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Thursday, June 23, 2011

Someshwara Temple, Ulsoor

Being in Bangalore for more than 6 years and not having visited the Someshwara temple was a sin. I was searching for a Kaala Bhairava temple, around Marathahalli / Old Airport Road / Kagadasapura, etc. After about a month of frantic searching, I got to know from many friends and relatives that only the Someshwara temple in Ulsoor houses the deity - Lord Kala Bhairava.

Brief Introduction about the temple
Someshwara temple is one of the prominent ancient temples of Bangalore. The main temple was supposedly built during by Chola dynasty, while the impressive Rajagopuram and the compound of the temple was built by chieftain Kempegowda, the founder of Bangalore. Endowed with splendid architecture, the Someshwara temple bears shimmering Rajagopuram (tower) and Dhwajastambha (massive pillar) which provide glimpse of the master craftsmanship.

The presiding deity being worshipped at the temple is Lord Someshwara (Shiva). In addition, the main temple houses these deities:
1. Lord Vinayaka
2. Lord Murugan with Valli & Deivanai
3. Goddess Vishnu Durgai
4. Lord Dakshinamoorthy
5. Lord Chandikeswarar
5. Lord Kaala Bhairava

The temple houses other deities of Kamakshamma, Arunachaleswara, Bhimeswara, Nanjundeswara, Panchalingeswara and the Navagraha Gods.

On the eve of Shivarathri in the month of February, devotees flock to the Someshwara temple in large numbers. Worshippers crowd here to have a darshan of Lord Shiva, the main deity and the Pancha Lingeswaras . The temple celebrates Brahmotsava on the full moon day and Kamakshamma Pallaki Utsava festivals in the month of April. The deity of the temple, Goddess Kamakshamma, is taken in a procession in a Pallaki (palanquin) around the temple.

My Experience
With this, on an Ashtami day, we went to this temple. One could get a Tamilnadu feel, in and around the temple. There are quite many garland shops around the temple, and they sell the famed Bilva leaves. Around 7:00 AM, when we went to see the Lord, Abhishekam was being performed on Lord Shiva. We had offered the flower garlands, and proceeded to see the other deities.

I was surprised to find so many deities around the main temple. As it was a Thursday, special poojas were performed to Lord Dakshinamoorthy. We then lit the coconut lamp dedicated to Lord Kaala Bhairava, and offered our prayers.

Overall, it was a very blissful experience, and I have made it a point to visit this temple, at least once a month.

Some Pics of the temple

Around the prakaram

Main temple Vimanam


Photo of the aerial representation

A View of the Gopuram from Inside

A View of the Gopuram from Outside

Location of the temple
The temple is situated next to Bazaar Street Ulsoor. While travelling from MG Road, one has to pass the trinity circle, and proceed straight on Old Madras Road. On the left you would see the Fame Lido Mall, and the on the next signal, you will find Bazaar street on the left. Proceed straight for about 100 metres, and you will find a small street on the left. Take this left and you can spot the temple immediately.

View Larger Map

Parking space is limited, so in crowded days you may not get parking space for cars. But on normal days, there is just enough space to park about 10 cars.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

New Wheels

Its been about 20 months and 19000 odd kms on my red i10 with the Bridgestone stock tyres, and no problems whatsoever. But, the yearning for more road grip and big boots were always on. Half the age, and not the age to die, but as it happens, it had to happen :-) Well, I decided its soon.

The Finished product
Before jumping to a bit more story and the thought process, here's how it all ended.

Choosing the right tyre
It was not very tough to decide the brand of the tyre. Google listed www.team-bhp.com forums, and there were plenty of posts on it. Unanimous choice was Michelin for the driving comfort, though there were some cons that it is not 100% made for bad indian roads. Hey but we have lot of 4-laned tolled roads now, and as most of the fuel would be burnt there, I decided to go in for Michelin straightaway.

