Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Drive through the Hills of Karnataka: Bangalore - Arasikere - Shimoga - Thirthahalli - Mrugavadhe - Koppa - Sringeri - Kuduremukha - Hornadu - Charmadi Ghat - Dharmasthala - Kukke Subrahmanya - Sakaleshpura - Hassan - Bangalore

This was one of the best trips I ever did covering a total of 975kms out of which almost 500kms was through the lush green hills of western ghats. Lets get a little in detail into this.

Started from Bangalore on "Day1" at 5AM during the peak rainy season and that was 3rd week of June 2013. Climate during this time of the year will just be fascinating provided you like the rains. Not much of traffic on the BH - Bangalore Honnavar National highway No206 as it was a weekday. Reached Shimoga by 10:30AM after a Quick 25min stop at Kamath Upachar located at Dobaspet and another 15mins stop at Birur for Coffee. We stopped again at Gajanur Dam for 30mins, 30mins at Sakrebailu Elephant Camp and another 20mins at Mandagadde bird sanctuary before reaching Thirthahalli at 2PM. Entire stretch of road is an excellent condition except for some speed breakers and pot holes between Birur and Tarikere. It was already raining at Arasikere and from there on it was raining very well throughout the trip until we reached Bangalore.
Near Sakkarebyle Elephant Camp 
Mandagadde Bird Sanctuary - Pic01
Mandagadde Bird Sanctuary - Pic02
Mandagadde Bird Sanctuary - Pic03
Mandagadde Bird Sanctuary - Pic04 
Mandagadde Bird Sanctuary - Pic05
Mandagadde Bird Sanctuary - Pic06

We spent the rest of day at our relatives house located in the middle of Arecanut farm. It is a pleasure to visit the "Malenadu" region of Karnataka during the rainy season. Sound of Breeze, Rain drops and birds is just too good to relax your mind body and soul.

"Day2": Visit to Mrugavadhe: What an occasion that was. One need to be really lucky to take part in the Ayurkoda that happens only once a year. It is a Shata-Rudrabhisheka which happens with lot of glory. Mrugavadhe is about 27kms from Thirthahalli Bus Stand and One can Reach Mrugavadhe Via Melige - Chibbalagudde - Kattehaklu. Road is in Good condition except for the first 5kms which is still manageable. It is a single road, not much of traffic though.
                       People who are new to driving definitely need to be careful while driving in this stretch. Local Buses Operate Between Thirthahalli and Mrugavadhe but less in frequency. Visitors are high in number During Festivals, Holidays and Weekends. This temple is controlled by the Muzrai Department of the Government of Karnataka. Like any other traditional temples in Karnataka, delicious food is offered by the temple as prasadam to all devotees and this food is indeed delicious.
                       The History of Mrugavadhe is referred to the killing of Golden Deer By Lord Rama which occurred during the Tretayuga of Hindu Calendar. Tretayuga seems to have lasted for over 1.26million years and Shri Rama is one of the 10incarnations of Lord Vishnu Strongly Believed to be the supreme supernatural power and the most sacred among all the gods listed in the Hindu History and Mythology. For people who like to Visit temples, this place is a must see.
                       There is also a Shaneshwara Temple at about 0.5Kms before Mrugavadhe Mallikarjuna Temple. It is followed by all devotees to first visit this Shaneshwara Temple, offer your prayers and then visit the Mallikarjuna Temple. It is also followed that while coming back from Mrugavadhe, devotees should not look back at the Shaneshwara temple. I strongly believe to keep up the tradition and Culture and follow certain things that are being followed by everyone for hundreds of years. However, please make efforts to understand the background/reason for the ritual to be followed in a particular way and get to know its significance. It always makes more sense to know why we are doing certain things in a certain way.
                      There are neatly Displayed hand posts/signboards throughout the route and hence there is less chance of you getting lost in your way. Here are some photos of Mrugavadhe Exclusively for you to get a feel before you plan to visit this sacred place.
                       If you plan your trip well, then you can also visit the Rameshwara Temple and Parashurama Teertha in Thirthahalli, VenkataramanaSwamy Temple at Melige, Mahaganapathi Temple at Chibbalagudde, Siddhivinayaka Temple at Kattehaklu are other places of interest located between Thirthahalli and Mrugavadhe.
Tunga River flowing at its maximum level after heavy rains in Kuduremukh Hills and Sringeri Area

