India on the Road

From Bangalore to Gokarna

19 JUNE 2016,
A tiger and a hippopotamus in Kadur
A tiger and a hippopotamus in Kadur

Route: Bangalore – Tumkur – Tiptur – Kadur – Shimoga – Sagar – Honavar – Gokarna
Distance: 500 Kms
Driving Time: 10 Hours
Notes: The state of Karnataka is one of the most easy-going and laidback of Indian states. Today the capital city of Bangalore has earned worldwide acclaim as the Silicon Valley of India due largely to its booming IT industry. Apart from IT and state of the art industries, Karnataka also boasts of some of the most interesting historic architecture in India. The rivers Krishna and Tungabhadra flow perennially through the state. Karnataka is a much preferred holiday destination due to its salubrious climate, immaculately landscaped gardens, cascading waterfalls and varied wildlife.

Karnataka is a state of stupendous dimensions with a history of over 1,500 years. The inquisitive traveler has the opportunity to explore the centuries old architectural wonders, take a leisurely stroll besides the grand monuments, become awestruck by the magnificent world heritage structures, investigate ancient rock-cut caves, dive deep into spiritual bliss and go back refreshed to take on the world.

Bangalore

The picturesque South Indian city of Bangalore is located at an altitude of 949m above sea level and is situated on the Deccan Plateau. Bangalore’s temperate climate has earned it the sobriquet of the “Air Conditioned City of India”. The city prides itself for its immaculately landscaped gardens, parks, wide tree-lined avenues, a plethora of flowering trees, shimmering lakes all of which has endeared the city to the discerning international traveler. It is among the best five Garden Cities of the world. The meteoric rise of the city from a sleepy pensioner’s heaven to the forefront of world’s technology (IT) is the stuff that dreams are made of. The city is home to all the big guns in the domain of IT and global corporations like IBM, Seimens, Cognizant, Dell etc… rub shoulders with domestic corporations like Infosys, Wipro and Satyam for a piece of the global software pie. Today, Bangalore is one of the most cosmopolitan cities of India and also the most liberal which finds expressions in the city’s many pulsating discotheques, happening pubs, shopping plazas and top rate multi cuisine restaurants and bars. The harmonious blend of cutting edge technology living in peaceful existence with the city’s rich virile past is unmatched by any other cities in India, nay the whole of Asia.

What to See:

Bangalore Palace, Cubban Park, State Assembly Hall, High Court Building, Lalbagh, Fort, Tipu Sultan’s Summer Palace, Bull Temple.

Where to Stay:

Bangalore STD: 080
ITC Hotel Windsor Sheraton & Towers, (22269898), Taj West End (22255055), The Park (25594666), Le Meredien (22262233), Royal Orchid (25205566), Hotel Ista (25558888), The Chancery Pavilion (41414141), Leela Palace (25211234), Grand Ashok (30527777), Taj Residency (25584444), The Oberoi (25585858).

Where to Eat:

Here Idli, Dosa and Sambhar compete with McDonalds, Kentucky Fried Chicken and Barista. Some of Bangalore’s most popular eating joints are - Bangalore Mandarin, Bar & Restaurant, La Casa, Lotus, Sunny's, Nilgiri's Cafe, 1498 AD, Abirami, Caesars, Coorg, The Royal Afghan.

What to Buy:

Bangalore offers a whole new world of shopping experience. With the presence of glitzy shopping malls to the emporiums that sell a variety of handicraft items, shopping in Bangalore is truly an international experience. The main shopping districts of Bangalore are located at Brigade Road, Commercial Street and MG Road. Shopping complexes like Shrungar, Barton Court, Spencer’s the Coir Board Showroom, Saree Kemp and Cauvery Arts are great shopping destinations.

Tumkur

From Bangalore city, exit via NH 4 (Tumkur Road) towards Yashantpur and a brisk 68 Kms. drive will bring you to the quaint town of Tumkur. Tumkur is one of Karnataka’s busiest towns and a lot of industries have set up their units here. The town is blessed with fascinating natural vistas consisting of undulating hills, shimmering streams and lush green vales.

