Friday, 12 August 2011

Sakleshpur - Mesmerised in Monsoon

“Is this Europe”? We were confused as we stopped and looked around during this weekend drive - 06/07 Aug - in another part of Malnad. You will find out the answer by looking at the pictures. We were mesmerized again in Malnad! Literally - by the mind-blowing vistas of misty meadows. We were zapped beyond words at the beauty of the landscape which looked like Europe. This was in our own back yard – Sakleshpur!!

Only time we passed Sakleshpur was while going to Mangalore from Bangalore. We had never been to this place par se and had no expectation. Our plan was to spend the weekend in one of the home stays and explore the place around – specially a drive in Bisle ghat.

We left Bangalore at 8.30 AM and were there in Mugilu - the home stay by 12 noon – thanks to good condition of NH 48. It started raining heavily and after an excellent lunch we headed to Bisle Ghat exploring the backwaters of Hemavathi reservoir on the way. Chandan, the amicable host of Mugilu had told us about the beautiful backwaters. As we moved towards Bisle, we were awestruck on seeing some of the best meadows in South India. It was a wow moment for us and we felt as if we were in European countryside!

We would like to share it with you. Take a look.

The first sight of what was in store!
Mindblowing vistas of green meadows - Doesn't it look like Europe?
Mindblowing vistas of green meadows  2 
Mindblowing vistas of green meadows - 3
Mindblowing vistas of green meadows - 4
Mindblowing vistas of green meadows - 5
Mindblowing vistas of green meadows - 6
Mindblowing vistas of green meadows - 7

The picturesque backwaters of Hemavathi - A huge expanse of water

The picturesque backwaters of Hemavathi - 2

The picturesque backwaters of Hemavathi - 3
The picturesque backwaters of Hemavathi - 4
The picturesque backwaters of Hemavathi - 5
Spectacular landscape in the region
The beast in familiar surroundings!!
Mist filled road to Bisle
Spectacular view of Bisle from foothill

It started raining heavily and the road to Bisle turned very foggy. It was also getting
dark and there was no point in driving up the ghat as the valley would have been
covered in mist. We returned back.

What we saw in our short drive looked like a nice trailer, an invitation to go back again.

Yes, Sakleshpur, we will definitely come back!

Travel Tips

a) Sakleshpur is at a distance of 220 KMs from Bangalore and is a three and half hour
of pleasant drive. There are many busses from Bangalore to Sakleshpur.
The Bangalore - Mangalore express train stops at Sakleshpur.

b) Stay options - There are limited home stay options in Sakleshpur as well as two
small resorts. For home stays look at ,

c) What to do - Go for small hikes in forests, drive up Bisle ghat for specatcular
views of Western ghats, Visit historic Manjarabad fort, Visit famous temple of
Kukke Subramanya, mountain biking, angling etc

d)  One can comfortably combine Sakleshpur with Coorg as the road from
Sakleshpur to Coorg has lovely landscapes and road condition is good.

Useful links

Thursday, 4 August 2011

Monsoon drive in Malnad - Chikmagalur, Agumbe, Tirthahalli

The rains had started in South India. This time, there was only one agenda. Just to drive in the rain in Malnad over the weekend. To enjoy the mist. To breathe the fresh air. To count countless water falls! As we drove along, we were spellbound by vast vistas of greenery. We could listen to lyrics written by nature. Words fail to describe the Magnificence of Malnad. We hope these pictures do some justice.

We started on Saturday and returned on Sunday afternoon (23 and 24 July). The route was

Bangalore - Mudigere (via Gendehalli) - Charmadi - Kalasa - Sringeri (via Bale Hole and Hirebylu) - Agumbe - Kundadri - Tirthahalli - Bangalore (via Shivamogga) (We had planned to go Kudremukh but had to cut it out as we were getting delayed)

We did this in five hours straight drive in Scorpio with a stop for five mins in Arsikere for refilling!!

