अन्वेषी

अन्व्-एष, अस्
अन्वेषः षणम् णा

anveṣī

traveller, discoverer, seeker

A travel program with guided tours to some of the most important cultural assemblages in India including its temples, civilizational centers and living systems.

Explore Our Tours

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Odisha Chapter
Bṛhat Anveṣī – Odisha Chapter – brings to you 20 magnificent temples, dedicated to all five deities of pancāyatana worship in Bhāratavarṣa, in various different corners of Odisha, in a thrilling tour of four days. Traveling through one of the most pristine states of Bhāratavarṣa, you will see the vibrancy...
9 - Bhramani Devi
Chamba Chapter
Bṛhat Anveṣī – Chamba Chapter –brings to you the splendor of the hill temples of Himachal Pradesh built in three different styles in the Chamba district, along the valley of the Ravi River. Traveling through the exquisite landscape of Himachal Pradesh, on mountain roads near pristine river valleys, with...
bṛhat anveṣī_javagal
Karnataka Chapter
Bṛhat Anveṣī – Karnataka Chapter – brings to you 14 magnificent temples, in 3 different cultural regions, over 4 days, with a thrilling ride through the beauty of Western Ghats, coffee plantations, rainforests, mist-covered valleys, coastal backwaters, ancient waterways, sacred beaches and picture-perfect...

Travel Diary: Karnataka

Image galleries, program information, and inspiring submissions from travelling Anveṣīs.

Artwork inspired by the Hoysala temples, by Ashish Kundalia

Day 0

The Wait

The Bṛhat Anveṣī trip for me started at the airport itself. Instead of going to Hassan by myself, I chose to wait for the Bṛhat team to arrive, so that I could tag along. Interestingly, no one else in the group did this. Whether I am lazy and irresponsible, or extremely aware and smart!

About Bṛhat Anveṣī

FAQs

What kind of accommodation is provided?

The rooms will be basic, clean & tidy on a twin-sharing basis with attached washrooms.

What kind of clothing should I pack?

We intend to visit religious institutions and local communities. Prepare to dress modestly, keeping the religious sentiments and local culture in mind.

Male – Please carry a pair of dhotis along with you as some temples only allow men in dhotis.
Female – Some temples allow females in traditional Bhāratīya attire like a saree or a long kurti with dupatta/chunni to cover. Avoid Sleeveless and short clothes for temple visits.

Do I need to carry medicines which I have been taking and prescribed by my doctor?

Your health is of utmost importance to us and we will ensure that you have the required assistance when needed. We recommend that you take sufficient stock of medicines you are accustomed to for headaches, digestion issues, nausea, vomiting etc.

Approximately how many hours of travel are scheduled per day?

Keeping in mind the planned itinerary and the time taken to fully appreciate the living traditions, daily travel can span between 6-8 hours. This includes brief recesses.

Who do I contact for technical issues when registering and submitting my application?

Please drop us an email at contact@brhat.in or contact us at +91 70088 73551 for further assistance.

Is covid vaccination required to participate in the programme?

If you are vaccinated, we suggest you please carry a copy of the certificate along with you.

Is there an age limit?

In our culture, there is no age limit when one can embark on a tīrtha yātrā. However, from our experience of such yātrās, we have learnt that the below guidelines have been helpful:

Participants must be between 18 and 60 years of age.
Participants below the age of 18 must either be accompanied by a parent/guardian or submit a letter of parental consent.

What are the things to remember during the registration process?

We will be there to assist you at each stage of the process and you can reach out to us at contact@brhat.in for any query. In the meanwhile, you can try to avoid the following mistakes to make the registration process easier.

Incomplete and incorrect information: Name, Email id, Phone Number etc.
Uploading unclear photo or ID proof or B&W photo.
Do remember that filling your name, email address and phone number is just the first step showing your interest in the programme.
Check your email for confirmation of enrollment after 4 working days.
Make sure to make the payment and complete the enrollment process.

What is the registration process?

Click on the ‘Register Now’ button on the webpage
Fill in your name, email id, and phone number and submit
Proceed to the enrollment form page and fill in the enrollment form for the program; upload the documents and submit.
We will process your enrollment form and verify documentation within 4 working days of your submission. You can check your email for a confirmation of your enrollment and a payment link.
Make payment using the payment link and secure your admission into the program.
We will send you an acknowledgement of your payment. Post this step, you can proceed to book tickets and plan your travel.
In any of the above steps, if you have questions, please do contact us over email or phone.

