Kollur, a little hamlet in South Karnataka is known for Mookambika temple, dedicated to Goddess Mookambika. I have been to this temple quite a few times and my last visit to this temple led to a few explorations. Situated at the base of the Kodachadri hills in the Western Ghats, this temple town brings in a lot of pilgrims during the months of October and November. The Sowparnika river flows near to the temple and a dip in the same before visiting the temple is considered sacred. The river which flows down from the top of the hills is supposed to have medicinal values.
All my previous visits to the temple have been short and I have never got an opportunity to explore the surroundings. The first day of my visit ended with the rituals and the blessings. The evening rituals were a treat to watch and with hundreds of lamps being lit all over the place it was a beautiful sight. The smell of camphor, the ringing bells and the chanting of prayers absorbed me into a different world, a mesmerising one.
The next day was set aside for my trek to Kodachadri. Kodachadri, a few kilometers away from Kollur is known for trekking and I did not miss the opportunity this time. This trek leads to Sarvanja Peetham where the scholar, Sankaracharaya had meditated. Further down from this place is the Chitramoola. Adventurous trekkers can begin their trek from Kollur. As I was travelling with my parents I had to skip that option and take a jeep up to a certain distance. This jeep ride can quite well be compared to the dune bashing that I experienced in Dubai (http://rajniranjandas.blogspot.com/2011/02/tunes-of-dunes.html ). Only jeeps with experienced drivers can manoeuvre this dirt track. It felt as though I was on a roller coaster ride. An unforgettable ride, indeed. As we went higher the thick forests gave way to green plains and blue hills.
We got dropped off near Bhatt's (temple priest) house. From there it was a long walk. I wouldn't call it a treacherous trek, but definitely it was a tough walk all the way from there to the Sarvanja Peetham. En route to the top we also came across a small cave where there was a deity and a young priest. With the sun spreading its rays, we gulped down a couple of bottles of water and walked towards the top. The views of the hills all along the path were beautiful. The blue and green hills engulfed by the mist and the clouds portrayed a fantastic vista.
After an hour of walking we reached the Sarvanja Peetham. The place might not seem worth the trek as it is a very small temple perched on top of the hill. A steep trek down from here leads to Chitramoola, which is supposedly a sacred place. We decided to give that a miss and started our return trek. We were taken back to Kollur through the same roller coaster ride.
For trekkers, the options doesnt end at just the Sarvanja Peetham and Chitramoola. You can trek further deep and enjoy Hidlumane falls and Arisinagundi falls. I would definitely want to trek all these routes the next time am there to take the goddess's blessings.
Signing Note- One of the rare places where you can take the blessings before you trek...!!
Route- Bengaluru- Tumkur- Shimoga- Kollur
Distance- 415 Kms