The scent of the mud during rains, sipping on a glass of hot tea after getting fully drenched and the sound of onion pakoda being prepared while your eyes soak in the lush greenery is something that we experienced in Sakleshpur. After our successful monsoon trip of Kudremukh in 2018, more folks were interested to join us on the trip this year. For a relaxing weekend we booked a resort to laze around and decided on a few touristy places on the way.
The TT was supposed to pick the 10 of us on the Outer Ring Road. Long story short, the first pickup was at 4:15am near Banashankari on Saturday morning and we exited Bangalore from the famous Goraguntepalya junction at 6:45am (Yes the full BSK-SilkBoard-Hebbal ORR :P). We reached Kiccha Sudeep's Halli Mane hotel in Kunigal at around 8:30am. We were hungry and sleep deprived and after a bit of a wait we got a table. The food was good and I would recommend this place if you are traveling on the Hassan Highway. They have a combo with 6 different dishes which is recommended as you get to taste everything.
The weather was pleasant throughout with no sign of rain. The road between Hassan and Sakleshpur is being widened so the existing roads are not in a good condition which put us about 45 minutes behind schedule.
We reached the Manjarabad fort at around 11:45am when it started raining heavily.
If you are well prepared with raincoats and jackets then rain adds to your experience at the fort. You get to see the curving ghat roads as you climb up to the fort. There are about 80-100 steps to reach the fort.
The fort is star shaped but to get a good picture of the entire fort you would need a drone (good old DSLRs are now replaced by drones). I however did manage to take a panorama shot to capture the entire fort. When I had visited the fort couple of years back during summer the grass was all dried up and it was terribly hot. This time however it was a bit green and I think my mid August the entire fort will be green.
The fort has tiny rooms and the edges have guard towers where you can climb to get a better view!
Two of the folks wore the white fishing raincoat from Decathlon and as they walked through the fog/rain it looked like a ghost walking through the walls of the fort :D
The best sight here was the photoshoot where we watched this couple and their photographers running for shelter every few minutes when the rain reduced and poured again :D Oh and there is a notice that says you need to take permission before flying the drone or doing pre-wedding photoshoots.
We had booked a day package at the Kaduhithlu Resort which was in the middle of nowhere. The roads leading to the resort is narrow and you pass through some amazing views.
We reached the resort by 1:30pm for lunch. The resort is true to its name - Wake up by the mountain side. The photos do not do justice to how the place actually looked.
It apparently rained 18cms the weekend we were in Sakleshpur. We got drenched initially playing volleyball then jumped into their natural jacuzzi and finally got drenched as it poured when we were in the pool.
We finally got tired at around 6pm and they gave us hot chai and pakodas! You know how hotels provide WiFi only in the common areas, well we only got network (BSNL & Airtel) at this one spot near the dining hall. That too only to make calls and no internet. Such a blessing :) We had authentic local food for dinner and crashed for the night.. The effects of playing in the rain was visible through the night where most of us woke up with body pain :P
We had the trek scheduled for next morning at 6:30am but thanks to the weather we woke up late and started climbing at around 8am. We were given a guide and dropped to the start point which was about 2-3mins ride from the resort. The trek was amazing as it rained heavily most of the time. This was a fairly easy trek compared to the one in Kudremukh.
We finally reached a point where the rain stopped which I assumed was because we were above the clouds and the visibility got really low due to fog.
We could occasionally see the surrounding hills and greenery when the winds blew the fog away. Surprisingly I had full network with 4G on top of the hill. When I messaged wife from there she said it reminded her of the first episode of Stranger Things S3 where Dustin takes the gang on top of a hill so that he can radio his camp girlfriend :P
There were not many leeches but for precaution the resort guys had provided us with dettol (to apply before climbing) and salt (in case a leech manages to trek up your feet). We finally got back to the resort at around 10am for breakfast. We belted on the Neer Dosa and the coconut chutney and cold fresh cut watermelon. The plan was to visit Bisle Ghat view point before we head back to Bangalore but due to delay in checkout we started back to Bangalore at 12 noon from the resort. Sakleshpur bid us a teary goodbye as it couldn't stop raining until we passed the ghats on to the highway.
Since we had time to spare we decided to visit the Shettihalli Church near Hassan. When I say we, it was just the two of us as the rest of the folks were sleeping when we decided to take the detour :P The weather was pleasant so it was a good pit stop. The water in the dam was yet to fill up so the church was clearly visible and not submerged as we expected it to be.
We finally entered Bangalore around 7pm to reach home by 8:30pm :) It was a good trip and we look forward to doing this again during the monsoons next year :)
- Trip made possible by Nandeesh, Pradeep, Saurabh, Jithin, Suren, Basha, Arjun, Sourabha and Nirmala.