Thursday, December 13, 2007

Neer Dosa and Appam in Mangalore

At the eatery a display of typical Mangalore fare of buns, usli, uttapam, Kerala paratha, pole, pohe etc. I was feeling shy to go close for a picture so took one from my table.

and a Temple Tour @ Rs. 1.36/ km

Just before Diwali at work they declared a compensatory holiday for the entire organization. I had already planned my other vacation with family and friends and here I was with 4 holidays at hand. I decide to go on a short tour, my criteria, it had to be cheap and only for 4-5 day . I checked with KSTDC and decided to take their South Canara Temple Tour.

Well once I had done a 5 day tour of north Karnataka with them about 2 years ago. The places covered were amazing but the stay at Bijapur had left a bad impression. So this time I just prepared myself for bad hotels and a smelly coach and made the reservations saying to myself this is an unplanned tour so I need not expect much.

This tour starts on every thrusday from Badami house, Blr. at 9.00 pm. As usual we reached early. My first surprise was the new coaches. They had better build more space and more leg room. Also since it had not rained the coaches smelt fresh. It helps to expect less I said to myself especially for the price we pay. Infact during my last trip with them I had suggested that they should offer luxury tours as their standard tour was really low budget.

Day 1:

The tour manager told us that we were going to cover 1400 kms to and fro. Man ! It meant a tour at Rs. 1.36/ km. That is absolutely a steal deal. Yet I kept reminding myself that I should not crib about the hotels they provide. He aslo announced that if all agreed he could show us a few more temples in addition to the itenery if we paid Rs. 50 more. It was obvious that it went into the private kitty. After munching on chutney sandwiches that we were carrying with us we went off to sleep that night. The bus passed through dense forrests, plantations and ghats.

Day 2:

In the early morning we reached Hornadu. We were provided a small room that we had to share with 2 other people. This facility was just to have a bath. It was a village guest house but was clean. After a hot water bath we walked down to the Annapoorneshwari temple through dense fog. It was an out of the world experience. This temple is surrounded by bettlenut and coconut plantations as you see in the backdrop of the temple gate below. This is one of the cleanest Hindu temple that I have seen. The darshan was calming, we saw the Godness being bathed as part of the Shodashopchar (ritual offering of sixteen items). It is a beautiful human sized idol made in granite. This region being home to Annapoorneshwari is truely blessed. I learnt in this trip what it truely means to do Annadan.

Annadan is supposed to be the highest level of charity that one can do in Hinduism. It is said that it is the only charity that truely satisfies the needy. If a man is in need of food he will take only as much as the capacity of his stomach and will say enough when he cannot eat more thus feeling trupti or satisfaction wheres all other needs are insatiable.

Annapoorneshwari is the goddess who can provide endless amounts of food to the needy. In this temple we see in her hand the spoons and utensils that are her tools. We took breakfast at the prasad hall. It consisted of Avalakki, patal pohe seasoned with red chili and mustard in oil with sugar and salt and sprinkled with water.

From here we went to Kalasa and then we proceeded to Shringeri. This place is of high importance as Adi Shanakaracharya established the first peetham here. He was looking for a suitable location for starting a peetham and at this place on the bank of the river Tunga he saw a snake sheltering a frog from the hot sun under its hood as the pregant frog was in labour. Adi
Shanakaracharya was taken aback by this scene of a serpent the natural enemy of a frog actually protecting it and immediately identified this place as a special one. People now feed the fish here on the ghats of the Tunga.

We washed our feet in the river and became Suchirbhut (the act of cleansing) and went on to take darshan of Sharda mata and Vidyashankara. Both the temples are beautiful and distinct. The Sharda temple interior is beautiful where as the Vidyashankar temple is decorated on the outside. It has carving of different Raashis in the corners. In the Shringeri Mutt there is a hall that displays paintings on the life of Adi. As a child I had a very spiritual impression of Shringeri Mutt in my mind based on the books I had read but it was quite different experience to be there. May be it being Diwali there were more visitors or something else I am not able to figure out. Pandit Gowrishankar is one person we know who has studied Vedic Culture at Shringeri Mutt and he used to visit us sometimes and explain to us all the nitty grities of Puja rituals. We had lunch here at the Prasad hall. It was impressive how well it was maintained. Food consisted of rasam, sambhar, majge/ buttermilk and heaps of rice.

In the evening we reached Kollur. After checking into a Guest house we got fresh and walked to the temple. It was the time for Mahamangal aarti and there was a huge rush. This temple seemed to be dominated by Malayali culture. It is the abode of the goddess Mokambika. We stood in the line for darshan for more than an hour and just at about the time of the aarti hell broke loose. We were squeezed into the mandap and I was gasping for air. I saw the priest coming with the aarti through the crowd pressing against each other. I told Dad to follow him when he would return to the Garbh gruha. Reached in front of the Goddess barely bowed my head and sprinted out into the open space. This temple is not kept clean and reminded me of all the temples in Maharashtra where similar experiences are inflicted on the devotees. We took prasad at the dinning hall and returned to the guest house to retire for the day.

