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Malenadu Road Trip Day 2: Dams, Kundadri and Ambutheertha

With the main attractions already covered on the first day, our discussions continued about the places to be covered on the second day. We initally planned on covering Mandgadde bird sanctuary, sakrebyle elephant camp and Gajanur dam as all are in the same line towards shimoga.

While searching for other places to visit, I came across two neglected dams Chakra and Savehaklu which are enroute to hosnagara. These dams however where in the opposite direction to the places we had planned. During breakfast we inquired about the possibility of covering these dams in addition to these. As we had ample time we decided to first head towards hosanagara after getting directions.

The road from thirthhalli to hosanagara consists of some amazing twisty which was pure fun to drive on. The road for most part is excellent expect for couple of stretches which are pothole ridden. We enjoyed driving on those narrow twisty roads and soon we were at an intersection. Asking for directions we headed towards chakra dam.

Chakra and Savehaklu dams were initially constructed before the constructions of linganamakki dam. Both these dams are constructed on the river chakra.

Chakra Dam

IMG_8031_resizeSavehaklu Dam

IMG_8052_resizeThe purpose of the dam’s were not fulfilled and these dams were abandoned. We were the only people present there and we made good use of it , by doing some photography. Chakra and Savehaklu dams are equidistant at 6 kms from each other. One can see the shola forests from savehaklu dam. However the road in chakra dam makes a loop and comes back.

Road in Chakra Dam

IMG_8028_resizeIMG_8029_resizeShola Forest view from Savehaklu Dam

IMG_8058_resizeWe initially went to chakra dam and then headed to savehaklu before heading back. With both the dam’s complete we still had enough time on our hands and we then decided to head to gajanur dam as well. It was given on the net that photography was prohibited however we decided to take a chance. Another hour or so or driving took us to gajanur.

When we asked the parking attendant we were surprised to hear that photography could be done in the dam. Paying the parking fee we went inside. One can only see the dam from outside as entry beyond the gates is not permtted.

Gajanur Dam

IMG_8073_resizeIMG_8077_resizeWith all dam’s that we planned covered, and with still time left to go for sunset, we headed back to thirthhalli while thinking of other places to visit before visiting kundadri for the sunset. We then came across ambutheetha which is supposed to be the birth place of sharavathi river. With nothing else to do, we turned towards sagara and headed to ambutheetha,

The intial part of the journey is via the same route towards chakra and savehaklu dam, however we need to go straight rather than taking a deviation. Following the markers we soon reached the place.

The origin of the sharavathi river is like a big pond and a temple is built in the lines of bhagmandala in coorg from where the river cauvery originates.

Ambutheetha

IMG_8085_resizeIMG_8087_resizeWe found the place to be uninteresting and with nothing else around to see or do, it was time to head back thirthhalli.

A short stop at the hotel to freshen up and after a cuppa we were of to kundadri which is a famous place for jains.

The drive to kundadri is quite as it took us a while to get to the top. Already we could see a lot of people present there. Kundadri is famous for its Jain temple at the top and for the specatcular views it provides. As we still had time for the sun to set, we did some phtotography of the landscape and the temple.

Jain Temple

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Western Ghats

IMG_8093_resizeIMG_8105_resizeIn a short while we could see the sun going down. We spent some time at the top doing sunset photography and decided to head down soon as we knew there would most likely be a jam on the way back with so many people heading back together.

Sunset@Kundadri

IMG_8106_resize IMG_8115_resizeAfter descending for 30-40 min we were back on level ground and headed back to thirthalli. An early dinner and we retired thus calling it a day after covering more places we had hoped for.

We headed back to Bangalore the next day with a short stopover in Sringeri for some yummy breakfast.

Snaps can be found here

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Malenadu Road Trip Day 1: Kuppali and Agumbe

Kuppali the birth place of poet laureate Kuvempu was on the bucket list for almost 5 years ever since I heard about Kavi Shyla the place where kuvempu used to his spend his time thinking of the poems which he used to come up, while soaking in the beauty of malenadu. The stonehenge like structure made me visit it even more, but due various this trip was yet to materialize. Kuppali and Agumbe which is famous for its sunsets was chosen as the must visit coupled with mandgadde bird sanctuary and other nearby surrounding places.

Srikanth and myself headed out on Sat morning for a 3 day long drive to western ghats.

It was a breezy drive to hassan with a short stop for breakfast. As shiradi ghat is closed for repairs, we headed towards belur and then to mudigere. From here a deviation towards sringeri took us via aldur and balenhonnur and driving on the twisty roads made me recollect my solo road trip I had done in 2010 on the same route with a stop in sringeri. We headed towards koppa instead of sringeri and soon reached the outskirts on Kuppali with couple of breaks in between.

