Through Mysuru and Thirunelly Temple - A circuitous Bangalore-Trivandrum drive

Darklord

New Member
The year was 2015. We had driven down to Bangalore from Thiruvananthapuram. When it was time to return, we had three free days at hand. We decided to drive back via Mysuru and Wayanad. We had no firm plan and decided to make up the plans as we drove along.

So on a lazy Sunday morning in September 2015 around 9:15, we started our drive from Bannerghatta Road. We took the NICE road, which was mostly empty:
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After a relaxed drive of about 30 minutes, we reached Mysore road:
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We enjoyed our drive through the thin traffic on Mysore road:
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We took a small break at Channapatna and shopped a bit for toys and handicrafts. We had decided by then that we would first visit Sri Ranganathaswamy Temple at Srirangapatna.

Gates of Srirangapatna came up after about 3 hours of starting our drive:
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We soon encountered this historically significant place:
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After clicking a few pics, we moved on towards the temple:
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A short drive brought us to the parking lot of the temple:
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As is the case of most major temples in India, the road leading to the temple has all kinds of shops on its side:
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We parked our car and walked to the temple:
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We were apprehensive that the temple might close for noon before we had our darshan, but after waiting in a queue for some time, we were able to have darshan and offer our prayers.

Not much pictures from the interior of the temple:
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After a satisfactory darshan, we walked out:
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Any idea what this old structure is?
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We had one more round of trinket shopping:
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We drove on to our next destination.
 

Darklord

New Member
Mysore Palace is a historical palace and a royal residence at Mysore in the Indian State of Karnataka. It is the official residence of the Wadiyar dynasty and the seat of the Kingdom of Mysore. The palace is in the centre of Mysore, and faces the Chamundi Hills eastward. Mysore is commonly described as the 'City of Palaces', and there are seven palaces including this one; however, 'Mysore Palace' refers specifically to this one within the Old fort.

The land on which the palace now stands was originally known as puragiri (literally, citadel), and is now known as the Old Fort. Yaduraya built the first palace inside the Old Fort in the 14th century, which was demolished and constructed multiple times. The current structure was constructed between 1897 and 1912, after the Old Palace was burnt ablaze.

Mysore Palace is now one of the most famous tourist attractions in India, after the Taj Mahal, with more than 6 million annual visitors.
Mysore Palace - Wikipedia


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As it was a Sunday, there was a huge crowd:
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We took tickets and walked to the palace:
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Unfortunately, photography is prohibited inside the palace. We visited the palace and came out to click some pics of the exterior of the palace:
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We paid a visit to the handicrafts store inside the Palace premises in search of a piece of sandalwood, did not find one but ended up buying these instead:
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Last few parting shots from the palace:
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By then it was already 4:30 in the evening. We were in two minds about staying the night in Mysore as we knew the Bandipur route will be closed after 6 p.m. As was the theme of the trip, we decided to plan as we drove along and decided to look for another destination in Mysore itself while we still had daylight left.

A simple Google search threw up the next destination of the day for us; Chamundi Hills.

Parting shot:
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Darklord

New Member
Ten minutes of drive brought us to the welcome arch of the temple:
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We stopped at multiple viewpoints along the way; these afforded a bird's eye view of Mysore and surroundings:
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After parking at one of the parking lots, we walked to the temple.

A statue of Mahishasura:
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The temple was very crowded and we purchased special tickets for a quick darshan:
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After coming out of the temple, we clicked a few pictures of Mysore Race Club:
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We got to know about the Nandi sculpture and decided to visit as it was on the way downhill:
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It was 6:30 by the time we reached back down hill. We felt we would be wasting a night in Mysore. As the Bandipur route would have been closed by now, we decided to take Hunsur-Gonikoppal-Kutta route to Thirunelly Temple. We knew it was a forest area, but we did not appreciate then the risks involved in driving through that area after nightfall and finding accommodation without prior reservation in such a remote place. We had a bit of a careless mindset at that time of our life. This would be something we would avoid at the present time.

We began our drive. Traffic was thick around Mysore and it robbed us some time. We had our dinner somewhere around Hunsur:
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After Gonikoppal traffic began to thin out and the human activity on and around the road almost ceased once we crossed into Kerala at Tholpetty. We soon turned on to the Thirunelly Road and soon after brought us face to face with a wild tusker and that moment was the revelation of how risky our decision was. Luckily, the elephant was eating peacefully by the side of the road and allowed the intruders to pass without as much as a second glance. I drove a bit carefully after that, scanning the surroundings for any wildlife activity. We were the only car on the road, only humans even; no mobile range to boot. We did not have to go far to run into another tusker. This time though, he was on a ledge up the road and moving away from the road. Luckily near Thirunelly, BSNL began to pick up signals (have to love BSNL for that, providing mobile network in remote places). I had saved the number for KTDC Thirunelly and called them up. They confirmed they have rooms available and that they would send someone to open up the electric fencing. Upon checking in, it turned out we were the only guests for the night.

The only shot from the night's drive:
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Since it was already past 11 p.m. and we had a pretty hectic day, we hit the bed and fell asleep within minutes.
 

Darklord

New Member
The morning sun magically wiped the scares of last night and drew a picture of beauty all around.

