Gateway to Malnad

25th Dec 2015

Shimoga/Shivamogga was in my travel list from a very long time but some how it did not materialize. Adamant that it should happen before 2015 ends,took a late night bus from Bangalore and reached the destination by 5:30 am the next day. There are also trains available to reach Shimoga.

Day 1- After having a delicious breakfast at Meenakshi Bhavan (idly/vada, avalakki/mandakki- famous in this place, open dosa) we started off on our journey to Sigandur Chowdeshwari Temple. Since it was a full moon day there was a huge crowd. We had to cross the Sharavathi river by launch (the launch ticket was just Rs 1/- :)) and walked a long distance. There are jeeps and buses which ply to the temple, but beware you would be fighting a losing battle (read as- literally have to fight/push for your seat). All in all there would be about 20 people in a single jeep and more than 100 in a bus, since it was a full moon day/long weekend had to experience this. Took us about 3 hours to complete the darshan.

There is also Tyavarekoppa Lion and Tiger reserve and Sakrebailu Elephant Camp- We couldn't make it to these places on time so had to skip them

Lunch done we reached the second highest plunge waterfall in India- Jog Falls. Unfortunately there was not much water, there were a pair of thin streams falling down the cliff. This place is at its best during monsoon. Nearby is the Linganmakki Dam across river Sharavathi. This had been operational way long back and was the largest hydroelectric stations in India at that time.

We also visited Ikkeri which is 6km from the town of Sagara. This place is well known for its splendid temple complex. The Aghoreshvara temple is the most famous structure in Ikkeri.

There is the Sanskrit Village of India- Mattur which is about 8km from Shimoga. It is the only village in India where most of the residents use Sanskrit as a medium of language.

There is also an Ashram- Shri Sridhara Swami Ashram located in the village of Varadahalli. This ashram is located on a hill surrounded by greenery. There are 300 steps from the base of the hill to the ashram. This place is away from the hustle-bustle of everyday life.

Day 2- This day was more or less a pilgrimage day as we had only temples in our itinerary.

Off we started at 8AM to Hornadu- Goddess Annapoorneshwari temple which is located in the midst of thick forests and valleys. The name Annapoorneshwari signifies-"Feeding one and all". Anybody who visits this temple is provided food (Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner). After having a sumptuous meal at the temple we proceeded to Sringeri Sharada Peetha. This is on the banks of Tunga river in Chikkamagulur district. Aadi Sankaracharya established the Sarada Peetham here in the 1st millennium CE, and installed an image of Sarada with a Sri Chakra in front of her, and started the Bharati Sampradaya to propagate the philosophy of non dualism.

There are also other shrines dedicated to Shakti Ganapathi, Aadi Shankara, Bhuvaneshwari here.

With this our trip came to an end with memories unlimited. Glad I could make it to Shimoga before the start of 2016.

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