Journey through Malnad (MalenaaDu) – Part 1

The year 2018 broke several records for crazy rains. However, for me, it’s been a rather dry year in terms of travel. Several things have conspired to keep me in the city for quite some time now – sometimes down sick at home, otherwise shuttling between home and office. In the last couple of weeks, I managed a couple of journeys through the beautiful malnad (malenaaDu) region of Karnataka – thus I beat my travel drought.

Bangalore is lucky to have good connectivity to the malnad region, surrounding the western ghats. A journey through malnad is the perfect soothe for the agitated mind and body of us city folks. Driving your own vehicle is the perfect way to enjoy this journey – stop wherever necessary, whenever necessary and for any duration of time.  I’ll walk through how I spent 6 days, over 2 weekends visiting places in the Malnad region – over the course of the next couple of blog posts.

Day 1 – Bangalore to Sagara

The idea was to make a homestay near Jog Falls as the base and visit nearby places. The journey to Sagara itself was eventful. Having learnt of an ancient temple from the Hoysala period nearby to our route, we had Google lead us to it. A short deviation from our route landed us in the beautiful Channakeshava temple at Hullekere (near Gandasi). This was one of the less pillaged and better maintained of the Hoysala temples in the area. The small-yet-majestic temple bears strong testimony to the exquisite craftsmanship of the Hoysala-era architects. The local priest performs pooja every morning and evening. We were surprised that we were the only ones at the temple – looks like its not on the popular tourist map yet.

Facade of the Hullekere Channakeshava temple
The single gopura at the temple

Moving ahead, it was pretty much non-stop to our homestay near Talaguppa – Matthuga. Having reached late-afternoon, we debated a bit on which place to visit that day. We decided to drive along the Jog – Honnavara highway and look for vantage points for a good view of the Sharavathi valley. The road itself is patchy at best, and the vantage points were hard to come by. The same Google which led us so nicely to that offbeat temple earlier in the day, seemed to be failing us here. There was one enticing “Sharavathi valley viewpoint” marked on the maps, which might as well have been called “Sharavathi valley trough”. Bummed, we trudged along a bit further to find a dilapidated structure with a small flight of steps leading to some sort of a view point. The view from here was very nice, though almost every passing vehicle stopped and people came up to have a look. As daylight faded, one could see the lights of the Sharavathi power generation plant in the distance.

View of the Sharavathi river valley with the hydro-electricity plant in the distance

Day 2 – Jog Falls to Honnavara

In the morning, we made a customary visit to Jog Falls – the crown jewel of the Malnad region. In case you scrolled ahead and did not see any images of Jog falls – that’s because there was hardly any water in the falls – pity! Though the monsoon is bountiful this year, it seems that most of the water is locked up in the reservoir upstream to harness that for hydro electricity. Instead, we focused more on some of the lovely rice fields and water streams by the roadside what we had observed the previous day. The time was right for the rice fields to be lush green and the weather only added to the beauty quotient.

Wild flowers and rice fields
Soothing shades of green
A small roadside stream of water

Our eventual destination for the day was the railway bridge over the Sharavathi river near Honnavara. We visited another place before we got to the railway bridge – called Apsarakonda. I will not talk about this place, because it was pretty much a small waterfall which was being used like a shower by a whole bunch of dudes. Talk about naming a place wrong :). We ditched the place and immediately headed to the railway bridge. It took quite a bit of effort in locating the place which we were interested in. A lot of directions sought from locals, Google maps and perhaps some luck too – but finally we got there. The railway bridge carries trains commuting over the Konkan railway route over river Sharavathi. It’s about 2 KMs long and also has a walkway for people. Lots of locals prefer to walk across this bridge instead of taking the road route, which is a good 15 KMs. A 20 minute walk over this bridge got us to a tunnel and a short climb to get over this tunnel got us to the place where we wanted to be.

View from the railway bridge walkway
A goods train approaches
View of the whole railway bridge

… To be continued

2 Comments

  1. SGL MURTHY

    Very nice and beautiful pics and article..Very useful..keep it up

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