Destinations - India Short Breaks

Melkote & Thonnur Lake | YOUR One Day Trip Guide from Bangalore!

Written by Poorna & Brinda

Melkote is an ancient town rich in history and heritage. Perched on a lovely valley in Mandya district in Karnataka, this is place where Saint Ramanujacharya established the famous temple of Lord Vishnu known as Cheluvarayaswamy loosely translated as “Beautiful Lord”!

Fourth in the series of One Day Trip from Bangalore – 20 Exciting options with Detailed Itinerary!, we take you to a sleepy temple town of Melkote which is rich in history and heritage, a lovely lake at Thonnur, a beautiful Hoysala temple at Hosaholalu, a nice waterfalls at Hemagiri and back.

We have done this circuit many times and have enjoyed it every time!

The Circuit

Bangaluru – Kunigal – Nagamangala – Melkote – Hosaholalu – Hemagiri falls – Thonnur Lake – Channapatna – Bengaluru


314 KMs


Google Map of the circuit

The Itinerary

7 AM – Depart from home. Hit Bengaluru – Tumkur Highway. If you are in South Bengaluru, take NICE road and exit at Tumkur road. If you are in East Bengaluru, you can take Outer Ring road and enter the highway at Peenya after Hebbal and Jalahalli. For those lucky ones staying in West Bengaluru, it is easier to hit the highway quickly. Turn towards Mangalore on NH 47 near Nelamangala (look for Mangalore signage and a tall statue of Hanuman on the left)

8.30 AM – Breakfast @ Shark Food Court after Solur. Excellent Tatte (flat) Idlis and Masala Dosa. We prefer this place but there are many options on this road to choose from.

9.15 AM – Depart for Melkote via Nagamangala.

11 AM – Arrive at Melkote.

day trips from Bangalore

The Narasimhaswamy temple on the hillock with pushkarani – holy tank – in the foreground.

Day trips from Bangalore

The Sculptures on the parapet wall of the temple

Melkote is an ancient temple town. Perched on a plateau overlooking a beautiful valley – which is green and lovely after rains – it is a small town. The epicentre of this sleepy town is the ancient Cheluvaraya Swamy temple. The temple is based on later Vijayanagar Style of architecture. The sculptures of presiding deities Cheluvaraya Swamy and Ammanvaru are known for sculptural excellence. Spend time going around the temple appreciating the sculptural brilliance of musical pillars inside the temple. Walk around the temple to see brilliant sculptures of different gods on the parapet wall of the temple. After temple, go to Pushkarani or the holy tank. A large tank, with the Narasimha Swamy hill in the back ground, this is a photographer’s paradise. Don’t miss visiting Raya Gopura, Akka – Thangiyara honda (twin tanks) which are close-by. After exploring these, climb up the Narasimha Swamy hill for a panoramic view of the town and the valley. A flight of steps will lead you to the temple.

1.30 PM – Have lunch in the one of restaurants in town.

2.30 PM -Depart for Hosaholalu. A drive of twenty minutes will take you to the lovely Hoysala temple of Lord Lakshminarayana Swamy on the outskirts of K R Pet town. After spending 30 minutes, drive to Hemagiri falls which has barrage built against Hemavathy river creating an artificial water falls. Spend some time playing in the water.

Day trips from Bangalore

Hosaholalu temple

Day trips from Bangalore

Hemagiri Falls

Check out this nice video of the falls – Hemagiri Falls 

4 PM – Depart for Thonnur Lake

4.30 PM – Arrive at Thonnur lake. A huge lake built-in 17th century, it serves as the storage tank for irrigation in the region. Spend some time enjoying the enormity of the lake which seems to be stretching into the horizon. A good place to have a high tea with your camp chair spread out! For bird watchers, it is treasure trove.

Day trips from Bangalore

Thonnur lake

5.15 PM – Depart for Bengaluru. Have evening snacks in any of the restaurants on the way. “Shivalli Tiifin Room” is our preferred hotel. But there are many options like Adigas, Empire etc…..

8 PM – If traffic is not bad you should be back in Bengaluru for dinner.

Travel Tips

  1. These timings are indicative and is by car. If you are leaving late, then adjust your timings accordingly.
  2. The Temple timings and other information on Melkote temple is given in this temple website – Melukote Cheluvanarayana Swamy temple 
  3. Evenings time is best to spend in Thonnur lake.
  4. What we have indicated is the minimum time that is required to explore Melukote. The place is a photographers paradise. Melukote itself may require one full day for a leisurely visit.
  5. There are few ancient temples around the Thonnur lake. If you are interested, please check out the temple priest of the Krishna Gopala Swamy temple close to the lake. Check out this nice article in Economic Times.
  6. Don’t attempt to swim either in Thonur lake or Hemagiri falls. Many people have lost lives in these places.
  7. There are very limited options for eating in Melukote.
  8. One can also do this trip in reverse order. Make sure you are in time before the temple closes.
  9. This trip can also be a part of longer trip towards Mysore or Madikeri (Coorg). Instead of returning to Bengaluru, you can either stay in Mysore or Madikeri.

Hope you enjoyed reading fourth in the series of day trips from Bangalore. Check out the other day trips from Bangalore in this blog.  We strongly recommend you to go for any of these and let us know your experience.

If you are interested in longer road trips from Bangalore with detailed itineraries, you should look at these posts on this blog

Road Trips from Bangalore – 9 Exciting options with detailed itineraries! – 

Weekend Trips from Bangalore (Covers Saturday & Sunday) – 7 Exciting options with detailed itineraries! –

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About the author

Poorna & Brinda

We are Brinda and Poorna from Bengaluru, the “Silicon city” or “Garden city” of India.

We travel together. We caught the travel bug 20 years back. On our honey moon, we traveled over the sea, in the train, by bus and in an aircraft! Our adventures probably started in that year. It continues, ever since.

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