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Thirthahalli, Karnataka Overview

Thirthahalli is a quaint little town situated on the banks of river Tunga and is also a taluk headquarters in Shimoga District. Famous for the holy river Tunga and its significance to Indian mythology, Thirthahalli is a popular attraction near Shimoga. Set along the dense forests of the Western Ghats in Karnataka, Thirthahalli is a must-visit place for those who love the serenity of nature and Indian heritage. The area is also known to have produced some of the great Kannada writers such as Kuvempu, Ur Ananthamurty and M K Indira.

Legend of Thirthahalli

Thirthahalli holds it's place strongly in Indian mythology with the ancient story of Parashurama and his father, Jamadagni. Legend has it that Parashurama chopped off his mother, Renuka's head with an axe as commanded by his father Jamadagni, a great sage. Parashurama then tried to wash off the blood from his axe in various rivers but a stubborn sesame sized stain remained to his axe. It was only when he dipped it in River Tunga did the stain leave his axe. Thus, the people of Thirthahalli believe that a dip in the river can wash away one's sins. Thirthahalli takes its name from the legend and the river Tunga - Thirtha meaning 'holy water' and Halli meaning 'village'. The place is also known as 'Parashurama Thirtha' or 'Rama Thirtha'. There is a stone temple dedicated to Lord Rama near the 'Rama Thirtha'.

Places to Visit in Thirthahalli

Sri Rameshwara Temple

Rameshwara Temple in Thirthahalli on River Tunga


Sri Rameshwara Temple is an ancient temple located on the banks of River Tunga. Located near the 'Parashurama Thirtha', the temple has a Shiva lingam (idol) inside the sanctum is believed to have been placed there by Parashurama himself. It is regularly visited by devotees to give their offerings to Lord Shiva. Enjoy the unique experience of worshipping God alongside mother nature and the cascading River Tunga. If you are looking for a tranquil place of worship and is a great spot to meditate along the banks of River Tunga, the Rameshwara Temple is the place for you.

The day Parashurama cleaned his axe to remove the sesame-sized (Ellu in the Kannada language) blood stain was Amavasya (New Moon Day) of Margashira month in the Hindu calendar. That particular day is termed as Ellu-Amavasya (also called Ellamavasye) day and every year on this day a fair termed as Ellu Amavasya Jatre is celebrated at great devotion in Thirthahalli.

Tunga Bridge

Arc Shaped Tunga Bridge in Thirthahalli

The Tunga Bridge, also known as the Jayachamrajendra Wadiyar bridge, is a popular tourist attraction in Thirthahalli. Built over the holy Tunga river, it was constructed by the famous architect and scholar Sir M Vishveshwarah. The Tunga bridge is known for its arc-like structure at the top supported by multiple pillars on either side of the bridge. The bridge was completed in 1943, and inaugurated by then Maharaja of Mysore,  H. H. Jayachamarajendra Wadiyar and consequently named after him. The bridge now connects the town of Thirthahalli to its neighbouring village Kuruvalli.

Anandagiri and Siddeshwara Gudda (Hill)

Siddeshwara Hill from Tunga River in Thirthahalli


Anandagiri Gudda is located on the Shimoga highway and is a beautiful scenic spot with viewpoints overlooking the dense jungles of the western ghats. The hill towers at a height of 300 feet and is a popular picnic spot for the locals. One can climb Anandagiri Gudda during any time of the year. Its height may be around 200 to 300 feet (60 to 90 m). There is large mandapa (temple structure) with a big doom on this hill.

Siddeshwara Gudda is located about 10 minutes from Anandagiri Gudda on the Agumbe highway. At 200 feet height, the hill offers panoramic views of the surrounding villages and forests. Due to heavy rainfall in the area, the hill is open for visitors only during the months of October and November. From the top of this hill, one can see the other big hills of Shimoga District such as Kodachadri and Kundadri.


Abbi Waterfalls in Agumbe

Agumbe is a small hilly village located in Thirthahalli taluk, about 30 kms away from Thirthahalli town. Located in the midst of dense jungles of the Western Ghats, Agumbe lies in the UNESCO World Heritage Site. Agumbe receives the second highest rainfall in India and the highest in South India due to which is aptly named as the 'Cherrapunji of South India'. Brimming with biodiversity, wildlife and plethora of medicinal plants, it is also known as Hasiru Honnu or Green Gold. Agumbe is also called the 'Cobra Capital' of India due to an abundant number of cobras found here. a favourite destination for trekkers and wildlife enthusiasts alike. Visit Agumbe from Thirthahalli to watch the spectacular sunsets over the distant Arabian Sea, sparkling waterfalls and river and untouched rainforests.


Kavaledurga Fort and Bath near Thirthahalli

Kavaledurga is located about 20 kms from Thirthahalli and it famous for the Kavaledurga Fort. Built in the 9th century by the Nayakas of Keladi, the fort is now a trekkers' paradise offering magnificent views of the Western Ghats and the Varahi River. The fort mainly consists of a ruined palace site and a small temple at the summit popularly known as Shikhareshvara or Srikanthesvara temple. Note that the trek to the summit is tedious one and requires a good level of fitness.


