Serene and scenic Sodhe

Last Updated 24 March 2014, 15:39 IST

The tranquility of the place and its natural beauty with the flowing river and rich vegetation makes Sodhe a must-visit destination, says Bindu Gopal Rao.

Located in a small village near Sirsi in the Uttara Kannada district, Sodhe also called Sodha, Sonda and Swadi is a gem of a place that is waiting to be discovered. It is nestled among the lush forests of the Malenadu region. The matha at Sodhe village was set up by Vadirajatirtha and the Brindavana (samadhi) of Swami Vadiraja is located here.

Facets revealedDriving through the lush verdant surroundings, you cannot help but notice a small lake near the matha called the Hayagriva samudra as you enter Sodhe. Towards the west of this lake is the Rama Trivikrama Temple. In front of the temple is a large dvaja sthamba (pillar) which depicts both the Lord’s vehicles, the Hamsa and Garuda. This sanctum sanctorum has the stunning idol of Lord Trivikrama, the stone chariot used for transporting the Lord’s idol and the idol of Sri Lakshmi Devi in the chariot.

From the north of this temple ,you need to take a flight of steps down to reach the entrance of the matha. An additional flight of steps leading downwards takes you to the temple complex with the ‘dhavala Ganga’ pushkarini along with a smaller ‘sheethala Ganga’ tank. It is believed that the waters’ of these tanks are a confluence of all the holy rivers of India. Naturally then, it is customary to take a dip in the holy water before entering the temple.

Around the pushkarini are located several small temples consecrated by Sri Vadiraja Teertha – Sri Chandramouleshwara on the south, Sri Veera Anjaneya on the west and Sri Venugopalaswamy on the north.

Towards the east of the pushkarini is the Pancha brindavans with the brindavan of Sri Vadiraja Teertha situated in the centre surrounded by four more brindavans forming a perfect square. In front of the brindavan, is the temple for Sri Vedavyasa and on the right to the south of the brindavan is the temple for the Kshetrapala - Bhootharaja. The temple follows a set regime of pujas in the morning and evening and serves free lunch and dinner to all devotees.

Looking AroundSodhe was once a royal city ruled by Swadi Kings and one can still see some of the remains at various places here.

One amongst this is the Sonda kote or the fort present on the banks of River Shalmala. A small temple, a few cannons and a decorated single stone-kallina mancha (stone cot) are preserved here but can be accessed via a half km trek, so be prepared to brave some ups and downs as you head here.

This place also has some beautiful stone temples that can be best accessed with the help of a local guide. One such place is at Muttina kere, a small lake in the Vaja Gadde area which is an oasis of serenity. Alongside this lake is a small but beautiful Venkataramana Temple built in Vijayanagara style. This temple has been renovated and is well maintained and daily pooja is performed here. The carvings on the temple walls are interesting and you can even spot some colourful birds here.

Another place that one must see is the Sahasralinga (thousand Shiva Linga's) where sculptures carved from stone are installed in the middle of a flowing river.

The Sri LakshmiNarayana Temple believed to have been established by Sri Vyasaraya has a small Brindavana of Sri Vyasaraya in the temple premises. It is however also known for ‘thorana Ganapathi’ – a stone figure that greets you at the entrance of the temple. There is a small ladder that is kept here for you to actually climb up for a closer view. Locals believe that worshipping this Ganapathi is the best way to make all their wishes come true.
 The Swarnavalli Matha and Swadhi Jain Matha and Digambar Jain Temples are also located close by. Amongst the best places to see is Tapovana, where Sri Vadiraja Swamy used to meditate upon Lord Hayagriva with a plate of ‘hayagriva maddi’, a special sweet dish, on his head. However this involves walking in the midst of a forest area and flowing rivers and is not easy to access especially in the rainy season and you need a local guide to help you walk through the rugged terrain.

However the site itself is picturesque and it is believed that the Lord used to visit Sri Vadiraja Swamy every day during his meditation in the form of a horse and eat the sweet offered by him.

Even today, there are lots of relics at the place which are a living proof of the fact that Sri Vadiraja Swamy used to frequent this place and meditate here from the foot prints of the horse to the seat where he meditated.

The tranquility of the place and its natural beauty with the flowing river and rich vegetation makes this spot a must-visit destination. There is also small lake called Mundige kere here which attracts a lot of cranes during the birding season. In all, the trip to Sodhe is not just enriching spiritually but also visually for all the sights and sounds it has to offer.

(Published 24 March 2014, 15:39 IST)

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