Miscellany

Seeking solace in a temple town

Miscellany

Seeking solace in a temple town

It was once the fort protecting the local chieftain from his enemies. The remaining fort walls and stones are remnants of a once strong fort, which were bulwark against intruders. The temples of Sri Bhoga Laxmi Narasimha Swamy, on the lower hill and Sri Yoga Laxmi Narasimha Swamy, on the upper hill are ancient temples drawing devotees from near and far.

The deities are the incarnation of Lord Vishnu and the temples are believed to be ancient, though renovations have taken place from time to time with patronage of various donors, kings and chieftains. The temple, especially the front gopuram is built in Dravidian style. Devarayanadurga is also known as Karigiri Kshetra is situated at an altitude of about 1,210 meters (4,000 feet) high. Over the years, the pilgrim centre has been developed, thanks to the efforts of the government, donors, devotees and a private trust, which had taken the responsibility for maintenance of the temple and its surroundings. 

The recent addition of stone steps, donated by a family, all the way from the lower hill to the upper hill, is an added facility for those who would like to climb to the top of the hill. It is an interesting experience to climb the steps enjoying the shady trees in the forests and the panoramic view of the surroundings.

Rooms are available with Spartan comforts. A few dhabas cater to the needs of the pilgrims and visitors. Daily anna dana is provided for those who wish to partake of the simple food that is served at noon. The monkey menace needs to be solved permanently by relocating the simians elsewhere. 

The origin of River Jayamangali nearby is a place to visit. The temple tank needs to be restored by cleaning up and by introducing fish. The navagraha garden right opposite the lower temple could do with better maintenance and by introducing more varieties of plants. The gali gopura on top of the upper hill is for the adventurous who would have an interesting climb to get a good view of the surroundings. Rock climbing on the hill is for the experienced rock climbers, with a guide. The forests on the hill and surroundings harbour a variety of wildlife such as wild boar and tiger. 

The once-a-year jatra, with a chariot festival, is held in the month of March-April, which is well attended by visitors and pilgrims. Some of the attractions that could be visited from Devarayanadurga are: Namada Chilume, a natural water spring, deer park, botanical garden, and Goravanahalli Maha Lakshmi temple. The pilgrim centre is about 75 km from Bangalore and about 15 km from Tumkur. KSRTC buses run from Bangalore and Tumkur. Alternately, one could get off at the town of Urudgere and hire an autorickshaw to reach the temple on the hill. 

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