Why Karnataka and that too for a person like me who loves mountains and lonely landscapes? The question haunted me and many of my friends who curiously asked if I am taking each Indian state as my destination. Few good friends of IM even alerted me saying it’s not going to be a Zanskar or Arunachal even in farthest dream where for many miles it’s you and your soul only. Honestly I also never heard of any Karnataka round trip, we are familiar with a Kerala trip, a month long South India trip but spending almost a month in one state, Karnataka? Isn’t it going to be too much?
The answer is with due respect to every Indian state which are all fabulous on their own, Karnataka is probably the most versatile. God has given this state all except the mighty Himalayas, so if you want to take a break from the mighty Himalayas, probably this is the state you won’t regret choosing as your destination. This land of fragrance has all the ingredients of a great holiday. Its varieties lie in the relaxed length of the golden coastline along the Arabian sea, majestic Deccan rock to thick lush tropical forests and interesting wildlife, silk and sandalwood, an incredible variety of rare species of flora and fauna, a rich culture and heritage, forts, Palaces, ruins, Ornate Temples and pilgrim centers and Hill resorts.
My plan started with spectacular waterfalls to Shivasamudram, sand sunk temples of Talakad, Hoysala marvel of Somnathpura, great wildlife at the Waynad (Muthunga and Tholpetty WLS), Bandipur, Mudumalai and Nagarhole and then slowly moving to coffee plantations of Coorg and towards Bekal of Northern Kerala. Everyday you would see something new, the landscapes changes completely and so the people and culture.
Next was the coastal Karnataka and splendours of beaches like Kaup, Baindoor, Maravanthe, Gokarn and geographical wonders of St. Mary’s Island before heading for Western Ghats to hit evergreen Malnad via Jog Falls with its beauty and charming hill stations of Kemmanagundi, Mulayanagiri, Bhadra WLS or the Hoysala art of Belur and Halebidu. The brilliance of Malnad continues as you travel through Kudremukh,temples of Hornadu and Srinigeri, hitting the ghat again at Agumbe and finally at blissful Tirthahally.
The magic continues as you enter the ageless “Cradle of Stone Architecture” at Badami, Aihole and Pattadakal and finally the amazing Hampi. As you keep traversing through length and breadth of Karnataka, be ready to be spellbound by its magic, truly “One State Many Worlds”.
Outline of the 3 weeks trip was like this:
Southern Forest and Coffee Circuit:
Day1 – Bangalore Airport – Mysore
Day2 – Mysore – Shivasamudram – Talakad – Somnathpura – Ranganatithu – Mysore
Day3 – Mysore – Gundalpet – Bandipur – Mudumalai – Gudalur – Sultan Bathery – Muthunga WLS – Kalpeta
Day4 – Kalpeta – Meppady – Soochipara – Sunrise Valley – Phookot Lake – Banasurasagar Dam – Kalpeta
Day5 – Kalpeta – Mananvady – Kuruwa Island – Kattikulam – Tholpetty WLS- Iruppu Falls – Thirunelly
Day6 – Thirunelly – Kattikulam – Bavali – Karapura – Kabini JLR
Day7 – Kabini JLR – Bavali – Kattikulam – Kutta – Ponnampet – Gonikoppal – Virajpet – Madikeri
Day8 – Madikeri – Abbey Falls – Bhagamandala – Talacauvery – Panathur – Kanhangad – Bekal Fort – Kasargod – Mangalore
Google Map: http://g.co/maps/cqynj
Western Coastal and Central Malnad Circuit:
Day9 – Managalore – Kaup Beach – Malpe (Take Ferry to St. Mary) – Kundapur – Maravanthe – Ottinene for sunset and back to Maravanthe
Day10- Maravanthe – Byndoor Beach – Murudheshwara – Kumta Beach – Gokarna
Day11- Explore Gokarna Beach and other Beaches like Kudle, OM, Half Moon and Paradise.
Day12- Gokarna – Kumta – Take SH48 – Ondane – Mensa – Jog Falls – Sagar – Shimoga – Lakkavalli
Day13- Lakkavalli – Tarikere – Lingdahalli – Kalahati Falls – Kemmanagundi – Mulayanagiri -Chikmagalur – Belur
Day14- Belur – Halebidu – Belur
Day15- Belur – Chikmagalur – Vastare – Aldur – Balehonnur – Magundi – Balehole – Hornadu – Kalasa – Kudremukh NP – SK Border – Srinigeri-Agumbe – Tirthahally
Google Map: http://g.co/maps/8qyyg
Northern Heritage Circuit:
Day16- Tirthahally – Shimoga – Honnali – Harihar- Take NH4 – Haveri – Hubli – Take NH218 – Navalgund – Nargund -Kulgiri Cross – Badami
Day17- Badami – Pattadakal – Aihole – Badami
Day18- Badami – Gajendragarh – Kushtagi – Budugumpa – Take SH23 to Gangawati – Anegundi – back to Gangawati – Kampli – Hampi
Day19- Hampi – Daroji – Hampi
Day21- Hampi – Hospet – Chitradurga – Tumkur – Dosspeta – Bangalore Airport
Google Map (Tirthahally – Hampi): http://g.co/maps/vy9vu
Google Map (Hampi – Banagalore Airport): http://g.co/maps/g9r4n
The main objective of writing this is to take you through the versatility the state can offer, so primarily it would be a photo log with some narrations.