we were done seeing Bhagamandala and Talacauvery  we had planned to head to Bekal. I had done a lot of research about how to get to Bekal and from various sources (both internet and by word of mouth) heard that the drive from Bhagamandala is a good one. Whatever I heard made me excited and had decided to try it out. Let me tell you it did not disappoint us. To put it on record once more, it one of the most beautiful drives I have ever been on.

In order to take this road (while coming from Talacauvery) cross Bhagamandala town (you will exit through an arch which is the entry point for Bhagamandala) take the immediate left turn. There are boards that point you to Karike and Panathur. Karike is the last town in Karnataka in Madikeri district. Panathur is the first town on the other side. Karike is about 25 km from Bhagamandala and the drive is a very picturesque one. Its a winding road which gets into steep ascends and descends at some points, but these are very limited in number. It is so beautiful this road that, almost every turning has a small stream running and that sound of water is amazing !!! There are stretches on this road where the vegetation is so thick that sun ryas struggle to reach the road, the rays sneaking through the canopy make a pretty sight. I have to alert you here about couple of things – this road is pretty isolated, there is no cell phone connectivity and drive carefully in the turns especially if a vehicle is coming in the opposite direction, the soil could be loose and you may loose control of your vehicle and get stuck. We actually found a Qualis stuck like that with a family stranded there. They were luck to have found a lorry to pull them out of the ditch. The road upto Karike is in decent condition with only about 5kms of the road in bad shape, but it is driveable. The winding roads start reducing once you cross Karike and enter Kerala. Panathur is the first town there and roads start improving after Panathur. Once you cross Panathur there are directions through for a town called Kahnangad in Kerala. The roads are excellent and one should reach Kanhangad in about 2 hrs after starting from Bhagamandala. When you reach Kanhangad you will hit NH 17 which is Kochi – Panvel highway. The stretch to which the Bhagamandala road connects is the bypass to Kanhangad. Bekal is about 10 km north of Kanhangad and just off NH 17.

There are two routes to reach Bekal  – 1) Take the bypass, cross Kanhangad and take a left turn (there are directions) to reach Bekal. 2) Drive through Kanhangad town to reach Bekal. The second option is a much shorter route and also faster, as there is hardly any traffic in the town. You need to ask for directions on how to get to Bekal Fort and its fairly simple we found out after checking with a couple of people. There is a major intersection in the town where you need to take a right turn. This is the main road in the town and proceeding north for about 10km , you will go over a flyover and see the board for reaching Bekal Fort right after you get off that flyover.  Our hotel was right next to the Bekal Fort and a good one. It was to be our home for the next 2 days !!!

We checked into our rooms and decided to checkout the Bekal Fort which was right opposite the hotel. To our surprise it was one of the most amazing places we had seen so far. The structure, the location, the grass, sand , sea and sunset made it a moment to cherish for life. We were so overjoyed and impressed with the place that we decided to come there for sunset the next day and spend as much time as possible there. That ended day one at Bekal Fort.

 

The second day we were relaxed and decided to check out some places close by. One was a backwater boat ride and the other was a temple in the middle of the lake and of course there was sunset at Bekal. The hotel staff mentioned that the lake temple was near Kasargod and since we were going to Udupi we can see that place on our way back. So we decided to have a relaxed day just doing the boat ride and taking a walk in the Bekal beach which is right next to the fort. So we went to place called Nileswaram south of Bekal and rented a house boat for an hour. It was one of the most amazing experiences we had and for the first time we saw a “river mouth”. Its the place where the river joins the sea. It was one of the most beautiful sights to watch a river flowing into the sea !!!

 

 

After this we went for a walk in the Bekal beach, which has some breathtaking views of the Bekal Fort.

 

 

It was lunch time on day two and we went back to our resort had lunch, rested for while and geared up for an evening in the Bekal Fort.

