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Destinations
Kodagu
Kodagu renowned as Scotland of India and Kashmir of South India, it has all one can ask for nature at its paramount. Lush vegetation, Coffee plantations, forests of teak and the mountain ranges greets you to this gorgeous land called Coorg. Renowned for its innate beauty, Kodagu (Coorg) is a charming hill resort in Karnataka. Studded with wide coffee plantations and sandal wood trees, Coorg presents an amazing treat to the visual and olfactory senses. Coorg is also known as Kodagu. The history of Coorg is cloaked in obscurity. It is believed that the place was ruled by Lingayat and Kodavas. In 1785, Tipu Sultan taken control over the area. Later Coorg came into the hands of the British.

Kodagu is the abode of vibrant, robust, martial race - the Kodavas. They are said to be the descendants of the Greeks (Alexander's soldiers), and are fiercely independent. They were never subjugated by either Tipu Sultan or the British. Even today all kodavas hold the privilege of carrying firearms devoid of a license. Kodagu is prominent for the generals it has produced for the Indian army. The women are known for their beauty. But what kodavas are famous for is their hospitality. Madikeri is a grand place to walk, snaky lanes wander off the main street, and Mountain trails assure visual delights. And the Tadiyandamol, the tallest peak in the area, stands unwearyingly, waiting to be climbed.
History of Kodagu
According to the earliest Indian treatises or Puranas, the land of preliminary settlement was called Krodadesa which later on became Kodavu. It is also said that Kodagu is derived from the word Kodava. ‘Kod’ means 'give' and ‘avva’ means 'mother', with the indication being to Mother Cauvery, one of the seven sacred rivers of India, the origin of life and sustenance in this land. Legend has it that the Goddess Cauvery emerges at the sanctified site of Talacauvery, the starting point of the Cauvery, on a specific day in October. She manifests herself as an unexpected rise of water in a small tank. A large number of devotees assemble to observe this bubbling spring and coconuts adorned with flowers are floated down the river as part of a unique prayer. It is believed that the water is particularly effective on this occasion and is said to own curative powers.

From the 2nd to the 6th century, the northern province of Kodaku was under the rule of Kadambas. The southern parts were in turn connected to the Ganga Dynasty from the 4th to the 11th century. After a battle with the Gangas in the 11th century, the Cholas came out as the solitary rulers of the entire Kodagu. During the 12th century the Hoysalas, who were in Belur, Hassan district, drove away the Cholas from Kodagu. From the 14th century, the Vijayanagara Kings ruled supreme. After their fall, the local chieftans or Nayaks and Palegars, became independent and started ruling from wherever they stayed. Later on the Haleri Kings defeated them all and ruled Kodagu from 1600-1834. From then on Kodagu came under the direct rule of the British.

When India became independent in 1947, Kodagu (Coorg) also became a liberated land. In 1950 as per the new Indian Constitution, Coorg became a state. In 1956 a state reorganization took place. Coorg was combined with Karnataka and became a district in Karnataka, which remains till today. It has 3 taluks or districts, Madikeri, Somavarapete and Veerajapete. Madikeri is the district headquarters of Coorg.
Access
Air :The nearest airports are Bangalore and Mangalore.




Rail : The nearest railway station is at Mysore which is 114 Kms.




Road : Regular buses operate between Madikeri and Bangalore, Mysore, Mangalore, Hassan, Arasikere, Belur, Chikmagalur, Cannanore and Tellicherry. You could take a taxi. The drive to Madikeri is a memorable experience.
Climate
Belur, situated in the Hassan district of Karnataka, enjoys a tropical climate, just like the neighboring cities. It neither experiences excessively high a temperature in the summer, nor biting cold in the winters. The summer season in Belur starts from the month of March and lasts till June. During this time, the city experiences warm weather, with the maximum temperature being around 390 C. The minimum temperature hovers around 290 C. Summer gives way to monsoons, when the city gets covered in a cloak of green.

By the time it is November, Belur gets ready to usher in the winter season, which lasts till February. The air start getting a bit chilly, as the maximum temperature comes down to 31°C and the minimum temperature hovers around 24°C. The hottest month in the year is April, while the coolest one is December. The annual rainfall is around 110 cm.
Tourist Attractions
Chennakeshava Temple
The temple is a holy house for sculptures showcasing innumerable variety of ornaments, the doorways, the ceilings, the birds, the animals, dancers and other figures are fully decorated as if they are full of life and vigour with variety of actions and movements.The doorways are guarded on either side by the gorgeously decorated dvarapalaka (doorkeepers). There are two more shrines here that are still in use by devotees and there is a Pushkarni or stepped well to the right side of the main entrance. The temple is one of the finest examples of Hoysala architecture. The facade of the temple is filled with intricate sculptures and friezes with no portion left blank. The main entrance is crowned by a Rayagopura built during the days of Vijayanagar Empire. Within the temple complex, the Chennakesava temple is in the centre, facing east and flanked by Kappe Channigaraya temple and a small Lakshmi temple on its right. At Chennakesava temple daily rituals are performed.

