One of our family friend came up with proposal of north Karnataka tour in Christmas holidays and we decided to go for it and in all three families were ready for the tour. So when people going for the tour were confirmed our next step was to finalize the tour dates which was in all a major task..as we had to consider everybody’s leave (as we all are working) and children school holidays. Christmas vacation for children was starting from 25th December – only thing was we had to apply leave for our Children in their school for 3 days. Then we contacted our tour manager to make all necessary arrangements for travel and accommodation. We were provided with a Tempo traveler( 13 seater) + driver for travel and booking vouchers of hotels by our tour manager. Everything was ready and we all were set to go for Uttara Kannada tour. In all we were three families – 6 Adults + 4 children.
Day 1 – we started at 6 AM (chilly Saturday morning) from Wakad. Our first destination was Dandeli which is approx. 445 km. We all were shivering and were looking for cup of tea. We took a stop at Hotel Ruchi near Satara – a much needed refreshment. Our journey started after breakfast…all with singing songs…cracking jokes…eating snacks. We reached Belgaum some time around 12 in the noon and still it was 3 hrs drive from there to Dandeli. We were late as per the scheduled time. We were supposed to reach Dandeli by 1 PM but we reached there at 3 PM.
Dandeli is surrounded by thick jungle with River Kali dashing through furiously. . This is the only place in South India where tourists are offered white water rafting.
We had a booking at Kali Adventure Camp – for 3 river view tents. We checked-in at 3 PM, lunch was ready – we all were hungry so first we had lunch. Then one of the representative from Kali told us that and Jungle Safari was planned at 4.00 PM but we reached late so our Safari has been planned for next day morning at 5.30 AM which was fine with us.
The Kali representative took us to our river view tents – and it was amazing. Very neat and clean and beautifully located on the banks of river Kali. I just loved it.
After getting freshen up we went for boating – in circular boats – Indian coracles . It was fun riding through it. Person who was sailing boat asked us to maintain silence and not make any noise as there were crocodiles in the water and we could spot one… if we made no noise. We were like what…are u kidding us..? We got afraid as we do not know swimming and what if crocodile attacks us…so many questions were running through our minds. Then the person told us they don’t attack if their stomach is full. But if they hear any noise or see us then they will go in water and we will not able to see them. So we kept quite… we saw one crocodile lying in a rock…relaxing. We were excited and our children started making noise as they saw it…and it went into water before I was able to capture it in my camera. That was a big disappoint for me. The person told us in range of 10 KM there 200 crocodiles in this water. Then it was time to look at different birds on the trees and bank of river. We saw many hornbills, then we saw Kingfisher – what a sight. We saw few other birds I don’t even know names of them. Overall it was a very nice boat ride.
After boat ride Kali Adv. Camp took us for short nature walk and gave us information about the trees and timber and reserved forest area and all. After that they arranged camp fire and barbeque for us followed by dinner. We had to go to sleep early as we had safari planned at 5.30 in the morning.
Day 2: We got wake-up call from one of the representative at 5 AM in the morning. We had tea and all were ready by 5.30 AM. Safari area was 22 KMs away from the resort. We went in open jeep..it was dark around and it was very cold. As we reached jungle..at the gate our cameras were checked and we were asked to turn flash off as animals get afraid of camera’s flash light. We all were looking around if could see any animal…and at first we spotted a deer. Then we spotted a peacock. While returning back we spotted few more deer’s . That’s it. We were not lucky enough to spot tiger, leopard , elephant …etc., By 8 AM we were back to our resort.
We had our breakfast. There were few adventurous games like rope climbing, Burma bridge crossing, climbing up machan…etc in the resort we spent some time playing around it. Overall it was nice experience at Kali Adv. Camp at Dandeli. Our plan was to check out at 11 AM, so we checked out in time…all were ready in time.
Our next stop was at VenkatRaman temple at Kumta on the way to Gokarna. This temple is located in the middle of the town…so the roads are very narrow. At first we felt like…is there really any temple..? But then found it. This temple is dedicated to Lord Venkatesh and Goddess Padmavathi. Idol of lord Venkatesh in this temple is very beautiful, you feel very pleased after looking at this idol. The story behind this temple is that “Idol of Lord Venkatesh was brought here by a learned Sanyasi and before his pilgrimage to northern India, he installed the idol in this temple. Since then, this town saw all round progress and this temple was renamed as Venkatraman Temple. Now it is a holy center for innumerable devotees of the community in and around Kumta”.
Dandeli to Gokarna was 3 hours drive. All the way drive was through Jungle, roads were not in very good condition so speed was very limited. It was 2 PM and we all were hungry so we were looking for good restaurant. As it was all way through Jungle it was very difficult to find one. Google helped us to find nearest restuarant and we found one Kamat Restaurant. We had our lunch and proceeded to Gokarna. Gokarna is famous for Mahabaleshwar temple and OM beach. Here is the very famous interesting story behind this temple. We reached Gokaran at 5 PM..took darshana and visited OM beach. Om beach is named so because it is shaped like the auspicious ॐ (OM) symbol. Om beach is the only naturally Om shaped beach.
After spending some time on OM beach we left for Murudeshwar and reached Murudeshwar by 7 in the evening. Murudeshwar is famous for worlds second tallest Shiva statue, Murudeshwara Temple and Raja Gopura. The temple and the huge statue is surrounded on three sides by the waters of the Arabian sea.