Day 3:

Began in Murudeshwar. The famous 65 ft Shiva statue dominates the skies of the coastal town. Though we were on the beach we were warned not to play in the sea as we were to travel all day and did not want the coach to be smelly. So we just watched others have fun in the sea. There is a restaraunt that caught my fancy as it was built on stilts in the sea.

Our next destination was Anegudda Vinayaka temple. This temple architechture is similar to Konkan region in Maharashtra and Goa. It is said, when Bheema was trying to kill an asura in the form of an angry elephant with his gada, he lost the battle. Thats when this Ganapti gave him a sword with which he destroyed the asura. Hence this temlple is dedicated to Vinayaka.

Nearby there was an interesting place called the temple of Halu MakaLutai. The story associated with this temple goes like this. Kumba-mukhi, the sister of Ravan and Shurpanaka prayed to this Goddnes to grant her children. However when the Goddess appeared before her she was dazzled and instead of asking for children. She asked for the Goddess be granted with children and The Goddess said Tathaastu! Hence every five years a linga pops up from the ground. It is a strange geological phenomena observed here. In the courtyard of the temple you see these rocks that look like lingas emerging from the ground. Quite miraculous you will agree. This Goddess is offered bettlenut flowers in worship.

From here we went straight to Udupi. It was my dream to go to Udupi after reading the story of Kanakadas for whom Krishna turned around and gave darshan to his devotee. This is the only temple where the diety's back is to the main door. Then on the Darshan is taken at the rear. Sadly even centuries later, after Kanakadas not much has changed here. The Lord is still locked up in the sanct sanctorium and decorated with flashy daimonds and the keys to the temple still lie with the Madhavas. It was also my dream to have prasad at the bhojanshala which is so synonimos with Udupi. Thousands of people are fed here. Though I am used to temple dinning halls and culture associated with it. Udupi is something one has to experience atleast once in a life. We even saw some people eating on the floor, no not even a banana leaf was used. They were observing some austerity in lieu of some favor they might have asked from Krishna. It was a shocking experience for me and definitely opened up my mind a bit more.

We were now off to Kateel to see Durga Parmeshwari. The temple exterior is in Konkani style while the sanct sanctorium is in Kerala style. This temple is built on an island in the river Nandini, connected to the mainland with a bridge.

From Kateel we went to Mangalore and went straight to hit the beach. The highpoint of the trip was to check into Lalit International at Suratkhal. It is a 3 star hotel thats going through a rough patch so KSTDC gets the best deal. We have paid Rs.1400 for a similar room at other times and this entire package had cost us a mere Rs1900/ person. The restaraunt has been closed down due to lack of customers. So we walked down to Sadanand about 10 mins from our hotel. Yes they are the same guys from Fort, Mumbai and they spoke to us in Marathi as they overheard our conversation. I made it a point to have Gudbad, the Mangalorean sundae and did not find it exceptional.

Day 4:

We began the day by visiting the Gokarnatheshwar temple, it new and built by a liqour baron very glitzy and not my type of a place however the cleanliness was striking.

The next one was the Manjunath temple at Kadri with its beautiful Brahma idol dating back to 968 A.D.

We started our return journey to Blr. On the way we were to go to Dharmasthal and Kuke Subramania. I had heard so much about the rush and my brother's warning echoed in my ears "It is the Pandharpur of the south". Yes it is in terms of the rush yet clean, non-corrupt and organized. Our last stop was at Kuke Subramania where one can perform rituals like sarpadosh etc.

Day 5:

At 6.30 am we were back in Blr at Badami house. I was done with my dose of temple tours. No more temples for me I resolved, however only until I went to this Paradise and there was a temple to be visited there too.


  1. thanks for the virual tour. the brahma statue is spell-binding. mahesh lunch home in fort - that's what neer dosa reminds me of.

  2. Ohh u went to Murudeshwar? Thats one of my fav temples...just so near to my place :)

  3. Nice pictures. I have seen all the places that too 2 to 3 times very nice.

    Your neer dosa looks tasty. past few months thot to make this but somehow i couldnt, thanks for ur neer dosa recipe will try it your method ..

  4. Bee strangely though Mahesh was close to my home in Fort, I might have visited it a couple of times and I was non vegetarian at the time, yet I have no memories of it.

    Yeah Shilpa thought of you during my visit there.

    Vanamala where is the recipe? ;)LOL.

  5. Beautiful post. I really enjoyed it.

  6. i envy you. for so many years I ahve been craving for the trip of this region

  7. Just for your information Anjali, Kuke Subramania is not a Jyotirlinga. There is none in the State of Karnataka.

    Here is more information on the same

    Shreya Nayak

  8. Thanks for that link. I wrote what I heard from the guide. May be I registered it wrongly. He mentioned that all ritual that are done in Nashik, jyotirlinga can be done here hence the confusion. I am updating the post.


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