Nelamangala- Tumkur- Hiriyur-Chitradurga- Hospet – Hampi- Raichur- Mantralaya.
This is the second route to Mantralaya from Bangalore through Nelamangala and Hiriyur-Chitradurga. It is not only longer in terms of distance (430 kms) but also in the number of historical and religious places.
Drive down on the Tumkur road and halt at Nelamangala which is 27 kms from Bangalore . There are temples dedicated to Rudra, Anjenaya.:alshmi and Basaveshwara in the town.
The village of Manne , 8 kms from Nelamangala, was once a flourishing city under the Gangas. It was also one of their important provincial capitals and called Manyapura. The brick temples of Kapileshwara and Someshwara are fascinating.
Shivagange is known for its Gangadareshwara temple. There is a Mukthi Nateshwara temple in Binnamangala built in 1110 by Raja Raja Chola, one of the greatest kings of India .
Proceed from Nelamangala towards Tumkur which can offer you a host of places to visit. Check out Siddaganga, on the outskirts of Tumkur. Sidddaganga has a host of temples. Halt at Tumkur and if time permits see the following places.
On the Sira-Tumkur road, it has a magnificent temple dedicated to Narasimha.
During the 13th century, it was the Agrahara for Brahmins. It is home to many Hoysala temples, including the Chennakeshava temple built by Mahadandanayaka Somanna who built the world famous Somanathpur temple in Somanathapur near Mysore . There is the Gangadhareshwara temple which has a linga carved out of a single stone. The Moole Shankareshwara temple was built around 1256 AD.
The hill fort is a trekkers delight. It is home to a large number of Ayurvedic herbs and is, therefore, called Siddharabetta.
Located within rolling forests, it has several temples, the most fampus being those dedicated to Bhoga Narasimha and Yoga Narasimha. There is the Sanjivaraya temple dedicated to Hanuman and the temple of Kumbhi Narasimha . Near the Narasimha Temple are three sacred water bodies called Narasimha Teertha, Parashara Teertha and the Pada Teertha. The Pada Teertha is situated within large cave. There is another cave. Two rivers Jayamangali and the Shimsha originate from these hills.
The great Hoysala sculptor, Amarshilpi Jakanacharya, cut off his thumb when a flaw in the Chennakeshava temple in Belur he had been constructing was pointed out to him by another sculptor Dankanacharya. The flaw was noticed when the temple was almost ready. Dankana pointed out that there was a frog in the belly of Vishnu idol. Jakanacharya disputed this but when it was found to be true, a remourseful Jakanacharya retired to Kaidala, his boirth place. He then built the Keshava temple here with a beautiful idol of Channigiraya, his thumb came to be miraculously restored. He later found out that Dankana was his son.
This town, surrounded by hills and home to one of the best-known hill fort, is known for its pomegranates. Apart from the fort, there are temples of Venkateshwara and Malleswara. There are several architecturally decorated wells here.
The oldest dam in Karnataka is situated across Vedavathi here. The reservoir holding the dam waters is designed like the map of India . The 500 year -old Teru Malleswara temple is worth a visit. Look out for Yeppattu Kannina Setuve (the seventy eyed bridge) located near Hiriyur. The pattern on the bridge resembles human eye, and there are seventy such eyes on the bridge.
Drive to Chitradurga. See the Chitradurga fort and Hanuman temples consecrated by Vyasa Theertha. Guru Raghavendra stayed here for several days en route to Hospet.
There are several temples within the fort such as the Hidimbeswara , Sampige Siddeshwara, Ekanathamma, Phalguneshwara, Gopalakrishna and Hanuman. The Hidamba temple is the exact place where Bheema, the second avatar of Madhwacharya, killed the Rakshasha Hidamba and married his sister Hidambi. The temple has a tooth of Hidamba. There is also a huge drum which is said to have been used by Bheema.
The fort, known as Yoolu Suttina Kote (seven forts) is best known for the Onale Obbava Kindi and other structures.
Some of the edicts of Emperor Ashoka in Brahmi script is found here. This is supposed to be the site of the ancient Ashokan city of Ishila .
It has a temple dedicated to Rama. This temple is famous for granting wishes. People wishsing to have a child throng the temple.
This is the place where the legendary bird Jatayu fought with Ravana when he was taking away Sita in his Vimana. Jatayu was wounded in the battle and he fell down. He breathed his last after telling Rama about Sita’s kidnapping. Rama performed the last rites and installed a Shiva linga.
This is the place where Dasaratha killed Shravana when he was hunting in the forest. Dasaratha mistook Shravana for a deer and killed him. Dasaratha built a shrine for Shiva at this spot as a mark of remorse.
From Chitradurga, drive towards Bellary-Hospet and from there to Raichur and reach Mantralaya. There are several temples in Bellary Hospet. Hampi is near Hospet and it is a world heritage site., It houses the largest open architectural ruins in the world. Vyasa Theertha consecrated several Hanuman temples here. The Nava Brindavana is located here as is Anegundi which is believed to be the birth place of Hanuman (Anjanadri hill). Rama first saw Vali and Sugreeva here. The Ramayana location of Kishkinda is here as is the Shabari Ashrama. Guru Raghavendra and Vyasa Theertha visisted Hampi-Hospet-Bellary, Try to retrace their steps. The temples herein and the magnificent Nava Brindavana merits another article.
Raichur too has some famous temples. More about it in the article on places of interest in and around Mantralaya.