BELUR HALEBID KEMMENGUNDI

DAY 1
This was a well planned trip. Bhim had booked a Qualis which arrived sharp at 11:30 PM on Friday night and we set out for Kemmengundi. The vehicle booked from Pooja travels (9845336779) was as usual very comfortable. Our driver Swamy wanted to know whether we'll go to Kemmengundi directly , because then he'll avoid the road via hassan and take an alternative road via Tumkur. The journey was uneventful except for my fir of hiccups which lasted full 30 mins and then gave me some relief. In the morning we entered Kemmengundi and the first place we stopped by was near a Horticulture department and a small waterfall nearby. It had a temple and sleepy people were thronging the place. We found nothing much to see there so we proceeded to the main sightseeing spot.
Kemmengundi is nice and it was maintained well with lots of flowers in its gardens. We completed our morning chores ,got fresh , had a hefty breakfast at a overburdened cafe and finally set out for Z-point. Z-point the name comes because the trek route takes a Z on its path and its visible from all nreaby mountains. the weather was hot and humid , but fortunately there were no leeches.
We crossed the Z-point and reached the top in just half an hour. We sat the scorching sun getting the bird's eye view of the terrain and then we came down. There was a mountain stream enroute which provided us some relief with its cool water gushing down.
The next point was the Raj-Bhavan which is nothing but a park well maintained. We sat there for a while , took some pictures and lazed away.
Then we arrived at the Hebbe falls. We had to leave our Qualis and book a Mahindra Jeep because they said the 8-9 km stretch is treacherous and not possible without a jeep. The jeep charged a mighty 650 rupees for 6 people , which I later realised was quite reasonable. After a cool drink of coconut water we set out. The Jeep ride was terrific and really hair rising. We finally reached a point where even the jeep will go no further. We set out on foot from there . There were heavy green plantations all around and the noise of creeks even at daytime would give you a shiver. Slowly we walked around a mile or so when I got the first glimpse of Hebbe falls. It was really tall and beautiful. Towering over 600 feet its waters were chilled and the air was moist with its sprays. Some of my friends had a swim , while I refrained myself and just took photos. Guessing from the bulk of water it carried at this time it was easily seen how magnificient it will be after the rains. Luckily here also we were not attacked by leeches , mostly because the ground was dry on the trek route. After an hour , enjoying the majestic waterfalls we returned to our jeep. Then it was a bone breaking journey again back to the starting point.
After reaching the starting point we had a hefty lunch at the only hotel available. It was not exactly filthy but our driver had a harrowing time when a cow got too impressed by his lunch.
After lunch we started for Mulayangiri , the highest peak of Karnataka. The journey from Hebbe Falls to Mulayangiri was through the Bhadra Wildlife sanctuary and the greenery of the world around was really beautiful and breathtaking. the road was fine and the journey was cool except that I had another fit of hiccups which settled after 30 minutes again .
When we reached the base of Mulayangiri ,i.e the maximum point till which vehicles can go , it was already late in the afternoon. We hurried to the steps which took us to the top. The air was really pleasant at the top and there was a small Shiva temple which seemed like some sort of a shelter for trekkers. We also saw a few trekkers sleeping nearby on the mats.The setting sun was a wonderful treat to watch and I took several photos there. We sat there near the cliff and watched the calmness with which evening settled. We were keen to have some tea and observed that the temple priest and his lads offer tea for some money. We also ordered some and then we asked the lads 'esto' - i.e how much and they stunned us '100 Rupees' . We were nearly bowled over. Probably they thought its some good place to make money. We had a good laugh, canceled our order and returned to our vehicle.It was a long day and we longed for the comforts of a bed. So we drove to Chikmagalur , the district town. We got a shock here. We checked a dozen reasonably good hotels and all were fully booked. It seemed like festival time , but we understood in a small city like this its better to be prepared for this. The Hotel Woodlands which had a dormitory was a hell of a place , with missing window panes and an equally dirty toilet. Finally we got some good rooms in Hotel Samrat , just near the bus stand at a reasonable rate.
I had already taken a couple of antacids to boil down my hiccups and after a refreshing shower I felt much better. We had a hot dinner at a nearby non-veg restaurant called 'Oasis'. Everyone wanted to eat non-veg and it was nonveg with red chicken curry and Kerala laccha parathas.

DAY 2
We started day 2 very lazily. Two of the guys woke up after a hour and we had already completed a hefty breakfast by then.Anyway after all the delay we finally set off for Belur, the wonderful temple city. When we reached Belur , the sun was already scorching the sky. But the first glimpse that I had , I was simple awed by the beauty of the Temple. We hired a professional guide who gave a brief history of the temple and that it was a Vishnu Temple. Then he took us inside the temple saying that Belur temple was famous because of its interior architecture. And truly it was. Inside it was small and dark and cool. But when they lit up the lights we saw the amazing stuff on the ceilings. The figurines and the carved statues were simply breathtaking. After almost an hour of showing us the temple and explaining its beauty , I was glad to get a real chance to photograph it. I took a snap of everything that struck me as exquisite.
Belur was wonderful and after that we left for Halebid. This is another temple town and can be called twin of Belur. The temple architecture is slightly different. When we reached here it was terrific hot. Sandals were not allowed inside the temple so we were literally jumping at every step on the stones. Unlike Belur , Halebid had a more beautiful exterior. Its interior is not as good as Belur though. The Halebid temple seemed like a Shiva temple. Outside the temple there is a big garden , unlike Belur where its surrounded by a huge wall. Belur has a pool in the temple complex and Halebid had a whole lake where even boating was allowed( but it was too hot )
As we left Halebid and moved towards Hassan we were contemplating visiting some other places on the way. So I emptied my camera onto a pen drive but after a huge lunch again guys felt that it was enough and we better return to Bangalore directly.
The rest of the journey was quite uneventful. We took the road from Hassan , back to Bangalore and then via NICE road to home.
All in all , the cost came to 1600 Rs per head for the two day trip.




























































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