Colourful creatures of Maidenahalli

We were at the Maidenahalli forest area to photograph blackbucks, but that was in vain. However, we were lucky to spot a pair of chameleons in the bushes. We were mesmerised by the colour and the movement of these tiny creatures. The Indian chameleon, scientifically referred to as chamaeleo zeylanicus, is found across the Indian Peninsula, Sri Lanka, and other parts of South Asia. Like other chameleons, this species has the ability to change skin colour.
But, Maidenahalli is more well known for its black bucks, also called krishna mruga. The area has a well-known black buck sanctuary. The sanctuary is a weekend getaway from Bangalore, and is approximately 130km from the City. The best time to visit the sanctuary is September to March.

Ram Mohan S

Temple town beckons

Garalapuri, Parusharama Kshethra and Gauthamapuri are the mythological names associated with the popular pilgrim town of Nanjangud. Called ‘Dakshina Kashi’, Nanjangud’s main attraction is its ancient temple housing the presiding deity Nanjundeshwara worshipped by sage Gauthama and Parusharama.

Located on the banks of River Kapila, the temple town also has a Parushurama temple, adjacent to the Kapila Sangama, the confluence of Kapila and Gundlu rivers.
Known to be one of the largest temples in Karnataka, the sprawling Nanjundeshwara temple occupies quite a vast area (560 sq. m).

Built in 1845, during the reign of Krishnaraja Wodeyar III, the east-facing temple’s mukhyadwara (main entrance) has a 120-feet tall seven-storeyed raja gopura (tower) crowned with glittering gold plated kalasas. The main deity, Nanjundeshwara, and shrines for Parvathi, Ganapathy, Vishnu, Subrahmanya and Chandikeshwara apart, the Dravidian-style Nanjangud temple houses hundreds of shivalingas and also beautiful sculptures. Patronised for centuries by successive dynasties of Gangas, Cholas, Hoysalas, Vijayanagar and Mysore Wodeyars, the Nanjundeshwara temple is known for its centuries-old historical inscriptions, sculptures and structural features.
Nanjangud is now all spruced up for ‘Srikanteshwara pancha ratha’, the temple town’s yearly ‘dodda jathre’ held in the months of March or April.

The four-day temple festival is also celebrated with a grand teppothsava held the day after ‘pancha maharathothsava’. On the auspicious day of ‘pancha ratha’, devotees in thousands pull the pancha rathas (five different chariots) carrying the utsava murthis (procession idols) of Ganapathi, Nanjundeshwara, Parvathi, Subrahmanya and Chandikeshwara. Historic Tagadur and Badanavalu, Siddeshwara Betta, Kalale, which has Dravidian-style temples built by Kalale chieftain and Hedathale, which is famous for its Hoysala period Cheluvaraya and Lakshmikantha temples, are must-see tourist spots near Nanjangud.

S V Upendra Charya