Our accommodation:
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Although the hotel is about a kilometer away from the temple, it is set in a picturesque place within the picturesque Thirunelly.

View from the room:
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A couple of friends:
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There was not much time to spare as we wanted to have our darshan before the temple closes for the morning. We would have loved to walk the distance, but the lack of time meant we drove there.

We were greeted by this KSRTC Fast Passenger, probably one of the longest routes for a Fast Passenger, plying Pathanamthitta-Thirunelly route:
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Devaswam guest house and the temple parking ground:
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We parked the car and walked up a small flight of stairs leading to the temple:
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I looked back from the top of the stairs:
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No proper records of the exact dates of establishment of temple exist, though it is beyond dispute, that Thirunelli was once an important town and pilgrim center in the middle of an inaccessible jungle valley surrounded by mountains on four sides . There exists documentary proof that Thirunelli at the time of Chera king Bhaskara Ravi Varma I (962–1019 CE) was an important town and pilgrim center in South India. In the dense jungles surrounding temple, the ruins of two ancient villages can be found. Noted historian V. R. Parameswaran Pillai in his book Thirunelli Documents states that this temple was once an integral part of the early recorded history of Kerala.
Thirunelli Temple - Wikipedia

Nestled at the base of the Brahmagiri Hills, the temple is an exquisite blend of traditional architecture and nature's beauty:
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Some sections of the temple were undergoing renovation:
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The timings of Thirunelli temple:
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Thirunelli is renowned as a place to offer obeisance for one's ancestors. My dad wanted to do a few rituals for the souls of our forefathers, and we made a ticket for the same. The place to offer the rituals is a little further away, by the side of a stream, named Papanasini.

We took another flight of stairs down to the path to the stream. Looking back up:
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There were thick woods on either side:
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Soon we were passing beside the temple pond:
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The five elements making up the Panchatheertham:
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The path leading to Papanasini:
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A small stream that runs beside the path:
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Electric fencing on the other side of the stream adjoining the forest:
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We performed the rituals at Papanasini and then took a customary bath in the stream. There are facilities nearby to change wet clothes as well as restrooms. Post that, we hurried back to the temple to have darshan.
 

foadbear

Pirates Skulls and Bones
Wow, Mysuru was like my second home when I was in Bengaluru. Seeing Mysore again through your lens is a feast for eyes :)

Awesome pics :)
 

Darklord

New Member
On our way back, there is this signboard leading to another temple within the premises:
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An informative signboard detailing various star trees:
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Wooded...
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...as well as some cultivation of coffee and areca:
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We reached back to the temple. One of the most prominent structures is this ancient stone canal delivering spring water into the temple:
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With our prayers done, we clicked a few more pics of the temple:
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With one final look at the temple...
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...and one final prayer...
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...we walked out:
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Another pic of the temple guest house:
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Bus timings as of September 2015:
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Phone numbers for the temple and guest house:
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Another private hotel opposite:
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The KSRTC FP was still there:
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A structure named "Daivathar Mandapam" beside the road:
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We reached our hotel and had our brunch:
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We relaxed for some time in our room. Another friend:
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By 2 p.m., we vacated our room...
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...and said our goodbye to KTDC Tamarind Thirunelly:
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This robin was part of the farewell party:
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We began our drive:
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Darklord

New Member
The road which was dark and hostile yesterday night was beautiful and welcoming today:
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Even the nature seemed to go the extra mile to show us her beautiful face:
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The background to yesterday's elephant sightings:
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Dreamy road:
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Human settlements in some places:
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We bought a few bottles of this:
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I had read a couple of years earlier (then) a travelogue through these parts and I remembered him mentioning about a botanical garden and medicinal forest near Boys Town, Mananthavady. Although he had mentioned that those were almost on the verge of closure, I had hoped that 2 years would have been enough to breathe a new life. So we set out searching for those once we reached Mananthavady. Sadly even the memories of such had begun to fade and the medicinal garden was just another patch of weed-infested yard.

Disappointed, we drove back towards Mananthavady:
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It was a little past 4 and fog had begun to form already:
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We came across Parisons Tea Estate and their sales outlet:
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Post purchase, we resumed our journey. Rain clouds had begun forming by then:
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We then drove nonstop till we reached Kalpetta where we had an early dinner at 6 pm:
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Once we began our descend through Thamarassery Churam, the sky opened up:
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Battling rain and traffic, we reached outskirts of Kozhikode by 9:30.

Who would have the heart (or tooth) to pass through Kozhikode and not stop for halwa?
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We had initially planned to stop at Kozhikode or Thrissur for the night and cover a few more places as we had one more day at hand; however, the mere thought of driving through Kerala traffic during the day discouraged us. We decided to wrap our trip and drive back home, covering the distance the night itself.

Photos from various places during the night drive, when we took breaks:
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After two days of hectic trip, we finally reached back home just a little before sunrise. The Santro yet again demonstrated its strengths and weaknesses to us, but it got where we wanted without any fuss.

Remembering this trip 5 years down, these photos are a powerful reminder to me what we are missing at present, but then, remembering humanity's journey so far, it is obvious this time too shall pass, we just have to keep faith.
 
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