Backpacking across Uttara Kannada. When pocket change and public transport takes you a long way

Tripoto
17th Oct 2017
Photo of Backpacking across Uttara Kannada. When pocket change and public transport takes you a long way by Naveen Prabhu
Day 1

5 days. 4000 rupees. Stay. Food. Transport.

The Backpacking trip across Uttara Kannada was a different experience altogether. It appealed to all my senses and left me craving for more of the experience by the end. My brother and me wanted to go on a trip from a long time, we put together a list of places scattered around. The result was... Well, read along...

Kumta, a city on the western coastline. Primary occupation in the area is transport of fish. 11kms from Gokarna.

Leaving Mangalore at 7:30 on the intercity train, we came to Kumta, a city on the coastline. Mirjan was 12 Kms from this place. We booked at a Hotel Sanman Lodge, at 500 a night, had some lunch and set off to Mirjan via local govt bus.

The fort, locals claim to have been a battleground and was the last stronghold built as an escape route. Some of these passageways can still be seen, Athough sealed off. There are large well like structure which garner lot of curiosity, but are not sure of the significance. A lone Banyan tree stands amidst the vast expanse of the fort, and holds its magnificence against gale winds in the rainy season. We returned before nightfall and settled down for the night.

Farms run on the tributaries of River Sharavathi

Photo of Mirjan Fort, Mirjan Fort Road, Mirjan, Karnataka, India by Naveen Prabhu

Alone and Wise. This banyan Tree stands inside the fort .

Photo of Mirjan Fort, Mirjan Fort Road, Mirjan, Karnataka, India by Naveen Prabhu

One of the passageways leading out through trenches

Photo of Mirjan Fort, Mirjan Fort Road, Mirjan, Karnataka, India by Naveen Prabhu

Mirjan Fort

Photo of Mirjan Fort, Mirjan Fort Road, Mirjan, Karnataka, India by Naveen Prabhu

Our Itenarary

Photo of Mirjan Fort, Mirjan Fort Road, Mirjan, Karnataka, India by Naveen Prabhu
Day 2

We left early morning to Yana, about 60 Kms. We'd enquired the previous night about buses since Dussehra time, the transport is scarce in small towns and villages. After a hike and lot of stairs we reached the mammoth site. Legend says that when Bhasmasura(Bhasma: the Ash left after something has burned out ), the demon was killed by Mohini (an Avatar of Vishnu), he instantly turned into a mountain of Bhasma, which are said to be the Yana Rock.

Hike to Yana Caves. The rain water flows downstream and this quirky place is one of the results.

Photo of Yana Caves, Yana, Karnataka by Naveen Prabhu

Yana Rock. Inside the rock formations and hollow spaces form cave like structure.

Photo of Yana Caves, Yana, Karnataka by Naveen Prabhu

Yana. The Bus stop and also the starting point of the hike.

Photo of Yana Caves, Yana, Karnataka by Naveen Prabhu

Bhairaveshwara Shikara- One of the Karst Limestone Rocks as seen along the route.

Photo of Yana Caves, Yana, Karnataka by Naveen Prabhu

A Local Shopkeeper. We had Mammoth tender coconuts at 30 rupees and it was the best. He showed us the next route.

Photo of Yana Caves, Yana, Karnataka by Naveen Prabhu

Karst Limestone is the main composition of these rocks, where crevasses have been formed after centuries of landslides.

Photo of Yana Caves, Yana, Karnataka by Naveen Prabhu

Water retained on the walls as a result of mosses covering them.

Photo of Yana Caves, Yana, Karnataka by Naveen Prabhu

After having mammoth tender coconuts in the area we set off to Vibhooti waterfalls. It was a 12km hike along the road, most of which was uphill. We were exhausted to the core when 3 people on an auto, stopped at our end and offered us a lift. Girish and his friends had come all the way from Chennarayapatna on a trip and were heading to Chikmagalur. All on their Ape Auto. Thug Life. They dropped us off 5 Kms outside Vibhuthi and revived the faith in humanity.