Ganapati Bande in Tunga River at ChibbalaGudde 
Tunga River - The lifeline of thousands of farmer in Chikmagalur and Shimoga Districts of Karnataka State
Need to climb down more than 40steps to Reach Tunga River from Ganapati Temple at ChibbalaGudde
Shri Siddhi Ganapati Murthy at ChibbaGudde Temple
Another Photo of the ChibbalaGudde Temple Premises
Some interesting Facts and Details about the ChibbalaGudde Ganapati Temple
Outside View of Ganapati Temple
Another outside view of Ganapati Temple
Hand post/Signboard on the way to Mrugavadhe from Thirthahalli
View Shaneshwara Temple near Mrugavadhe
Paapanashini River behind Mrugavadhe Mallikarjuna Swamy Temple
Another View of the River at Mrugavadhe
more than 25steps to climb up from the River to the Mrigavadhe Temple
Another View of the River
Dining Hall at Mrugavadhe
Prakara or Pradakshina Patha Or Place around the sanctum sanctorum at the Mrugavadhe Mallikarjuna Temple
View of the River From the temple
Another View of the Temple
Temple Entrance from the Main Road
Recently Constructed Dining Hall/Bhojana shale at Mrugavadhe
Local/Private bus Service to Mrugavadhe from Thirthahalli and Koppa
Shri Sidhi Vinayaka Swamy Temple at katteHaklu

                        We left from Thirthalli to Sringeri the Same Day. We started at about 4PM and reached Sringeri at 6PM. Generally this drive should not take more than 80 to 90mins but I took 2hours because of heavy Rains in this region. Thirthahalli Sringeri stretch of road is part of the National Highway 13 that connects Managalore in Karnataka with Solapur in Maharashtra passing through Karkala, Koppa, Shimoga, Channagiri, Chitradurga, Hospet, Bijapur and other smaller towns of Karnataka. This Road is in an excellent condition. Since it passes through the hills, it has lots of blind turns and hence one need to be careful while driving. Maintain Lane Discipline. Always Give way to Vehicles going uphill. There are Gas stations throughout the route and hence one can maintain fuel as per the requirement not really requiring to have full tank. This will improve fuel efficiency as excess fuel only adds additional weight to the vehicle.
                       Few places that are must visit are the Guru Bhavana located in Narasimhavana, Shri Mallikarjuna Betta, Sri Sharadamba Temple, Shri Rushyashrungeshwara Temple at Kigga. Your Visit to Sringeri is no doubt to be imcomplete if you do not seek the blessings of his Holiness Jagadguru "Shri Shri Shri Bharati Tirtha Mahaswamiji". Please visit for complete information relating to Sringeri, its culture, tradition, Festivals, Different Sevas offered to Holy Mother Godess Shri Sharadamba, basic information to Devotees Visiting the Sringeri Sharada Peetham, Insights about the Sanatana Dharma etc.
                       Dakshinamnaya Shri Sringeri Sharada Peetham offers free food to all its devotees both for lunch and Dinner. Dinner time is only until 8PM. This should not be missed at any cost.
                       Dakshinamnaya Shri Sringeri Sharada Peetham has very generously built hotels to cater to the accommodation requirement of thousands of devotees visiting this sacred place at a very reasonable price. There are also lot of private hotels providing AC and NON A/C Accomodation at a premium price. It is Very special to Visit the Sringeri Sharada Peetham During the Sharan-Navaratri Festival t. Sringeri is very well connected by Road to all major cities and Towns. There are regular buses to Bangalore, Mysore, Chikmagalore, Koppa, Thirthahalli, Shimoga, Managalore, Udupi, Kundapura, Sagara etc. Devotees from all over the world visit this holy place throughout the year. Some photos of Sringeri for you to view.
View of Hanging Bridge, Mahaganapati Temple at Narasimha Vana and
Tunga River flowing in full glory
Yaga Mantapa Opposite to Shri Sharadamba Temple at Sringeri
Sri Kappe Shankara Mantapa on the Banks of Tunga River next to Chadramouleshwara Temple 
Tunga River at Sringeri
View of Chandramoouleshwara Temple from the NarasimhaVana Bridge 
Torana Ganapati Temple located Behind Sharadamba Temple at Sringeri
Shri Bharati Tirtha Krupa and Visitors Enquiry counter for Temple Accomodation
Entrance to the Sharadamba Temple
Newly constructed Hanging Bridge from Sharada Temple across the river
Construction of RajaGopura at Sringeri

