If you wish to visit a place that is a commercial yet tranquil, Sirsi is the ultimate destination for a getaway. Providing with the best of both worlds, this city lies in the Uttar Kannada district in the state of Karnataka. This city circumscribed with dense forests and waterfalls provides the travelers with many picturesque spots where they can unwind and relax. Sirsi is a part of the Western Ghats replete in flora and fauna, rich in religious places and home to spices and vanilla plantation. Situated at an elevation of 1936 ft, the weather in Sirsi is pleasant.
The lush green forests of Western Ghats are a safe haven for a lot of plants, animals and insects. A rich variety of flora and fauna resides peacefully surrounded by nature. Dhole, Gaur, Slender Loris, Bonnet macaque, langur, are some of the rare species that can be seen along with insects like dragonfly and colourful butterflies. A variety of frogs and snakes can also easily be spotted roaming around the forest. Birds like Ruby-throated Bulbul, Indian Peafowl, owls, doves can be seen perched on trees chirping and making the place lively. A lot of endemic flora resides in the forest including herbs that are multifarious and kaleidoscopic flowers.
Places to Visit
Temples and Churches
1. Marikamba Temple
Also known as Doddamma Temple, Marikamba Temple is a place where goddess Durga resides and gives blessings to the tourists. Built in 1688, this temple is home to a fierce idol of goddess Durga with eight arms sitting on a tiger and killing a demon. The goddess is also called Renuka and Yellamma. The architecture of this temple is splendid making it a must visit place.
2. St Anthony’s Church
Built to resemble an upside down boat, St Anthony’s Church is a pristine place attracting people from all walks of life. The splendid architecture and tranquil aura that surrounds the church makes it a must visit. If you are travelling to Sirsi during weekends, make sure to attend the Sunday mass in the church. The Hymns are sung melodiously in a native language which will brighten not only your morning but the whole day.
3. Sri Mahaganapathi Temple
A favourite among the devotees, this holy shrine of Lord Ganesha located in the centre of Sirsi witnesses a large number of people coming to seek blessings every day. The large idol of Ganesha which stands 183 cm tall is carved in Hoysala style and is believed to have existed for the past 400 years. The temple was constructed by the ruler of Sonda Dynasty and was later renovated.
4. Sahasralinga Temple
Located 17 km away in the small village of Shalmala, Sahasralinga Temple was built in 1678 by the ruler of Sirsi, Sadashivaraya. The name of the temple translates to 1000 Lingas, this temple is replete with Lingas with a ‘Nandi’ in front of each of them. Devotees flock to this place during Maha Shivratri and take part in the celebrations and rituals in large number. The Lingas are carved amidst water and provides with a spectacular view.
5. Infant Jesus Church
A holy shrine dedicated to the early days of Jesus is one of the oldest churches in Sirsi. The church is famous for its architecture. Make sure to visit this church and light candles inside its chambers.
Located on one of the hills in Sirsi, this temple is the place of worship of goddess Sri Kalikbhavani and Sri Ramakrishna Kalikamatha. Being at an elevation, this place provides a mesmerizing view of the whole city.
7. Shri Subrahmanya Temple
Dedicated to Lord Subrahmanya, this is one of the oldest temples in Sirsi. Popular amongst the devotees, this place is always full of people seeking blessings and making offerings. The temple is filled with celebration during Rathotsava and it is the best time to visit it.
8. Shri Shidhara Paadukashrama
The shrine of Shridara Swamiji’s padhuka, this holy place is filled with quietude and an ideal place to introspect and pray. A number of devotees from all over Karnataka visit this temple and purge their souls.
9. Shri Raghavendra Swamy Mutt
This pious place where the rituals of a lot of marriages commence every year. A shrine of Raghvendra Swamy is situated in the mutt and is visited by a lot of people to seek blessings.
10. Shri Gopalkrishna Temple
Shri Gopalkrishna Temple is an ancient temple where people come to seek blessings from Lord Krishna. This temple has splendid architecture. It is a must visit to feel the positive vibes and energy that can be felt in this temple.
1. Burude Falls
Burude Falls is located 55 km away from Sirsi and it is accessible through trekking only in summer. During the monsoon season the way becomes muddy and slippery. Burude translates to skull in Kannada, but even after the strange name this place is mystical. The waterfall is very long full of gushing water and a perfect place to unwind.