Kuvempu House in Kuppalli near Thirthahalli

Kuppali is a small village in the Thirthahalli taluk located about 16 kms away from the Thirthahalli town. Nestled in the Western Ghats, Kuppali is famous for being the birthplace and childhood home of the accomplished Kannada playwright and poet Kuvempu. Visit the Kavishala megalithic rock monument dedicated to Kuvempu. The monument was built in a circular manner resembling the stone henge and is the final resting place of the great literary figure. Also, make sure to visit Kuvempu's ancestral home called Kavimane or 'Home of the Poet' in Kannada.


River Tunga changing direction

Located 10 kms away from Thirthahalli, Chibbalagudde is famous for it's powerful Sri Siddhi Vinayaka Temple, dedicated to Lord Ganesha. This charming village is located where River Tunga changes course and makes a complete U-turn before it heads north to Shimoga.  Due to its distinct location, one can find soft silty shores and lots of fish. Matsyadhama, which is also in Chibbalagudde, is known for its abundance of big fish and is an excellent spot to head with kids and feed the fish.

How to Reach

By Air

The closest airport to Thirthahalli is the Mangalore International Airport which is 122 km away. Although Shimoga is the nearest urban town, it's airport is still under construction.

By Train:

The closest railway station to Thirthahalli is at Shimoga, at a distance of 65 kms. There are many trains from Bangalore to Shimoga every day but ensure you make your reservation beforehand. From Shimoga, there are plenty of buses and cab options to reach Thirthahalli.

By Road:

There are three routes to get to Thirthahalli from Bangalore.

Route 1: Bangalore - Kunigal - Kadur - Thirthahalli via Bangalore - Honnavar Road. This takes around 6 h 46 min to reach from Bangalore. This is around a distance of 328 km. This is route has great roads and is the most scenic route to reach Thirthahalli from Bangalore.

Route 2: Bangalore - Tumkur - Tarikere - Thirthahalli via NH 48 and SH 24. This covers a distance of 347 km and takes 6 h 48 min to reach.

Route 3: Bangalore - Mandya - Channarayapattna - Kadur- Thirthahalli. This route traverses via Bangalore- Shimoga road. The distance between Bangalore and Thirthahalli on this route is 390 km and takes approximately 8 hours to reach.

List of Distances from Bangalore to Thirthahalli:

Shimoga: 60 Km

Bangalore: 335 Km

Mysore: 304 Km

Mangalore: 167 Km

Udupi: 113 Km

Sringeri: 53 Km

Koppa: 27 Km

Agumbe: 33 Km

Chikmagalur: 157 Km

Best Time to Visit

Thirthahalli is set in the midst of the Western Ghats making it quite humid during the summers. The monsoons bring in torrential rains as the town is surrounded by dense jungle. Winters are the best time to visit Thirthalli from October to March.

Thirthahalli Weather in January-May: If you are contemplating the best time to visit Thirthahalli, this period fits the bill just right. The weather is nice and sultry with the lowest temperature being around 17 C and the warmest being a usual 37 C. Albeit a humidity of 67%, marks a good time to explore the best things to do in Thirthahalli.

Thirthahalli Weather in June-August: A pleasant time to be in the Thirthahalli, the temperature lies within the range of 21 C and 31 C, the average being 26 C. Although the weather is humid, it is not hot enough to make you not like it outdoors! All in all, a good time to be here!

Thirthahalli Weather in September-October: The highest temperature recorded is 32 C, but the moderate humidity of 83% makes this an excellent time to visit Thirthahalli.

Thirthahalli Weather in November-December: The air is slightly humid with average humidity being 71% and the average temperature is 26 C. The weather is perfectly balmy making it a great time to visit Thirthahalli. The maximum temperature recorded in this period is 32 C. An ideal season to visit Thirthahalli.

Local Food of Thirthahalli

Thirthahalli's draws its cuisine from the Malnad region of Shimoga District.  

The local food of Thirthahalli includes

1. Midigayi-Uppinakai: spiced pickle made with tender mango
2. Sandige (Paapad): spiced rice flour deep fried before serving
3. Avalakki: Beaten rice seasoned with lentils, spices, salt
4. Akki Rotti: Flatbread made out of salted rice flour. This is usually made as a breakfast option.

Restaurants in Thirthahalli

1. Hotel Durga Deluxe
Serves alcohol and delicious local non-vegetarian foods.
Address: Thirthahalli, Karnataka 577432
Timings: 11:00 AM - 11:00 PM
Phone: 081812 20136

2. Bismilla Hotel
One of the best restaurants in Thirthahalli for non-vegetarian food
Address: Agumbe - Thirthahalli Rd, Thirthahalli, Karnataka 577432
Hours: 12:30 PM - 3.30 PM, 7:00 PM - 10:00 PM
Phone: 099867 15410

3. Hotel Ashoka Park Inn 
Perfect if you are looking a comfortable AC hall and good hygienic food
Address: Kushavati, Thirthahalli, Karnataka 577432
Hours: 6:30 AM - 10:30 PM
Phone: 081812 27711

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