Thursday, 28 February 2013

Driving Holidays from Bangalore 6 - Exploring Enchanting Uttara Kannada

We are roadtrippers. We love the freedom road trips provide to stop, look and explore. We thought of sharing the information on some of the great driving holidays one can do from Bangalore over a 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 day or two.

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 it is a drive to explore the uncharted areas of fabulous Uttara Kannada district in Karnataka in South India.

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)

This is an another gem of a road trip. 

A combination of forest, waterfalls and beaches. It is still unexplored. A great drive through western ghats with some awesome views of the mountains and valleys. An opportunity to taste the cuisine of Konkan both vegetarian and Non Vegetarian.......especially the sea food. Let us hop on and see what is in store for us as we drive in Uttara Kannada district of Karnataka

Here is the circuit :-

Bangalore - Chitradurga - Dandeli - Karwar - Sirsi - Yellapur - Bangalore

Day 1 - Friday - Bangalore - Chitradurga
Distance - 210 KMs 
Road condition - Excellent

This is for those who don't want to drive all the way to Dandeli on day 1. This will also give an opportunity to see the amazing fort of Chitradurga early in the morning the next day. 

Leave after office and reach Chitradurga for Dinner.

Day 2 -Saturday - Chitradurga to Dandeli via Hubli, Dharwad and Haliyal 
Distance - 290 KMs
Road condition - Excellent till Dharwad. After that rough patch for 50 KMs. No cause to worry.

Get up early and visit the beautiful fort of Chitradurga. Early morning is the best time climb the fort when sun is still mild.

Fort @ Chitradurga
After visiting the fort, have a good breakfast of Butter Masala Dose in Mahalaxmi Bhavan which is close to the entrance of the fort.

Depart for Dandeli.

Take a nice walk along the river in the evening.
...........and quiet flows the Kali
Day 3 - Sunday - Explore Dandeli
Distance - 70 KMs
Road Conditions - Road condition is generally good. It is always better to ask the locals when you travel on interior roads depending upon season

Get up early to the bird calls. You may be lucky to hear the strange call of Hornbill. Freshen up and be ready for a safari in Dandeli forests on the banks of River Kali. You will have an opportunity to see wild animals like Indian Guar, elephants and if you are lucky the cats - Leopard and Tiger. Most importantly, this is a birders paradise. Make sure you enjoy birding. 

Rich canopy of trees in Dandeli forest
Hornbill - Pride of Dandeli

After breakfast you have an option to go for a rafting on Kali river or to take out your car - with packed lunch - to see lime stone caves at Kavala, Syntheri rocks, Kali valley view from Sykes point, Ulavi Shiva Temple visit Shiroli peak for a lovely sun set.
Sykes Point
Syntheri Rocks

Day 4 - Monday - Dandeli - Karwar
Distance - 110 KMs
Road condition - Good. Curvy road.

After Breakfast, drive through the Kali river valley of Western ghats. Enjoy beautiful vistas and on the way stop over at Sykes point and Anshi water falls. You can visit Kadra reservoir as well.

Kali river valley 
Backwaters of Kadra dam
Anshi water Falls
Reach Karwar for lunch.

After lunch and rest enjoy the beach, witness glorious sunset in the evening.

Day 5 - Tuesday - Explore Karwar
Distance - 30 KMs
Road condition - Excellent

Get up early in the morning and drive to Kali bridge for a lovely sunrise. If you are staying In Devbagh then you can watch the sunrise from the beach itself.

After breakfast, go for boating on the backwaters of Kali river.

Visit the War ship museum on Karwar beach. This is a fascinating place which gives you a glimpse how tough the life in Navy is. Kids will love it too.

Just do nothing and freak out on the gorgeous beach through the day and watch glorious sunset over Arabian Sea.

Sunrise over Kali bridge
Devbagh beach
Houseboats on Kali estuary
Warship Museum on Karwar beach
Lovely sunset in Karwar as seen from Devbagh
Day 6 - Wednesday - Karwar - Sirsi via Gokarna and Kumta
Distance - 145 KMs
Road Condition - Excellent till Kumta. Good and Curvy road after Kumta.