I had to do a thorough research to find the right upsize for my i10. Courtesy lots of Tyre size calculators online, I was able to list down these options:

Original Tyre Size
Tyre codeDiameter Circumference Difference
155/80 R13 578 mm 1816 mm 0 %

Upsize Options
Tyre codeDiameter Circumference Difference
175/65 R13 558 mm 1753 mm -3.55 %
185/65 R13 571 mm 1794 mm -1.3 %
165/70 R13 561 mm 1762 mm -2.94 %
175/70 R13 575 mm 1806 mm -0.52 %
185/70 R13 589 mm 1850 mm 1.9 %
155/75 R13 563 mm 1769 mm -2.68 %
165/75 R13 578 mm 1816 mm -0.09 %
175/75 R13 593 mm 1863 mm 2.51 %
155/80 R13 578 mm 1816 mm 0 %
165/80 R13 594 mm 1866 mm 2.77 %
175/60 R14 566 mm 1778 mm -2.18 %
185/60 R14 578 mm 1816 mm -0.1 %
155/65 R14 557 mm 1750 mm -3.65 %
165/65 R14 570 mm 1791 mm -1.4 %
175/65 R14 583 mm 1832 mm 0.85 %
185/65 R14 596 mm 1872 mm 3.1 %
155/70 R14 573 mm 1800 mm -0.97 %
165/70 R14 587 mm 1844 mm 1.45 %
175/70 R14 601 mm 1888 mm 3.87 %
155/75 R14 588 mm 1847 mm 1.71 %

RIM Size & Width
I had a tough time to decide whether to go for a R13 or R14 dia Rim. R14 would decrease the profile, making the ride bit rough. If I had maintained the profile, then I had to endure few scratches on the body when riding on speed humps. Greater RIM Dia would increase the visual appearance, but that could lead to a not so good ride quality. Hence, I decided to go with R13 Rims only.

Then, I had to choose the RIM Width that is appropriate for the new tyre's width. I've covered those in detail in the upcoming sections.

Deciding on Tyre Size
I had to choose a tyre size such that the overall difference in circumference should be less than +-2%. While increasing the diameter could have increased the profile for a comfortable ride quality on smooth roads, it would have scrapped few coatings from the wheel cavity, and damaged the front mud-flaps on sharp turns. Decreasing the diameter could have adverse effects on the ground clearance. Esp. on indian roads with sewage mini bridges, converted to massive speed humps, you need to maintain (as far as possible) the original ground clearance.

155 was ruled out, so I had to choose from 165 to 185. Ideally there was only a choice between 185 and 175, as 165 too seemed apparently small. The visual appeal from 175 was much more than 165, so the options were narrowed down to 175 or 185.

While 185 would give a better look, I know I have to compromise a bit more on mileage. Moreover, there was the concern of the tyre protruding out of the body awkwardly which could result in a mismatch in looks vs size. Moreover, there was a concern on team-bhp, that on few i10s, 185/60 R14 had touched the inner wheel cavity on bumpy roads. One of my friend had 185/60 R13 on his i10, sporting the Yokohama A-Drives that looked classy. But, I figured out that it has decreased the circumference by -81.68mm that is -4.5% difference. But, he seems to be pretty happy with his tyres and ground clearance. I still was not able to make the choice between 185 & 175. Unfortunately or I would say fortunately (as it narrowed down the options available) Michelin did not have 180/70 R13, so I decided on 175/70 R13 finally.

I also found out that the 175/70 R13 tyre had a speed rating of H (i.e. upto 210 kmph). With the realization that I could experience more stability on highways, I knew I am making a wise decision.

Choosing Alloys over Stock Rims
Another choice to make, was whether to mount the tyre on the stock rim or whether to go for alloys. Remember that if you increase the width of your tyre, you need wider Rims to accomodate them, else you would experience the sidewall strain, that can cause a cushioned ride and shorter tyre life. The recommended RIM Width for 175" wide tyres are 5J to 6J. So, 5.5 would be the ideal width. This was one of the most important factors to opt for alloy wheels during tyre upsizes.

So, having convinced myself that it makes sense to spend extra bucks to get a rich look, I decided to go for new alloy rims that could get me a wider Rims (good enough to mount 175 or even 185) and having more stable ride quality and increased tyre life.