A tranquil waterfall, Vibhooti is not very well known. Making it an ideal place to relax in the calm shallow waters. The fish nibbling at your feet is an exhilarating experience, The big sucker fishes nibble at your toes and they're kinda rough at that. The cold water takes away all the exhaustion and was a perfect way to beat the heat.

Girish, Narayan and Lokesh. Thug Life as we were coming downhill sahyadri on this auto

Photo of Vibhooti Falls, Mattighatta Rd, Achave, Karnataka, India by Naveen Prabhu

Vibhooti falls.

Photo of Vibhooti Falls, Mattighatta Rd, Achave, Karnataka, India by Naveen Prabhu

A few people were already there, playing in shallow waters.

Photo of Vibhooti Falls, Mattighatta Rd, Achave, Karnataka, India by Naveen Prabhu

We caught a bus back to civilization from there. Sirsi, major city in Uttara Kannada. We reached the Marikamba Temple at 8 in the night. It was beautiful. People were in Dasara fervour and the decorations and the lamps lit outside the house were making it bright. We had dinner at a local restaurant and decided to stay the night at temple lodge.

Photo of Marikamba Temple, Sirsi, Karnataka, India by Naveen Prabhu
Day 3

Banawasi and Chandragutti were on our list today. Banawasi, situated on the banks of Varada river is an old capital of Karnataka during the time of Kadamba dynasty. The age old monuments here have been preserved well. The sculptures in the Uma Madhukeshwara temple took us to the time when simple tools and extra-ordinary skills created marvels.

A stone tablet found among the ruins, now preserved in the temple

Photo of Banavasi, Karnataka, India by Naveen Prabhu

The temple has a great environment and they support photography

Photo of Banavasi, Karnataka, India by Naveen Prabhu

Nandi- The Big Bull at Uma Madhukeshwara temple. It's left eye is crossed as it is looking at Uma Devi in that direction.

Photo of Banavasi, Karnataka, India by Naveen Prabhu

The architecture of the temple comprises of 3 distinct styles - Satavahana, Kadamba and Chalukya.

Photo of Banavasi, Karnataka, India by Naveen Prabhu

Outer structure was a contribution of Chalukya.

Photo of Banavasi, Karnataka, India by Naveen Prabhu

The Entrance.

Photo of Banavasi, Karnataka, India by Naveen Prabhu

Uma- Madhukeshwara. (Madhu: Honey) The linga is honey coloured.

Photo of Banavasi, Karnataka, India by Naveen Prabhu

The temple is a 3 layered complex. The inner sanctuary was built by the Satavahana dynasty as early as 2nd Century. The middle complex with the stage for Narthakis (courtroom dancers) and the Nandi statue were built by Kadambas (325-500). The outer complex was built by Chalukyas of Badami.

The great Nandi looks at Madhukeshwara with one eye, and with the other it looks at Uma Idol in another direction. The wonder, however is the fact that the Uma Idol lies way across a labyrinth of pillars, and yet the eye of the Nandi is clearly visible from the idol without any obstruction.

This architectural brilliance is supposed to have come from the mind of "Amarashilpi Jakanachari" , a famed sculptor of Chalukya and Hoysala dynasty.

We caught a bus to Sagar from the bus stand and en route, went on a safari at Thavarekoppa Tiger and Lion reserve. Post lunch, we caught a bus to Chikmagalur. We knew we had arrived, when we saw the lush green valleys and feel the pleasant climate. After Booking a room at local Prakash Lodge, we went around the city at night.

Day 4

Called as the Daughter of Karnataka. Chikmagalur has vast greenery, most of which cultivate coffee since the weather is cloudy and heavy rains complement it's production.

We were to trek Mullaiyanagiri in the morning. There are only private buses available, which take you to Mullaiyanagiri from the city. The starting point Sarpadari (Snake's trail), is on the bus route to Bababudangiri and we asked the driver to stop us there. They warned us that many snakes and wild animals have been spotted in the region.

