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Monday, February 8, 2010

     We a team of five Myself, Ganesh, Murali, Sanjay & Siva left majestic on Friday (5th Feb 2010) night in Kuppalli rajahamsa bus to Thirthahalli. For every one of us this Ghat was new. So not-much information was available about Ghat, route, lunch point, camping point, etc.

     By 7AM we reached Thirthahalli, which a typical Maln
DSC04806-1ad town. It was a beautiful clear sunny morning. Behind bus-stand, there is neatly maintained public toilet, where we finished our morning activities and opposite to Bus stand there is a hotel, where we had Coffee & Buns (local delicacies, it’s really good). And we walked to Mayura hotel to have breakfast. This on Agumbe Road, 10 mints walk from Bus stand.Breakfast was really good. (Road opposite of Hotel will lead to Thunga river. But it is not a good place for bathing).
Our next destination was Mastikatte. Not many busses are there in that route. 7:15am, 7:45am, 9:10am, 10:10am, 11:30am & 1:00pm. So please plan accordingly. To Mastikatte its around 35km, 75mins journey. We caught 10:10am bus, and reached Mastikatte by 11:30am journey was too good, as road was between jungle and we could see many big lakes/dam backwater. From Mastikatte it is only 1.5km walk to Hulikal, but it was difficult under sun as there was no tree cover. In Hulikal, we went to Ganesh Bhat hotel, it is like a village home restaurant. We ordered (gave our Menu) lunch and went for bath at Varahi river, which is just 10-mint walk
DSC04860-1 from Hotel. It is backwater of Varahi Project. Actually around that area there are 18 dams built for Varahi Hydroelectric Project. Advised not go deep in water, because of silt. We finished lunch by 2pm. It was home meal on banana leaf. We started our trek to Hulikal Ghat @ 2:15pm.  Hulikal Ghat starts from Hulikal and ends in Hosangadi. Total Ghat distance is 15km. Just 2km walk from hotel, we got Forest check post. Road left to check post will go to Dam (8km one way).  Forest Officer Manjunath gave some info about the Ghat, and wished us for safe journey. Two more km walk leads to Chandikamba Temple. This place called Balebare, so the Balebare Ghat. It is a beautiful temple which surrounds thick forest. Avalakki Prasada is available for 10\- which is really superb. Also free Lunch is available here. From here it is just 10km to Hosangadi (Ghat end point). We went down by 5:30pm. In Hosangadi entrance left road will go to Varahi Project , but now-a-days due to terrorist threat, entry is blocked for public. Hosangadi is a small town, and entrance to South Kendra. From here we caught a bus back to Hulikal, and ordered dinner (chapattis) in Bhattre Mane. We went to River side to set up campfire. We had chapattis in front for camp fire and enjoyed the night in open nature.Morning, we got up late. We had bath in Varahi river. By 10am we finished breakfast in DSC04855-1Battara Mane. We had Avalakki, Khali Dosa and Neer Dosa for breakfast. Always we have to try local delicacies, which will be really good.We walked 1.5km to Mastikatte. From Mastikatte we got bus to ‘Nagara’. And in one more bus to ‘Sigandoor’ (via Nittur and Marakut aka, which is starting point of Kodachadri Trek). Sigandoor is a famous place because of Chamundi Temple. Sigandoor is just 60km from Nagara, but takes 2hours to reach. There is a Hotel here to have Lunch.  From here we caught one more bus to ‘Sagara’. This route is very special as bus will be loaded on a barge to cross Sharavathi river. Just 2km from Sigandoor, we get Sharavathi river. Due to very big Linganamakki Dam, Sharavathi river back water has submerged thousands of acres of forest. And this Sagara road is also cut by Sharavathi backwater. River here is more than 2km wide, which we will cross on a Barge (busses, cars etc will be loaded on barge), which takes 15-20mints. A really superb view, which cant be explained in words. Wherever we see, its full blue water, like a sea. One can spend time in Sharavathi backwater, but we should not go further into river, as it is extremely dangerous (it is 124feet deep in the middle). We boarded same bus to Sagara, from here it is 2hours journey.
By 4pm we were in
DSC04862-1 Sagara., which is a big town. We reserved our return  journey tickets to Bangalore, in night bus from Shimoga. We had Lunch here. As we had time we visited Keladi, there is a famous Shiva Temple and a very big pond. We reached Shimoga, got our night bus to Bangalore. Totally this was a very different trek covering many new things. Many thanks for all, making this a memorable event.
Best plan is to go to Hulikal directly in Night Bus, put all your luggage @ Bhattre Mane (house), order Breakfast, go to River for Bath. After bath one can visit famous Lakshminarasimha Temple (opposite to Hotel). After breakfast you can start Hulikal Ghat trek only with water bottle. Do down to Hosangadi. Then again walk back to Balebare Temple, have Lunch at Bale Bare Temple ( or catch a bus to Temple). Spend time in Varahi Back water, have dinner at Battra Mane. Put a camp fire near river and enjoy nature. Next day morning leave early, proceed to Sigandoor (Sharavathi Backwaters), via Mastikatte, Nagara, and Nittur. Spend time in Sharavathi River, and by evening go to Sagara. From here back to Bangalore on night bus via Shimoga. Direct Busses are also available to Bangalore from Sagara. Both onward and backward journey tickets can be booked accordingly.

     Keladi is a special place in the history of Karnataka. Keladi dynasty, starting from 1499, they ruled for 263 years, under example setDSC04947-1 by Vijayanagar rulers. Famous ruler Dodda Sankanna Nayaka took pilgrimage to North India, where he took possession of Kashi Viswanatha Temple from Muslim Officers, got rebuild the Kashi Viswanatha Temple in 1585. He built many Mutts in Delhi, Kapiladhara, Gaya, Nepal. (In many mutts even today Kannada epigraphs can be seen). One more famous ruler Shivappa Nayaka, known for his efficiency and diplomacy. He introduced tax system, was known for “Shivappa’s Shistu”. Famous Queen Chennamma was a ruler of Keladi, known for intelligence, foresight, courage and bravery. In 1763 Hyder Ali of Mysore attacked and accessed Keladi. There were many Capitals, first was Keladi, then Ikkeri, Nagara, Bidanur, and Bhuvanagiridurga or Kavaludurga.)
Next Ghat walk to explore Bisile Ghat……coming soon…

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Written by: Ambareesh Karanth 
Event organized by: Ambareesh Karanth
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