The route to Melukote from Bangalore is via Mandya. After taking a right turn on the highway, we travel through serene Indian countryside. The green belt of Mandya is rich in sugarcane plantations, and a treat for one’s sore urban eyes.
It takes about 2.5 to 3 hours to reach Melukote from Bangalore. Once we arrive, we head straight out to the large tank which is locally known as kalyani. Almost every temple in South India features a water body known as kalyani or pushkarini.
Pilgrims use the kalyani for ritual cleansing. Consequently, a lot of interesting activities take place around the kalyani.
A number of old Dasayyas spend the day near the kalyani. Dasayyas are men with huge trumpets and colorful namaas who bless people and sing praises of God.
From the Raya Gopura, walking down, we reach two tanks beside each other known as Akka Thangi Kola. This literally translates into ‘two sisters tank’. The water in one tank is potable, while in the other it isn’t.
If the weather is right, we also stop by Danush Koti. This is about a kilometer away from Raya Gopura. From this place, you get a panoramic view of the landscape around Melkote.
It takes about 45 minutes to climb up to the temple, which is on top of a hill. The walk up on the stone stairway is very interesting.
Occasionally, you may get to meet the priest of the Yoga Narasimha Temple. As per tradition, the priest carries water up the stairs before opening the temple doors in the evening. Imagine carrying a large vessel of water up a 100 stairs!
We reach the top of the hill in time for sunset. From here, we have a beautiful view of the town of Melkote.
Street Photography in Melkote
Melkote is a great place to shoot portraits of people, happenings and every day life. The streets of Melkote is full of photography opportunities Here are photographs that I have shot in Melkote over the years.
I lead mentored photography day trips to Melkote. This is a temple town near Mysore, in Mandya district. The photos here were shot during my many visits. On the day of the tour, we leave Bangalore early in the morning, spend 6-7 hours in Melkote, and return the same day.