1) View of the Cauvery valley from atop Melkote hill/Yoganarasimha temple
2) View of temple tank/Kalyani from atop the hill
3) Akka-thangi kula (sister tanks/ponds)
4) The incomplete Rayagopuram that features in movies
5) Pillared ranga mantapa inside Cheluvanarayanaswamy temple
6) View of Melkote hill temple from a distance
Travel means loads of fun …
Bangalore-Mysore highway – State Highway 17 is a great road to travel on, a superb highway, full of life. The last time we traveled on this road was to Bandipur in the year 2008 and I must admit that there has been a whale of change on this road since then. This is a highway where you have vehicles zooming past all the time, many colleges, many hotels, shops and petrol pumps. Even when you are traveling with elders/family, there is absolutely no worry of food/water. The Mysore highway boasts of restaurants like Kadumane (before Wonder La, Bidadi), Kamat Lokaruchi (near Janapadha Loka), 4 Café Coffee day outlets between Ramanagara and Channapatna, 1 Barista and 1 McDonalds outlet, 2 Kamat Upachar hotels near Channapatna, 1 MTR outlet near Indradhanush Café coffee day, 1 Adigas restaurant after Maddur. That’s a long list and this apart the highway also has regular shops for tea break, dhabas etc. The highway is abuzz with activity therefore.
Away from all this hustle on SH-17, to reach Melkote, one takes the right turn, immediately after leaving Mandya town. This winsome journey stretching for about 37 kms winds through sugarcane and paddy fields. The road is in very good condition and carries the sweet scent of jaggery all along. When traveling on this stretch of 37 kms, one easily realizes a drop of 1-2’C in temperature, thanks to the number of trees, fields and water bodies around.
A road trip with good food is like a boon and Melkote trip scores a neat 100. Outside, Cheluvanarayanaswamy temple, there are many stalls which sell the famous Iyengar Puliyogare. We found one such uncle and aunty who offered us a big dhonai (Palm leaves cup) of hot Puliyogare and sweet pongal, each priced at Rs 15. This is what I call ambrosia (in my language – devaamrutham), we yummily dug into the contents and also bought Puliyogare powder prepared by them to recreate the magic in our kitchen :)
More insight into our trip:
We left home at 6.30 am, stopped at Kadumane, Bidadi for breakfast and tea. We also stopped at Kamat Upachar, Channapatna to have a look at the wooden toys they had on display. We stopped for a tea break at a small village on the road leading from Mandya to Melkote. We reached Melkote at 10am, completed our darshan and lunch, left at 2.30 pm. There was no wait/queue in either temple but a brief, strong spell of rain restricted our movement for about half an hour.
Saturday, the 7th of Aug 2010 was well spent, a nice bike trip to an important religious and historical centre filled with many gud (pun intended – gud in Hindi means jaggery) memories.