Monsoon in Sakleshpur

Monsoon in Sakleshpur
Most of our normal weekends are uneventful except for the obligatory grocery shopping. But long weekends are quite the opposite. They are the perfect time for my husband and me to indulge in our wanderlust.

On a recent long weekend, we decided to head to Sakleshpur, a quaint hill station in Hassan district, which is about 240 km from Bengaluru.

How did we go
We began our drive around 6 am on a Saturday. The drive up to Nelamangala was a bit hectic due to the traffic but beyond that was a smooth sail.

Call of ruins
Our first sightseeing stop was at the ruins of Shettihalli Rosary Church, just outside the village of Shettihalli. The once magnificent church, built in 1860 by French missionaries in the Gothic style of architecture, fell into disrepair after the construction of the Hemavathi Reservoir in 1960. The church gets partially submerged in the waters of the reservoir during heavy monsoon. After soaking in the mystique of the church we continued our drive to Sakleshpur, which is naturally endowed as it is situated in the heart of the Western Ghats. There was thick green foliage everywhere along the route making for a very scenic drive.

We could not get bookings at any of the amazing homestays, so we stayed at Hotel Ashrita, on the highway. This was a decent hotel, nothing fancy, but they had a restaurant attached making it a preferred choice for many last-minute travellers like us. We reached our hotel around noon, and after checking in, visited the 18th century Manzarabad Fort, built by Tipu Sultan, which is situated conveniently on the highway.

One need to park their vehicle by the roadside and trek up to the fort which involves a climb up the 250 odd steps to the fort.

It was a little tricky because of the monsoon as it made the stairs a bit slippery. The fort is star shaped. One can climb up the various watch towers and look around to get a magnificent view of the surrounding ghats.

We spent about 30 minutes there and then headed to the Magajihalli waterfalls. It was spectacular and pristine.

The next morning, we left for the Kukke Subramanya Temple via Bisle Ghat. This was the most romantic drive of our lives. When we started, it was raining, and by the time we entered the Bisle Reserve forest area, there was a thick fog cover and the visibility, in certain stretches, was almost zero.

We drove slowly and cautiously enjoying the pristine surroundings. Owing to the heavy rains, there were a number of fallen trees which we had to manoeuvre around, but the drive was unlike any we have been on so far. On reaching the Temple, we found that there was a huge crowd and it would have taken us a few hours to enter the sanctum sanctorum.

We said a quick prayer from the outside and headed back. The next morning we headed back to Bengaluru carrying with us memories of an amazing trip to one of the eight bio-diversity hotspots on the planet.

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