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.

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