Being cocooned for over eight months at home because of the COVID-19 pandemic, I felt like breaking out from the cocoon and walk around like a free man.
Going to office is one easy alternative for me. Thank God I have a working place of my own for this kind of distraction and freedom. Imagine those seniors like me without such advantage. Public road, public park or dear and near ones are some places they can escape to and enjoy the freedom. Let it be.
Yesterday was a Sunday and we as a family decided on an outing, a sort of picnic we have been having since three months. Home-makers got ready with a mat, a dhari, folding chairs and, of course, packed eatables. And we set off to Karighatta, 23 kilometres from city on Srirangapatna Road, past Baburayanakoppal on Mysuru-Bengaluru Highway. It is a hillock with a Sri Srinivasa Temple of hoary past without Gopura, which is commonly seen in all Srinivasa (Venkataramana) Temples. But it has a small one above the sanctum sanctorum (see picture). You take a U-turn after passing Baburayanakoppal to enter T. Narasipur-Srirangapatna Road. The hill temple is about a kilometre to your left after entering this road.
The upward climb begins with nine hairpin bends to negotiate. All along the retention wall the Forest Department has written its social message about the importance of protecting the forest. One message was disturbing as it says, ‘Cutting a tree is like cutting your head’ and more. But they are imaginative and drives the message home easily. The road is asphalted and well-maintained.
Atop, the place is maintained, more or less, in a natural state without too much of civil work or paving. The heritage character of the temple and the ambience is maintained, but the sad sight is of trash and rubbish lying in the outer edge of the temple premises inviting flies and stray dogs apart from emanating foul smell. Either the Forest Department or the temple authorities should keep a watch on the tourists who indulge in this kind of vandalism forgetting Prime Minister Modi’s ‘Swachh Bharat Abhiyan.’ Well, we expect cleanliness more in a place where we believe God resides, temple.
Like always at noon time there were many tourists and devotees coming and leaving. Looking at the situation we abandoned our picnic plan even inside the forest, which is not very inviting either.
Interestingly, we saw a group of about 25 people sitting under the shadow of a huge tree by the side of the flight of steps leading to the temple from the main road below. Curious, on enquiry we learnt it was the annual meeting of friends who had formed themselves as a group under the name ‘Shiva Prabhe Balaga’ from Mysuru. They do social service in their own limited way while they go on excursion and picnic regularly for joy carrying food with them. This Sunday they chose Karighatta Temple for their meeting and good eating. Hope they will not leave the place dirty and with the trash. I am sure they will not because, as they told us, they also do social service and they will have concern for ‘Swachhata’ and clean environment.
Be that as it may, we found the place ideal for a weekend drive and those who are religious have the benefit of having darshan of the Lord who is said be presiding over the hill for centuries.
Here are some of the photos I took with captions which are explanatory.
e-mail: [email protected]