For a friend’s wedding four of us from office decided to visit Manipal. Around it, we planned a 3 day trip that would take us to few more places on the way. Subbu, G, S and I left Bangalore on the 18th of December on my i10 to Javagal first (Via Tumkur; maps through Google map). On the way I almost hit a dog but luckily it escaped being tagging me as a murderer. Rest of the way till the trip ended all the dogs bothered our drive by either barking at us or threatening to jump in front of the car.
In our quest of a short cut we took several U-turns and wrong directions and finally reached Javagal where a small Hoysala temple of Lord Lakshmi Naasimha, rests in semi ruin. The temple was closed so we only got a glimpse from outside.
From here we drove to Belavadi another magnificent Hosalya work of art. At the temple made of soap stone pillars beautifully carved are three idols – Veera Narayana, Venugopala and Yoga Narasimha. The temple priest was nice enough to explain the importance of the place. He informed us that on a particular day, the light from the morning sun enters directly to the main shrine. There are very few tourists here so the little time we spent here was very peaceful.
By afternoon we reached Chikamagalur and stopped at Hiremagalur Kodandarama Temple but it was closed. From a friend at office we got to know a hotel for lunch – Soundary paradise at chikamagalur. After some search and more U turns we finally had to settle with Soundarya Residency. The food was good. The drive after Chikamagalur was fantastic through Charmadi ghat. The roads here are far better than shiradi and are free from heavy trucks and buses.
We reached Ujire by 7:00 PM. Checked into a hotel and after a bad dinner crashed on to bed. In the morning we got up early and got ready by 7:00 AM and drove to GadaiKalu or Jamalabad fort base which is 8km from Belthangadi town and is 1788 ft above sea level. Beautiful view of Kudremukh mountain range and high steps made the trek both interesting and challenging.
The fort was built by Tipu Sultan in 1794 and named after his mother, Jamalabee. The fort is said to have been built over the ruins of an older structure. The fort was captured by the British in 1799 during the 4th Mysore war. Legend has it that those out of favor with Tipu were hurled down this fort to their death. (Such Tipu‘s drop are a feature in most hill-top forts built by Tipu.)
The view from the top was very interesting and after a short nap at the top we returned back. At base now, we had a forest guard who charges a fee for the trek that I realized was some extra money to his pocket as the receipt book he had, had no leaflets. He was informative on suggesting some other trekking spots around the area. We planned to drive to the Kambla happening there nearby but villagers told us that the event has ended already, so we returned back to the hotel, got ready and left to a temple in Suria, a place near Ujire but mistaken by us as Surya (Sun) temple.
The temple has a special thing about it. People make a wish and if it is full-filled they make a mud idol of the wish and offer it to the God. We returned after a short stay; drove to Mangalore. Had lunch at Palkhe and walked to my College – St. Aloysius College. We went to the chapel. The chapel was built in late 19th century and all the interior walls are painted. I was here after a long time, the last being while in college (1998).
Our next stop was Pabbas for some cool ice-creams and then to Suratkal, my house. We walked to the beach and relaxed there for a while before returning home for dinner.
Next morning, I drove to few nearby temples with Appa and Amma. After breakfast (Neer dosa and Pathrode) we drove to Udupi temple and then to Manipal for the wedding.
On our return journey we took the Agumbe-Shimoga route. The hair pin bends at Agumbe was very exciting. We stopped at the sunset point at afternoon and trekked a small distance to Jogagundi falls.
A small Kamat hotel on the way was a nice place for some fresh and good Golibaje, Mangalore buns and neer dosa. It was non-stop driving from here to Shimoga and then to Tumkur. After dinner at Kamat again, we returned back home. All together it was a great trip with lot of places visited, several things learnt, on various aspect. It was a trip that involved all the explorations of a good travel and with some redefine in perspective not just with the nature but with people around.