Thursday, 22 November 2012

Driving Holidays from Bangalore 2 - Magical Malnad

We are roadtrippers. We love the freedom road trips provide to stop, look and explore.

With Christmas holidays a month away, we thought of sharing the information on some of the great driving holidays one can do from Bangalore during the Christmas week.

These are comfortable drives, covering not more than 200 KMs in a day on the average. The plan is to cover for a week extendable for another two days.

We will be sharing details about ten lovely drives from Bangalore in this blog exploring heritage, western ghats, wild life, beaches etc....... 

Take a look, plan and go! This time to the Malnad or the Western Ghats region of South India in the state of Karnataka.

Read on.....

(Though this was written with Christmas Holidays in 2012 in mind, you can do these road trips it independently to suit your dates)

Bangaloreans are blessed. We are within five hours of reaching hills for a serene and quiet holiday amidst nature. Malnad - as western ghats region in Karnataka is called - is an ideal place to explore. Driving in the hills is soothing to the body and soul! Western ghats, a bio diversity hot spot is now a UNESCO World heritage site. 

So, why not spend few days exploring the vibrant and beautiful valleys, the rivers and peaks of this region during this Christmas break. Here is a recommended itinerary for a lovely holiday in the hills.

The Circuit

Bangalore - Chikmagalur - Sringeri - Agumbe - Tirthahalli - Jogfalls - Bangalore

Click on the route map here -  Route Map 

Day 1 - 22 Dec 2012 - Saturday - Bangalore - Chikmagalur - 280 KMs
Road Condition - Excellent

Leave Bangalore around 7 AM. Have breakfast of tasty dosas in Shark Dhabha after Nelamangala. On the way, visit UNESCO World Heritage sites of Belur and Halebeedu known for exquisite Hoysala temples.

Reach Chikmagalur for lunch. Rest for a while and drive to Mullayana Giri to witness lovely Sunset. 

Hoysaleshwara Temple at Halebidu 
Day 2 - 23 Dec 2012 - Sunday - Explore Chikmagalur - 160 KMs
Road condition - Good

After breakfast drive to Bababudan Giri and then onwards to Kemmanagundi. Carry packed lunch. Visit Hebbe falls - few KMs of trek - and Kalhatti falls. Stop, look and enjoy vistas of beautiful valley. Have a picnic lunch in one of the nice meadows in Kemmanagundi. 

Return to Chikmagalur via Tarikere after visiting beautiful Hoysala style Amrutheshwara temple at Amrutapura. 

Meadows @ Kemmanagundi
Day 3 - 24 Dec 2012 - Monday - Explore Chikmagalur - 130 KMs
Road condition - Good

If possible get up early to watch sunrise from Mullayanagiri. It is an amazing experience. After watching sunrise and breakfast, go for safari in Muthodi Wild Life sanctuary. (check out timings from your home stay/hotel) Return for lunch. Rest. 

In the evening drive down to Ayyanakere - a beautiful lake - and on the way back have excellent masala dosa in Town canteen in Chikmagalur. Visit M G Park for Musical fountain display - kids will love it - and return to home stay/hotel.

Valley views from Mullayanagiri
Day 4 - 25 Dec 2012 - Tuesday - Chikmagalur - Tirthahalli via Sringeri - Agumbe - 175 KMs
Road Condition - Good with broken patches

Leave Chikmagalur after early Breakfast. Reach Sirimane falls and enjoy the lovely falls. Drive to Sringeri. Visit temple of Sharadamba and ashram. Have lunch in Mutt. 

Sirimane Falls
After lunch drive to Agumbe. Visit Barkana falls - few KMs of trek - and reach sunset point for witnessing magnificent sunset over the arabian sea. If you are early for sunset, drive to Kundadri hills on the way to Tirthahalli for beautiful views of Malnad valley and also sunset. 

Drive to Tirthahalli and rest in home stay.

Day 5 - 26 Dec 2012 - Wednesday - Explore Tirthahalli and surroundings - 90 Kms
Road Condition - Good

After breakfast drive to Kavale Durga. Climb the hill fort for a beautiful view of Sharavathi valley. Get down from the fort and drive to Nagara to visit 15th century fort and royal ruins. Return to Home stay for Lunch. 

After lunch drive to the beautiful memorial to one of the greatest poets of India - KUVEMPU. Explore 150 year old heritage house and climb up  a small hill to view lovely vistas.
Nagara fort in a beautiful setting
Day 6 - 27 Dec 2012 - Thursday - Tirthahalli - Jog falls - 110 KMs
Road Condition - Good

If possible get up early to watch nice sunrise at Navilukallu Gudda close to home stay. After watching Sunrise, enjoy the waters at Tunga river in Chippalagudde. Return to home stay for breakfast. 

After breakfast drive to Jog falls. On the way visit 15th century jain monuments at Humcha. Reach home stay in Jog falls for lunch. Rest a while after lunch. Around 4 PM, drive to Jog falls. Enjoy the beauty of falls. Night stay at home stay.

Jog Falls in Monsoon as seen from Bombay Guest house 
Day 7 - 28 Dec 2012 - Friday - Explore Jog falls and surroundings - 110 KMs

After early breakfast visit Bhuvanagiri, Burude Jog falls and return for lunch. 

After lunch, drive to Hasirumakki for a cruise on the backwaters. 
Return to Home stay.

Backwaters of Linganamakki
 Day  8 - 29 Dec 2012 - Saturday - Jog falls to Bangalore - 400 KMs
Road condition - Excellent

After breakfast drive back to Bangalore. On the way visit 15th century temple of Aghoreshwara at Ikkeri on the outskirts of Sagara. 

Visit lion and tiger safari at Tyavarekoppa before Shimoga. Return home by evening.

Recommendations for stay

The best options for stay while touring Malnad are home stays. Here are our recommendations

Chikmagalur - Thotadahalli Homestay and Thippanahalli Homestay. If you are willing to splurge then look at options of Flameback lodges, Taj Gateway and Serai.

Jog fallsMutthuga Homestay

For more stay options in Malnad look at 

Travel Tips

a) This holiday is to drive around and enjoy the vistas of Malnad. Hence take your own time. If find it is taxing, then cut down some of the items in itinerary.

b) Road conditions in the hills of western ghats are generally good with odd pot holes and broken patches.

c) Many places have been left out from the itinerary like Horanadu, Charmadi. If you can stretch another day or two you can cover those places.

d) Hill driving requires patience. Drive safe and enjoy the vistas.

e) Driving up Mullayana Giri requires some expertise.....especially the last three KMs. If you find yourself not upto it, park the car at foot hills and walk up. It is a nice trek.

f) Winters in this region will be chilly. Carry light woolens.

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