India

Exploring the Hoysala Temple Trail with Go Mowgli

Hoysala Temple Trail

One of the most memorable days of my trip to India was exploring the Hoysala Temple trail with Go Mowgli. Funny thing was, I had no idea where we were going or what we were doing until we were in the car on the way there. Life can throw surprises at you in strange packages sometimes!

This trip was the first of the tours that I took with Go Mowgli and they certainly made a good impression. Here’s how the day panned out.

Shravanabelagola

The first stop of the Hoysala Temple Trail was Shravanabelagola, a Jain pilgrimage town 80kms away from Mysore.

After stopping for a quick coconut breakfast, we headed off to see one of the 7 Ancient Wonders of India (yes, there is such a thing), a humungous statue of Bahubali.  Bahubali is one of the most important figures in Jainism so many people Jain people make the pilgrimage to Shravanbelagola to marvel at this wonder.

The statue is the largest monolithic statue in Asia, at 58 feet tall. It was so tall that I struggled to fit it all in the frame of a photo! Although the statue was built in 981AD it looks completely new. This is because devotees gather every 12 years to clean the statue with a combination of saffron, turmeric, water and sandalwood. Definitely reason enough to keep drinking turmeric milk every morning!

Hoysala Temple Trail

To get to the statute, devotees must climb 620 steps. Such an ascension offers a stunning view of the surrounding village. The rocky looking area reminded me a lot of Hampi– minus all the other tourists. I loved the contrast of the colours between the white pond and the houses around it.

Hoysala Temple Trail

Speaking of tourists, we never saw any other Western tourists all day. Although Shravanbelagola is widely known among Indians, it doesn’t seem to be on the radar of international travellers. That’s the beauty of travelling with Go Mowgli; they take you to all the places worth seeing that you’d probably never have found on your own.

Hoysala Temple Trail

Melukote

The next stop of the day was Melukote, a predominantly Brahmin town famous for its temples.

Hoysala Temple Trail

After our hike up 620 stairs and a wander through the town, I was more than ready for lunch. (I’m pretty much always ready for my next meal…) Kaa knows all the best local spots and took us for a traditional banana leaf lunch with tamarind rice and a variety of curries. Not one to do things by half, he taught us how to eat the traditional Indian way- with our hands. Sounds weird to say but being able to eat gracefully with your hands is a proper skill- it’s actually even more challenging than using the metal Korean chopsticks!

Hoysala Temple Trail

The town of Melukote was oozing with spirituality. Just walking down the street we could see families together on a pilgrimage; the women wearing their best sarees with fresh jasmine in their hair and Sri Ramanujacharya followers performing rituals in the street. Just being there felt like such a unique cultural experience and I’m so grateful to Go Mowgli for the opportunity to have been there.

Hoysala Temple Trail

Following on with the trend of the day; hiking up sh**loads of stairs to get to temples, our last pitstop in the town of Melukote was Yoga Narasimha Temple.

Hoysala Temple Trail

Once again, the hike to the top was totally worth. Not just for the view but also for the cute monkey gathering we got to witness at the top.

Hoysala Temple Trail

After our day of temple hopping and a complete history overload, my ears started itching when I heard the mention of a visit to an organic cotton factory. As much as I enjoy a good cultural experience these days, shopping is still my favourite guilty pleasure.

Hoysala Temple Trail

The factory operates as a social enterprise with people in the village being taught how to make the products and use the machinery. It made me think about my tendency to buy things without thinking about where they have come from. It’s so important to support organisations like this when you can so, of course, I made a few purchases. (Justifications!)

Hoysala Temple Trail

We ended the day in the most fitting way possible- by being shown to one of the best sunset vantage points around. Kaa even assisted us to take a few candid, contemplative sunset pics!

Hoysala Temple Trail

If you’re in Mysore, I would definitely consider exploring the Hoysala Temple Trail with Go Mowgli. It was one of the most memorable days of my time in India and I would never have known where to look if I hadn’t been shown around. Even if you never take tours, I’d skip the guidebook for once and put yourself in Kaa’s reliable hands. Sometimes a local’s perspective can add volumes to your experience.

Planning a trip to India, don’t miss these posts:

Don’t forget to book your tour using Go Mowgli’s website, here!

Hoysala Temple Trail

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Disclaimer: Thanks again to Go Mowgli for kindly allowing me to be part of this tour. Although this post was sponsored by Go Mowgli, all opinions are my own. 

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28 Comments

  • Reply
    Kayley Chislett
    14th December 2016 at 3:39 pm

    Reading your India blogs give me butterflies! I cannot wait to one day (hopefully in the not too distant future) begin my own travels around India. I would totally support the organic cotton manufacturers – I’m also trying not to buy at many larger chain stores and be more aware of where clothes are being produced (as well as global footprint associated with the constant change in clothing, seasonally). Go Mowgli sound like my kind of tour company!
    Kayley Chislett recently posted…Running in KoreaMy Profile

    • Reply
      Nicole Louise
      19th December 2016 at 8:59 pm

      Amazing! So glad that I can be of inspiration ☺☺☺ I hope you get to take a Go Mowgli tour one day!

  • Reply
    Wendy
    16th December 2016 at 4:13 am

    Beautiful photos, as always! The tour company looks like it well covers a tourist’s interest in history, culture and shopping!!!!

