Thursday 7 February 2013

Trekking to Yajnavalka's ashrama

This is the place where the legendary sage from India, Yajnavalka built his ashrama. Yajnavalka or Yajnavalkya of Mithala has written Shatapatha Brahamana besies Yoga Yajnavalka and Yajnavalka Smriti.
A major figure in the Upanishads, he split from his guru or preceptor sage Vaisampayana and then came here to set up his ashrama.
Today, this place is almost unknown and though it is very near to Bangalore, only  handful of trekkers and nature lovers visit the small village.
Over centuries, the connection that his village had with Yajnavalka seems to have been forgotten. What keeps the memory of the village alive is a beautiful temple of Ranganathaswamy, a hill which trekkers from Bangalore prefer and a lake.
This is Aladahalli, a remote village, which is easily accessible from Bangalore thanks to the beautiful Bangalore-Tumkur road.
If the hillock entices you for climbing, the cool waters of the lake seems pristine and inviting. The temple, though, is for the religious minded and it has a legend of its own.
Aladahalli is 55 kilometres from Bangalore. It is just off the Bangalore-Tumkur road.
The temple of Ranganantha is atop the hill at Aladahalli. The idol of Ranganatha is unique as it is sculpted from a solid granite black pillar.
The Ranganatha is depicted in his Matsya (fish) and Kurma (tortoise) avatars. This is the only temple where Ranganantha is depicted in two such avatars. All other temples of Ranganantha have the idol depicted in a sleeping or standing position.   
The Sthalapurana states that Aladahalli was once the place where Yajnavalka constructed his ashrama. He also meditated here and installed the pillar-shaped Ranganatha.
Centuries later, local chieftains built a roof over the deity. Forty years ago, locals and villagers got together and built the present temple. The temple is said to be so sacred that Gandharvas come here on full moon day to pray to Ranganatha.
The temple is open only during mornings. On Saturdays, it is open throughout. There are special poojas during Shravana and Magha masas.
There are a series of steps to lead you from the base of the hill to its top. However, if you like trekking, take the hill route which is strewn with boulders and rocks. Trekkers rate this area highly for a variety of reasons.
At the base of the hill is a cave dedicated to the shrine of Lakshmi.
Aladahalli  is on the beautiful Bangalore-Tumkur road. There is a sign board pointing to Aladahalli. This village is in Nelamangala taluk of Bangalore district.
Aladahalli is a good picnic spot what with a hill, temple, cave and lake-all pt together in one spot. And the best thing is that it is less than 50 kms from Bangalore. A good getaway from Namma Bangalore isn’t it.

1 comment:

  1. I had visited Aladahalli which is 13km away from Nelamangala and Kerekattiganur which is 11 km from Nelamangala .It is learnt from Sri Channarangayya Gouda of Kerekattiganur that Ashrama of Sri Yajnavalkya Maharshi existed in this area and Goshala was at Kerekattiganur . It is also told that Maitreyi Teertha , Tapoguha of Maitreyi, second wife of Sri Yajnavalkya Maharshi is at Seegepalya mountain which is 4 km away from Kerekattiganur . I had also taken Darshana of that holy places.The followers of Sri Yajnavalkya Maharshi residing at Nelamangala and Shivagange should take suitable steps to preserve these places.