"Day3": After the Sahasranama Kunkumarchana Seva to Shri Sharadamba, I started From Sringeri at 11AM towards Horanadu Annapoorneshwari Temple. I have visited this place a number of times in the past. This time I wanted to drive through the Kuduremukh reserve forest instead of the routine Balehonnur - Jayapura State Highway Road. This stretch of Road is in good condition except for few places inside the national Park, but, Kuduremukh national park is extremely beautiful.
On the way Kuduremukh National Park you will get couple of interesting places like:
(1.) Hanuman Gundi Falls - Water falls from a height of 22mtrs. Located in the dense forest between Karkala and Lakya Dam. You need to buy entry tickets here from the forest department officials and then climb down about 300 steps from the main road to reach the falls. A word of caution - DO NOT GET INTO THE WATER HERE as it is highly dangerous, So, please admire nature but do not be adventurous.
(2.) Bhagavathi Nature Camp run by "Jungle Lodges and Resorts" located right in the middle of the jungle.
(3.) Lakya Dam - Built by Kuduremukh Iron Ore Company Ltd (There is no water here but it is completely filled with silt collected from the Kuduremukh mines - Kuduremukh and Bellary mines are believed to be blessed with the finest quality of Iron Ore - However, Kuduremukh Iron Ore Company Ltd is not operating out of this place anymore after the verdict from Supreme Court)
(4.) Kalasa - Famous for the Kalaseshwara Temple dedicated to lord Shiva.

                   Unfortunately I do not have photographs of these places, it was raining heavily and hence could not get out of the car to take pictures.
                    All these places are part of the Western Ghats and its a great pleasure to be there. Reached Horanadu at 1PM. Offered prayers to "Goddess Annapoorneshwari", had the delicious lunch offered by the temple. Please note that the Mahamangalaarati (Sacred Lamp) is offered to goddess between 1:30PM and 2:30PM everyday. Temple offers accommodation at a very reasonable price and there has been lot of development work done in the recent past. There are also lot of Home stays, resorts and hotels operated privately that provide good accommodation and Food.
Tunga river is just about 4kms from the temple and a dip in this holy water will make you feel very good. There are frequent buses from Horanadu which will further connect you to the rest of the world. Direct Buses from here are available to Bangalore, Mysore, Mangalore, Shimoga, Sagara, Sringeri, Chikmagalur, Hassan, Udupi, Kundapura etc. Gas stations are available at Kalasa which is the nearest town to Horanadu. This place gets crowded during the Dashera Festival Time, Weekends, Holidays and other festival days. This place can be reached only by road and it is located at about 320kms from Bangalore (6hours journey Via Nelamangala, Kunigal, Channarayapattana, Hassan, Belur, Mudigere), 260kms from Mysore (5hours journey Via Krishnarajanagara, Hassan, Mudigere) and 130 kms from Mangalore (3hour Journey Via Moodabidri, Karkala and Kuduremukh).  Few Photographs of Kuduremukh National Park for you to get familiar with the place.
Sringeri To Horanadu - Via Kuduremukh National Park
Nature at its best - Kuduremukh National Park
Tunga River flowing through the Western Ghats at Kuduremukh National Park
Horanadu, Mangalore, Sringeri Road Junction at Kuduremukh National Park
View of Kuduremukh Peak on the way to Horanadu through the National Park
Another View of the Kuduremukh Peak
Hanuman at Hanuman Gundi Waterfall

Contact Details and Some Useful information as published in the link

Sri Adhishakthyathmaka Annapoorneshwari Temple
HORANADU, Mudiger-Taluk, Chikamagalur- District, Pincode: 577181
Ph:08263-269714/214614; Mob:+919448282410
Weather Conditions:
June to October:Rainy Season Average Rainfall 90″ -100″
October to January:Cold Season average 16 -22 Degree Celsius
January to May:Summer Season Average 25-33 Degree Celsius
Crops:Paddy, Coffee, Tea, Cardamom, Pepper, Coconut, Areca nut & Etc.
Nearest Pilgrim Places:
  • Kalasa (8KMS) Kalaseshwara temple
  • Dharmastala (108 KMS) Shri Manjunatha temple
  • Shringeri (70 KMS) Shri Shringeri Saradamba
  • Udupi (118 KMS) Shri Krishna Temple
  • Kollur (168 KMS) Shri Kollour murarambika Temple
  • Bellur and Halebedu (95 KMS)
  • Shravana Belagola (220 KMS) Shri Bahubali
Nearest Place Of Interests:
Kudremukh-Dam & hanumanagundi WaterFall
Ambathirtha-Picnic Spot
Ballal Rayanadurga-Trekking Place
Kudremukh Top-Trekking Place
Mydhadi-Trekking Place

Pooja timing:
Mahamangalarathi Time: Morning at 9:00 am, Afternoon at 1:30 pm, Night at 9:00 pm.
Kunkumarchana Time: Morning from 11:00 am to 1:00 pm, Evening from 7:00 pm to 8:30 pm.
Prasada Bojana Time: From 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm, Night from 7:30 pm to 9:30 pm.
Note: All the above timings may vary on the special days.


