Last week, I did a short trip to Shimoga and surrounding areas. The outing was planned rather late and did not have much planning behind it. The idea was to make Shimoga the base and visit nearby areas.
We reached Shimoga by noon on the first day. We took the longer route of (Bangalore – Tumkur – Chitradurga (NH-4) – Channagiri – Holehonnur – Shimoga (NH-13)) – Longer by about 30KMs, still takes as much time or lesser than the usual NH-206 route. After lunch and some rest, we headed towards Tirthahalli (NH-13).
We went through a patch of Shettihalli forest reserve en route. There suddenly was a thick canopy of trees which blocked much of the harsh mid-afternoon sunlight that was beating down upon us. Made a note to stop along this stretch on the way back when the light would be more ideal.
After this, we crossed Tunga upper level dam project – this was blocked for visitors – one could just look at the dam in a distance. Nonetheless, we continued on. We eventually crossed Tirthahalli and reached Kavishaila – the rock monument erected near the erstwhile home of Rashtrakavi Kuvempu.
The sun was still harsh, and even in peak winter, the heat was discouraging. We spent some time exploring around the place before we headed back.
We needed to be near the forest reserve by sunset and before it got dark.
On the way back, we stopped at several places. The road was smooth but curvy, and along the way, tightly hugs the small villages, lakes, trees, right beside it.
To the people living here, these are mundane being ever-present so near to them. For us nature loving city-dwellers, these prove to be places so serene and calm that we easily get excited.
While I had stopped beside a small lake near a village and taking photographs of the same, I overheard 2 boys passing us on bicycles talking in Kannada – “Kasa tumbiro nam oor keryaag yen ayte anta ivru photo tegitavre!” (“What’s there in this waste-filled lake of our village that these people are taking photos of it!”). All I could do was to turn back at them and grin widely!
We saw a lot of destroyed bamboo trees in the river beside the highway in a stretch. We had heard of beautiful bamboo trees in the water right beside the highway – this year, due to excessive rains, most of these bamboo trees stood destroyed.
We saw boards crying out “Sakrebyle Elephant Camp” on our way back. We made a note that we’d visit this place the day after next.
We got back to town and retired for the day. The next day, we had an early start at 6AM and headed towards Jog Falls on NH-206. The 100KM drive to Jog Falls from Shimoga would take 2 hours.
Somewhere along the way, the sun started to peek out and we made a stop. It was about 6:40AM. Open fields with massive power towers, presumably from the Sharavathi hydel plant, dotted a large stretch of this route.
Being early at Jog as we were, there were not many people around. But the season we visited also meant that there was almost no water in the water falls. All we could see was the gorge that would fill with copious amounts of water, gushing down at super force during the monsoons.
This was no ideal visit to Jog – this remains pending on our list. Perhaps the coming monsoon next year we’d be able to tick this off our list.
Crowd started to build up and we took our cue to head back. On the way back, we stopped at the Aghoreshwara temple at Ikkeri, near Sagara. The 600 year old temple, dates back to the time of Shivappa Nayaka and has a large shiva temple with huge 12-feet high doors everywhere!
In front of the temple is an enclosure housing a huge Nandi.
We got back to town for lunch and some rest. In the evening, we headed to the village of Mattur. Mattur is situated 10KM from Shimoga.
The twin villages of Mattur and Hosahalli are situated on either side of the river Tunga. These villages are known for people using Sanskrit (and also Sankethi) for everyday communication. A small foot-bridge across the river connects the two villages.
Sitting on the bridge, soaking our feet wet in the flowing river, we witnessed a quiet sunset. The only sounds we heard was that of the flowing river, chirping birds and thoughts in our minds.
We got back to Shimoga for the night and the next day, we were to head back to Bangalore. Before that, we made a visit to the Sakrebyle Elephant camp early in the morning. Just before the elephant camp, is a large field which proved to be an ideal place to witness yet another splendid sunrise.
We reached the camp but there were no elephants to be seen.
On inquiring we found that, the elephants that usually are let free in the nearby forest are brought to the camp everyday early in the morning (by 7:30am) for bathing. They stay at the camp till about 11:30AM after which they are let back to the forest again.
There are about 12-15 elephants in regular attendance at the elephant camp.
This concluded our short trip to Shimoga. We got to know there are more places to visit nearby than we covered this time. I’d need to plan another trip and plan better next time!
This entry has been shortlisted for Holidify’s Travelogue Writing Contest in association with Linger. The content and pictures may not be used without prior permission of the author.
Submitted by: Srinivasa S (Photomithra)
The original post can be found here.