Like how the French open title has been eluding Federer, Sringeri has
eluded me for years. And luckily, I made a trip last weekend.
As usual landed in Majestic at 9 and took a direct bus (KSRTC) to Sringeri. Managed to sleep initially but after 4 in the morning, my sleep went for a toss as the bus started negotiating the hairpin bends. I pried my eyes open and was just spellbound by what I saw. Misty morning in the Western ghats, dew drops clinging on to the leaves , chill breeze, dampness everywhere and the dead silence occasionally broken by the crickets. Felt as though I was transported to a fairy land and immediately sat upright to admire nature’s beauty.
Slowly, sunlight started gleaming through the dense forests and it was time for us to get down . The bus dropped us at the Mutt entrance and we got rooms in the Yatri Nivas for 75 bucks. They categorically refuse to give rooms to single people apparently because a guy who had taken a room had committed suicide. An untoward incident but felt they weren’t justified in doing so.
The rooms were well maintained , I got a bucket of hot water and got ready in 15 minutes.
My stomach was already growling with my appetite whetted by the chilly weather Decided to have breakfast and went to a small Mami’s house. It was the typical Brhamin’s house where they served food on tender plaintain leaves. The fluffy idly’s with spicy chutney and steaming hot sambar made me hog. The food boosted my energy and weariness disappeared.
Slowly trudged along the roads, enjoying the tranquility that the town offered. Small houses dotted the streets with intricate kolams enhancing their beauty. Entered the mutt and the façade of the Vidya Shankara temple loomed large.
Visited the Sharadamba temple and simply awestruck by the beauty of the Goddess. Sharadamba exuded such brilliance and shone brightly like a bunch of diamonds. The flower decorations was simply splendid and the whole atmosphere had a heavenly aura about it.
Sat there for a while and then went to the Vidyshankara temple.This temple resembled the Belur temple with the fascinating architecture.The architectural speacilty of the Vidya Shankara shrine is that , there are 12 zodiac pillars, which are so constructed that the rays of the sun fall on the pillar corresponding to the month.We paid obeisance to the Lord and proceeded further.
We stepped out and by that time that sun had come out.
In front of me , I could see the Tunghabadra flowing with the majestic hills of the Western ghats forming the backdrop. The ripples in the river glowed with such dalliance I stood there for a couple of minutes to enjoy the stunningly beautiful sight.
Then went down to the river, stood in the water for sometime and there I saw huge fish gobbling up the Pori that people were feeding them with. Was overcome by a sense of Déjà vu – reminded of the visit to Huma Duma.
Next was the Achary’a ashram which was on the other side of the river . The whole place was immaculately maintained with landscaped gardens and proper paths to walk on. Gigantic trees all along the paths and small creepers and shrubs welcomed us.
Crossed a clearing and went to the meditation hall that had the samadhi’s of the previous Guru’s. Next to that was the residence of the Guru . Finally went to the Puja hall where everything was set for the morning Puja. Elaborate Pooja was done and I sat through it. Meanwhile, people started trickling in order to have Darshan of the Acharya.
Acharya came at around 11.30 and we joined the queue to have his Darshan. One can opt to do the Pada pooja for which the Prasad would be given by the Acharya himself. By about 12.45 , he left and the crowd also dispersed.
I was told that the Acharya deemed it important for Singeri temple, lying amidst forests, to be safeguarded against evil forces. Hence it is guarded by 4 different deities on all the four directions viz. Kala Bhairav , Vanaduraga , Hanuman and Manyaka . Kala Bhairav is at a walking distance from the Pooja mandap. The others lie outside the periphery of the Mutt and can be visited by taking an auto .
Was hungry again and we headed to the Bhojanshala that provides free lunch. Had a sumptous 3 course meal with Payasam and I was surprised to find that the Kanndigas follow the tradition of serving Rasam first followed by Sambar.
Caught a bus to Horandau from the Sringeri at about 2.30 . Numerous mini buses keep plying between these places.The drive was through the winding Ghat roads and we sat quietly enjoying the sight of lush green forests and coffee plantations. On the way, the bus stops at Kalasa which is famous for the Kalaseshwara temple . Took a small nap and we reached Horanadu by about 5 in the evening . Horandu , the abode of Goddess Annapoorneshwari is nestled amidst the Western ghats and devotees from all over throng this temple. . It is believed that people offering Annam(rice) here will have their wishes propitiated.
We had a good darshan and rested for a while ,sipping hot teaThis temple also serves free lunch and dinner to all the devotees . By 8 ,people started waiting in the queue for the free dinner and so did we. Thanked Annapurna for the hearty dinner and hopped into the bus to Bangalore , back to the moribund life L
All most all tour operators have direct bus to Sringeri. Host of accomodation options available there. Mutt charges 75 bucks for a double bedroom. If you are single, you will not get accomodation there,however you will be allowed to avail their facilities for bathing. Couple of lodges also available.
Free lunch (12.30 to 2) and dinner (7.30 to 9) are served.Acharya ususally gives darshan between 11 am- 12.30 p. and evening between 7.30p.m -8.30p.m
Sringeri is well connected to Udupi,Shimoga and Horanadu as mini buses keep plying frequently.
Only KSRTC and Sugama travels have direct bus service to Horanadu.Overnight Bus from Bangalore reaches Horanadu at 5.30 in the morning and leaves Bangalore at 9.30 p.m.There is a Yatri Nivas that provides free accomodation to the devotees. Mini bus services to other places like Udupi, Sringeri,Shimoga are available till 6 in the evening. .Free lunch and dinner served here.This place is famous for Malnad coffee,tea and spices .