We Started from Horanadu at 3PM towards Dharmasthala. There are 2 different routes to reach Dharmasthala from Horanadu:
Option 1: Horanadu - Kalasa - Kuduremukh - Drive on the Karkala Road - Deviate towards Dharmasthala on SH - 37 Via Belthangadi and Ujire - 120Kms
Option 2: On SH - 106 Via - Kalasa - Balur - Kottigehara Turn right to continue On SH-64/NH-234 on Charmadi Ghat Via Ujire to reach Dharmasthala - 95kms

Malayamaruta Guest House: There is beautiful Guest House which is located at about 3kms from Kottigehara called as "Malayamaruta" over looking the Western Ghats. To stay here you will need to get permission from the Forest Department located at "Aranya Bhavan" Bangalore or District Forest Department Office at Chikmagalur.

                    I preferred to take the 2nd route through Kottigehara and Charmadi Ghat as I had never driven through that stretch of road. Stopped at a couple of places on the Charmadi Ghat road to capture some breathtaking Videos and Photographs which is available for you to see as you continue to read. It was 6:30PM by the time We reached Dharmasthala. If you do not stop in between, then you can reach Dharmasthala in about 2.5hrs from Horanadu on either of the routes.
                   Main attraction at Dharmasthala is the holy temple dedicated to lord Shiva called as "Shri Manjunatha Swamy". More than 10 thousand people visit this temple every day this place attracts huge crowds during Weekends, holidays and festivals where in the visitor count exceeds 50thousand per day. This Holy place is on the banks of river Netravati which takes care of water requirement for this temple town and for this purpose a barrage was constructed across this river about 8years ago.
                   There are direct buses that connect Dharmasthala to almost all District Head Quarters of Karnataka and also some prominent places like Chennai and Hyderabad among others. Temple offers Food to all devotees and Accomodation of various types is provided by the temple at a nominal fee. for booking and other details relating to offerings to Lord Manjunatha, please contact:

"Shri Kshetra Dharmasthala", Dakshina Kannada, Karnataka State - 574 216
Phone : 08256 - 277121 , 277141 (10 am to 2 pm  and 4-30 pm to 9 pm)
Fax : 08256 - 277116,  E-Mail :,
Western Ghats - View 01
SH-64/NH-234 - Part of Western Ghats - NH234 connects Chintamani with Mangalore via Gauribidanur, Madhugiri, Sira, Huliyur, Banavara, Belur, Mudigere, Belthangady, Bantwal
Western Ghats - View 02
Western Ghats - View 03
Western Ghats - View 05
Western Ghats - View 06
Stream in front of the "Malayamaruta" Guest House
View 01 of the "Malayamaruta" hill top guest house from the highway
View 02 of the "Malayamaruta" hill top guest house from the highway
View 03 of the "Malayamaruta" hill top guest house from the highway
View 04 of the "Malayamaruta" hill top guest house from the highway
Sign board indicating "Malayamaruta" guest house on the highway near Kottigehara.
Lush green Western Ghats filled with mist
View point on the Charmadi Ghat road
Just one of the many Water falls which gets life during every rainy season
View 01 of the Charmadi Valley
View 02 of the Charmadi Valley


We left Dharmasthala at 7:15PM. I had travelled only few kilometres from Dharmasthala when it started raining very heavily. It was such a heavy rain and raining so bad that road was not visible even after having my 100/90 headlamps on, fog lamps on and 4way lights also turned on.
NOTE: If you are travelling through the hills during the peak rainy season, then few things you need to make sure are perfect, especially if you are travelling after dark:
(1.) Have enough/excess fuel in the vehicle.
(2.) Ensure that the tyres are in good condition with right air pressure.
(3.) Make sure that you are familiar with the route you are traveling.
(4.) Ensure that the wipers are in very good condition.
(5.) "Screen Wash Concentrate" to be added to the windscreen spray water tank.
(6.) Drive Slowly and only at a minimum speed
(7.) If finding it difficult to drive, then pull over in a safe place and stay inside the vehicle - Do not step out in the dark.

I took full 2.5hours for me to reach Kukke Subrahmanya from Dharmasthala. I reached there by 9:45PM. We did not have any problem with accommodation as it was booked in advance. Neo Mysore Café and Kumara Krupa Hotels were still open for us. As usual, Kumara Krupa was my default choice even though I have had food before at Neo Mysore Café.