    India has so much to offer, right? From its people, food, clothes, architecture. Amazing! And I love that temple in Melukot. Looks imposing!
    Wendy recently posted…Waking Up Wrong Can Set The Whole Day On Bad Footing. Get The Morning Routine RightMy Profile

    • Reply
      Nicole Louise
      19th December 2016 at 9:01 pm

      Yeah, India is the ultimate country. It really does have everything. I love it ♡

  • Reply
    Shelley
    16th December 2016 at 9:43 am

    I have been to Mysore a few times, but never knew that such places existed within such close proximity. It really is worth it sometimes to go on a tour (even when you are vehemently anti-tour usually) 😉 Totally have to agree with you about eating with the hands Indian-style though. I found it to be one of the most difficult things to do. How the heck they manage to roll the rice up into a perfect little ball along with the curry amazed me. Clearly it takes years of practice!! 🙂

    • Reply
      Nicole Louise
      19th December 2016 at 9:03 pm

      I loved Mysore so much, it’ sa great city. Man, it really is such a skill… they must have some strong finger muscles!

  • Reply
    Travel with Karla
    17th December 2016 at 1:17 pm

    The pictures are awesome! I love how you captured the place, the people, and the food. As a Filipino, eating with hands is so easy for me. The tamarind rice is interesting. 😉
    Travel with Karla recently posted…Nanu Guesthouse KPOPMy Profile

    • Reply
      Nicole Louise
      19th December 2016 at 9:07 pm

      Thanks Karla, tamarind rice is awesome!

  • Reply
    Hallie
    18th December 2016 at 11:37 am

    That looks like a great tour! I found that there were so many spots that were well known among the locals but not with foreigners… you could throw stones to find them. That also meant that there was often little information in other languages. The guide must have provided some fantastic info though. The pictures are stunning.
    Hallie recently posted…Comment on 22 Stunning Temples in Korea That You Have To See To Believe by Julie CaoMy Profile

    • Reply
      Nicole Louise
      19th December 2016 at 9:08 pm

      Thanks Hallie, the guides were awesome. I never usually take tours but the Go Mowgli guys helped change my mind on that! ?

  • Reply
    Jacqueline Minnick
    18th December 2016 at 3:45 pm

    I love India so much and this makes me want to go back! I understand that challenge of eating Indian food the authentic way, but miss it. I have never heard of that travel group, but next time I am in India, I want to check them out. Great post and thanks for the share!

    • Reply
      Nicole Louise
      19th December 2016 at 9:09 pm

      Me too, it’s an amazing country! You should definitely check them out. They do amazing tours all over Goa, Karnataka and Kerala!

  • Reply
    Samantha
    19th December 2016 at 10:50 am

    This looks like such a wonderful day trip! And the weather looked like it was good to you! I would love to visit India…maybe someday!

    • Reply
      Nicole Louise
      19th December 2016 at 9:10 pm

      Hope you get the chance to visit one day!

  • Reply
    Kate Carter Hickey
    19th December 2016 at 5:34 pm

    It sounds like you had such a perfect time with Go Mowgli! I really want to go to India but I think my parents would kill me if I went alone. You’re so brave! Once again, you’ve got me craving Indian food and all the beautiful architecture. Culture shock would be so welcome there!
    Kate Carter Hickey recently posted…Blonde Ambition: How to Get Golden Tresses in KoreaMy Profile

    • Reply
      Nicole Louise
      19th December 2016 at 9:12 pm

      It was great! My mum was a bit worried about me but India isn’t as dangerous as most people think. I’d recommend starting south in Kerala for your first trip. It’s a bit less intimidating!

  • Reply
    Alla Ponomareva
    19th December 2016 at 6:00 pm

    I’m getting so inspired with your India posts and I bet this temple looks divine during the sunset with it’s lights on! The image you used for your Pin is so fantastic, makes me want to go right now!
    Alla Ponomareva recently posted…2017 Social Media Reporter for DaejeonMy Profile

    • Reply
      Nicole Louise
      19th December 2016 at 9:13 pm

      Thanks Alla! We didn’t manage to see it at sunset but I bet it would have been gorgeous ?

  • Reply
    Rocio Cadena
    19th December 2016 at 10:09 pm

    Wow! What an experience this trip must have been. Your pictures are stunning and I am so incredibly touched to know that people maintain the huge monolith by cleaning it with saffron, turmeric, water and sandalwood! Simply amazing. Your India posts make my hurt wanderlust so much for it!
    Rocio Cadena recently posted…S. Korea & I – happily ever nowMy Profile

    • Reply
      Nicole Louise
      20th December 2016 at 9:28 am

      Thanks, it was a fantastic experience! I would love to see the people washing the statue one day. I start most of my mornings with tumeric milk so I’m glad to know that it’s making my insides so clean!

  • Reply
    Hedgers Abroad
    19th December 2016 at 10:35 pm

    What a beautiful place and culture! As much as I’ve studied and attempted to understand (what we call) Eastern philosophies/religions, I know very little of the Jain mindset/belief. These structures, the villages, the charm, and the wonder of a culturally rich place… This post is being bookmarked for future trip planning!
    Hedgers Abroad recently posted…How to Survive Winter in KoreaMy Profile

    • Reply
      Nicole Louise
      20th December 2016 at 9:27 am

      Jainism is really fascinating.. I’d never heard about it until this trip. Thanks for saving, I hope you guys get the chance to visit one day! 🙂

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  • Reply
    Laura Vrieswijk
    24th October 2017 at 12:40 pm

    Hi! Looks amazing! I would love to do this trail as I’ll be around Hampi with my brother and sister soon! Can I just ask, did you do this in one day?

    • Reply
      Nicole Louise
      9th November 2017 at 12:32 am

      Hi Laura, This is actually close to Mysore- not Hampi. I did it in a day on the tour with Go Mowgli. You should contact them via their website to see if they still offer this tour!

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