Interesting sights with in the sanctum are the ancient jet-black Hoysala pillars, covered with bright vermilion smeared on by devotees. The main temple is surrounded by Temples of Soumyanayaki and Ranganayaki, beloveds of Sri Chennakesava. Stories from the Puranas, Upanishads and other mythological stories have been carved in the most authentic way. The Ramayana and the Mahabharata also have been included .The bracketed figurines called the Madanikas or celestial nymphs are no doubt the highlight of the temple's magnificent architecture. The Madanikas are said to be inspired by the beautiful Queen Shantaladevi, epitomizing the ideal feminine form. There are about 48 pillars of various sizes, shapes and designs, bearing testimony to remarkable artistry. The main highlight of the temple is Darpana Sundari or "The lady with the mirror". Inside, even in the darkness, you can see the shining pillars, each unique in its own splendor. The most popular one is the Narasimha pillar in the Navaranga, unique in its filigreed splendor. It is said to have revolved on its ball bearings once. Shantaladevi, a dance legend herself, built a temple in similar fashion to the main temple, which was called the Channigaraya temple. The entire structure with its intricate Filigree gleams like metal. Chloritic Schist, a light greenish soapstone, hard as granite was used to create the complex.
Kappe Chennigaraya Temple
Kappe Chennigaraya Temple is located in the south side of ChennaKeshava temple. It has two parts. The main part has a beautiful sculpture of ChennaKeshava - about 6.5 feet over the pedestal. The Prabhavali ( the ornate arch made of stone in this case) has Dasavatara (the ten incarnations of Vishnu) sculptures. The Pitha (pedestal) has an inscription of Queen Shantala of Hoysala King Vishnuvardana stating that it was consecrated by her in the year 1117 AD. The temple rises over an elevated platform. The perforated Jalandras (side walls) were done at the time of Ballala II in 1206. The Sukhanasi doorway is beautifully executed with a figure of Lakshminarayana flanked by makaras on the lintel. The doorway of the Venugopal Shrine has the figure of Narasimha killing Hiranyakashipu. The niche on the outer walls of the Sukhanasi has exquisite sculptures of Lakshminarayana, Ganesha, Saraswati and Mahishamardini. The 4 pillars of the Navaranga are, as is common in Hoysala architecture, lathe turned and have bracket figures on them.

A legend says that Dankanachari(son of Jakanachari) found that the main statue of Lord Vishnu was faulty and had frog inside it. Jakana, shocked to believe this, cuts his right hand. He will begin to build the other temple and contemplates the task. Later, the old temple (which had faulty statue) came to be known as kappechennigaraaya's temple (kappe means frog).
Veera Narayana Temple
Located to the west of Keshava temple is a small and compact structure with the outer walls containing beautiful sculptures of Vaishnava and Shaiva faith. It consists of a Garbagriha (sanctum sanctorum), a Sukhanasi and a Navaranga. The 59 large images on the outer wall surfaces depict Vishnu, Shiva, Brahma, Parvati, Saraswati, Bhairava, Ganesha and Mahishamardini amongst others.
Hoysaleshwara temple
The grand Hoysaleshwara temple dedicated to Lord Shiva, the largest of the Hoysala temples. Comprising of two shrines, both dedicated to Lord Shiva, and decorated with rather big Nandi bulls facing the entrance, this temple was never really completed in spite of the 87 years spent in its construction. Begun in 1121, this temple on a star-shaped platform has beautifully carved detailed depictions of scenes from the epics, of mythical figures and sculptures of much of the Hindu divine pantheon. Though the superstructure was never completed, every inch of the existing structure is covered with intricate painstakingly carved sculptures. This labour of love is truly awe-inspiring.
Yagachi Dam
As you move towards Chikmaglur, from Belur, hardly after a few minutes drive, you will come across Yagachi River, on which a small dam has been constructed. The backwaters of the dam, which spread over a vast area, give it a pleasant charm. The picturesque surrounds combine with a tranquil atmosphere to give this place a unique appeal.
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