 

It certainly didn’t disappoint us. We enjoyed another beautiful sunset and retired to our resort for the night. The next day we headed to Udupi and back to Karnataka after couple of beautiful days in Kerala. That’s the next topic 🙂

Bekal is a beautiful place and it was unexpectedly the surprise part of the trip. It’s a recommended place to go see in Kerala. Its relatively less crowded and has some amazing views of the sea. Bekal Fort is another place that will remain in memory forever. Today it looks beautiful when bathed in sunlight during sunset and is a delight for any tourist. But from the inscriptions in the fort, it was a very strategic one and many rulers who ruled the Deccan plateau have tried to capture it or captured it.

That’s it for this travelogue, will post the next leg soon where we travelled to the lake temple and Udupi.

Year end trip – Madikeri

At the fag end of last year, to be precise during the last week of 2010 Me, wife and parents travelled in south western Karnataka and parts of north Kerala. Writing everything in one post will be impossible and will not make for good reading. I will split my travelogue based on the places we travelled during that week. In this entry  I will talk about Madikeri.

The date was 25 December 2010 the birthday of Jesus, this was also the day our week long trip started. It was another foggy, chilly morning in Bangalore. We were ready to start by 7.30 AM. We hit the road soon having ensured that we were geared up for the entire trip. The best way to reach Madikeri is to take the Bangalore – Mysore road. I expected to hit a lot of traffic on that morning as many would be trying to get away from Bangalore and the traffic did not disappoint me !!!

After about 15-20 minutes of driving through the traffic, the vehicles became sparse and I started to burn the rubber as I drove at a steady speed of around 80 km/h. On the way we passed the towns of Bidadi, Ramanagar and Channapatna without much vehicular movement in those towns. After Channapatna town before a town called Maddur are some of the best places for having breakfast ( I have personally got bored of Lokaruchi which is between Ramanagara and Channapatna, its still good, but…). Instead of our usual place for breakfast when on this road which is a Shivalli Hotel, we decided to go further ahead to Adiga’s which has recently opened. This place is not easy to miss as the building where this place is housed resembles a Cambodian temple !!! After waiting for a few minutes we managed to find a place to sit down and gulped some hot idlis, dosas and some coffee. After finishing breakfast we drove through the towns of Maddur, Mandya and Srirangapatna, again with not much traffic in those towns.

To go to Madikeri you need to take the road towards Hunsur. After crossing Srirangapatna there are two options. Option 1 – Proceed on the same road, you will hit Mysore Ring road, take a right turn there and you will hit Hunsur road from there. There are boards, so one doesn’t have to worry. This is a slightly longer route to reach Hunsur road. Option 2 – After Srirangapatna take the road that goes to Ranganatittu – KRS (This road is a 270 deg turn at a round about immediately after the bridge over Cauvery). Instead of taking turns to reach either of the places proceed straight on this road. After about 10 kms you will pass a railway over bridge. After this bridge there is a fork, bear right on this fork and you will reach Hunsur road in about 3-4kms. We took Option2.  Once on Hunsur road its a straight road to Madikeri. After Hunsur there is a fork, bear right on the fork to go to Madikeri, the left of the fork will take you to Virajpet. This stretch of road is excellent through out, a pleasure to drive.

On this road we crossed the towns of Hunsur and Periyapatna. We had decided to to visit the Tibetan Monastery at Baylukuppe near the town of Kushalnagar. The approach to this monastery is nice with directions through out to reach it. However you need to look out for a board on the Madikeri road just before the town of Kushalnagar. The name of the place is, Normdoling Monastery. It about 7 kms from the main road. We reached there just after noon. There was a significant amount of crowd there. Having said that, the place is so huge that you dont really notice that there are so many people there !!! We went around the place looking at the 3 huge gold plated statues of Buddha and other monks. There are some nice halls where you can sit peacefully for a while and relax. Those halls have some very nice paintings on those walls and its worth spending some time there. We spent about an hour and half here. I had visited this place before, but parents had not seen this place. They liked the place and some memories from college were refreshed for me, we had visited this place about 10 yrs back !!!

 

We decided to have lunch @ Kushalnagar and headed towards Madikeri. The roads were excellent until we reached the town, the roads are pathetic. Pathetic is a light word to use, its that bad. I pity the people who use these roads daily 😦 We reached the Homestay that we had booked, Alpen Glow comfortably, settled into our rooms and freshened up. In the evening we took a walk through the town and retired for the day. One point to note was, Madikeri although we expected it to be cold, it was nowhere near the chill of Bangalore, which was kind of strange.

