It has been a long time since we went on a trip. This is our first trip of 2011! And boy, what a trip it turned out to be!
Our last trip to Shimoga was towards Thirthahalli (south of Shimoga). We had covered Mandagadde, Kuppalli, Sakrebailu, Gajanur Dam and Mattur. This time we headed westward towards Sagar and covered places around it.
Our journey started at 3:30am on Saturday morning. There were 3 of us, and we took an Indica. The roads were mostly good and we had no major hiccups due to road condition almost during the entire journey which included several village roads as well.
The road from Shimoga to Sagar was awesome. It has a resemblance to the Thirthahalli route; there are lots of trees on either sides of the road. One striking difference is that there are more plain lands than the Thirthahalli route. This is what is referred to as Bayalu Seeme.
We reached Sagar at around 10:00am. We had not made any arrangements for stay. Considering that it was a long weekend, we wanted to get that daemon out of the way and then enjoy our day. So we first started hunting for a good place to stay. Unfortunately, as expected, most good places were full. We then decided to stay in a place, which was both expensive and bad.
We had to visit Davangere for personal reasons. On the way back, we thought it would be a good idea to check a few places off from our ever going list of places to visit in Karnataka.
So what would be an ideal route to take? We decided to check out Google Maps.
After considering several options, we finally decided to take the route towards Holalkere via SH47, and then to reach Arsikere from there. We decided to visit a few Hoysala temples close to Arsikere and then get back to Bangalore.
The route seems logical, but the road condition was so bad that it increased our travel time dramatically. The road condition ranged from moderately bad to very bad.
There are vast plain fields on either sides of the roads and you can see quite a few birds. There were lots of green bea eaters sitting on the electric wire which followed us all the way.
After a series of trips to Coorg, it was time to visit Shimoga.
Each district in Karnataka gives you a very different experience. While Coorg is more to do with coffee estates and waterfalls, Shimoga is a blend of natural spots (bird sanctuaries/waterfalls etc) and historic/architectural places (lots of Hoysala temples). No wonder, there seems to be some co-relation between Shimoga and literature.
There is very little information about Shimoga on the Internet, and we had to contact friends to get more information about what to visit and in what sequence.
After discussing on various options, we finally decided to cover south Shimoga (places around Thirthahalli first). The basic plan was to arrive in Shimoga as early as possible, and then head towards Agumbe on day 1, covering as many places on the way, and then head towards Sagar the next day and see what we can cover in that route.
This is a continuation of the travelogue of my trip to Coorg. On day 1 we covered Devarakolli falls, Devaragundi falls and Matsya Teertha in Thodikana. Day 2 experiences follow.
The next day, we got up early. Since we were almost out of fuel, we decided to walk the entire distance from the homestay to Mallalli falls – we were told that it would be about 4km. It turned out to be 5.5km one way!
We started early morning at about 7am from the homestay. The path is mostly tarred – it is mostly downhill when you go. The jeep can take you almost the entire distance. There is a toll – where you pay Rs.5/- per person. This place was not even open when we crossed it. Finally as you reach the final spot you are warned about the ferociouness of the falls. A board reads, “Mallalli falls is very deep and dangerous, take care. Crocodiles are there.”
It is difficult to describe the grandeur of this falls. Slowly approaching the tip of the hill, the clean, calm water gushes down the valley for god knows how many meters to make a ferocious fall.
There is dense forest on all sides of the valley. The falls unfolds as you climb down the hill – you can’t see the whole view from any single point. There are cement steps laid out for almost half the distance. The steps are huge – it reminded me of the Chitradurga fort steps (which are actually meant for elephants). Sometimes I feel it is easier to climb in the regular paths than these – it seems to tire me easily. We saw a few frogs and snails on the way.
This was my third visit to Coorg in 2 month’s time. When returning from our last visit to Coorg, we thought we had covered all the places – all that seemed to remain was Mallalli falls and we had planned to club it with some other set. But this thing of covering a district completely seems to be just an illusion!
Our trip as usual began early in the morning – this time we made sure the driver knew how serious we were about starting off on time. We were out of Bangalore by 5. By 8, we were hungry, unfortunately most hotels on the way were closed and as we crossed Hunsur we saw a few popular places which were full. We got into a small hotel and had some awful food – the place is not worth mentioning.