I had a red-lip design in mind, to go with the body colour of my i10, but at the same time had other factors to consider such as strength of the casting, width of the spokes, number of spokes, etc. It was a contentious decision to opt for more spoke width, than the visually appealing red-lip design. So, I chose this design, that I would call "The violent Sudarshan Chakra", for it looks gorgeously violent !!!

I also had to go for a change in bolts to new chrome bolts, as it would match with the alloy looks, and provides better safety for tyres, in case, I had to park my car at a public garage for a longer period. The new chrome bolts come with a unique lock key, that would fit with the stock toolkit to fasten or unfasten.

The Numbers
New Tyre Size: 175/70 R13 (Stock: 155/80 R13)
Brand: Michelin (Stock: Bridgestone)
Speed Rating: H (Stock: S)
Alloy Wheel: CP Wheels
Rim Width: 5.5J (Stock: 4.5J)
Cost: Ask me!

Links to Tyre size calculators

Links to Alloy Wheel manufacturers Web-site

Michelin Logo

OEM Michelin Tyre Pics

Some Alloy wheels designs that I considered

Pics Shot during Fitting

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Drive to Yelagiri and Jalagamparai Falls

Drive to Yelagiri
It was a late decision to go for a weekend drive. As we wanted the drive to be smooth and visit unseen (rather undriven) places, we zeroed upon Yelagiri Hills.

Yelagiri is a hill station near Jolarpet, in Tamilnadu. It is at an altitude of 1400 metres above sea level. There are 14 hairpin bends on the ghat road. For information on Yelagiri Hills and the places of interest, visit http://wikitravel.org/en/Yelagiri.

Before embarking on the journey, I had a brief understanding of the places to visit at Yelagiri, courtesy - http://www.yelagirihills.com/where_to_go.htm

The Start
We started early around 6:30 AM in the morning. We reached Hosur around 7:15 AM, and had breakfast at Gowrishankar / Vasanta Vihar Hotel on the back side of the bus stand. It is the tasty pongal served in the morning, that lured us there. And we had a sumptuous breakfast before embarking to Yelagiri.

Then we took the Chennai Highway from Krishnagiri and proceeded towards Jolarpet. I got deterred by a wrong route board, and took a detour near a place called Natrampalli... At this point, I realized that on the new SW version on my N8, Google maps had stopped working. Ovi Maps, did not have this road at all :-) After enquiring from few locals, we were asked to proceed on a bit rough road. After about 30 mins (20 kms) we reached Jolarpet. After struggling to find a way past the Railway Level Crossing, we reached Vaniyambadi - Tirupattur SH, which was very good (though 2 way). After enquiries at roadside shops, we found the road to Yelagiri, at a place called Ponneri. There was a Ganesha Temple just before the start of the Ghat section, and we took a moment there.

The ghat section was very good, and the roads were well laid with umpteen warning and direction signboards. There was a name painted on every hairpin bend, and we managed to click every one of those. We stopped at the 7th Hairpin bend to get a panoramic view of the adjoining plains. The view as ever from a hilltop was just beautiful. Then just after clearing 11th hairpin bend, we saw the Telescope house.

The Telescope House
The telescope house, situated on a cliff is not functional now. There is no telescope or anything as such, and is unmanned.

The sound of trees swaying in the breeze greeted us to the top of the cliff. We spent a breezy 15 minutes, captivated by the valley view and the cool breeze.

Then, after a few more hairpin bends, came Athanoor town and we were greeted by this signboard.

Punganoor Artificial Lake-cum-Park
After having parked our car at the Parking lot (Rs. 20) at Punganoor Lake, we proceeded towards the lake hoping for some decent boating experience. But, we were taken aback by the lack of motor boats, all that was available were pedal and row boats. There was also a children's park beside the lake.

After taking a few photographs and a semi circular stroll around the lake, we thought what next, and decided to just drive around.

Murugan Temple
A few minutes away from Athanoor towards Nilavoor, is the Murugan temple. The temple is situated on a hillock, and one has to climb about 100 steps to reach the temple. After some oofs and aaahs, we were able to find the temple.

