Tuesday, 30 December 2014

Destination Saundatti

The feel of an early morning  is unbeatable. Its now a ritual to head out at dawn on a holiday and take in nature and its resident birds. Thoreau has quoted " an early morning walk is a blessing for the whole day". But like any other rat in the city race, I am blessed only on holidays and not every day.

This holiday was also blessed by Devi Yellamma or Renuka Devi. Before getting high on bliss, we had to take a short drive towards Saundatti in Belgaum district. The roads are lined with endless sunflower fields. The color of sunshine, the warmness of day, the cheerfulness of being on a holiday just made the day more enjoyable.

One of the things that I like about traveling is that I get to feel the various types of landscape. Did you know the different types are desert, plain,Taiga,Tundra,wetland, Mountain, Mountain range, cliff,coast, Littoral zone, glacier, polar regions of earth, shrub land, forest, rainforest, woodland and jungle. North Karnataka falls under Deccan Thorn Scrub forest region. Whatever be  the technical term, the green countryside is dotted with wind farms.The Saundatti wind farm is a 72 MW wind power project and will be selling 100% of its output to the Bangalore Electricity Supply Company Limited. Lucky Bangaloreans!

One of the legends constantly mentioned in my family was that of Parashurama for reasons not worth mentioning in  a travel blog. I was told Goddess Renuka Devi also called Yellamma is the mother of Parashurama. The legend of Renuka Devi and Parashurama is an interesting one. A chaste and devoted wife to Sage Jamadagni, Renuka lived a life dedicated to the Sage. A momentary distraction due to presence of  Gandharvas led to the enraged Sage commanding his five sons to kill their mother. Only one son agreed and he was Parashurama. Pleased with Parashurama's dedication,the sage granted him two boons. Prashurama used one of them to bring his mother back to life.

So here I was visiting the temple dedicated to Goddess Renuka. It is situated on top of Yellammagudda. Like with any temple towns in India, one has to pass through a line of hawkers before setting eyes on the temple.The main temple is built in the Chalukyan and Rashtrakuta Style of architecture and the Carvings indicate the Jain architecture. Multiple shrines dedicated to Lord Ganesha, Lord Mallikarjun, Parashuram, Eknath, Siddeshwar dot its premises.

The furious devotion of a devotee of Goddess is well known. Yellamma devotees are also unique considering the rituals,customs ,traditions of some and myths associated with jogatis. Devotees smeared with turmeric dancing wildly to the local drums to invoke Renuka devi's spirit in them is a common sight. Turmeric powder or Bhandara is considered Yellamma Devi's prasad signifying purity of mind and body ,is believed to cleanse the environment and body of impurity and evil. The dry mist overflows in the temple complex making it a sea of golden yellow. Saundatti is a filled with exuberance but might not be a place for everybody.

Date : December 2014
Place : Saundatti, Belgaum ,Karnataka

Tip : Dress appropriately unless you enjoy turning yellow in amidst of a turmeric storm
First : Golden Cloud of turmeric Bhandara
The Travel Connection: Mountains are the cacathedrals where I practice my religion.- Anatoli Boukreev

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