The next day we decided to visit Dubare, Nisargadhama and Abbey falls. We started early in the morning and headed to Dubare. Dubare is an elephant training camp on the banks of Cauvery. From Madikeri town we took the Siddapur road and deviations along the way to reach Dubare. This is a shorter route of about 28 km, passing through some coffee estates. There is another longer route which is to take the Kushalnagar road and take a deviation just before the town, this is while going from Madikeri. The same turn will be after Kushalnagar if you are coming from Bangalore. The approach to Dubare is extremely tricky, the road is very very narrow and if you there on a crowded day , like we did you should rive carefully as there is continuos movement of vehicles up and down on that road. I was surprised that this was the only approach road to Dubare, given that its a pretty famous. It is famous because of the elephants housed there, its an elephant training camp. If you get there really early, that is before 9 am you will be allowed to bathe the elephants and see them play in water. We were just able to see the elephants bathe in water. We hardly spent some time there, as it was very crowded and went to Nisargadhama.

Nisargadhama is an island situated on the Cauvery river. It has basically Bamboo vegetation and houses some deers in a deer park. It also has an elephant ride which one can take if interested. One can spend time relaxing by the river, which we did. Once finished, we saw that we had time on our hands before lunch and headed for Abbey Falls. One can reach the falls by taking a deviation before reaching the Madikeri town. It s about 8 km from that point. There are directions all the way to reach the falls. Its a fall situated in a private estate, its worth watching once. However if you are short of time, you can give this a miss. After finishing with the falls, we noticed that there is Raja’s tomb situated on the way back and spent about half an hour there. If maintained well, its a good place however its in shambles and not well maintained which was kind of sad to see. It was well past 3 PM now and we had lunch at a hotel in the town and went to our homestay and relaxed for a while. Our hosts suggested that we visit a shiva temple in the town called Omkareshwara temple. Its a nice temple with a huge kalyani (water tank) situated right in front of it. Its a nice place and had very less people so we spent some time there, it was relaxing. From here we proceeded to Raja’s seat as it was on the way back to our homestay. To our surprise we found that most of the crowd was heading out and went in there just to take a walk there. Actually if one goes there before sunset and the weather is clear its a nice place to see sunset and spend the evening. We had a pleasant surprise when we went there. It was the musical fountain :-). Someone had mentioned that it was not working and darn lucky we were that it was working and spent a worthy 30 minutes there. It brought back memories of the one ar Brindavan Gardens and also brought back memories of having gone there :-). After the musical fountain show, we went to our homestay finished dinner and hit the sack.

 

This was our third day in Madikeri, we checked out from our homestay and headed towards Bhagamandala and TalaCauvery. We had kept these two places for the last day as this was enroute our next destination Bekal in Kerala. In order to reach Bhagamandala one has to take the Mangalore road from Madikeri and after about 3 km, bear left on a fork. There are clear directions to reach both Bhagamandala and TalaCauvery.

Bhagamandala is about 35km from Madikeri. The roads are decent and it takes about 45 min to reach Bhagamandala. Bhagamandala is a small town where Cauvery is joined by its tributaries Kannike and Sujyoti (the invisible one whose mystery remains unknown to date). There is also a Bhagandeshwara temple there. This temple’s architecture resembles the ones in Kerala with short doors, dwarf temple structures and deities also being small in size. From here Talacauvery is about 8 kms. The roads are good, but they are winding roads that takes you to the top. If you get there on a crowded day finding parking can be tricky and you may end up parking your vehicle quite some way off from the actual temple. TalaCauvery is the origin of the river Cauvery and there is a small temple and kalyani (water body) there. We spent some time there. There are some breathtaking views of the Coorg from there. If one can climb about 400 steps and get to the top of a hill right next to TalaCauvery, one can get better views :-). We did not go there as we were already late and were headed to Bekal. Not knowing the condition of the road ahead we wanted to have some time on hand, so we left TalaCauvery at around 12.30 PM.

 

This is about Madikeri, after having spent 3 days and 3 wonderful days we headed to Bekal !!! That’s the next post 🙂