Mantralaya Visit

Quick trip summary:

  • Left Bangalore Friday night by SBC – Nanded Express. Leaves Bangalore City at 1045PM and supposed to reach Mantralayam Road (MALM) at 8:00AM. Reached an hour late. Apparently this is normal.
  • You will get some breakfast at Adoni. Don’t miss it. There is a good Railway refreshment stall in the MALM station itself. So in case you are blazing hungry (like we were), you can get some food right after you get down. (Recommended: Puri Subzi).
  • Took a wide body auto to Mantralayam town. We were quoted Rs. 20 per person if we were ok to split among ourselves, but Rs. 100 if we wanted a separate auto for ourselves. We took the latter option. We were an family of 4 (plus one 3 year old). The distance is around 17km. The route is here. The road quality is mostly back breaking, with stretches of good road thrown in. Takes about 45 minutes.
  • We had booked ourselves in Hotel Sriniketanam Lodge. The hotel is very average. But it is the closest to the matha. We were not going to stay the night (we took the night train back). So we were OK with booking an average room. Rates for a Regular Double Bed room (non-ac) is Rs. 250 per day. They have 2/3/4 bedded rooms and also delux and AC rooms. You can book the room online here ->
  • Once we checked-in, we went straight to the Tungabhadra river. We did not bathe there. The force of the water was pretty harsh. We just sprinkled water on our head (loop-hole in shashtras to avoid river bathing :)).
  • After Tungabhadra “snaana”, we went to the the Moola Brindavana (where Guru Raghavendra Swamy took Jeeva Samadhi). This is the main point to visit inside the matha. We went on Ekadasi day (We didnt know until we got to the prasadam counter!!). The advantage was that, there was very very less crowd (there are no special sevas performed on this day). The disadvantage is that, they dont even have prasad, since it is Ekadasi. (I love the Parimala Prasadam that they distribute – It is a delicious pink colored milk cake). Ofcourse the other disadvantage is, there is no ambari seva (performed by an elephant) and rathothsava (three chariots are drawn around the Brindavana – gold, silver, and navaratna). The rathotsava is indeed a pretty sight as well. But we took it on the bright side, we had several darshans of the moola brindavana. It was practically empty.
  • Then we went to the Panchamukhi Anjaneya temple. This is about 19 km. Route is here. And yes, the road is defenitely back breaking. The road is slightly better on the AP side than the KA side, and the auto-driver will ensure he comments on that :). You need to book an auto to get there, and make sure you book such that, he waits there and brings you back. The temple is in the middle of nowhere. So very difficult to get transport back to Mantralaya. The temple is in Karnataka. So you need to cross the border from AP to KA to get there. The auto guys need to get down and give some “some-thing some-thing” to the border check-post guy. 🙁 You also cross the majestic Tungabhadra river on the way. The water was in full force after the recent rains. Rate for separate auto for us was Rs 400. You can get one on the main road.
  • Lunch was at Udupi Krishna Bhavan – the only decent place there – on the main road. The tables are clean. The food is decent. Dont mind the dirty on the floor. There are big boards all around the restaurant saying – “self service. worker problem. please cooperate”. Pretty bold statement to make.
  • Went back to the room for a bit of rest. Evening 5:00ish, had tea at Krishna Bhavan, and went ‘general’ tourist shopping on the main road.
  • 6:00PM, we went back to the Brindavana for one more darshana.
  • Around 7:30ish, had dinner at Krishna Bhavan.
  • We had asked the Sriniketanam front office guy to get an auto for us at 9:00PM to get to the station. Auto was waiting at 9:00PM. Rate was Rs. 150 since it was night time.
  • Back at the station by 9:45PM.
  • We took the Udyan express back to Bangalore. Scheduled departure time at MALM at 10:20PM.
  • Scheduled arrival at Bangalore Cantt was 8:05. Reached at 9:10AM. This train is a horrible
  • We went back to the room for a little bit of a shut-eye.
Sunset at Brindavana Arch, Manthralaya.