2. Muregar Falls
At a mere distance of 22 km, there lies another mystical waterfall hidden between trees. The Muregar falls is petit and a perfect place to play around with water. It also known as Teppige falls and Daggumane Falls. Amidst the waterfalls you will be able to see Shivalingas and carvings of Gods like Ganesha, Shanmuka on the rock surrounding the waterfalls.
3. Unchalli Falls
Discovered by J.D. Lushington, a British Government Collector, Unchalli falls is also called Lushington Falls. Located 20 km away from the city of Sirsi, this waterfall is 116 meters long and merges into Aghanashini River. To see the beauty of this waterfall you will have to undertake a trek of 5 km through picturesque forest and it will be totally worth.
4. Mattighatta Falls
Popular by the name of Hasehalla Falls, this fall is a like a gem hidden from the public eyes. The waterfall lies deep inside the forest and involves a lot of trekking because of which many travelers do not visit it. But this place is as beautiful as heaven surrounded by vivid butterflies and endangered birds.
5. Magod Falls
At a distance of 60 km, Magod Falls is a collection of several small waterfalls that originate from Bediti River. The Magod falls are spread over an area of 17 km and are major source of water to many villages. The mist surrounding the waterfalls makes it look magical and it is a must visit.
1. Musukina Bavi
Once upon a bathing space for Queens, this place has now been turned into a park with fountains. It was built during the rule of Sonda kings because of the place is full of intricate carvings. The park is a perfect place to rest under the shade of huge trees and enjoy some time with loved ones.
2. Shankara Honda
Located opposite to Sri Mahaganapathi temple, this is the place from from which river Aghanashini starts flowing. This river is a major water source in Uttara Kannada and also a reason behind the creation of a lot of waterfalls. This place is filled with tranquility and surrounded by trees to relax and spend some peaceful moments.
3. Gudavi Bird Sanctuary
Situated at a distance of 35 km, Gudavi Bird Sanctuary is home to almost 220 species of birds. The sanctuary is covered with lush green trees and a serene lake, namely Gudavi Lake. Some migratory birds can also be spotted in this Sanctuary. This place is perfect to explore, know and click the myriad variety of birds while they are chirping.
4. Yana Rocks
Yana Rocks is at a distance of 40 km from the city of Sirsi. Famous for the unusual and variegated rock formations, these 390 ft high rocks are quite a sight to see. The two rocks namely, Bhairaveshwara Shikhara and Mohini Shikhara are formed with solid black karst limestone. A temple is also located in the caves of these rocks housing a Linga.
Things to Do
Sirsi provides ample opportunities to trek on the various hills and mountains that surround the city. All the treks are rewarding with scenic beauty or waterfalls.
2. Photo Walks
Because of the picturesque landscape, a lot of photo walks are organized in Sirsi. The beauty of nature is worth capturing. If you are a photography enthusiast make sure to be a part of these photo walks.
Sirsi is a place full of surprises. This magical place is home to numerous religious spots, waterfalls and forest replete with flora and fauna. Each place is magnificent and a must visit. The city has a rich history and culture which can be witnessed in various sightseeing spots and holy shrines.
The weather of Sirsi is ideal to visit between the months of January and April. The temperature during these months is moderate making it easy for travelers to visit different attractions in and around Sirsi without any hassle. With light rain and pleasant winds, the city becomes picturesque during these months.
Tips For Visiting Sirsi
1. Do not plan your vacation during monsoon season because the roads get muddy and the trekking paths become slippery. 2. Carry water bottles with you so as to not get dehydrated. 3. Wear comfortable clothes and shoes.
How To Reach Sirsi
By Air: The nearest airport to Sirsi is Hubli Airport which is located at a distance of 89 km. From there rental cars are easily available that will drop you off in Sirsi. By Rail: The nearest railway station is in Talguppa which is 45 km away from Sirsi. You can rent a car from there to reach Sirsi. By Road: Regular buses are run by KSRTC that will take you to Sirsi. The distance between Gokarna to Sirsi is hardly 80 kms and the distance between Bangalore and Sirsi is 406 km so you can even opt to have a road trip either by renting a car or taking your own car.