From here, we continued on the Madikeri road. Our plan was to cover Devarakolli falls, Devaragundi falls and Kalyala falls on Day 1, then go to Beedahalli and stay at Pushpagiri Homestay for the night and cover Mallalli falls, Abbimatta falls and Shivanasamudram on Day 2.
So we started heading towards Sullia taluk – the farthest point of our journey. The Madikeri-Mangalore road is nothing like the other parts of Coorg (which are filled with Coffee estates) – it is a road mostly downhill – with tall trees. There is a stream that follows the road almost all the way to Sullia taluk. You see quite a few small falls on the way.
It was the 5th week since the trip marathon began – the first one was when I was on a vacation – when I went around places in Dakshina Kannada – covering Pethri, and a few places around, and Someshwar.
Then it was a couple of trips to Coorg, the first one being a trip to Mandalpatti, Madikeri, Dubare and Bylakuppe followed by another trip to Coorg covering Dubare, Chelavara falls, Iruppu falls and Nagarhole National Park.
This was the 4th trip in 5 consecutive weekends and the planning seemed straightforward. By this time, our routine of finding places, mapping them out and deciding the route had become fairly standardized. We went on a Qualis this time since there were more people than what an Indica could carry.
We planned to leave early in the morning by 2am from Bangalore – but the driver who seemed to have just returned from some other trip overslept and we left late. It was already 4am by the time we crossed Nelamangala and we were silently cursing the driver for the delay.
This is a continuation of an earlier post: Trip to Dubare, Pollibetta, Talakaveri and Bhagamandala.
The next day we started at around 8:30am after a good sleep for more than 10 hours.
We had already booked the jeep the previous day to go to 3 places: Igguthappa Temple, Nalknad Palace and Chelavara Falls. The jeep guy appeared right on time and we had a quick breakfast and were on our way.
The previous night we had taken the same route but we didn’t know what we had missed. The landscape was really amazing – the hills were green and the weather was awesome.
After the wonderful trip to Mandalpatti, Madikeri – Coorg and Bylakuppe a week prior, we thought of going on a second trip to cover the other places in Coorg.
After considering several options, we finally narrowed down to a 2 day trip, covering the following places: Dubare, Pollibetta, Talakaveri, Bhagamandala, Igguthappa temple, Nalknad palace and Chelavara falls.
After a really long period of about 5 months I went on a short 2 day trip to Coorg. The last decent trip was to Ettina Bhuja and Ombattu Gudda in February.
We started at about 6 in the morning and went to Madikeri. We stopped a few times on the way to click snaps.
We left to Mandalpatti post lunch. Mandalpatti is known for its scenic beauty and is close to Abbey Falls.
Unfortunately this is not a good time to visit unless what you are looking for is an adventure. We were not prepared for what we were about to encounter. There are 2 routes to Mandalpatti – one which shares its route with Abbey Falls, the other which goes via Makkandur. The route via Makkandur is a bit longer but I would easily advise it over the other. The first route is extremely treacherous and there were quite a few places where the road was slushy causing the car to skid and scrape over moderately huge stones. The roads are very narrow and there were small water streams across the road. We had to stop several times to avoid brake-shoe or engine overheating.
After spending an evening in Lalbagh, it was time to visit Sankey Tank. The sunset at Sankey Tank had amazed me the last time I was there in the evening. I did make a trip to the place early in the morning in May last year and although I had planned to click landscapes, I ended up using my telephoto to capture birds. So I had decided that I will visit the place again to click landscapes especially in the evening.
I reached the place around 5pm and had expected it to be the right time. It was quite sunny and hot until 6pm and I was not able to get good snaps as I was directly facing the sun. It was a clear bluish sky and I couldn’t see any interesting patterns in the sky. I was disappointed. There were hoards of pigeons near the entrance and it was quite a sight to see them fly but I didn’t manage to get a sharp snap of a pigeon in flight.
I waited until the sun descended behind the buildings and then managed to get a few snaps of the sunset with the reflection in the water.
One of the other reasons to go to Sankey Tank in the evening was to check out the musical fountain which was a recent addition to Sankey Tank. I was all prepared and I had taken my tripod with me. The show started around 7pm.
Although it wasn’t as good as I had expected it to be, I managed to get a few long exposures of the fountain and returned back content.