We visited Mantralaya just a week ago. Since we were not sure about the Penukonda-Anantapur-Gooty-Adwani route we choose the Raichur route.
The Penukonda route is easily the best and most travelled from Bangalore, This is so as the road is superb , at least till Adwani or Adoni and from there the road is only good in patches.
We were not inclined to take the Penukonda route as Andhra Pradesh was on the boil and the Telengana issue was at the centre of disturbances in Andhra Pradesh.
The Raichur route is among the longest and also the most tiresome to Mantralaya. For one, if you take Manvi-Raichur segment, you are bound to get struck with heavily leaden trucks carrying commodities, food grains and even ore at the Hospet-Munirabad-Gangavathi section.
Though the road at this point is fairly good, the heavy truck traffic and the dust will make you tired. The best way is to relax at the TB dam or take a break at Hampi or even go for a visit to Nava Brindavana from Anugundi.
If you have time, you can stay back to Hampi for a day and if you are religiously inclined, there are many spots to see. Begin with the magnificent VirupakshaTemple and if you happen to see a guide, ask him to show you a stone panel where the Vijayanagar Emperor, Krishna Deva Raya (1509-1529), has himself acknowledged Vyasa Raja or Vyasa Theertha (1447-1539) as his guru.
Just behind this temple is the Brindavana of the Adwaitha saint, Vidyaranya. This seer was the inspiration for Hakka and Bukka in establishing the Vijayanagar Empire in 1336 at Hampi or Vijayanagar.
A little away from the VurupakshaTemple is the Chakratheertha. This is where Vyasa Raja consecrated the first of the 732 Hanuman idols.
Chakratheertha also has the cave where Krishna Avadootaru, one of the famous devotees of Raghavendra Swamy, prayed at saw Rayaru. It is also the place where Vishnu obtained his powerful Chakra and, hence, the name Chakratheertha.
Treval ahead from Chakratheertha to the other banks of the Tungabhadra in a country boat or Theppa and visit Nava Brindavana, the resting place of nine Madhwa saints, including Padmanabha Theertha, the first disciple of Madhwacharya and Vyasa Raja.
The other Brindavans belong to Sudhindra Theertha, the Ashrama Guru of Raghavendra Swamy and he as the last to enter Brindavana here. The first was Padmanabha Theertha. He was followed by Vageesha Theertha and Kavindra Theertha. The others include Raghuvarya Theertha, Srinivasa Theertha, Rama Theertha, Govinda Odeyar.
The Nava Brindavana is accessible only by means of Theppa. There is the Uttaradhi Matha and Raghavendra Swamy Matha nearby. Anegundi is nearby and this is an ancient town with close association with Ramayana.
It is believed that Hanuman was born here. This is also the place where Rama saw Hanuman for the first time and where he battled and killed Vali, the monkey king. There are caves with mythological association.
In case you have time, get down at Manvi and go towards the bus stand. Ask for the house of Jagannatha Dasa-he wrote Harikathamrutasara. Manvi to Raichur is about 50 kilometres and from Raichur the abode of Rayaru is about 42 kilometres. The road on this stretch is not that good but the worst stretch is from Raichur to Mantralaya.
Similarly, the road from Mantralaya to Bichale is horrible. The old road is being repaired but unfortunately there are no proper signs to guide people visiting Bichale. The best option, therefore, is take a hired auto or tempo as the drivers of these vehicles know are familiar with both Bichale and Gandhal which is home to the holy Panchamukhi Anjaneya.
The climate at Mantralaya is bearable but noon can be hot. There are adequate cottages and rooms in Mantralaya and the town has been completely rebuilt and there are practically no vestiges of the devastating floods that submerged the town in 2009.
For those who do not like to eat outside, the matha serves food during the night too at its dining hall. It also provides “palahara” or tiffin to those who perform seves.
However, eating outside at the hotels is not advisable as the quality is not so good. The service is okay.
In case, you do not find accommodation at the cottages and rest houses run by the matha, check put the many lodges and boarding houses. If you want better facilities, stay back at Raichur or Adoni.
The best way to travel to Mantralaya is either by KSRTC bus or by train. Take the night train and disembark at the Mantralaya Road station and catch an auto or taxi to Mantralaya. Otherwise, take a night bus and reach the temple town in the morning.
Otherwise, take your own four wheeler. Else, you will end up paying thousands of rupees for private taxis. Ass the toll and the permit tax and they will set you back by a couple of thousands.