A Trip to Melkote
Melkote Travel Blog› entry 1 of 1 › view all entries
Ever wondered where Mani Ratnam shot the famous dance sequence for the song â€śRakkammaâ€ś in the movie Thalapathi or the â€śBarso Reâ€ś(some parts) song in Guru? Well, if you are in and around Bangalore, then you neednâ€™t look very far.
Welcome to Melkote. This is one of the four sacred places of Vaishnavism in Southern India. Still largely untouched by tourists the place offers a wonderful retreat from the traffic of Bangalore.
It is believed that Sri Ramanujacharya lived here for 14 years around the start of the 12th century and thus helped this place become one of the important centres for the Vaishnava sect.
Places to Visit:
The main temple here is called the Cheluvanarayanaswamy temple. The temple is built in Vijayanagar style and the granite walls provide natural coolness around the temple. Even in the scorching heat of May the premises around the temple were quite cool.
The gopuram of the temple is quite simple compared to the carvings on some of the granite pillars. Read more about this history of the temple here.
The other temple of importance is the Yoga Narasimha Swamy temple. This temple is situated on top of the hill and offers a magnificent view of the surroundings and the town of Melkote. The climb to this temple isnâ€™t very difficult and is at max only around 400 steps. In case, even that is difficult then you can take your car and go up some distance by road. However, the last 200 steps have to be climbed.
The other place of historical and spiritual importance is the Pushkarani or Kalyani. This is a huge pond that is situated at the beginning of Melkote.
Now, the places which interested us most before reaching Melkote were the places I mentioned at the beginning of the post. What good lighting and camera work can do was experienced by us and we realized that not all places shown in movies need to be pretty. I am talking about the place where some shots of Thalapathi and Guru were shot. This place is a â€śProtected Monumentâ€ť under Section 3 of the Karnataka Historical Monuments and Ancient sites and Remains Act of 1961. However, the state of the place and the board which mentions this leaves a lot to be desired.
This place is located inside the Library and Sanskrit college which is located at one end of Melkote. The library has a collection of palm leaf manuscripts and a huge rack of neatly labelled manuscripts. Most of the work is in Sanskrit but some Tamil and Kannada works are also available.
You can still take some wonderful photographs from this place and also of Melkote from this place as this is situated at a decent height compared to the town. Maybe you will feel like dancing like Aishwarya Rai (or should I write Bachchan) if it rains, but it never did when we were there.
The small pond which is shown in the Thalapathi movie in which Shobhana keeps the lamp is right next to the Sanskrit college and is wonderful to watch from a height.
It is called the â€śAkka-tangiyara Kolaâ€ť or the Pond of the twin sisters. The water in one of the ponds is supposedly clean while the other is dirty, though I couldnâ€™t find too much difference between the two.
Food: The Puliogare which you get near the temple is really awesome and is a must if you visit Melkote. The Iyengars seem to have some unique formula for making Puliogare and it tasted divine when we had our share in the afternoon. Even the Puliogare which was available at a nearby stall tasted awesome. But, beware that this is just about the only food option that is available. There arenâ€™t any good restaurants though the small ones that are present should just enough suffice if travel is more important than food.
Thondanur Lake: This place is around 25Km from Melkote and is on the Pandavapura Road. We wanted to reach this lake before Sunset and just as luck would have it we reached it after Sunset. So, we were left disappointed, but it was nevertheless nice to sit next to a huge waterbody.
If you zoom into the first picture, the Yoga Narasimha Swamy temple of Melkote is visible.
How to Go: It was surprisingly easy to reach Melkote. It is around 150Km from Bangalore. Take the road towards Mysore and just after the town of Mandya, take the right turn towards Melkote. Just after you leave Mandya, there is a Bharat Petroleum Petrol Pump on the left hand side. The turn which has to be taken is within half a kilometre from this place. Once you take the turn just follow the directions on the boards. Effectively it is just a straight road with a single turn to be made when the Pandavapura road crosses the road to Melkote.
To reach Thondanur lake, take the Pandavapura Road on your way back. Just around 10Kms into the Pandavapura road you will reach â€śChatraâ€ť (Am not too sure of the spelling). At this place you need to take a right to go to the lake. It is better to ask for directions than to search for place names while reaching the lake from this point. From Melkote the lake is around 28Kms.
I didnâ€™t find any good options for staying at Melkote. Maybe the best option would be to stay in Mysore or Mandya.
And the best thing about visiting Melkote was that there wasnâ€™t much trouble from beggars and the parking fees is only Rs.10. This is so different from the parking fees collected at SriRangapatnam and some places in Mysore which arenâ€™t even maintained.
[Copy pasted this from my Blog: http://aramki.wordpress.com]