Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Make a Trip to Ramadevara Betta (Hill) Near Ramnagaram

Ramadevara Betta (Hill) is a Hindu shrine rising more than 3000 feet. Lord Ram is said to have visited here during his 14 years exile. There is a Ram temple at the top of the hill. Once to you take left from Bangalore – Mysore highway at Ramanagaram for Ramadevara Betta, you will be riding on a narrow winding road. It will give you an awesome feeling as you approach the hill. It is here the 1975 super hit movie Sholay was shot. At the base of the hill, there are security and watchman employed by Karnataka government. Here, you can park your vehicle for a fee. For two wheelers parking fee is Rs 5.

Ramadevara Betta is a very nicely maintained. At the entrance there is a big colorful gate followed by stone carved steps leading to the top of the hill amidst greenery. There are around 300 steps. After climbing around 250 steps you will see a Anjaneya (Hanuman) temple. If you are tired you can take rest here in shade. Climb little further to reach the top. Here, it is like a little valley with trees and shades made by the rock nearby. On the left you can climb little further to reach the view point. From here one can get a awesome view of the surrounding. One can see the small hills around, rugged terrain, moving vehicles on Bangalore – Mysore highway, country side etc. Also, a great place for photography. From here you can see Saptarishi betta which resembles 7 idols from different angles.

Claiming to Vantikal Betta

Besides this place is a natural pond between two hills called Ram tirtha. U assume rain water get accumulated here and one can take bath here. Hereon, we went to Ram temple. Here, you can see deity of Ram, Lakshman and Sita.

The temple is over 1000 years old and it was built my Magadi chieftain Kempegowda. Besides, Ram temple there is a way to trek to the top of the rock cliff behind Ram temple. From the top one can get good view, no doubt. But may be wise to do so if you reach there early morning. U enjoyed thoroughly. Remadevara Betta offers much more than u expected.

Location: 3 km from Ramnagaram (Ram Nagar) Town in Ramnagaram district.

Distance: Around 52 km from Bangalore and Ramnagaram is around 48 km from Bangalore.

Journey Time: 1 and 1/2 hour

How to reach there: Best to take your own vehicle. However, you can board a KSRTC bus for Mysore and get down at Ramnagaram. From here you hire a auto to Ramadevara Betta.

Route: Bangalore – Mysore road – Kengeri – Bidadi – Ramnagaram – Take left after KSTDC yellow signboard – Ramadevara Betta

Where to eat: There is no proper place to eat at Ramadevara Betta. So if you want to eat, bring eatables. Do take water along with you. You can also have something at Ramnagaram town or at the highway dhabas.

Where to stay: There is One Resort Called Hill View which is located Behind that hill.

Note: The security there and the temple priests advises to just see the temples and not to venture anywhere else. I assume some incidents might have happened in the past.

There are some other hills in Ramnagaram which may be explored like Yatirajagiri, Somagiri, Krishnagiri, Shivaramagiri, Revanna Siddeshwara Betta, Sidilakallu Betta and Jala Siddeshwara Betta

Monday, June 21, 2010

Save the Heritage Hills at Ramanagara

Hey guys this time am expressing about History towards our home town and also Homestretch of our home town Rock Hills

Ramanagaram, a haven for rock climbers is a taluk of Bangalore Rural District. It is situated about 48 kms from the South West of Bangalore city and the rocky terrain is about 3066feet above sea level. Ramanagara is the land of seven hills, namely Shivaramagiri, Yatirajagiri, Somagiri, Krishnagiri, Revanna Siddeshwara Betta, Jala Siddeshwara Betta and Sidilakallu Betta.

Ramanagaram has been famous for its historical temples on the hilly region, rock climbing, stone and granite quarries, silk cocoon industry, industrial belt at Bidadi Industrial Area, and also an great shooting location for action filled movies.

Ramanagaram has been under the domain many great rulers in history. The Mauryas (268-372) , Gangas, Cholas, Kalyani Chalukyas, Hoysalas, Vijayanagar kings, Yelahanka Naadaprabhus, Mysore kings, Hyder Ali and finally Tipu Sultan have reined on these hills, leaving their landmark in renovating and constructing many temples and monuments. For ages, Jains, Shaivites, Vaishnavites, Veerashaivas and Muslims have been living together in harmony.

Kempegowda built a fort during his reign (1530 A.D.) Ramagiri during his time was known as Ramagiri Durga. Immadi Kempegowda was defeated by Ranadullah Khan in 1638-39 A.D. after his siege the fort.