Shortly we were at kuppali and headed to the new gallery which is constructed.

Kuvempu and Tesjavi Gallery

IMG_7941_resizeThe gallery houses photos of Kuvempu and his son Tejaswi along with some of the poems from the man himself.

Kuvempu Poems and Portrait of the legend

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The 110th birth anniversary of kuvempu was recently celebrated and there was a huge cutout indicating the same and there was decorations inside, indicating the celebrations were recently concluded.

110th birthday of Kuvempu

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The place also has a dormitory to stay along with clean bathrooms and toilets which are well maintained. Upon inquiring about stay we were told to do the booking in advance. Spending sometime roaming the place looking at the photos, we headed to the main attraction KaviShyla

Entrance to Kavishyla

IMG_7963_resizeKavishyla was the place where kuvempu and few other poets would come and spend time in nature’s midst to get inspiration to write their poems. The place is famous as it has a mini stonehenge like structure at the entrance and a bigger one inside. The guide who was present there told us this was placed here only recently.

Stonehenge @ Kavishyla

IMG_7965_resizeIMG_7991_resizeThe place is also the burial place of kuvempu and contains a rock which has the signature of kuvempu along with other poets from era. One can also get a bird’s eye view of western ghats from here.

Burial site of Kuvempu and his signature

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IMG_7994_resizeWestern Ghats

IMG_7992_resizeCouple of photo ops at the place and we headed to the final place ‘KaviMane’ the house where Kuvempu was born. The house is converted into a museum and objects used by Kuvempu and his family are on display. The place also contains various books he has written and the recognitions he has received along with various photos

KaviMane

IMG_8013_resizePhotography however is prohibited inside. We bid the place goodbye thus ending a long pending desire to visit the place.

With kuppali finally ticked, our next destination was Agumbe which is famous for sunsets. One can stay at dodda mane which is the only place available for staying. However one needs to call up in advance and book the accomodation.

We reached agumbe just in time for the sun to go down. There is a vantage point built where one can view the sunset. We were however not surprised to see a huge crowd there as the place is famous for sunsets.

Sunset @ Agumbe

IMG_8021_resizeIMG_8023_resizeIMG_8027_resizeEnjoying the sunset for few more minutes we headed back to thirthhalli in search of accomodation and finally ended an eventful day after checking into a lodge.

Kengal Gudda

It was already 3 weeks in Jan and I yet to start the new year with a trek. When Kiran sent a mail with a plan to climb madhugiri, I immediately jumped at the chance. With the tragic death of a trekker recently in madhugiri, I was not sure if the permission would provided for the trek. For worst case in case we could not trek in madhugiri, I suggested two other forts in the vicinity which were also offbeat.

We decided to go to madhugiri and try our luck, in case we were denied permission, we would then head to the other forts. With the plan ready and participants ready we headed to dabbaspet and stopped for breakfast before proceeding further. Madhugiri is 40 kms from dabbaspet and we were hopeful of reaching there in couple of hours. As we proceeded further, the road condition deteriorated further and there was enough deviations shown due to road digging. We were hopeful the conditions would improve and continued ahead, however it remained the same. Driving for another couple of kms, we asked a group of people, and were told the condition is the same. This prompted us to change our course back to shivgange as we knew we would not reach madhugiri, driving on such bad roads.

While heading towards shivagange we saw another hillock, which tempted us to climb that rather than shivgange, something which all of us had already done. Upon inquring further we came to know this was called as Kengal Gudda. We proceeded towards this hillock after getting the directions.

Kengal Gudda

IMG_9018_resizeSoon we were near the school from the trek starts after taking couple of wrong turns and going further ahead. Couple of youths from the village showed us the way to the base of the hillock and we started the trek. As usual there is no direct path for these hillocks and one needs to make our own route to the top, which is what we did

Negotiating the steep and slippery rocky surface we climbed further, supporting each other. Soon we were at the half way mark and the climb became more steeper. We could find couple of rock cut steps towards the end and support to climb the steep gradient.An hour into the trek we were at the top with couple of acrobatics and rudimentary rock climbing techniques to reach the top. There is a small mantap and couple of nandi statues at the top.

Selfie and Solo Snaps to commemorate the climb

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Few solo, group and selfies later we were planning to get down, after taking some well deserved rest. The climb down in the steep gradient was slow as everyone were careful not to fall down. Reaching the half way point we saw another route which seemed to be much easier than the path we took, and following the path we reached the base very soon. Upon inquiring in the village we were told, the route we took to come down is the normal route.

Scenery from the top

IMG_9070_resizeWe bid adieu to the villagers and headed to back home. Couple of stops for lunch and dessert I was back home by 4 thus completing a nice and short trek.

Snaps can be found here

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