Picturesque Ambateertha

Picturesque Ambateertha

Rocky abstractions: Because of the perennial flow of water, captivating  shapes have been created by Mother Nature. Photo by author

Visiting Ambateertha during the monsoon may not be a great idea because the rocks and boulders in the middle of the river are highly slippery and the water has dangerous whirlpools. The approach road is muddy and the little pathways are full of leeches, at least, that was the picture portrayed to me, when I was trying to explore the lesser-known spots in the region.

But, my curiosity doubled when I heard that the place is not a great idea to visit during the monsoon. We hired a rickshaw and set out to Amba teertha. After nearly two kilometers of travel on the road leading to the famous Horanadu temple, a road deviates to Ambateertha. You will have to alight at this point and walk it up to the spot.

It was late September, but it was still raining intermittently in Chikmagalur’s Kalasa. It was not a bad idea, as the stretch from the main road to Ambateertha offered us interesting subjects to photograph.

It was almost two kilometers of walk from Kalasa to Ambateertha. The route was not that bad.

True, it was a bit risky for an auto rickshaw to negotiate this road, but it was definitely treadable. The road snakes through green forests and hillocks. All along the route, we could spot several exotic wild flowers, insects and colourful butterflies. One can enjoy the pristine beauty of Malnad villages and forests all along the path leading to Ambateertha.
The mud road suddenly ended at the bank of the river Bhadra and Ambateertha was right in front of us. The sight of the river was captivating at Ambateertha.

Here, the river Bhadra gushes into a ravine and flows at great speed. The river bed is wide here and abstract rock formations attract the visitors. Because of the perennial flow of water, captivating abstract shapes have been created by Mother Nature.

Whirlpools galore

But beware. Even though the water flow is gentle at many points, it is deceptive. The river has many dangerous, invisible whirlpools. Locals say that, unaware of whirlpools, many tourists are lured into the river and there have been instances of people meeting their end here.

However, if you are a responsible tourist, Ambateertha can be excellent holiday spot. The gushing water at one spot, a gentle stream at other points, abstract formations in black rock, exquisite butterflies, unknown wild flowers all offer excellent subjects for nature lovers and serious photographers.

Locals say that many Kannada movies have been shot here. Shravana Banthu, Ranadheera, Bhoomige Banda Bhagavantha, Shree Rastu Shubhamasthu have all been shot at this picturesque location, locals say with great pride.

There is a strong link between Ambateertha and the famous Kalaseshwara Temple of Kalasa.

It is believed that a dip in Ambateertha and four other teerthas (Vasishta Teertha, Koti Teertha, Naga Teertha and Rudra Teertha) and then a visit to the holy temple of Kalaseshwara is very auspicious, rated on the same level as Kashi.

How to get there

Ambateertha is located around four kilometers from Kalasa. Kalasa is situated 323 km from Bangalore.

The nearest airport is Mangalore and the railway station is Shimoga. Kalasa is well connected by road to other parts of the state. KSRTC and private buses ply daily to Kalasa from different places.

The famous Horanadu Annapoorneshwari Temple is just seven kilometers away from Kalasa.

One can either stay in Kalasa or Horanadu to explore Ambateertha and other places of interest. Budget hotels are available at both the places.     

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