Another off the beaten track destination.
Chandragutti – Temple, legend, history and ruins of a fort. I wonder how many such lesser known spots are in India.
Chandragutti came into limelight in later part of 80s for a rather socially evil practice followed by few section of society, women in particular as a ritual every year. There used to be a annual Chariot festival some time in march every year. Women from some faction of the society mostly from lower strata used to take bath in a near by river ” Varada” and walk up to the temple (about 4 km) nude or barely covered in a procession. It was then protested by group of NGOs and few leaders from the community and this practise has been stopped ever since. It is now offence to do any such activities, by law. The Chariot festival, deity worship continues every year with much fanfare. People from many parts of Karnataka and Maharashtra throng the place during this time of the year.
The legend has it that Sage Jamadagni ordered his son Parashurama to behead his wife Renuka. Parashurama beheaded Renuka Devi and asked for a boon from his father, which he got and through which he got the life of his mother back. The puranic story is long, but I kept it short.
The temple is a natural cave temple. The vestibule is supposed to have been built by the kings of Banavasi. It is on a hillock and the adjoining mud route leads to an old fort, now dilapidated further on a huge rocky hill.
We had left our village in the morning by 0500 hrs and took little less than an hour to reach Chandragutti base. We did not stop for any break. Started climbing up soon. Spent about 30 minutes at the Temple. Again continued the climb. It took an hour to reach the top. So by 0730 hrs we were on top of the fort. We sat and spread out our ingredients. Aruna deftly prepared the breakfast, very tasty and crunchy. Well I poured bowl of curd make it soft. It is strange that we want the dish to be crunchy and we pour curd to make it soft.
I just remembered an anecdote :
We were fond of having biscuits along with hot tea. When we open the biscuits, We expect them to really crunchy. Soggy biscuits were big no no. But we dipped biscuits in tea and ate them. Of late I do not take tea or coffee any more. So no dipping of biscuits.
We rested a bit, moved over and started climbing down and we were back at the base by 0930 hrs. While climbing down we attempted a bit of adventure by taking a steep rock. It was very steep, really steep. But we managed not to roll down.
Wow, It was short nice hike. I Imagine the area would be far more greener after the rainy season (During August September) It is not a bad idea to hike here during rains (June July) if you like to get wet and enjoy the Malnad rains.
It is not crowded except during Temple festivals. It is not a commercialised destination. Hence one can really enjoy the natural beauty and feel the green as raw. It is not difficult or risky hike. It is open through out the day. However one must avoid the wee hours or after dark, since there could some wild animal movements here on the hike route.
The top of the fort is about 700 mtr above mean sea level.
Humble request is – do not litter, do not leave behind any waste. Keep the temple premise and the hill as it is, clean and litter free.
Below is the Google view of the area.
Temple Time :
0900 hrs to 1400 hrs and 1630 to 1830 hrs. How ever during festivals the temple would be open though out the day, it is said.
Best time to visit
Any time. It rains heavily during June July.
Nearest place to stay :
Soraba, Sirsi or Sagar. Soraba is a smaller town with least options. Sagar and Sirsi or a little bigger towns with some more options.
Distance from Bangalore
Sirsi – 400 km. Good bus connectivity from Bangalore.
Sagar – 375 km . Nearest railway station. Good train and Bus connectivity from Bangalore.