Trip To Pandavapura - A Historian's Delight
Prologue To Our Trip: We were having a regular house party on a cool September Saturday. Most of us were complaining about how boring our...
We were having a regular house party on a cool September Saturday. Most of us were complaining about how boring our lives had become. It is so predictable that even the courier guy would come for the home delivery at 6 PM, as that is the time I return home from office. Just when we were narrating our drudgeries of life, my friend Prakash got all jumpy. He zipped up his jacket and asked us to get ready for a trip. We all shouted at once "What?". This was not predictable at all. We felt we have already made our life exciting. "Now let's hit the highway" said Prakash. It was around 3 AM, the ghostly hour when the world is engulfed in deep slumber. But we suddenly felt like super humans, wide awake and ready to fly away. We got our car out and headed to an unknown destination.
The Fun Begins:
Although we were led to believe that it was an unknown destination, my husband and my friend had googled this place while we girls were getting ready. They had activated the GPS and knew exactly where they were going. We were going to Pandavapura, a town in Mandya district in Karnataka. After the wee hours of the night began to make way to the early sunshine, we reached a crossroad. We were around 2 hours away from Bangalore. The highway board showed a straight arrow going towards Mysore and Mandya. The right arrow indicated some resort. And to the left was just a narrow road. The GPS said right and we did as instructed. After driving for about 5 minutes, the muddy road came to a dead end. We stopped in front of what looked like a hillock. We parked the car right there and started an uphill climb.
At the end of our trek, we were greeted by a beautiful yet remote lake. The morning mist mingled with the cool breeze was welcoming. It was an amazing ambience with a hill at our feet and a lovely lake at the foot of the hill. We slowly climbed down towards the lake and touched the clear water. There was not a soul nearby. It seemed like a slice of the beautiful world made just for us. Prakash told us that some of his relatives were landlords of this place once upon a time. They still have their ancestral home here. He had visited this place several times in the past as a child and taken dips in the Thonnur Lake.
History Of Pandavapura:
My friend Prakash recollected the folklores about Pandavpura. This place was fabled to be the Pandavas home during their exile. Mother of the Pandava, Queen Kunti fell in love with this place and had expressed her wish to come back some day. Her wish was not fulfilled but legend has it that her sons, after her demise, named the hillock as Kunti Betta, after their beloved mother.
Prakash pointed at a rock formation up ahead and gave us a little history about it as well. This entire area from Bangalore to Mysore was under Tipu Sultan's reign. So when he was fighting a war against the British, the French came to his aid. They stumbled upon this place and liked it so much that they spent quite some time among these rocks. Hence it came to be known as the French rocks.
Another folk song extols Bheema & his strength and decribes how Bheema slayed the terrifying Bakasura right here in this place. There is a huge foot print at the base of the hillock which is supposed to be Bheema's and it aptly called "Bheemanna Pada" which means foot of Bheema.
With the daylight brightening, we saw the vast expanse of the Thonnur Lake. This lake connects to the Krishna Raja Sagar Dam in between Mandya and Mysore. I just loved being there; so close yet so secluded from the cacophony of the city. We friends sat at the banks of the lake for some time listening to the ancient tales, narrated by Prakash who had donned the hat of a history teacher. With wonder in our eyes and regular munching of snacks we spent some lovely hours in Pandavapura.
Pandavapura Greets All:
A day trip to Pandavapura is bound to leave the geeks, the religious souls and the wild ones feeling excited and wonderful. It is a great place for trekking, hiking, camping or just to take an unpredictable trip to go back in the past. Mallikarjuna Swamy temple evokes certain spirituality as one goes up Kunti Betta to glimpse at this pre-historic temple (though it now renovated with a modern touch).
Pandavapura is such an ancient place loaded with fables and history that it literally sent a shiver down my spine. Wow! Probably the place I was sitting on was once touched by the Panadavas gave me an overwhelming feeling. Living so close to Pandavapura and yet so ignorant about its existence till that day made me feel stupid. As we were driving back to the city, a smile lingered on my lips even as I dozed off dreaming about Arjuna and Draupadi. Our lives were not so predictable after all and this unknown destination made it worth!
Image Source: 1, 2
Contributed By: Kriti Mazumdar