Tipu Sultan strengthened the fort and made it the storehouse for his arms and ammunition in 1791 A.D. It was around the same time that the third Mysore War was raging. Tipu lost his kingdom to the British, Lord Cornwallis. The same year saw Capt Welsh hoisting the Union Jack on this hill.

Ramagiri hills have been mentioned many a time in scriptures and literature. There have been references of the hills in Valmiki and Thoravi Ramayan, Revannasiddeshwara Ragale, a work by Harihara, the 16th century work of Renukaradhya, Bheemeshaadri Mahasthala Purana. Sarvagna also makes reference to this place in his Vachanas. "Sidilu Kallina Balagadelu Koteya Nagiri" refers to the seven hills of Ramanagaram taluk. In Manteswamy poems, Nallappa's 'Hydernaama, Kempegowda's 'Jayaprashasthi' and Col. Home’s 'Selected Views of Mysore' has mentioned Ramanagaram in their literary works.

Stone Quarrying has been one of the long time works threatening the environment and the ecosystem. The hills are the home for endangered species like the Yellow throated Bulbul and Long billed Vultures. Many people have spotted the sloth bears, tigers were found in the region in 1900s.

Ramanagaram was named as Closepet during the British period. Closepet Granites are formed during the Lower Proterozoic era . They form the rock belt stretching north south direction about 50kms. This belt has potassic granites, low grade granite greenstone belts with iron manganese ores, also younger gneisses of granitic and granodioritic composition with gold bearing schist belts.

Atop the hill is a pond, the Rameshwara shrine on the right and Parvathi temple nearby. Earlier this temple was called the Thryambakeshwar temple, a Kalyana Mantap was built by Kempegowda.

The left side of the pond hosts the Sri Rama temple with Navaranga statues of Vaishnavite style. Saint Ramanujacharya and Nammalwars yogic postures are seen here. On the ceiling one can observe the Shree Chakra with serpents, the temple sanctum hosts Sri Rama, Sita, and Hanuman. The shikara(temple top) was built in Dravidian architecture. King Kempegowda constructed a Rangamantapa. It is believed that Kempegowda found treasure at the rock, Homiakumbhi Bande, which is behind the Sri Rama temple. This place is called the Naidile Theertha. These places were visited by the Saint Ramanujacharya. Adjoining the hill is the Yamaraja Betta.

LBV (Long Billed Vulture), Antic Bird Which is Nesting our Home Town (Ramanagaram)

when I was in 5th Standard (1995) At Popular School at Ijoor (area name) weekly once me and my friends are claiming our nearest hills . I saw my first Long Billed Vulture (LBV). There was a carcass on the road and LBVs were feasting on them and also saw some LBV lying killed by passing Rats and some snakes. after seeing that incident we are so scared and return back to our destination and I was curious and asked my father why were the vultures run over - my father explained "Vultures eat as much as possible

That was some revelation for me and I had forgotten about this till a few years back when I saw them after 15+ years at Ramanagara. We were a big group and had come down after visiting Ramadevarabetta where we had seen many species of birds including Yellow Throated Bulbul.I am was so excited after seeing a few of them flying high above us that made me Wonder. So I decided enquirer with some bird lover in my home town about LBV. Than they explained that they had not seen a single LBV since 10 years and that was it. So on the way back asked them details, then started the story about introduction of Diclofenac in mid 1990s in Veterinary medicine had brought about almost extinction of LBVs nearly 98%had died in Southern Asia region. For quite a few years ornithologists didn't know as to why the LBVs were dying, than they started collecting the dead LBVs and conducted clinical tests and found that they had high level of Diclofenac and their kidneys had failed. It was found that the cattle carcass which LBV were feeding on were contaminated by injecting with Diclofenac (used as an anti inflammatory/pain killer) while they were alive. This was reported to the Govt. and they banned this drug from being used for Veterinary purposes.
So we had come across the last nesting place of LBVs in Inland South India (Deccan Plateau) and they were healthy and mating too, on the ledges of Soppina betta - which is just before you reach Ramadevarabetta. Than started our visits to the hills to keep a count on the number of them and their status. For our Reference Finally we get 6 to 7 LBVs in there

If we don't act collectively and show the public strength and try to stop this stupid and insane activity we are sure to loose this last nesting place of LBVs.
During 1980s there used to be around 1500 - 2000 LBVs in the Ramanagara area also known as 'Closepet rocks'. Now there are just 11 - 13 of them are left.

Many movies have been shot there - Sholay, Utsav, David Lean's Passage to India and of course countless number of Kannada films too.
None of the rock climbers go to this particular rock face (even though it looks so inviting) only because they don't want to disturb the birds.