On the first Sunday of October 2013, me and another photographer friend set out to explore Melkote. It was my first visit there, though I have read about it and has been on my radar for long time.
Early morning he picked up in his car and pretty quick we were on Mysore road after zooming through NICE road (one way toll Rs 60 for car). Did a pit stop for a quick breakfast. Driving through mild vehicle movement we reached Mandya. After we reached the country road after Mandya, it was transportation to another world. The country to Melkote seems to be newly laid and is in awesome condition.
The drive to Melkote through the country side is as good as the destination. One way encountered many things which I had for long lost touch in city life. The green paddy field looking like a a green velvet cover under the blue sky, the rustic rocky settings, water bodies, easy going rural people was all a sight to behold.
Soon we found ourself at the foot of Yoganarashima temple hill. We took the small left road and did a bit of photography. Explored the surrounding. There is a rustic pond, a stone steps leading to some temple on this side of the hill. Then we drove again in minutes to the town. Our first stop was Kalyani (pushkarani or pond). This ancient India’s public bath system. This is a big beautifully made pond. All sides of this water body is embanked with stone steps. There are gates and nicely made structures as well for people to sit and take rest. Faithfuls take bath here and do rituals. At four corners of the pond, they lit fire. This would be awesome sight at evening. Comparatively the pond is clean. Saw one interesting character over there, who was conducting a ritual of putting vermillion on kid’s forehead and was playing an instrument like a small saxaphone.
Next we started climbing steps to Yoganarashima temple which is located on top of a hill nearby. One might have to climb 120 – 150 steps to reach the temple. The hill gives an awesome panoramic view of Melkote town below and the surrounding country side. At the summit of the hill we bought some snacks and beverages. Sat on the edge of a stone and was feeling like sitting on the lap of nature. Unhindered view for miles ahead, pure oxygen filled breeze and wildlife in the form of monkeys, goats & sheep made it very adventurous. After our rest, we started our remaining part of the short climb. The temple is spacious and has a balcony at its backside. Once you reach the main hall, one has to take a round of the sanctum sanatorium. One can go out of the temple by walking straight or take the left door to enjoy the outside view. On two of the windows found people tying their bangles or charms while making their wishes. It was an interesting sight.
Next we went to Cheluvanarayana Swamy Temple (Lord Vishnu). The temple was closed then. Lastly went to the Raya Gopura (the unfinished gate). It is a beautiful structure and very neatly kept. You can get a completely different view of Yoganarashima temple from here. One can climb to the sides of the gate and sit over there.
Overall Melkote is very good for photography and is a wonderful one day trip. I had wrote a detailed article on Melkote before. You can read that if you need more info.
To view more pictures visit, Travelingbeats Photo Gallery.