Jog Falls – Murudeshwar – Maravanthe – Agumbe – Sringeri - Horanadu
Recently went on a five day driving trip and covered Jog Falls, Murudeshwar a temple town on the West Coast of Karnataka, Maravanthe , a small beach again on the west coast , Agumbe a hill station in Shimoga and Sringeri and Horanadu temple towns in Chickmagalur district of Karnataka.
We set out on Wednesday 25th August morning and reached Jog after driving through 380 Kms on NH 206. We had earlier planned to stay on in a home stay close to Jog but drove on to Jog. Jog falls has quite a few accomodation options including the Karnataka State Tourism Mayura hotels and a PWD guesthouse. Though not much difference between the two we preferred the PWD guesthouse, which while was very spacious and the windows overlooked the Jog falls fell quite short on the maintenance aspect.
Jog is best during the monsoons when the water flow is the maximum but the disadvantage is that it rains continuously and is very misty so the falls is obscured at times. The other disadvantage was that the steps to the bottom of the falls was getting repaired and hence we could see Jog only from a distance. In addition to the main Jog falls viewing area there are two additional sight-seeing points where one can get a good look at the falls as they start to fall into the mountains, and we visited both these points also.
We had originally planned to relax in Jog but the sad state of our accommodation made us to move on. I have always had a fascination for beaches and decided to head westwards. While the distance from Jog to Honnaver on the west coast of Karnataka is just 60 Kms, the road is through the mountains and is full of bends. Since we started a little late in the evening, it was foggy all through and we made very slow progress and could cover the 60 Kms with a ( break in between )only in about 3 hours.
In Honnaver I called up my friend Sai who is an encyclopedia on places to visit in Karnataka and he suggested an extremely challenging work plan which would have made us drive about 3 - 400 kms and cover places like Gokarna in north Karnataka, Udupi to the south and many temple towns in between.
I had heard about the RNS residency in Murudeshwar which was supposed to be a good hotel and decided to move to Murudeshwar. Even though the drive from Honnaver to Murudeshwar was on National Highway 17, the road was quite bad and the journey of about 25 kms took some time.
RNS residency in Murudeshwar is really a wonderful and comfortable hotel with one draw back that it is a pure vegetarian hotel. Murudeshwar is best known for a grand Shiva Statue and a Shiva temple and we visited both.
On Saturday morning we set out on a truncated list given by Sai and went to Maravanthe beach again on the west coast .Maravanthe is a great beach with a river on one side and sea on the other but being off season there was no activity and we did not stop over.
From Maravanthe we headed to Sringeri and the road took us through a beautiful small hill station called Agumbe. About 20 kms distance to Agumbe is quite a steep climb and comprised about 10-12 sharp hair pin bends. Agumbe is best known for its Sunset but this being monsoon, visibility was quite impaired and we moved on.
Sringeriis home of the Shankracharya and has a temple dedicated to Saraswathi. We went for Darshan in the evening and after darshan also had meals in the mess. Sringeri is on the Tungariver and we once again visited the Temple in the morning just to see the river flowing besides the temple.
We set out for Horanadu at 10.30 on Sunday morning and drive from Sringeri to Horanadu is so beautiful. During monsoons the hills were lush green and there were so many water falls along the way.
We reached Horanadu, the temple dedicated to goddess annapurneshwari and after darshan had meals in the temple. Given that the name “Annapoorneshwari means feeding one and all, we had a nice simple lunch in the temple.
We set out from Horanadu at 2.30 PM , the distance to Bangalore being 330 Kms. The route to Bangalore would take us through Kalasa – Kotigehra, Mudigere, Belur Hassan on to NH 48 and onwards to Bangalore. The road from Horanadu to Kotigehra was hilly terrain again and we made slow progress. The road from Kotigehra to Belur was quite bad but the State highway from Belur to Hassan is one of the best roads I have seen. We reached Hassan at about 7.15 PM but decided against stopping over. Given it was night time I drove as carefully as possible and finally reached Bangalore only around 12.30 pm
The journey through Chickmagalur during the monsoon seasons is remarkable and recommended to everyone.