What is the eligibility criteria/pre-requisite to be a part of Bṛhat Anveṣī?

You should have innate śraddhā in our tradition and be willing to experience it. You must be medically fit to endure physical exertion.

Karnataka Chapter

Day 0

The Wait

The Bṛhat Anveṣī trip for me started at the airport itself. Instead of going to Hassan by myself, I chose to wait for the Bṛhat team to arrive, so that I could tag along. Interestingly, no one else in the group did this. Whether I am lazy and irresponsible, or extremely aware and smart! Either way, I was just lucky. The wait was more rewarding than I expected. It got me exclusive time with the Bṛhat Team.

Kavita ji, a primary part of Bṛhat, engages you with such warm energy, that you genuinely start to question whether this is the first time you have met her. Three hours flew by and the wait that was supposed to be boring, turned into gold.

Twitter-Reality Merge

Soon Pankaj ji too arrived at the airport. If the world is Maya, then the internet is Maya squared.

It is one thing meeting people on Twitter and another thing to actually see and talk to them in HD Live! My hands went sweaty, knees wobbled weakly, arms turned heavy.. ..for a few moments I had no idea how to even initiate a discussion. Should I risk asking questions, perhaps signal erudition ? Should I go silent, for it is the go to gem of the dumb and avoid all embarrassment ? But the Brhat Team however helped me through this nervous encounter as she invited me into their discussion.

The Discussion

The ice-breaking discussion with Pankaj ji primarily dealt with Hindu culture and religion. The initial part was about the places Pankaj ji had visited, and he talked passionately about the various styles of temple architecture spanning the length and breadth of India. While he went on describing his adventures, a realization came to me that all of what we have heard from Pankaj ji, is perhaps 10% of what he has actually seen. The man has got half a dozen original books, two hundred hours of distilled audio content packed inside of him, excerpts of which keep leaking and bursting out in phases.

The latter part of discussion however dove into the spiritual aspects of our religion, and how it relates to the real issues that stare at Hindu society today. This four hour bus-ride to Hassan from Bengaluru brought to me perspectives that were previously unexplored and they helped me bind the spiritual and Hindutva sides of Hinduism, which till now had been hanging separately in my mindspace. We rested that night, and prepared mentally and physically for the trip that was to commence the next day.

Day 1

The Student Mode

There is a mystical progression to the Anveṣī trip, which cannot be easily gauged from its itinerary. The trip, as it must, started off in hardcore Student Mode – The first stop was Belur, where each sculpture, each detail of the Temple Architecture seemed ultra-important. The technical Sanskrit terms like Śāla, Kūṭa, Panjara (KSP), Shāla-Bhāṅjika, Gajapīṭha, Kośasthāna were explained. With them came along some modern architectural terms like Staggering and Aedicule. All the architectural juice was shared in a span of two hours. The group also responded in a sincere fashion. Clicking photos, documenting evidence, asking questions.

I was gazing attentively at the deities and the architectural precision with which the temple complex was designed, trying hard to grasp the sheer physicality of it, trying to dissect it all, but what is perhaps to be absorbed as a whole. The mind at this point just wanted to download all the information that came flooding from Pankaj ji.

ChennaKeshava Temple

Belur houses the ChennaKeshava [beautiful Keshava] Temple, the main temple is in Nagara style of the Bhumija variety, the śikhara is missing. But we can make out the style of śikhara from the smaller shrines present throughout the temple. The Indian temple is mandatorily a structure with high degree of self-similarity. Thus the main śikhara, even if it is missing or destroyed, could be re-imagined simply by zooming into śikharas made at a smaller scale. Small scale śikharas have been carved on the walls which hold a lot many deities and also prominent vigrahas are established on both sides of the entrance.

The Belur temple is situated on an elevated area, originally built by Hoysalas, it was re-established by the Vijayanagara Empire. The stamp of Vijayanagara architecture is visible in the Gopuram as well as in the Andal temple nearby. One could see an array of Shaala-Bhanjikas in a corridor to the South of the temple. What intrigued us further was continuous appearance of Saptamatrika vigrahas with Ganesha-Virabhadra on the flanks.

Halebidu Magic

From Belur, the bus ran towards Hoysaleshwara Temple of Halebidu. It is the world famous Dvikuta temple with two huge Nandis sitting in front of Mahadeva. With them sits the Suryanarayana shrine in the complex, which was destroyed by Alauddin Khilji’s General, Malik Kafur, of the Delhi Sultanate. It is here that one feels that it would be