For the itinerant...

For the itinerant...

Hulekere:

An ancient step well or a Kalyani built by the Hoysalas is a historical monument tucked away in a small hamlet. It was once part of the mighty Dwarasamudra empire and is now a detour from the famous Hoysaleshwara temple in Halebeedu. Folklore says Queen Shantaladevi used this as a private pool and the security was so tight that even a tiger could not penetrate – hence the name Hulekere. One can feel completely lost in the lap of nature.
How to get there: Hulekere is a stone’s throw from Halebeedu, which is well connected by road and rail to Bangalore, Mysore and Mangalore. There are regular buses to Hassan.

Shettihalli
Submerged almost in the backwaters of the Hemavathy reservoir near Hassan are the ruins of an ancient church, home to a few birds. Built in Gothic style by French missionaries in the 19th century, the church is a reminder of a lost settlement. The denizens of this village had moved bag and baggage about forty years ago when the entire area got submerged as the Gorur Dam was built here. Visit the place, to discover a lost piece of history.
How to get there: Shetihalli is about 15 kms from Hassan

Kudrehabbi
You might have heard of Kudremukh, but very few have heard of Kudrehabbi in Chikmagalur near Kandya Temple. A rocky stretch created by river Bhadra, this is one of Malnad’s best kept secrets. Flanked by the Western Ghats, the water currents are extremely strong here. What’s more interesting are the rocks. Look at them closely and you will find that the whirlpools and currents have eroded the rocks and their shapes have been altered with a few having wide holes, gaping at you.
How to get there: You need to go to Balehonnur and take a deviation to Kandya temple. Kudrehabbi is a detour from there. Chikmagalur is 240 km from Bangalore, and Balehonnur is another 45 kms from there.

Gokak falls
Situated in Belgaum district and fed by the Ghataprabha river, the falls thunder down in a scenic red sandstone valley. The gorge into which it drops is a horseshoe shaped valley and is referred to as the Niagara Falls of India. It is for this reason that Gokak Falls is different from other waterfalls and is worthy of a visit. The single drop of about 170 ft creates enough roar to be heard several kilometres away. The 680 ft-long hanging bridge above the river and the Chalukyan temple of Mahalingeshwara are other attractions.
How to get there: The nearest airport is Belgaum, 60 kms away while the railway station is Gokak Road  where one can commute through jeeps to visit the spot.
A station which has buses connecting Gokak with Bangalore, other important towns and the falls is just 10 kms away. Best time to visit: July to September.

Dhareshwar beach
The long coastline of Karnataka is studded with many famous beaches. But little known among them is the unexplored and pristine beach of Dhareshwar. Ten kms north of Honnavar in Uttara Kannada district, the beach formed between gentle hillocks is a must visit. How to go: The nearest airport is Mangalore about 250 kms away. Nearest railway station is Honnavar on Konkan railway. One can take the NH 17 from Mangalore and NH 206 from Bangalore to reach Honnavar. Driving down 10 kms beyond Honnavar towards Kumta, the road to the left leads to the beach. Season: Any time of the year

Kavaledurga fort
Among the many forts of Karnataka, one that cannot be missed is Kavaledurga in Shimoga district. From the image of Nagadevathe where treasures were hidden in olden days and huge strong doorways to the unique Kashi Vishwanatha temple in Keladi, it boasts of beautiful architecture.
How to go: Kavaledurga is 18 kms from Thirthahalli, well connected by buses to Shimoga and other towns. The nearest airport is Mangalore, about 200 kms away while the nearest railway station is Shimoga. Season: Any time of the year.

Lakkundi
A non-descript village in North Karnataka was once the make-shift capital of Hoysala kings. Holding proof of its past glory are ancient temples that dot the village and a deep polygonal kalyani with steps leading to it from all directions. Not to be missed is the Kashi Vishwanatha Temple with its intricately carved door frames and interiors. Lakkundi is a 90-minute drive from Hubli.

Anshi
In the shadows of Dandeli’s wilderness is the hidden expanse of Anshi National Park, located deep in the Sahyadri Ranges. It comes without the attachments of a park, like safari jeeps and tourist lodges, but packs a great variety of birdlife in a dense jungle. Anshi is a two-hour drive from Karwar on the way to Dandeli.

Mahakoota
One of the largest temples built by Chalukya kings is located in the small village of Mahakoota. The silence and peace of the temple is enhanced by the shaded inner courtyard covered by ficus trees spreading their roots and branches to every corner. Mahakoota is a 20-minute drive from Badami.
(Inputs from Lakshmi Sharath, B V Prakash and Arun Bhat)

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