The golden crowns for some of India’s most renowned beauty pageants like Miss India – Universe, Miss India – World and Miss India – Earth are manufactured in Tumkur that is sponsored by “Tanishq”.

The climate of Tumkur is very much like Bangalore, neither too hot nor too cold.

What to See:

Guluru Ganesh Temple, Dravidian style Kaidala Chennakeshava Temple, Sri Siddaganga Mutt, Namadha Chilume, Devarayana Durga, Bhoga Narasimha Swami Temple, Goravanahalli Maha Lakshmi Temple, Kote Anjeneya Swami Statue.

Where to Eat:

Woodlands Hotel, Nanjundeshwara Hotel, Dwarka Hotel, Hotel Hutt and Hotel Ashoka serve delectable South Indian and Tandoori fare. Some even serve Chinese cuisine.

Tiptur

From Tumkur to Tiptur is a 73 Kms. drive along NH-206 via Gubbi. It is at an elevation, which is all of 861 meters. Tiptur is a bustling commercial town of Karnataka and is renowned for its “Copra” (Dried Coconut) that is even exported abroad.

There is quite a bit of history attached to Tiptur. There is a village named Honnavalli in Tiptur, which is believed to have been built by one Mr. Someshwaraya and legend has it that the family deity appeared in his dream and asked him to build an ideal Kannada village in her name.

On the hindsight, the renowned Kannada film actor Narasimharaju hailed from Tiptur.

What to See:

Aralaguppe, Chennakeshava Temple, Temple of Bhagwan Parshwanatha, Sri Anjaneya Swami Temple, Sri Kempamma Devi Temple, Sri kalleshwara Swamy Temple, Sri Mallikarjuna Swamy Temple, Anivala, Lakshmi Narashimha Temple and the Inscriptions.

Where to Eat:

Most hotels and restaurants in Tiptur offer the standard South Indian specialties like Dosa, Idli, Vada, etc… and there is not much of a choice.

Kadur

From Tiptur continue on NH-206 all the way to Kadur (66 Kms). This small Karnataka town is situated in the district of Chickmagalur. In the past, Kadur was an integral part of Mysore state. A vast area of Kadur consists of the hills and some of South India’s breathtaking mountain vistas can be savored here. Kudremaukh peak (6215 Feet) and the Meruti Gudda (5451 feet) are absolutely awesome. Lush evergreen forest cover of Kadur is home to some of the rarest varities of teak as well as other tree species, that provide some of the finest quality of Timber in the region. The Tungabhadra river, which happens to be a tributary of the Krishna flows perennially through Kadur. During the British Raj, coffee plantation was first introduced sometime in the 1800’s.

What to See:

Kudremaukh peak (6215 Feet), the Meruti Gudda (5451 feet) and Baba Budangiri hills.

Where to Eat:

Roadside eating joints that serve traditional South Indian fare. They are moderately priced and hygienic.

Shimoga

From Kadur continue on NH 206 to Shimoga, which is located at a distance of 69 Kms. The city is centrally located in the heart of the Karnataka state and also happens to be a district headquarters. The shimmering Tunga river flows through much of the city.

Historically the city served as the southernmost part of Emperor Ashoka’s Mauryan Empire. This historic city was ruled at different times by different rulers like – the Kadambas, the Chalukayas, the Rashtrakutas, etc…
A major portion of Shimoga consists of the hills of the Western Ghats. Shimoga’s art scene is vibrant and it is popularly referred to as the cultural cauldron of Karnataka and one of the city’s popular dance-drama act is the “Yakshagana”.

What to See:

Gajanaur hills, Koodli (confluence of Tunga and Bhadra rivers), Lion Safari, The Guddekal temple, Basaveshwara temple, the cathedral of Sacred Heart, Gandhi Park, Kuvempu Rangamandira, Ambedkar Bhawan and the old Tunga bridge.

