Day out at Saundatti

I was disturbed with some happenings at office. I wanted to go out and clear my mind of all thoughts ...something like clearing history and cookies from a browser. I was done with my routine Sunday morning chores by 10. I packed my camera, two bottles of water and a pack of cookies (real cookies). I was dilly-dallying between Hebbali and Saundatti. I had heard that Hebballi is filled with ancient temples. Again I was confused if it was Hebballi or Shivalli. I thought Mohan mama, my mom's brother could clarify my doubts. Mohan mama was not sure. I decided to head towards Saundatti. As I was about to leave Suresh mama turned up, another maternal uncle. I asked him to join if he was free. Yes.

We drove past Inamhongal, Aminbhavi, Harobelvadi... I neither saw much sowing activity nor fields with tender green rows of newly sprouted plants. Lack of rains had delayed much of sowing activity. I wish it rained for farmers' sake. We drove past Saundatti up the rocky hill road, then the flat stretch on the rocky plateau. It was quite windy up here. Soon the temple was in our view, in the shallow valley to our right. Straight ahead was a larger valley. The hill on the other side of the valley was covered with windmills.

We got two coconuts, incense sticks, turmeric and vermilion ...offering for the Goddess.

I avoid crowded places, temples included, but I do not know what made me visit Yellamma temple. We bought special tickets Rs.20 each and stood in the line waiting for our turn for a view of the gharbha gudi sanctum sanctorum. I noticed a 3' x 2' board with two images of a man with palms together and some lines of Kannada text. The board explained the proper way of doing 'namaskara' in two steps and the benefits of doing so. When palms are joined together the thumbs have to be slightly away from the index fingers.

Step 1 - Bend neck & head slightly forward with palms at the forehead level. Stay in this position for 2 minutes (not sure about the duration).

Step 2 - Bring down palms down to chest level, neck & head still bent forward. Stay in this position for a minutes (again not sure about the duration).

These two positions are supposed to direct cosmic energy to our body and helps the body absorb it fully. I was really happy to see this board. Appreciate the person who conceived the idea of educating people in spirituality. If photography was permitted I would have snapped it. Normally one can see boards with a list of different poojas with prices for each of them. Madness!

We got Devi's Darshana, I did step 2 namaskara. We went around the temple ...on the sticky oil coated terrace.

Went to another smaller temple close by.

On the way back to the car park a local woman with a cane basket in her arms was peddling food- jolada rotti, chatni, palya, mosaru. I was tempted to try but resisted the temptation. We did not go back the way we came but took the other road to Saundatti which passes by the reservoir.

Driving downhill, we saw the reservoir filled to it's brim. We stopped at a junction; straight ahead to Saundatti and right turn to Gokak and Navilteerth. I asked mama if he had visited Navilteerth Dam. No. We decided to check out the place. A kilometer up th road, we took the left fork, towards Gokak. We could see a hill range ahead of us with more windmills turning gracefully. As we drove closer, we realized how huge each of the windmills were. I was toying with idea of climbing the hill and a get a closer look at the windmills...

Navilteerth Dam Gate. We were not sure if public was allowed in. A local confirmed visitors were allowed. We drove down the narrow road, parked close to the gate, bought handful nerelehannu from a hawker, they seem to have a cooling effect in warm weather. They tasted great! Wind was blowing from the reservoir on our left. We walked down the path, we saw some families picnicking, few young couples trying to get some time for themselves but the dam was not in sight. We walked down some steps and there was the little dam.

A typical 70s construction, this brought back my childhood memories of a visit to Lakkavalli Dam when we lived in Bhadravathi. I learnt that Navilatirtha is said to be where Mahatapasvi Shri Kumarswamiji meditated in 1932. I remember seeing the Swamiji sometime 1984 or 1985 at the ashram Tapovan, Dharwad.

Of the 4 gates, one was open letting out a steady stream of water which flows into the narrow valley beyond our sight.

On the way back we checked out some old construction equipment. Looks like a mortar mixer and tar heater.

I liked this place. We decided to head back towards Saundatti. Near the gate I noticed a old vehicles; roadroller, tipper and a bus.

We drove back to Saundatti, visited the fort, it's more of a children's park inside. At the peak is Kadsiddeshwara Temple.

We spend about 20 minutes, got bored and decided to head back to Dharwad.

Even though cookies were cleared my mind was still disturbed. The problem was more like a virus, it required some amount of action...

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