As part of 9 day trip, we decided to cover Karnataka coastal lines and possibly some parts of Kerala. We also decided to divert from the coastal lines and possibly visit a few water falls and interesting areas that are closer to the coastal areas. First part of the plan was to visit some small towns like Sirsi and Sonda in Uttara Kannada district. This was on the way to reach the coastal line at Ankola.
Day 1: Drive to Sirsi from Bangalore was a breeze. The roads were in good condition and we made it in good time. The distance of 400kms was covered in 6 hours. The first destination of the day was Unchalli (Lushington) Falls.
This is an impressive falls with 380 ft drop fed by Aghanashini river. There was a rainbow created midway of the water fall. It was a spectacular sight. The only problem we had were the huge tourist population. This is well known falls and attracts tourist all over Karnataka and outside. We could drive our car all the way to the falls. No trekking needed. However there is no path to reach the bottom of the falls. There is restriction to go beyond a point and i think with good reason. With such massive quantity of water thrashing the base it would be impossible to take bath under the fall.
Route: After reaching Sirsi, take the Kumta road and drive 14kms to reach Aminahalli. At Aminahalli take a left turn towards Heggarne and drive 18kms. At Heggarne the jeep trail starts. Its possible to drive cars in that track. The distance to the falls on this trail is 4kms.
The next destination was Yana. This is widely known for its black crystalline limestone formation. There two peaks named Bhairaveshwara and Mohini . A cave temple dedicated to Lord Shiva is found at the base of Bhairaveshwara and Goddess Parvathi’s temple found at the base of Mohini. The peaks are named after the characters in the folklore.
Folklore: Asura Basmasura (A Daemon)had pleased lord Shiva with his austerities that Shiva gave him a boon of anything he wished. So Basmasura asked for the ability to burn to ashes anything which he placed his hand over. No sooner had Shiva granted this, than Basmasura ran after the god, threatening to turn him to ashes. Shiva called to lord Vishnu for help. He hid himself in a certain tree as Basmasura ran here and there searching for the god. Vishnu became aware of the events, and decided that he would take the female form Mohini, “the Enchanting”, and try to trump the asura’s powers. When Basmasura saw Vishnu in this form, he was bewitched by her beauty. He earnestly tried to court her. So Vishnu instructed Basmasura to hold his hand over his head, and vow fidelity. With this act, Basmasura was reduced to ashes.
Route: From Srisi drive 14kms to Aminahalli. From Aminahalli one can either go to Devanhalli or take a diversion at Hegdekatte Cross to reach Yana. But both routes are equally bad.
Night Trek To Sahasralinga (Sonda)
Sahasralinga (Kannada: ಸಹಸ್ರಲಿಂಗ) is a pilgrimage place in the Sirsi Taluk in the district of Uttara Kannada of Karnataka state in India. It is in the river Shalmala and is famous for being the location where around a thousand lingas which are carved on the rocks in the river bank. In fact, the name Sahasralinga means thousand-lingas in Kannada.
Since our stay was at Sonda, we decided to trek to Sahasralinga at night which is just 2kms from Sonda. We thought it would be walk in the park but it turned out to be slippery adventure. Our gracious host and his little daughter were our guides as they took us into the stream where the Lingas are found. The path was extremely slippery and we could hardly see anything in front of us. My friend managed to drop his camera in water bringing a premature end his photography work for the rest of the trip. Our hosts had large farm of Supari a.k.a Areca nut. We documented the whole process of producing Supari for the market.
Day 2: Our next destination was a little known Shivagange Falls. This is small falls located admits think forest.
The fall around 74m in height and is fed by Sonda river. The view point is easy to access however to reach the base of the fall, a 45min trek through think forest is needed. I carried my tripod and other equipments for the trek. However i did not realize the steepness of trail and at mid point i had to leave behind my tripod to get better grip. We were the only people at the falls and it was quite and very beautiful.
Route: Since we were staying at Sonda, we started off from that location. Take the road from Sonda to Hulekal. Its about 5kms. At Hulekal take the 25km stretch to Jaddigadde. On reaching Jaddigadde the falls is just 2kms drive. There is parking facility at the view point.
After the falls, we drove back to Sirsi and then took the deviation towards Banavasi. I want to write separate post on Banavasi. So ill differ it for now. After the Banavasi visit, our last fall in our list was Magod.
The Magod falls is a two step falls with a combined height of 200m. Bedti river feeds the fall. This is well known falls and there is heavy tourist inflow. I found the place to be very commercialized and did not spend much time there. The falls however was very ordinary. This would be one of the locations to skip if there is no time.
Route: From Sirsi drive 50kms towards Yellapura. From Yellapura take the road towards Ankola. After 15kms from Yellapura take a left deviation towards Magod falls. There are plenty of sign boards for this fall.
After Magod falls were drove down to Ankola and then to Gokarna. We did a 2 day beach trek at Gokarna.
Day 3 & 4: In the next two days we did the Beach Trek blogged here.
Day 5: After the two day trek we drove to Bhatkal. Here we met 2 more roadies who joined us from Bangalore. They were right on time. Our plan was to hire a boat from Bhatkal and head to a island called Netrani. Netrani hosts variety of water sports like scuba diving. Unfortunately there was a terrorist alert near that area and the island was sealed off. Since that plan backfired we came up alternate plan. We concluded that we will head to Apsara Konda Falls.
Apsara Konda Falls:
The falls was a huge disappointment. Its a just a tiny falls with no more than 10 m in height. The only good thing about that area was a beach very close to the falls. After spending few minutes at the falls we went to the beach. We decided to spend the whole day at the beach. After washing up we were extremely hungry. After a scrumptious meal at a small dhaba, we wanted to camp out on Marvente beach for the night. As soon as we reached the beach, we parked our cars in front of a temple and took the camping equipments to the beach.
The beach is a small stretch running alongside the main road. The weather was very pleasant and we soon dozed off. None of us had dinner that night due to sheer laziness to get up. My friend Gowri was too shaken to sleep all night. The first instance was his assumption that the coast guards had spotted us on beach and are heading towards us to arrest. The second incident was his assumption that the high tides could wash us into the sea.
Day 6: By end of the day we were to reach Agumbe. We had already arranged for a home stay. Since we had whole day in hand we decide to visit a small village farm and then a strange temple.
A friend of mine had a farm very close to the Marvente beach. He invited us home. He had a lovely paddy farm which we explored. We spend 1 hour roaming around aimlessly in the farm and then drank some tea and took off to a temple called Nandikeshwara temple.
Mekekattu Nandikeshwara Temple
This temple is also known as the Wooden temple. All the idols are made of wood. My experience exploring this temple.
After spending time in the temple we reached Agumbe by 4:00 PM. The drive to Agumbe was spectacular. We first visited the Rainforest research facility at Agumbe. Its run by few environmentalist. Its well known for the study on King Cobra. My friend wanted to collect some information on volunteer program. We went back to the home stay, dumped our luggages and went for a walk around the village. The next day was the Kerela coast line. I will write a separate entry for the Kerela experience.