Piriyapatna: The Tobacco Town of Mysore
Location of Piriyapatna: Piriyapatna, about 70 kilometers from Mysore, falls on the Mysore-Mangalore highway. The nearest airports are Mangalore, Bangalore, Coimbatore and Kozhikode located within a radius of 300 kilometers of Piriyapatna.
Uniqueness of Piriyapatna TownFor one, Piriyapatna is the stronghold of the Vokkaliga Gowdas who are a majority in this town. Secondly, Piriyapatna is the location of a Tibetan refugee settlement. Thirdly, Piriyaptna is the gateway to travel towards Kerala through Siddapura or Gonikoppal. Yet another feature is its high literacy rate of 67%. Finally, Piriyapatna is a tobacco town, with most of the Gowdas engaged extensively in tobacco farming. Tobacco is the prime cash crop of this region.
Things to do in Piriyapatna
- From Piriyapatna to Bylakuppe is a short hop where you can visit the wonderful Namdroling Nyingmapa Monastery. The Monastery houses about five thousand monks and has a religious college and a hospital in the complex. It is one of the largest centers for the Nyingmapa branch of Tibetan Buddhism education in the world. February-March is the ideal time to visit this place since you can witness the annual Tibetan New Year festivities hosted by the monastery. This includes Lama dance and processions that form major part of the celebrations lasting about two weeks.
- If you love nature you will surely love to visit nearby Bettadapura about 10 km from Piriyapatna, located at the base of a hill. While here you can visit the famous Shri Sidlu Mallikarjunaswamy temple on the hilltop. This is the only hill in the area atop which you can admire the verdant countryside stretching for miles in all directions. The temple houses a shivlinga commonly called Sidlu Mallikarjuna. The temple is so called since it was struck by lightning a number of times. You will have to climb about 3000 steps to reach the hill top but the view compensates the effort.
- Dubare is at some distance from Piriyapatna but it is well worth the effort. Dubare is known for its population of elephants and it has a well established elephant camp and you could get to ride an elephant. You can go trekking and river rafting since the Dubare reserve is located on the banks of the Cauvery. As for accommodation, there are resorts in the vicinity. Apart from elephants you will also find a variety of birds such as partridges, kingfishers and peacocks and animals such as deer, wild dogs, gaur, leopards and tigers. There may be crocodiles in the river calling for some caution if you propose to wade into it.
Piriyapatna, if you take the trouble to explore it and the surroundings turns out to be a surprising gem. While the town itself is small, it is what you find nearby in the form of the Tibetan Monastery, Dubare and the amazing temple atop hill in Bettadapura that actually enhance your visit to Piriyapatna.