I think Until now I have been to Kukke Subrahmanya more than 12times and about 5 times exclusively to trek Kumar Parvat. Kumar Parvat trekking experience will come as an exclusive post.

Kukke Subrahmanya has offlate got highly commercialized. It was once a place which had only 2 buses and that was between Dharmasthala and Kukke Subrahmanya once in the morning and again in the evening. I still remember those days. It was truly a delight to Visit this holy place at that time and there was hardly any thing called as CROWD. But now, there are more than 15 Direct buses from Bangalore to Kukke Subrahmanya and that included 2 Volvo Buses. There are also Buses that directly connect people to this place from Mysore, mangalore, Dharmasthala, Gundlupet, Kasaragod, Puttur, Chikmagalur, Hassan etc.Devotees come here to perform 3 main rituals, Sarpa Samskara, Naga Pratishte and Ashlesha Bali. There are other sevas also available for devotees to perform. thousands of people visit this temple each day. This place has seen lot of development in the last 5 to 6 years and it is still going on. You can now see more concrete structure that are high raised building in the form of hotels both privately owned and those operated by Temple itself for accommodation requirements of the devotees who are visiting this place in large numbers and it is increasing day by day. Kumara Dhaara river flows at just about 2kms from Kukke Subrahmanya.

Kukke Subrahmanya Contact Details (Source:
Temple Postal Address: Kukke Shree Subrahmanya Temple,
Subrahamanya Post, Sullia Taluk,
Dakshina Kannada District, Karnataka - 574238

Contact Person & Address:
Executive Officer,
Kukke Shree Subrahamanya Temple,
Subrahamanya Post, Sullia Taluk,
Dakshina Kannada District, Karnataka - 574238

Contact Numbers:
91-8257-281700 (Office)
91-8257-281423 (Office)
91-8257- 281224 (Office)
91-8257-281265 (Protocol Section)
91-8257-281300 (Sarpa Samskara Section)
91-8257-281400 (Information Center)

Fax No: 91-8257-281800

Day4:  It was a great pleasant morning after the heaving down pour yesterday. We got to know that Water Level in Kumara Dhaara River has once again increased and that it was in full glory. However, visit to Kukke Subrahmanya is never complete with out taking a dip in the river. So we went to the river managed to take bath there. Luckily there was not much of crowd as it has been continuously raining in this area for last 2 weeks for it the peak rainy season and all TV had mentioned that the river was over flowing and hence vehicles were not allowed to cross the rives as the water was flowing 2feet over the bridge. Situation for us was slightly better as the water level was 2 feet below the bridge by mercy and blessing of lord Subrahmanya. Went to the temple for Darshan of Subrahmanya since there was no crowd we spent our time at the temple very peacefully. Got all our rituals done and hand our prasadam lunch at the temple itself. We left for Bangalore from Kukke at 4PM. Kukke to Bangalore is about 300Kms. Road was average in condition until Sakaleshpur and from there until Bangalore it is very good. Reached home at 9PM with 2 30min stops - one at Sakaleshpur and other at Yediyur. Some photographs of Kukke Subrahmanya.
KumaraDhaara River
Tributary of Kumara Dhaara River which flows right behind the temple - View 01
Tributary of Kumara Dhaara River which flows right behind the temple - View 02
Naga Mantapa located next to the Tributary of Kumara Dhaara River which flows right behind the temple - View 03
Naga Mantapa located next to the Tributary of Kumara Dhaara River which flows right behind the temple - View 04
Behind the temple - Near Kumara Dhaara Tributary River
Inside the Kukke Subrahmanya Temple - View 01
Inside the Kukke Subrahmanya Temple - View 02
Inside the Kukke Subrahmanya Temple - View 03
Inside the Kukke Subrahmanya Temple - View 04
Inside the Kukke Subrahmanya Temple - View 05 
Inside the Kukke Subrahmanya Temple - View 06
Inside the Kukke Subrahmanya Temple - View 07
Inside the Kukke Subrahmanya Temple - View 08
Inside the Kukke Subrahmanya Temple - View 09
Naga Pratishta Mantapa nect to Shankara Mutt, Inside the Kukke Subrahmanya Temple - View 10
Kala Mantapa - Inside the Kukke Subrahmanya Temple - View 11
Near the Dining Hall, Inside the Kukke Subrahmanya Temple - View 12

 Hope you enjoyed reading this post. I have tried to give as much details as possible. Feel Free to leave your comments or write back in case you think I can help you with some additional details.

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