Come June and it is time for Indian Monsoons. This is also the best time to see Western ghats and experience rain especially in the Malnad region of Thirthahalli in Karnataka. It is still unexplored and receives the second highest rainfall in India. This is THE place for someone who wants to experience Indian monsoons in full glory.
We would recommend you to make Thirthahalli as base (Thirthahalli
) - it is centrally located and has good stay options - and you can comfortably plan for four to five days of outing. It is a sleepy little town in rural Karnataka. Thirthahalli and its surroundings is also an area which receives heavy rain fall.
Having been to Thirthahalli and surroundings many times, here is a recommended itinerary. Of course, this region can be visited throughout the year if you don't want to get wet in the torrential rain! The season between October to March is the best when there is a nip in the air, mist on the mountains and a chance to see glorious sunrises and sunsets.
This itinerary is basically for a road trip from Bangalore. If you don't intend to drive, don't worry. You have an excellent option of taking a night train from Bangalore to Shimoga and ask your host to arrange for a pick up at Shimoga railway station. Shimoga to Thirthahalli is a beautiful and picturesque drive of an hour. If you are a person who loves bus journeys, you have option to catch a direct night bus from Bangalore to Tirthahalli.
A complete list to experience and enjoy monsoon in India can be read by clicking this link - Celebrating Indian Monsoon - A List!
Here is the itinerary. Hope you come back soaked with myriad experiences of monsoon!
Day 1 - Bangalore - Thirthahalli
Total Distance - 339 KMs
- Leave Bangalore in the morning and reach Thirthahalli for Lunch.
- It is a comfortable six hours drive.
- Have breakfast enroute either at Tiptur (Kamat Restaurant) or Arsikere (Raghavendra Lodge) or Kadur (Vinayaka Cafe) or Birur (Preethi Canteen for best Butter Masala Dosa).
- On the way visit Amritapura - five KMs from Tarikere - for its famous Hoysala temple.
- In the evening go around Thirthahalli town, visit Bheemanakatte for a quiet evening by Tunga river.
|Lovely sand banks on Tunga river in Bheemanakatte|
Day 2 - Tirthahalli - Kundadri - Agumbe - Thirthahalli
Total distance - 80 KMs
- Experience the fury of rain and wind on Kundadri - A Small hillock on the way to Agumbe. You can drive up the hill and enjoy panoramic view. You may take a look at Kundadri pictures in our post on Monsoon drive here.
- Visit Agumbe Rainforest research station and learn about King Cobra and wildlife in Western Ghats
- Enjoy the cascades of Jogi gundi and Koodlu Theertha waterfalls
- Walk on the streets where Swami and his friends walked in Malgudi Days!
- Return back to Tirthahalli in evening.
- You may not be able to see beautiful sunset at Agumbe during monsoons which is possible in winters and summer
|Monsoon sky as seen from Kundadri hill|
Day 3 - Thirthahalli - Sringeri - Horanadu - Kuppali - Thirthahalli
Total distance - 185 KMs
- A beautiful drive.
- Have early breakfast in the place of your stay or better have a good South Indian breakfast at Sringeri. Visit historical temple of Goddess Sharada.
- Walk over the bridge on Tunga river and visit Shankaracharya's Ashram - don't miss seeing Award winning architecture of Sanskrit Pathashala.
- Drive to Horanadu. Visit the famous temple of Goddess Annapoorneshwari at the foothills of mountains
- Have lunch in temple.
- After lunch drive back to Tirthahalli and on the way after Koppa, visit the beautifully restored heritage house of great Kannada poet KUVEMPU as a memorial for him at Kuppali - good signage is there. Trek to "Kavi Shyla" a small hill - ten minutes trek - adjoining to the memorial to see "Stonehenge" kind of structure done by well known artist K T Shivaprasad.
- Enjoy the beautiful view of Sahyadris from the top.
- Return back to Tirthahalli
|Heritage home of Poet Laureate Kuvempu in Kuppalli|
Day 4 - Thirthahalli - Kollur - Thirthahalli
Total distance - 167 KMs
- After early breakfast drive to Kollur.
