He was someone who threw away a life of luxury to embrace poverty. How he rose above it all, attained the kingdom of God, and became a saint, is a long story. But, standing inside the church named for him, I realise that the church seems to have seen just as many highs and lows as him… and survived to tell the tale.
Where there is a fort, there usually are dungeons. Except, that these days we rarely get to see any. Which is why, when we saw a Karnataka Tourism board proclaiming the presence of two dungeons in Srirangapatna, Samhith was all agog with anticipation. The first dungeon, as it turned out, was very near the Ranganathaswamy Temple. The Colonel Bailey’s dungeon, as it is called, is where Colonel Bailey was held captive during the Second Mysore War, by Tipu Sultan.
In a time long, long back , even before temples were built, certain sites were considered sacred. Among such sites are the islands on the Kaveri, which were marked out as abodes of Lord Vishnu. It is said, that when the Kaveri flowed down from Agasthya’s kamandalu , free and unbound, she asked a boon from Lord Vishnu, that she be considered more sacred than the Ganga. And Vishnu agreed. He replied, “The Ganga flows from my feet. You, Kaveri, are my garland! And it is thus she flows, around these islands demarcated for Him, like a garland, sanctifying the land, and those of us who visit, with her mere presence. The first among these islands is Srirangapatna, near Mysore.
Looking at the photos of the birds I clicked during my recent Dandeli trip, I have been remembering all the birds we saw near Mysore during our vacation in May.... which reminded me that I had yet not completed that series. On that note, here is another one.. this one about some birds we saw in a marshy area just outside the city...
The Malabar Giant Squirrel or Indian Giant Squirrel is described as “an upper canopy dwelling species, which rarely leaves the trees. It is a shy, wary animal, not easy to discover; it is active mostly early in the mornings and evenings, resting in the midday.”
The Kali River is the lifeline of Dandeli. It flows through the town, not just providing water for all its needs, but is also a haven for the flora and fauna of the area. Rapid urbanization once threatened the river, and all its inhabitants, but the efforts to preserve it seem to be working, if the lush greenery and abundance of birds around are any indication.
A flock of birds pecking at something on the ground caught my attention. They looked like sparrows, so I turned my attention instead to a Little Green Bee Eater plucking out insects from the air. It was only when the tiny sparrow landed nearer me that I realised it wasn’t a sparrow – or at least, it wasn’t the common House Sparrow I see everywhere.
Hornbills, Giant Squirrels, interesting people, more birds and loads of fun – that’s what my Dandeli trip was like! It was the perfect start to a year which I hope will bring lots more travel and many more such experiences. Detailed posts are coming up soon, but meanwhile, for all those of you who have been asking me what it was like… and also for those who asked me what there was to see in Dandeli, here is a glimpse –
2014 is finally here, and it seems to be starting off on the right note. There are some interesting things happening, but you will have to wait to find out what they are. After all, there is nothing as wonderful as surprises, is there? Right now, the good news is that I am off again, on an unexpected trip!!