Great wall in the path ? Fear not, you'll find your way

Photo of Chikmagalur, Karnataka, India by Naveen Prabhu

Stopping for some water. Half-way there.

Photo of Chikmagalur, Karnataka, India by Naveen Prabhu

A view from the peak of Mullaiyanagiri

Photo of Chikmagalur, Karnataka, India by Naveen Prabhu

Nandi idol. Only Accessible while trekking

Photo of Chikmagalur, Karnataka, India by Naveen Prabhu

Finally.

Photo of Chikmagalur, Karnataka, India by Naveen Prabhu

Sarpadari. Your Journey begins Here

Photo of Chikmagalur, Karnataka, India by Naveen Prabhu

Another View from up there

Photo of Chikmagalur, Karnataka, India by Naveen Prabhu

The climb was pretty great. Don't forget to pack light. Water. Glucose and some biscuits as well. They say you need permission from Forest department. We didn't take any, met a cop and gave him a 100. Although, safety is a prime concern. Great experience trekking the crown jewel of Karnataka. Still gives me goosebumps.

We came down by the road and hitched a ride back to Kadur Cross. Siri Cafe is a nice place to chill, although it's very crowded. The Coffee there was great and place is built to attract tourists. There was a Shawarma joint close to the bus stand, it was brilliant. After belting, we turned ourselves in for the night. A day to remember.

Siri Cafe. Chikmagalur

Photo of Siri Cafe, Chickmagaluru, Karnataka, India by Naveen Prabhu

Asked him to pose.

Photo of Siri Cafe, Chickmagaluru, Karnataka, India by Naveen Prabhu
Day 5

The same bus, same time, next day. We left for Bababudangiri. The view on the way was spectacular. Floating cloudy sea upon lush green hills. Soon we reached Honnammana Halla. A small waterfall one the road to Bababudangiri.

On the Right, my brother Vishwas.

Photo of Backpacking across Uttara Kannada. When pocket change and public transport takes you a long way by Naveen Prabhu

Honnammana Halla

Photo of Backpacking across Uttara Kannada. When pocket change and public transport takes you a long way by Naveen Prabhu

Arms wide open. Calling us to Explore

Photo of Backpacking across Uttara Kannada. When pocket change and public transport takes you a long way by Naveen Prabhu

Best part of being on foot? You get to places you'd never even see from the car.

Photo of Backpacking across Uttara Kannada. When pocket change and public transport takes you a long way by Naveen Prabhu

Honnammana Halla is in a forest area, which is well known for medicinal herbs and trees which grow there. The small water body was a treat but we kept on our way, since we had a shortage of time.

One of the few places bridging the gap existing in the name of religion, Bababudangiri is sanctimonious to Hindus and Muslims alike. A beautiful place with an aura of peace surrounding it, it is said to be the Samadhi of Guru Dattatreya / Baba Budan. The place is usually crowded on the weekends.

Going ahead, we hiked along the Baba Budan range of hills and came across a plethora of breathtaking views. We showed up at Manikyadhara falls, only to see it crowded to the brim.

Bababudan Guru Dattatreya. One of those few places filling up the gap which exists in the name of religion.

Photo of Baba Budangiri, Nagenahalli, Karnataka by Naveen Prabhu

☮️

Photo of Baba Budangiri, Nagenahalli, Karnataka by Naveen Prabhu

Great local shopkeeper, Makes great bread omelette and was very sweet.

Photo of Baba Budangiri, Nagenahalli, Karnataka by Naveen Prabhu

A deep gorge lies beyond the grasslands. A vertical drop. Farms can be seen in the distance

Photo of Baba Budangiri, Nagenahalli, Karnataka by Naveen Prabhu

View near Manikyadhara falls.

Photo of Baba Budangiri, Nagenahalli, Karnataka by Naveen Prabhu

We head back on the bus from Bababudangiri. Finished our lunches and were on our way back to our homes.

It is a fact that traveling keeps you young at heart. After the 10-15kms walk everyday on this trip, I know I am. I'll be back with more.

What lies beyond today, must lie behind tomorrow.

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