Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Sirsi-Sonda tourism

I had been planning since long to visit Sirsi and nearby places including Sonda. Finally, we got to visit these places on 11th April 2009. The team consisted of my family with my relatives. The journey began at 6.15 am from Davangere. We were made to wait for 30 minutes at the railway crossing for two trains to pass. Since the work on golden quadrilateral project is stalled, people traveling by road have to endure these time wastes. Traveling through Harihar and Ranebennur we reached Haveri at 8.20 am after driving 76 kms and halted at Kamat hotel for breakfast.
From sirsi
Despite being a holiday there was a big rush and we could not find place to park the car. Half an hour later, we moved on. There are no sign boards indicating the distance or direction and we had to ask the locals for direction.

The road was newly laid and was a pleasure to drive on and very little traffic helped our cause.
From sirsi
There were sign boards mentioning directions to Banavasi but sign boards pointing to Sirsi were hardly seen. We entered Sirsi town limits at 10.20 am after traveling 69 kms from Haveri. Thankfully, there was a signboard and we took a right turn to Sonda.
From sirsi
From sirsi
After traveling 21 kms we reached another diversion near the auto stand. Once again we had to ask locals for proper direction and we were asked to take right turn. Few kms later we hit upon another crossing and thankfully a huge billboard with places around along with distances greeted us.
From sirsi
From sirsi
We drove through a dilapidated bridge over a small river.
From sirsi
From sirsi
From sirsi

As we proceeded towards Sri Vadiraja mutt, we were greeted by a huge tank; driving around it we reached the parking space for vehicles. The place was in disarray as some constructions were on and there were no signboards to lead the first-time visitors.
From sirsi
We quickly spotted the mutt and a flight of stairs led us down to it.
From sirsi
Men are supposed to take off their shirts and vest in the premise.
From sirsi
A few stairs down was the bootharaja temple. We washed our feet in a nearby tank and entered the temple.
From sirsi
We discovered that the Saint Vadiraja’s Samadhi too was in the same premise.
From sirsi
From sirsi
We did not gain entry inside for better view. Lying in the same complex is the bootharaja’s temple.
From sirsi
From sirsi
It is a tradition to roll coconuts here. We had bought coconuts from the mutt’s office before coming downstairs. We were told that meals would be served inside the mutt at 12 noon. There was a huge rush and we managed to find place to sit.
From sirsi
The meals were well prepared and tasty. Since the mutt is managed by tulu-speaking Brahmin community from Udupi, we felt homely.
From sirsi
This is the moola (root) mutt of Sode mutt, one of the eight mutts that worship the Lord at Krishna mutt in Udupi.

From sirsi
After meals, we visited the trivikrama temple lying besides the mutt. The temple appeared old but shabbily renovated.
From sirsi
It appeared as if people hardly ever visited this temple. After few minutes, we left Vadiraja mutt and headed towards Tapovana.
From sirsi
Once again lack of proper signboards made it difficult to locate the place. After circling the same spot, we managed to get the right direction. We had to leave the asphalt road and head over dusty roads inside the thick jungle. There was no sign of any human inhabitation and possibility of wild animals scared us. After traveling km, we reached a spot where we had to abandon the car and trek.
From sirsi
After trekking some distance we reached a point near a stream, which led nowhere. Sensing that we could not locate the actual location, we headed back.

The next destination was the Venkatramana temple and Jain mutt. After traveling few kms we reached the point where both of them were side by side.
From sirsi
From sirsi
While the Jain mutt was locked, the temple appeared neglected.
From sirsi
After spending few minutes we left for Swarnavalli mutt.
From sirsi
This mutt is well maintained and houses a small temple inside. On the day of our visit, the mutt was gearing up for some homa and was fully decorated.
From sirsi
From sirsi
Upon enquiry about Sonda fort, we were informed that there wasn’t much to see except a canon and a stone cot; so we gave it a miss. We stayed for a few minutes and headed towards Sahasralinga.

Scores of Shiva lingas’ have been carved on the rocks along the banks as well as in the middle of the river.
From sirsi
Fortunately there was a signboard indicating the direction but the road was unmotorable.
From sirsi
The dirt path was ridden with stones of all sizes and I feared the tires might suffer one or more punctures but thankfully that did not happen. We reached the dead end on the river bank. The river or rivulet was just a small stream and there were many rocks. We looked around but found only two shiva linga, which were not intact.
From sirsi
From sirsi
This was a disappointment. As the thunder and lightening began, we fled the place and headed for Sirsi town.

After driving kms we reached Sirsi town at pm. We had to keep asking direction for the Marikamba temple. Vehicles are not allowed to park in front of the temple and we were asked to park it a little away.
From sirsi
From sirsi
From sirsi
We made a quick darshan of the magnificent temple. Although photography is prohibited inside the temple, I still managed to click one. After having tea in a nearby hotel, we left for Davangere. After driving kms we reached Davangere in three hours.

Although I had high anticipations from this trip, it turned out to be a dud. This is certainly not a choice of visit as tourist. Only pilgrims must undertake such visits. I would certainly visit the place immediately after monsoon to visit Yana and the many waterfalls located around Sirsi (Unchalli, Magod, Satod and Shivaganga falls).
From sirsi


Those interested in knowing more about Sirsi may visit this excellent blog . For details on Vadiraja mutt read this article .

9 comments:

chaithanya said...

very nice photos n discription... add more photos of sirsi if u have ... cos i love sirsi

vadiraj said...

Hey,

My name is Vadiraj. Thanks for the details of the place SONDA. I am visting the place on 19th August 09.
Vadiraj.

Karthik said...

Lovely blog post and excellent info provided thanks. Planning based on this info

POOJA said...

hey.....trip to sirsi can never be a dud dude...it is place of culture and tradition...and also land natural falls....i luv sirsi

pooju said...

Im sorry to tell that it is not saint Vadiraja's samadhi, it is called as Vadirajara Brundavana...Please correct it. Thank you.

sanjat said...

i think u people went through wrong road... thats not sahasra linga thats devadakere...

Veer said...

Good information on Sirsi and surrounding places..

Also,if anyone needs more information on package tours to Sirsi and surrounding places...please check this site
http://www.visitsirsi.com

Diensh Bhat said...

Born in Sirsi and spent my childhood days near by a village called Tuduguni, 15km from Sirsi and settled between Riyadh-Mumbai. Even I did not see those temples except Sonda, Yana and Sahasralinga. Magod fall is beautiful and you must see a landscape in a valley near Magod falls. This is our own Munnar we can say. Unchalli falls is also beautiful, but if you are young and energetic, you can reach up to the bottom of waterfall. Take extra chapatis as your body needs extra ordinary energy. Also visit Dandeli resorts and enjoy Kali River scenes.

Umesh Kulkarni, Bangalore said...

Thank you very much for details. It is so helpful. We are visiting the place in this February month. Photos and direction is useful. Great service! Thanks once again.
Umesh Kulkarni. February 1, 2012