Where to Stay:

Hotel Surya Comforts, Hotel Jewel Rock, Mathgura Residency, Vihangama Holiday Retreat, Inchara, River Tern Lodge, Adventurer’s Campsite, Navratna Hotel, Sanman Hotel, Shanta Hotel, Rain Hotel, Atithi Hotel.

Where to Eat:

Apart from roadside eating joints that serve typical South Indian fare, the up-market hotels have their exclusive in-house multi cuisine restaurants that serve a variety of dishes ranging from Chittinad cuisine to the North Indian Tandoori fare.

What to Buy:

Wood carvings and Sandalwood sculptures.

Sagar

From Shimoga continue on NH 206 to Sagar, which is located at a distance of 78 Kms. Sagar is renowned for its Sandalwood and Ivory. This town is located located in the Shimoga district and falls within the impressive Western Ghats.
Sagar is renowned for its Arecanut and Beetlenut. The spices of Sagar too are very much in demand….Pepper, Clove, Cinnamon, Nutmeg, etc… The town is the dwelling place of the “Gudigars” who excel in sandalwood and ivory carving, so much so that both of them have evolved into small scale industries. Scenes of the hardworking and artistic “Gudigars” at work in their hutments greet visitors to Sagar.

What to See:

Mahaganapati Temple, Marikamba Temple, Keladi, Ikkeri, Kalasi, Varadapura, Honnemaradu, Holebaagilu, Sigandooru, Jog Falls.

What to Buy:

Some of the popular souvenirs that one may buy at Sagar are – sandalwood and ivory carvings, idols, figurines as well as penholders, incense stick stands and other knick-knacks.

Where to Eat:

Hotel Sabhlok located at Gujrati Bazar is ideal. For the usual South Indian fare, there are many roadside restaurants to choose from.

Honavar

From Sagar to Honavar is a brisk 81 Kms. drive on the NH 206. From a historical perspective, mention of Honavar is found in the 10th century Jain Ramayana and Abu-Al-Fida, the celebrated Arab traveler too has mentioned about this place in his memoirs. During the days of the British Raj, Honavar used to be a busy seaside port and a thriving commercial hub.

What to See:

Sharavathi Bridge (longest in Karnataka), Apsara Konda Falls, Apsara Konda Hill,

Where to Eat:

Traditional South Indian Thali meals are available at all the eating joints of Honavar.

What to Buy:

Traditional jewelry and handicraft items.

Gokarna

As you drive on the last leg of your journey from Honavar to Gokarna (65 Kms), at Honavar, change to NH 17 via Kumta.

Gokarna is a coastal city replete with lush green forests. The name Gokarna according to the local folklore is steeped in mythology. The “Purana” describes Rudra or Lord Shiva who took his rebirth from out of the ear of the Goddess Devi Jagadamba and thus the name Gokarna. Gokarna is renowned for its Sanskrit Education Centre.

At Gokarna the coastal beach of Ankola is worth visiting which is conspicuous by its 15th century old Fort and the Temple of Venkataraman. Two wooden chariots of the temple have carvings that date back to the Ramayana epic.

What to See:

Kootlee beach, Om Beach, Half Moon Paradise beach, Mahabaleswar Temple, Ganpati temple and the Bhadrakali temple.

Where to Stay:

The hotels in Gokarna may not be up-market, but they provide comfortable accommodation with clean linens, great window views and hygienic food. Some of the popular hotels of Gokarna are – the hilltop Hotel Mayura Samudra run by KSTDC which is much preferred by the discerning visitors, Om Hotel, Nimmu Guest House, Vaibhav Niwas, Pitrichhayadham Lodge, Hotel Shastri and Prasad Nilaya.

Where to Eat:

Some of the popular restaurants in Gokarna are – Prema, Pai Hotel, Shri Raghvendra Hotel, Hotel Vinaya, Vishwa Niwas, Kinara Hotel and Shri Shakti Cold Drinks. All of them serve vegetarian dishes.

What to Buy:

Traditional beads, chillums and lamps.