What are you waiting for? Hitch hike with us and enjoy the ride!!

What a welcome!! Marigolds in full bloom near Belur

A precursor to what to expect in the journey as we crossed Kottige Hara and started moving
towards Charmadi - Overcast sky, Misty surroundings, water and green everywhere!! 

Suddenly, the mist cleared giving a nice view of the local school and of the kids who were playing in the rain!
It is fun time!
As we drove to Charmadi, it started raining heavily and the whole place was enveloped in mist.
The first sight of a stream when the mist cleared for seconds!
The valley full of mist!
Local bikers enjoying the rain!!

Rain drenched Charmadi in full glory. The Scorpio seems to like the surroundings!!
The mist playing hide and seek!
We now sight the first water falls - a small jumping stream - countless to come!!
Waterfalls, Water falls every where!! You will encounter one every 500 Meters!!

Waterfalls, Water falls every where!! You will encounter one every 500 Meters!!

Waterfalls, Water falls every where!! You will encounter one every 500 Meters!!

Waterfalls, Water falls everywhere!! You will encounter one every 500 Meters!!
The Beast and the mist!!
Mist clad Ghat road - Nature at its best
Some more!! Some were hidden in the mist..
Some more!! Some were hidden in the mist..
Like this beauty!!

Some more!! Some were hidden in the mist..

This was a real beauty. A tall one but hidden in the forest. We could not capture
the full beauty of falls - we tried different angles - unless we had trekked  Picture - 1

 Picture - 2
Wild flowers!!!

We did not do complete Charmadi and did only half of it.
Reluctantly, we took a U turn to go towards Kalasa

We were in for another treat immediately after Balur estate
The scenery after crossing the bridge on Bhadra river, Awesome!!
The Road to Kalasa has some great valley views, here is one!!
Bhadra is full roar - I

Valley views on the way to Sringeri -I
Valley views on the way to Sringeri -II
Bhadra is full roar forms a beautiful waterfalls

Some more water falls on the way.
These were some of the beautiful falls we had seen, falling in layers.

Valley views on the way to Sringeri -III
Valley views on the way to Sringeri -IV
Valley views on the way to Sringeri -V
This was the best of the lot!! It had height and volume

As we drove to Agumbe from Sringeri, we spotted this lovely pond

A hamlet - Typical of Malnad, amidst greenery
Picture taken on Agumbe - Tirthahalli road.
The thick black clouds in the horizon and the greenery makes it a fantastic setting!!

The paddy field near Agumbe was like a picture post card

Kundadri was a revelation. Everytime you go this place, you will come back awestruck.
The wind, the mist and the feeling of floating in the clouds!!
Take a look at these pics from the sky - virtually!! - Picture I
Picture - 2

Picture - 3

Picture - 4

The whole place was misty. Sun was playing hide and seek.
We had to wait for moments when the place down below got lit up to take these pictures

Like these bright moments!

Some more pictures from the top.

These wild flowers were eye candy!
As we left Tirthahalli, we crossed Tunga which was roaring to glory!

It was a refreshing drive in the rain, soaking ourselves in nature at its best. Go for it when it is raining. We came back refreshed and rejuvenated!! In every true sense. Now it is your turn!

Travel tips

a) Make Chikmagalur or Tirthahalli as base to explore Malnad. Good homestay options are available. Chikmagalur also has high end stay options in Taj group of Hotels and Serai by Coffee day.

For home stay options in Malnad Check out in

b) Chikmagalur is 250 KMs from Bangalore and Tirthahalli is 330 KMs.

c) Excellent bus connections are available to both places. If you dont want to drive, then take a bus and hire a cab to explore locally.

d) Bangalore - Shimoga overnight train is another excellent option for Tirthahalli. Most homestays in Tirthahalli will arrange vehicle for pick up at railway station.

For a detailed itinerary for exploring Malnad in Monsoons, please click this link


Malnad - Western Ghats (mountainous) region in the Southern state of Karnataka in India

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