After early breakfast, drive to Gokarna. Visit the temple and OM beach. Drive down to Sirsi for lunch.
Lunch and rest done, drive down to fascinating sight of Sahasra Linga on Shalmala river.  Visit the famous Marikamba temple in town in the evening. 
OM Beach - Gokarna
Marikamba, goddess of Sirsi
Day 7 - Thursday - Explore Sirsi
Distance - 60 KMs
Road condition - Generally good. Check with locals based on season.

After early breakfast head to Yana. Visit Benne Hole and Unchalli falls and return to Sirsi for late lunch. After lunch and rest, head to Banavsi to visit ancient Madhukeshwara temple built by the earliest dynasties to rule Karnataka, Kadambas.

Rock formations @ Yana
Unchalli falls
Madhukeshwara temple @ Banavasi
Day 8 - Friday - Sirsi - Yellapur
Distance - 55 KMs
Road condition - Good

After breakfast leave for Yellapur. Reach Yellapur for lunch. After lunch and rest, go for boating in the river and visit calm and serene Kavadikere lake
Kavadikere Lake
Day 9 - Saturday - Explore Yellapur 
Distance - 50 KMs
Road condition - Generally good. Please check with local for latest update based on season.

Go for a jungle safari or birding tour before breakfast. Come back, have breakfast and then proceed to Sathodi falls. On the way visit Idagunji temple. Return for lunch.

Post lunch and rest, drive to Magod falls and then to Jenkallu gudda sunset point.

Sunset @ Jenkal
Magod falls
Return to hotel for night stay.

Day 10 - Sunday - Yellapur - Bangalore via Hubli and Chitradurga

Distance - 480 KMs
Road Condition - Excellent

Depart Yellapur after breakfast. 
Arrive in Bangalore late in the afternoon. 

Recommended Stay Options

Chitradurga - Naveen Residency or Aishwarya International.


Old Magazine House by Jungle Lodges and resorts has old world charm of satying in a forest lodge. Excellent naturalists. Food will be good - like all JLL resorts - but not great.

Bison River Resort - Located next to river. Spacious rooms and well run. Good staff. Very good food. 

Hornbill River Resort - Another good option. Spacious and well managed rooms. Good staff. Very good food.

Karwar - The best place to stay in Karwar is Devbagh Beach resort by Jungle Lodges. Look at the same link given for Old Magazine house above Outstanding. If you don't get place here, look out for others like Great Outdoors resortEstuary View Resort

Sirsi - Hotel Madhuvana is the best bet if you want to stay in city. We would advise you to stay in a nice home stay to enjoy the homely food and ambience. These are some good home stays to stay like  Bakula HomestayAreca Valley stayBidara  Homestay or Ajjimane where you can experience the life style of Malnad. You can also try out rural tourism options in Banavasi. Take a look at this link here 

Yellapur Banana County Resort is the best bet. Atithi is another home stay you can look at.

Travel Tips

a) The best season to explore Uttara Kannada is immediately after monsoons when it is green everywhere and water falls are a glorious sight. Except for monsoons - unless you love rains which has its own charm but be prepared for road blocks - any other time is good to explore Uttara Kannada. 

b) This is an easy road trip. The road conditions are generally good except for some interior roads. Drive safely, especially in the hills. The hill roads are curvy.

c) While driving in Uttara Kannada, don't be in a hurry. Stop and enjoy the roadside vignettes. The scenery is fabulous.

d) Carry binoculars and a good camera. 

e) Make sure you obey all safety rules while going for river rafting in Kali. Don't be adventurous in unknown waters.

f) Be prepared to walk. Carry a good trekking shoe with deep groves  This is needed when you trek to Yana and some of the water falls as the ground may be uneven and slippery.

g) Karwar and surroundings are beautiful. Make sure you take a boat ride on Kali river estuary. It is an enjoyable experience.

h) Savour the local food. Konkani food is delicious. 

i) Make sure your vehicle in in good condition and you carry maps and other required items for road trip. Here is a good link which tells you what to carry on a road trip.

j) While visiting Gokarna temple, make sure you don't fall into the trap of local priests who will offer packages. Gokarna itself need a full day to explore. If you want to do that you can extend  the trip by another day.

Hope you liked this post? Please share it with your friends if you find it will help them. If you need any help in planning a trip to Uttara Kannada, you are welcome to write @

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