Friday Jun 29th, 10.45 pm, yet another boring weekend was on the cards. Suddenly Jatin pinged me on google talk.
Gtalk chat excerpt
Jatin: Hello Shande
10:49 PM me: hi
Jatin: What are you doin tomorrow
me: nothing planned
Jatin: Willing to come to Shravanabelgola tomorrow
me: how ?
10:50 PM Jatin: Bus
me: how many people ?
Jatin: Currently 2
me: at what time u are leaving ?
Jatin: Morning 7:00
10:51 PM when are u planning to come back
Jatin: Same day
Since there was no concrete plans for the weekend, I confirmed my participation to Jatin within 10 minutes.
Immediately I put my camera batteries to charge and got cleared all my queries from Jatin. The other person on board was Rohith(Jatin’s cousin), with whom I had been to 'Ombattu Gudde' and Savandurga.
Next day I got up at 5 am ( 1 hr earlier than weekdays). As per plan, I was in front of KSRTC stand enquiry counter at 6.45 am. When I called up Jatin, he said it will take around 10 minutes. Rohith also said the same. The ‘7 am direct bus to Shravanabelagola was already at ‘5A’ platform. I requested conductor to hold on for some time saying my friends are on the way. 7.05 am Rohith came, but no signs of Jatin. The conductor ran out of patience and the bus departed immediately. The next direct bus was at 11.45 am. Rohith asked me to relax saying“hey we can go to taking bus Enroute to Hassan”. Then, we two had breakfast at the bus stand. As soon as we completed the breakfast Jatin came, we immeditely boarded bus to Hassan. We took tickets(Rs. 74 per head) till Chennarayapatna. From Chennarayapatna we took local ksrtc bus to Shravanabelagola(Rs. 7 per head), reached the destination at 11.15 am. First we had dosa at Hotel Abhishek opposite to bus stand.
Vindgyagiri, also known by name Doddabetta is one of the two major hills. Atop there is world's largest monolith, statue of Bahubali (Gomteshwara). One has to ascend the hill using steps, bare foot(mandatory). While ascending we took photographs of downhill view which was dominated by Kalyani.
The temporary structures made for 2006 Mahamastabhisheka were not yet dismantled. On the way there were many medival age inscriptions on the rock surface. These were preserved by covering with glass shield. Next to one of cluster of inscription was Tyaga Kambha. The carvings on this were very unique. On lower part of the pillar there were inscriptions in Kannada.
We ascended further to reach peak where Bahubali statue is situated. Around the statue there were series of 14 small idols of other thirthankaras called 'Suttalya'. We had darshan of Bahubali. There we had photo session here four about half an hour. I experimented with color swap mode of my S2 IS, by capturing statue in different colors.
While descending we had photos of basadis which we skipped while ascending. Jatin took some macro shots with his Pentax SLR.
At 3.45 pm we were at ground level. Jatin and Rohith did some shopping at one of fancy stores. Then we went to Sanmati Jain Bhojanalaya. The Rs. 30 meal was good. They served dhal, roti, play, rice, sambhar, buttermilk. None of the food items was prepared using onion, because many setus have food at this mess.
After lunch we decided to ascend Chandragiri(Chikkabetta). I remember by history teacher( P. A. Kumar) saying that "Chandragupta Maurya had come this place renouncing his throne. He stayed on Chadragiri opposite to Bahubali statue hill". Atop chandragiri there are basadis of 14 tirthankaras.
Of all of them Kattale Basti was very distinct because of its circumambulatory passage. I took photo of the basadi in 10 second exposure.
Later we went to see cave and peak of chandragiri. After having brief photo session we descended.
At 6.30 pm there was no direct bus so waited for channarayapatna bus, which we got at 6.45 am. At Channrayapatna we didn’t even waited for 5 minutes for Bangalore bus. The journey was comfortable even though we were seated in last row, thanks to good condition of highway. Initial part of the journey we reviewed snaps in our cameras esp snaps in Jatin’s Pentax SLR. By10.30 pm we were back in Bangalore and concluded the trip by having badam milk at a stall in bus stand.
Have a look at more snaps in picasa album.