Nilavoor Lake
Not knowing where to go next, we saw up some sign boards of a Sports Adventure camp at a place called Nilavoor. The word adventure prompted me to drive to Nilavoor (about 6 kms from Athanoor). We were greeeted by a mud coloured lake :-) yes, the water was brownie, but yes we decided to pedal our way for about an hour. And we couldn't manage more than 20 mins. After tasting some Jackfruit, we decided to return.

We enquired about Jalagamparai falls to a few locals and got to know that the falls is on the other side of the hill, about 5 kms trek from Nilavoor. However, if one had to go by road, its about 44 kms, as we had to go downhill, then to Tirupattur, and take the scenic Jalagamparai Falls road. As we were pretty tired, and wanted to explore on road, we decided to go to Jalagamparai falls. We had Milk at an Aavin Milk outlet at Athanoor and then proceeded downhill. It took us about 1.5 hours (90 mins) to cover the 44 kms stretch. The road to Jalagamparai (though was narrow) was very scenic with rich vegetation all around. Jalagamparai is about 14 kms from Tirupattur.

Jalagamparai Waterfalls
We were greeted by a crowd of Monkeys at the falls. There was no water from the falls as it was not raining at that time. There was a temple slightly above the base of the falls (about 75 steps). We then got to know from the locals that the actual place of the falls is about a half km trek. I wanted to do the mini trek to proceed to the exact place of the water fall. However, one local warned me that the trek path is deserted and immediately I spotted a snake zipping past about 5 feet in from of us. Then, we decided to heed to the warning and just took a few snaps and started on the return journey.

Return Drive
From Tirupattur, we took the Krishnagiri road, quite good though 2 way. Easily I could drive at 80kmph and occasionally touch 100. In about 45 minutes we reached Bargur (about 40 kms from Tirupattur), From there on we joined the Chennai - Bangalore Highway and from there on it was a cruise.

We reached Hosur around 4:30 and had tiffin at Gowrishankar (don't ask me why again), but, It was just so good, atleast to me.

Route Map
While writing this blog, I observed that the routes we had taken were not present on the Google maps. I added these roads through mapmaker, but even then was not able to chart out the route that we had taken.

However, the simplest route is to proceed towards Vaniyambadi, and take the Vaniyambadi Tirupattur road and take the Yelagiri Ghat Road at Ponneri.

View Larger Map

Thursday, June 02, 2011

Kotilingeshwara Temple

Kotilingeshwara, as the name suggests is a temple of Lord Shiva, with about one crore Shivalingas. It is situated at a place called Kammasandra, about 5 km from Kolar Gold Fields (KGF). This place has a collection of number of Shiva Lingas spread over an area of 15 acres. More than 80 lakhs of such Lingas have already been installed here since 1974. Kotilingeshwara has the distinction of having the biggest Shivalinga (108 ft) in the world and accompanying it is a 35 ft tall Basava. The entire project involves the installation of one crore shivalingas of various sizes, hence the name 'Kotilingeshwara'.

I had been to Kotilingeshwara a couple of times, and its been one unique experience. On my first visit, we also went to Bangaru Tirupathi at Guttahalli (about 10 kms from Kotilingeshwara). Then, we went to Avani, and then to Mulbagal. Avani is believed to be the place where Seetha raised Lava and Kusa. The village is quite peaceful, and you will love the roads. On my second visit, we started quite late, and had to return after visiting Koilingeshwara only.

There are no good hotels around on the way, but if you happen to come via Mulbagal, just before the Kolar railway Bridge, you will find Hotel Woody's on the left. Its quite popular, and food is okay.

From Bangalore, proceed to Old Madras Road, Kolar, then take a right to Bangarapet, and then on to Koti Lingeshwara. Then, we went on to Bangaru Tirupathi (about 10 kms from Koti Lingeshwara), then to Mulbagal and back to Bangalore.

View Larger Map

Reference Links

Here are some pics that we took on our couple of visits -

Pic of Bangaru Tirupathi Temple

Here are links to some images from Panoramio