- Enjoy the beautiful drive through mountains/valleys
- Visit temple dedicated to Goddess Mookambika.
- Return to Tirthahalli for late lunch
|Valley views on the way to Kollur|
Day 5 - Tirthahalli - Kavaledurga - Mani Dam - Nagara Fort - Tirthahalli
Total distance - 114 KMs
- Kavaledurga is a hillock fort close to Tirthahalli with amazing views of Mani dam backwaters and valleys.
- After breakfast head towards Kavaledurga.
- Climb the the hill fort - it has steps - enjoy the views.
- Drive to Nagara fort
- Drive to Mani dam on the way back and view beautiful backwaters formed by the dam.
- Return to Tirthahalli for late lunch.
- After lunch and rest visit Chippalagudde, a picnic spot on Tunga river
|Nagar fort looks beautiful in Monsoon|
Day 6 - Tirthahalli - Kodachadri - Tirthahalli
Total distance - 138 KMs
- Trekking of Kodachadri in Monsoons is only for experienced trekkers.
- Also visit beautiful Hittalamane falls at the foot hills.
- In non monsoon season, one can enjoy amazing sunset from this peak.
|Sunrise @ Kodachadri|
Day 7 - Thirthahalli - Mandagadde bird sanctuary - Sakrebailu elephant camp - Gajanur dam - Tyavarekoppa Lion safari - Thirthahalli
Total distance - 140 KMs
- This can be done as a comfortable day trip. This trip is specially for Kids who will enjoy bathing elephants and seeing lions and tigers at close quarters.
- Leave early with packed breakfast.
- Visit Sakrebailu elephant camp. Watch how the mahouts bathe and train elephants. Allow kids to play with some baby elephants including bathing them
- After breakfast, drive to Tyavarekoppa lion safari which is ten KMs from Shimoga. On the way stopover at Gajanur dam to enjoy beautiful vistas of backwaters of Tunga river
- Enjoy lion safari and have lunch in Shimoga. Visit Shivappa Nayaka's palace in city.
- Drive back to Tirthahalli.
- Stop over at Mandagadde bird sanctuary on the way for some bird watching.
|A baby elephant enjoying bath in the camp!|
Day 8 - Thirthahalli - Sagara - Jog falls - Thirthahalli
Total distance - 220 KMs
- After breakfast drive to Jog falls, the tallest waterfalls in Asia
- On the way back visit famous temple at Ikkeri on the outskirts of Sagara.
- Have lunch in Sagara.
- Return to Tirthahalli
|Jog falls in full glory|
Day 9 - Return to Bangalore after Breakfast
If you want to extend your trip after experiencing monsoon, here are some interesting Deviations
- If one wants to visit Udupi, then they can deviate from Agumbe or Kollur.
- If one wants to Murdeshwar and beyond, one can do so after Jog falls. Also there is a nice trek of Kanur fort from Jog falls for which one has to stay near Jog falls.
- Tirthahalli and surroundings experience heavy rainfall during monsoon. Take proper rain gear.
- Make sure your car is in good condition. Check condition of tyres.
- Always check locally for latest road condition. Your host will be of help.
- You can hire a car at Tirthahalli for doing trips.
- Plan your itinerary based on number of days you can spare.
- While trekking or walking in monsoon, you may suffer leech bite. Don't worry. It is a minor hiccup.
There are good home stays in and around Tirthahalli which provide nice accommodation with excellent meals. We have stayed at Bananki (http://www.banankihomestay.com/
) and the Malnad cuisine served by them is awesome. A very good home stay.
For more stay options, you may visit Travelmalnad
which lists home stays in Tirthahalli.
Malnad - Is a shortened form of "Maley Nadu" meaning the region with rainfall. "Maley" in Kannada Language means Rain
Western ghats - Mountain ranges in peninsular India. A UNESCO World heritage site.
Hoysala - Medieval dynasty who ruled vast parts of South India. Famous for building artistically brilliant temples.
Malgudi Days - Iconic Indian television serial
Ashram - Monastery
Pathshala - School
Sahyadri - Another name for Western Ghats
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