5am to 5am – Uchangidurga, Santhebennur, Shantisagara, Koolahalli, Bagali


Huchangidurga, Santhebennur, Shantisagara, Hallimallapura, Davanagere, Kulahalli, Koolahalli, Bagali, Uchangidurga, Unchangidurga, Sulekere, Santhebennur tank, Kalyani, Pushkarini, Harpanahalli, Kalleshwara temple, Maddaneshwara Temple,

Synopsis of the trip:

  • Started from BLR at 5am on 2nd Aug 09.
  • Returned to BLR at around 5am on 3rd Aug 09.
  • Total distance covered on the Odo: 823kms
  • Main places visited: Huchangidurga, Santhebennur, Shantisagara, Hallimallapura, Davanagere, Kulahalli & Bagali.

With Sangeetha off to Chennai for a couple of days, I had planned to do a quick trip to Davanagere over last Sunday. Apart from visiting my friend, there were a couple of other places I wanted to cover as a recce trip, to plan a more organized visit with Sangeetha.

Other than Kulahalli and Bagali, I have been to the other places during my college days, when I was scooting around on a Bajaj Chetak. But that was almost a decade and a half ago… and I just had some vague memories from the previous trips.

My plan was to start off as early as possible on the morning of Sunday 2nd Aug, drive to Huchangidurga first, and then to Santhebennur, pass through Shantisagara to Hallimallapura where Kiran would join me. Post lunch we would set off towards Davanagere, visit our friend’s house. Then we would go towards Kulahalli, Bagali and drive back to Bangalore overnight.

Some historical context for the Huchangidurga/Uchangidurga fort:
The exact origins of the Uchangi durg fort seem to be a little obscure, as is usual with many such places, it seems to have started out as a small stronghold of some local cheftians, which changed hands in the course of local wars, alliances etc. The fort was built upon by several generations of rulers from different dynasties. It was a prominent place when it was under the control of a branch of the Pandyas. Ballala II was the first independent Hoysala king (the earlier rulers being the feudatories of the Chalukyas of Kalyani).

The conquest of Uchangi durga was one of the major events of his life, and finds references in his inscriptions (found at several places in and around Chitradurga district). The accounts, of course, are often exaggerated. The strength of the fortress of Uchangi has been suggested by saying that the Cholas laid siege to it for 12 years without success. But Ballala is stated to have attacked it and brought it under his control, which brought him the title of Giri-durgamalla (Conqueror of the hill-forts). Uchangi is described to have had a moat as deep as Patala, as broad as the eight cardinal points and as high as the sky ! The fact simply appears to be that Uchangi was a strong fort and its conquest brought fame to Ballala II. One Kamadeva was the then Pandya king and on his seeking for mercy, Ballala is said to have restored to him his kingdom.

According to an inscription dated 1177, Ballala had even made Uchangi his capital and ruled from it. When the scene of action shifted during the time of the Deccan sultanates, the fort changed hands several times, gradually lost prominence, before being abandoned.

Shantisagara lake, also called ‘Sulekere’.
This is one of the biggest fresh-water lakes in India, was constructed by Shantavve, a Devadasi, in the 11th century. The water tank spread across ten square miles and fed more than 7000 acres of agricultural land around it. Since Devadasis were were often derided as prostitutes, it was called Sulekere (Prostitute’s Lake) by the locals and subsequently renamed as Shantisagar.

Santhebennur tank (Kalyani / Pushkarini)
The tank of Santhebennur is one of the most beautiful tanks in South India. The pushkarini was built with red stone in the 16th Century AD by Kenga Hanumanthappa Nayaka, a local chieftian of Santhebennur. The pushkarni originally had eight mantapas of which only six exist now. The pushkarni has 52 big steps from its main entrance in the west. Other three sides have 44 steps each. Locals call the central structure ‘Karnaji Mantapa’ [Karanji may mean fountain]. There was apparently some mechanism by which water from the tank would come out of a fountain in the central structure.

Kulahalli – Maddaneshwara temple.
This place was recently featured in a TV program on a Kannada channel. Since it is just a few Kms from Harpanahalli, I asked my father about this place. He was posted at Harpanahalli for a couple of years in the 90s and he knew about this place. And the prospect of checking out tunnels & caves etc. was quite intriguiging.

Bagali temple.
About 8 km from Harpanahalli, Bagali has a 9th Century Kalleshwara temple of Chalukya period. There are Panchalinga temples on the premises of Kalleshwara temple and also beautifully sculpted Ugranarasimha idol. The Outer walls of the temple have erotic sculpting. Pillars inside the temple have intricate carvings. The temple has influences from the Hoysalas, Chalukyas and the Rashtrakutas styles.

All the places covered are within a 75kms radius from Davanagere.

5 am in the morning. On the music system…"kausalya supraja rama poorva sandhya pravarvathe…"

Close to Nelamangala. Stuck behind a truck. On the music system MJ’s "Speed Demon"… on the speedo for the next 20 minutes "@20-25kmph"…

Ahhhh… the Tumkur road toll booth. Such a welcome sight!

I was looking forward to having breakfast and coffee at the Kamat Upachar, but the median break has been closed off. So stopped at the Cafe Coffee Day to pick up a Cappuccino…

I will not take any more foggy-hill pics, I will not take any more foggy-hill pics… Maybe one last pic?

After biker gangs… we have the skater gangs!
(This scene is from a blocked off section of the incomplete highway near Tumkur, so it is safe for the kids to skate here.)

Since I was alone, you’ll see a lot of Xing pics 😉

Nice…

Reached Anagodu (After Chitradurga), took a deviation into the country roads and drove on for around 25-30kms and reached Huchangidurga…

The cloudy weather was perfect for walking around the hillside…

Nice place!

The ruins of what must have been a magnificent structure once upon a time…

Ok, I need to walk up till there now…

A doorway to the clouds…

The fort is much bigger than what I remembered it to be…

Up & up…

Looks very spooky…

You can see remains of the moat that once surrounded the fort…

Green Carpet…

The palace compound inside the fort…

Views from the top…

Unless steps are taken to repair and preserve the ruins, there won’t be too much left of the fort…

The road below…

The King’s palace once stood here. You can find a broken Shivling (probably from a shrine within the palace) and some stone cannon balls strewn around…

There is a temple inside the fort frequented by people from the surrounding towns and villages…

Three Musketeers. These kids play a noisy drum-like instrument during the pooja/arathi and ask around for tips.

Contd…




3 comments to...
“5am to 5am – Uchangidurga, Santhebennur, Shantisagara, Koolahalli, Bagali”
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ramesh m helavar

this is a vere good ples


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gnanesh

Its nice and journey

gnanesh


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Ramya Suhas

beautiful blog…. 🙂




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