The main temple Murudeshwara of lord shiva was closed by the time we reached their so we directly went up at the foot of huge statue of lord Shiva. This statue is surrounded by many other beautiful sculptures..like as big Nandi, surya rath, ravan giving the atmaling, Sadhu’s doing worship and a shani temple. Another major attraction here is the cave – on that depicts the story behind Gokarna and Murudeshwar. There are around 16 tableaus housed inside the cave and a narration clearly explains each tableau. Cave was also closed when we reached their..couldn’t see it. We spent some time their….clicking some shots. There was ample space so we played some bachpan wale games..like vish-amrut.
Our booking was done at RNS Residency hotel.Our rooms were sea facing…and that was really very scenic. It was all dark around and there was only noise of sea waves.
The restaurant at RNS residency was pure veg and some of us wanted to have fish in dinner. They suggested us their another hotel which had sea food as their speciality. We went there and we were very late…they asked us to order fast and order all food at once..as they were closing their kitchen. We were worried how they will prepare the food…but that was tasty and nice at end of the day.
Day3: Early in the morning we visited the main temple of lord shiva. Here is the story behind the temple. 20-storied Raja Gopura is constructed at the temple. The temple authorities have installed a lift that provides a breath-taking view of the 123-feet Lord Shiva idol from the top of the Raja gopura. Two life-size elephants in concrete stand guard at the steps leading to the temple.
After darshan we spent some time on beach…it was crowded but nice. Beach water was very clean, my daughter Saee enjoyed a lot there.
We had breakfast at RNS residency itself and we left for Gerosappa. It was 2 hour drive. Our next booking was done at “Stay @ Mutthuga” near Jog falls . On the way to Gerosappa we visited Idgunji – temple of Maha-Ganpati..it is very famous temple in south, here is the story behind the temple.
After drashan we left for Gerosappa . Stay @ Mutthuga was again Wow….very nice location and very nice cottages.Cottages are built in the middle of farm. It was a home stay as the name says…no modern amenities like TV and all are provided here. As they say…you are here to relax and spend time with families and not to watch TV and all..so just relax and enjoy your time with nature.
After check-in we got freshen up and had lunch. Food was OK not too good nor too bad. Then we relaxed for some time. And at 5 PM vistied Jog falls. Jog falls was disappointing for us ..as it had no water. Only few falls were there with little water. At 7.30 there was laser and light show…that was nice and enjoyable.
We left from there at around 8.15 PM. Had dinner at home stay Mutthuga. It was very cold..so they arranged camp fire for few extra bucks. We enjoiyed camp-fire with some gappa-shappa and all.
Day4: In the morning after breakfast we checked-out. Our next destination was Sirsi. On the way to Sirsi we visited Yana Rocks. Way to yana rocks was very beautiful. On the way there was small river stream flowing down the bridge. It was a very nice location. We stopped there and clicked some beautiful shots. After spending some 20-25 minutes we continued our drive to Yana rocks.
Yana is a small village, the two unique rock outcrops near the village are a tourist attraction, these huge rocks are composed of solid black, crystalline limestone. These are 120 meters and 90 meters in height. It is also well known as a pilgrimage centre because of the cave temple below the tallest rock where a Swayambhu (that which is created by its own accord) linga has been formed. Water drips from the roof over the linga, adding to the sanctity of the place.
Our next booking was done at “Bakula Home Stay” 8 KM from Sirsi and as is names says it was really a home stay and very nice location. here is it – We had our lunch there..and that was amazing exprience. Real south taste…they served us on banana leaves with so many items – Chitranna, subzi, chapati,2 different curries – one was some herbal curry,rasam,curd rice, sambar rice..such a long list. After having tasty lunch. The person in-charge took us at the backyard of his resort..to our surprise there was small river flowing. We spent 1 hour their enjoying the water…again a very beautiful location.
Then in the evening we left for “Banavasi temple” and on the way back to our resort we visited “Marikamba temple” in Sirsi. Marikamba temple in Sirsi is dedicated to goddess Durga. Banvasi temple is a very ancient temple. This temple is dedicated to lord shiva. Nandhi in this temple is huge and is built in one single stone.
After visiting temples when we reached our resort…camp fire was ready for us with some hot – herbal drink..which was nice some very different taste. Our dinner was also ready..we had dinner..it was very special – authentic kananada taste. By then the camp fire was ready. After getting warmed-up…few of our friends wanted to dance. Music system was alreday in place – so we just had to connect our pen drive..and that was it.Enjoyed the dance..little Arjun son of our friend was enjoying every bit of it….and was dancing very nice. I just loved his dancing.
Day 5 – last day of our trip – In the morning at 7 AM ..breakfast was ready. In breakfast we had Jumbo Idli.. It wrapped in some leaves and cooked. Only one idli was enough to make you full. In sweet dish they served us sheera..made in ghee. We all were set for next sight seeing point i.e. Unchali falls. As we didn’t know the route the person-in charge of resort provided us with Guide…who took us to the Unchali falls. Way to Unchali falls is through thick forest…it is very beautiful and it has water all through the year. This waterfall created by a 116 metres (381 ft) drop in the Aghanashini river.
Then we visisted Sahasralinga. It is in the river Shalmala and is famous for being the location where around a thousand lingas which are carved on the rocks in the river bank. Its a pilgrimage place.
Sahasralinga ended our uttar kannada trip and we started our journey back to our home – Pune. We had lunch at Khanapur near Belgaum. Then we stopped at belgaum to buy famous sweet -dish of Belgaum – Kunda and continued our journey. In the evening we took a short break for tea and then in the night we stopped at “Aaram” hotel after Satara for dinner and reached Pune by 12…midnight.
It was very nice trip..enjoyed a lot..memorable one…Uttar Kannada is really very scenic and so the name of blog is. And I would say a big thank you to our tour manager at “Landmark Holidays” for choosing such beautiful hotels/resorts locations and also thanks to our driver and his tempo-traveller..which made our journey very smooth.