It is very correctly said that travelling is the best means of education. Timely visits to historical places and important cultural sites with proper guidance and prior-study equal the reading of a hundred books. In order to enhance the knowledge of our heritage and history amongst our student community, the Department of Cultural Education, Coimbatore campus, arranged a three day heritage tour to prominent cultural and religious sites in the state of Karnataka, during Yugadi (Ugadi) – the Telugu New Year.
They called their pilgrimage ‘Ugadi Yatra’.Forty-two people, thirty-eight second year engineering students and four members of the faculty, joined to make this pilgrimage a success. The team started from Ettimadai the evening of 7th of April. The first destination was Mysuru, where the serene and calm campus of Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetham welcomed them whole-heartedly into the Durmukha samvatsara (Hindu New Year as per the lunar almanac). The first day of the pilgrimage began with a visit to the sanctified Chamundi Hills, locally known as Chamundi Betta, where they had darshan of Goddess Chamundeshwari – the Goddess who killed Mahishasura, and thus came to be known as Mahishasura Mardini. As they climbed down from the Chamundi Hills, they had a darshan of the famed Nandi statue sculpted 400 years ago.
The team also went to the temple of Jwalamukhi Tripua Sundari Devi, who is known to be the sister of Devi Chamunda, to pay respects. Post lunch, time was reserved for the Mysore Palace and museum. In the evening, a visit to the Brindavan Gardens and the KRS Dam constructed by Bharat Ratna M. Visvesvaraya enlivened the spirits of the tour party after a long and sunny day as they enjoyed the poetical bending waters and the musical fountains.
On the morning of 9th April, the team left for Halebeedu, which is en route to Sringeri. Halebeedu Hoysaleswara temple and Kedareshwara temple reveal the excellence and dedication of our ancestors in the field of art and architecture. After that, their visit was to Beluru Chennakeshava temple – again a marvel of richness of art and sculpture of 12th century India.
After a darshan of the temples at Halebeedu and Beluru, they started for Sringeri – the first of four Amnaya Peethas established by Adi Shankaracharya 1200 years ago. On reaching the Matha at Shringeri, they were blessed to witness the Jagadguru Shankaracharyas performing their pujas, and were fortunate enough to receive prasadams.
Early on the next morning (10th of April), after a darshan of Sharada Ambal and the Vidyashankara temple, they spent sometime on the banks of the Tunga river. Later they started for Udupi and en route stopped at Agumbe to enjoy Nature’s ethereal beauty. On reaching Udupi, they had a darshan of Sri Krishna as well as of the current Paryaaya peethadhipati (pontiff of the 8 monasteries of Udupi) His Holiness Pejawara Sreegal Vishesha Teertha Swamiji. After receiving prasadam at Udupi Sri Krishna temple, the team visited the other temples and also had a darshan of the golden chariot.
From Udupi, the pilgrims returned to Coimbatore after an overnight bus journey with many good memories to be cherished for years to come.