Treasures in our backyard

Treasures in our backyard

With the year 2013 drawing to a close, it is time to look at what 2014 promises you on the travel front. And if you are game, here are some pristine locales that comprise hills, lakes, beaches, wildlife and monuments that could be visited. The variety of sights would spice up your life and leave you with pleasant memories to cherish for a long time to come.

Thodikana

A place that comprises a visit to an ancient temple amidst forests and an attractive waterfall is Thodikana. Situated  between Madikeri (37 km) and Sulya (18 km) is a village called Aranthodu from where a drive of seven km into the forest brings you to Thodikana. The shrine of Mallikarjuna here, woven with stories from legends, and the Matsya theertha where the fish are protected, are worth seeing. A short walk into the jungle takes you to Devaragundi Falls. Madikeri is the place to find good hotels and food.

Devbagh

If it is your dream to lose yourself on an island, stroll along the shore, watch marine wildlife, birds and picture post card sunsets, Devbagh is the destination. Located across the sea from Karwar (520 km from Bangalore), the island serves as a lovely escapade from the buzz of the city. Here you can walk, swim, watch dolphins, white bellied sea eagles, crabs and other life forms. The adventurous can indulge in kayaking or riding the speed boat. Or you can just laze around in a peaceful atmosphere and come back rejuvenated. Jungle lodges & Resorts, among others, offer tailor-made trips.

Sigandur

Sagar, a busy town in Malnad, is a hub of interesting tourist destinations including temples. The highly revered shrine of Chowdeshwari at Sigandur is one of them. Here, not only is the temple interesting, but the approach to it is also a unique experience. One has to cross the  lake of backwaters on a  huge launch that even carries buses and vans, from Holebagilu to Kalasavalli, followed by a 10 km drive to the temple. The launch ride is the most exciting part. To visit Sigandur, one can stay at Sagar (40 km away) and make a day trip.

Nagara

At Nagara, a small town 86 km from Shimoga on Kollur Road, you come face to face with a 16th C fort that is in ruins now. As you take a stroll on the ramps and steps leading to bastions and a watch tower, you feel like walking into history. Twin ponds of the sisters and an old rusting cannon at the top are interesting sights. The Neelakanteshwara Temple nearby can also be visited. Staying in Shimoga, the fort can be visited in a day.  

Kabini forest

If viewing and photographing wildlife is your cup of tea, then the place to be visited on priority is Nagarahole forest. With the Kabini backwaters providing a suitable backdrop of a scenic locale, the forest that abounds in a good number of wild denizens is pristine. The main activity here is driving through the forest in jeeps, morning and evening. Sighting carnivores like tigers and leopards is surely an exciting experience. The visit can be organised through the Forest department, or one of the resorts like JLR.

Kuppalli

Kuppalli is where the legendary poet Kuvempu lived. The house, called Kavimane, where the poet lived, is now converted into a museum. The artefacts, awards and other belongings of the poet, as also the antique photographs, are all worth taking a look at. The house, situated in a serene atmosphere with greenery all around, makes for a pleasant experience. A walk up the hill behind leads to Kavishaila, from where romantic sunsets can be watched. At 16 km from Thirthahalli on Koppa Road, Kuppalli can be easily visited in a day.

Shiroor

This is another obscure town on the Konkan highway along the Arabian Sea, which does not appear on the normal tourist itinerary. But close to the town and rather hidden away are a couple of stunning waterfalls and  a quiet isolated beach. Situated a little further north of Baindoor in Udupi district, Shiroor can serve as a good base to explore these sights. The beach where a river also joins to add beauty is just a kilometre from the town. Toodalli, 7 km away, is the village reached by rickshaws from where a short walk takes you to the astoundingly beautiful Kosalli Falls. Dropping in several cascades over  seven stages on a rugged rocky surface, this is one of the very tall waterfalls of the state. Chakatkal Falls is another enchanting waterfall nearby. A guide from the village has to be engaged. For stay and food, either Baindoor or Bhatkal would be suitable.

Honnavar

If you are looking for an eventful holiday studded with sights, it has to be Honnavar. Here you can visit the Colonel Hill monument, religious spots such as Ram Thirth, and walk along the beach to make a meaningful outing. Backwater cruising is another attraction. Honnavar has good options like Kamath’s for food and stay.

Kootagal

If arid, desert-like landscape with unique rock formations fascinate you, then you should be heading to Kootagal. Hardly 60 km from Bangalore off Ramanagara on Mysore Road, it can be easily reached via Shanubhoganahalli. A pair of rocks standing together symbolises the love story of a washerman and his wife who wished to turn into rocks. The temple of Thimmappaswamy and its surroundings with ponds add to the interest.

Mastikatte

A nondescript town close to Thirthahalli, Mastikatte, at about 100 km from Shimoga, has a couple of stunningly beautiful reservoirs. Called Chakra and Savehaklu, these dams are located at 20 and 10 km respectively. With permission from KPCC, a guide and a vehicle, you can lose yourself in tranquil surroundings here. Hulikal and Baale Bare Ghat are also nearby and can be combined with Mastikatte. For stay and food, Thirthahalli or Shimoga are suitable.

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