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Ladakh Diaries Part 9: Lamayuru

Lamayuru is one of the most ancient monasteries in Ladakh, the oldest surviving structure dating to the 11 th century CE. What makes this monastery particularly fascinating, is its location, amidst what is today called the “moonscape”, for the spectacular natural rock formations, which truly are “out of the world”! As per legend , there once existed a huge lake in this area, populated only by the Nagas (serpents). It was prophesized that there would be a great monastery built here. This prophecy came true when the great acharya Naropa (756-1041 CE) arrived. He emptied the lake, meditated for many years inside a cave, and built the first monastery here. The present structure is a new one, built around the cave where Acharya Naropa is said to have meditated. This legend seems to fit well with the geological formations seen in the area, which suggest this was a paleo-lake, which disappeared around 1000 years ago. Lamayuru is about 130 km from Leh , and the Indus River flows along th

Shivappa Nayaka Palace, Shimoga

As Diwali approaches, I have been re-living our trip last Diwali to Karnataka. We started on a devotional note, visiting SringeriUdupi and Kollur. But that did not stop us having unexpected surprises which had nothing to do with temples, as well as adventures that we had not planned for. We eventually reached our final destination - River Tern Lodge at the Bhadra Reservoir, and after two wonderful days there, headed back home to Mumbai. However, before we called an end to our travels, we still had something to see....

The bus stand at Shimoga was clean, well organised, and had huge posters of all the places you could visit around the city. There were quite a few interesting possibilities, but time was a luxury we did not have. We were due to board a bus back to Mumbai in a few hours, and in that short time, wanted to explore Shimoga. I remembered reading about the Shivappa Nayaka Palace on a couple of friends’ blogs, and decided to head out there. 



“Palace? What palace? There is no palace in Shimoga” was the response from most auto drivers we asked. I would have given up, and elected to spend our time at the bus stand, had not one old man listening to our conversation asked “You want to go to the museum?’ I jumped at the word ‘Museum”. It was certainly better than simply sitting in the bus stand! It was only when I asked him where the museum was, that he replied, “in the aranmanai’. Now, aranmanai is the Tamil word for palace, and that was where I had wanted to go in the first place. As we spoke, it turned out that the auto drivers only knew of the place as the museum or the ‘aranmanai’. They had no idea of either Shivappa Nayak or that this was his erstwhile palace!


The main gate was closed when we arrived at the palace, but our driver informed us that the big doors were kept closed most of the time, since there were few visitors. We entered by a side gate, and wondered if we had to buy a ticket... and if so, from whom. There wasn’t a soul to be seen. Eventually, someone emerged from a door, and when asked, seemed surprised to be asked if we had to pay a fee. “Go ahead and look around.” He replied.” The watchman has gone out for a while. He will be back soon.”


There wasn’t really much to see... The palace didn’t look big enough to justify its name, and built of wood, was a simple structure, not really what one would expect of a palace.





However, looking closer, we realised that it must indeed have been a beautiful residence at one time... Not a fort... not a palace... simply a beautiful residence worthy of a king!





More interesting was the area behind... the courtyard...



This is the actual museum, which the Archaeology department has filled with sculptures and rock edicts found in the area. Some of the sculptures are really beautiful and worth a closer look..... Such as this Narasimha...



Saptamatrikas..



And Mahishasuramardini...




Outside, the garden is well maintained, and even here, there are sculptures...



The sight of such beautiful sculptures out in the open does seem interesting, but even as we stood there, it began raining, and seeing these beautiful works of art getting drenched, day after day, year after year, seemed to me to be a sorry sight.


One broken peetham (stand) had filled with water...



One of the sculptures.. a beautiful one of Hanuman...



Had a snail on it!



Wonder what He would have thought of becoming a haven for a snail!


We wandered around the palace for almost an hour... since it was raining, and we didnt have an umbrella. Not a soul was in sight, except the old man who turned up now and then, just to keep an eye on us, I suppose. The watchman returned just as we were leaving, and as we turned back for one last look, we could see him standing by the flag post... all alone, by his post, guarding a place hardly anyone ever visited.




Shimoga

Distances:
  • Bangalore : 276 Km
  • Mangalore: 187 Km

How to Reach:
  • By Road: Shimoga is well connected by road to Bangalore and Mangalore. There are also AC Volvo buses from Mumbai to Shimoga.
  • By Air: The nearest airport is at Mangalore
  • By Train : Shimoga railway station is well connected to Bangalore. 


Where to Stay
Shimoga, being district headquarters, as well as a tourist hub, has many hotels and lodges to suit all budgets. 




Comments

  1. This is an awesome find. Never heard about this palace/museum before. Those sculptures look wonderful. Thanks for this info, Anu.

    http://rajniranjandas.blogspot.in/2012/11/our-lady-of-immaculate-conception-church.html

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Niranjan.. it isnt all that popular, but a few bloggers have written about it, which is how I got to know :D

      Delete
  2. WOW! Shimoga and palace. Never knew at all. Looks like a well maintained place too. Loved the pictures of the idols.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Sankara.. and its a nice place.. def worth a visit the next time you are there!

      Delete
  3. What a desolately beautiful place, Anu. Just wondering, why can't the sculptures be placed inside the palace?

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  4. I was just going through the web and got this link.... It is a beautiful piece well made. Rare piece where you can see the silent beauty of Shimoga. Rarely heard in the tourism dictionary. People talk of Jog falls... & forget but the city and people have more to share...
    Sometimes holding on to the purity of place makes a difference...Shimoga has more to share.

    Mohan Kumar

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  5. Good I read this about the Aramane or the Museum with those beautiful sculptures because same thing would have happened to me had I gone around asking for Shivappa Nayak's palace! Well, thanks.

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  6. Shimoga is such a beautiful place with its old temples and stunning locations. The Shivappa Nayaka’s palace is still adorned with traditional architecture style and the Kote Seetharamanjaneya Temple is a complete divine place and Kunchikal Falls, the highest waterfall gives you a breathtaking view.

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  7. Lovely pictures righty captured to elevate the mood of onlooker ! Keep the good work going.

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  8. I am very glad to read the post,it is very well written.You have done hard work in writing this post and i impressed your work.

    ReplyDelete

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