Monsoon experience in Western Ghats!
Come June and it is time for Indian Monsoon. This is also the best time to see Western ghats and experience rain. Especially in the Malnad region of Thirthahalli in Karnataka. It is still unexplored, receives second highest rainfall in India.
This is THE place for someone who wants to experience Indian monsoon in full glory.
We would recommend you to make Thirthahalli as the base. It is centrally located and has good stay options. You can comfortably plan for four to five days of outing. It is a sleepy little town in rural Karnataka.
Of course, this region can be visited throughout the year. The season between October to March is the best. A time when there is a nip in the air, mist on the mountains and a chance to see glorious sunrises and sunsets.
This itinerary is for a road trip from Bangalore. If you don’t intend to drive, don’t worry. You have an excellent option of taking a night train from Bangalore to Shimoga. Ask your host to arrange for a pick up at Shimoga railway station. Shimoga to Thirthahalli is a beautiful and picturesque drive of an hour. You also have an option to catch a direct night bus from Bangalore to Tirthahalli.
Here is the itinerary. Hope you come back soaked with myriad experiences of monsoon! If you are a monsoon maniac like us, don’t miss to look at the complete list at the end of this post.
Day 1 – Bangalore – Thirthahalli
Total Distance – 339 KMs
Route Map – Bangalore – Tirthahalli
- Leave Bangalore in the morning and reach Thirthahalli by Lunch. Check into your home stay.
- It is a comfortable six hours drive.
- Have breakfast either at Swathi Delicacy before Yediyur or at Birur in Preethi Canteen (open till 11.30 AM – for best Butter Masala Dosa).
- In the evening go around Thirthahalli town, visit Bheemanakatte for a quiet evening by Tunga river.
Day 2 – Tirthahalli – Kundadri – Agumbe – Thirthahalli
Total distance – 80 KMs
Route Map – Tirthahalli – Kundadri – Agumbe – Tirthahalli
- After breakfast drive to Kundadri.
- Experience the fury of rain and wind on Kundadri. A Small hillock on the way to Agumbe. You can drive up the hill and enjoy panoramic view. You may take a look at Kundadri pictures in our post on Monsoon drive here.
- After Kundadri visit Agumbe Rainforest research station. Learn about King Cobra and wildlife in Western Ghats
- Enjoy the cascades of Jogi gundi waterfalls which are near Agumbe. You may have to hire a local jeep to take you near the falls. After the last point, one has to trek for fifteen minutes to the waterfall.
- Walk on the streets where Swami and his friends walked in Malgudi Days! Have lunch in Agumbe. There are not many options.
- You may not be able to see beautiful sunset at Agumbe during monsoons which is possible in winters and summer. Nevertheless enjoy the valley view.
- Return back to Tirthahalli in evening.
Day 3 – Thirthahalli – Sringeri – Sirimane Falls – Kuppali – Thirthahalli
Total distance – 140 KMs
- A beautiful drive.
- Have early breakfast or better have a good South Indian breakfast at Sringeri. Visit historical temple of Goddess Sharada and Lord Vidyashankara.
- Walk over the bridge on Tunga river and visit Shankaracharya’s Ashram. Don’t miss seeing award winning architecture of Sanskrit Pathashala.
- Do not try to play in the river. There are many whirlpools in this place.
- Drive to Sirimane waterfalls. Enjoy the beauty of a lovely falls. Please do not go closer to the falls as water force will be high in monsoon.
- Drive back to Sringeri. Have lunch.
- After lunch drive back to Tirthahalli. On the way after Koppa, visit the beautifully restored heritage house of great Kannada poet KUVEMPU as a memorial for him at Kuppali. Trek to “Kavi Shyla” a small hill – ten minutes trek – adjoining to the memorial to see “Stonehenge” kind of structure done by well known artist K T Shivaprasad.
- Enjoy the beautiful view of Sahyadris from the top.
- Return back to Tirthahalli
Day 4 – Thirthahalli – Kollur – Thirthahalli
Total distance – 174 KMs
Route map – Tirthahalli – Kollur – Tirthahalli
- After early breakfast drive to Kollur.
- Enjoy the beautiful drive through mountains/valleys. Enjoy numerous cascades on the way.
- Visit temple dedicated to Goddess Mookambika.
- Return to Tirthahalli for late lunch
Day 5 – Tirthahalli – Kavaledurga – Mani Dam – Nagara Fort – Tirthahalli
Total distance – 105 KMs
- Kavaledurga is a hillock fort close to Tirthahalli with amazing views of Varahi backwaters and valleys.
- After breakfast head towards Kavaledurga.
- Climb the the hill fort – it has steps – enjoy the views.
- Drive to Nagara fort. YouTube video on Nagara fort
- Drive to Mani dam on the way back and view beautiful backwaters formed by the dam.
- Return to Tirthahalli for late lunch.
- After lunch and rest visit Chippalagudde, a picnic spot on Tunga river.
Day 6 – Tirthahalli – Kodachadri – Tirthahalli
Total distance – 138 KMs
Route Map – Tirthahalli – Kodachadri – Tirthahalli
- Trekking of Kodachadri in Monsoons is only for experienced trekkers. Park your car at the foothill and hire a jeep to reach the top
- Also visit beautiful Hidlumane falls at the foot hills.
- In non monsoon season, one can enjoy amazing sunset and sunrise from this peak.
Day 7 – Thirthahalli – Mandagadde bird sanctuary – Sakrebailu elephant camp – Gajanur dam – Thirthahalli
Total distance – 92 KMs
Route Map – Tirthahalli – Gajanur Dam – Tirthahalli
- This can be done as a comfortable day trip. This trip is specially for Kids who will enjoy bathing elephants and seeing lions and tigers at close quarters.
- Leave early with packed breakfast or eat in one of the shacks near the elephant camp.
- Visit Sakrebailu elephant camp. Watch how the mahouts bathe and train elephants. Allow kids to play with baby elephants including bathing them
- After breakfast, drive to Gajanur dam to enjoy beautiful vistas of backwaters of Tunga river
- Drive back to Tirthahalli for lunch.
- Stop over at Mandagadde bird sanctuary on the way for some bird watching.
Day 8 – Thirthahalli – Sagara – Jog falls – Thirthahalli
Total distance – 233 KMs
- After breakfast drive to Jog falls, the second tallest waterfalls in Asia.
- It is a two hour drive from Tirthahalli. Enjoy the green vistas on the way.
- After Jog Falls, drive towards Sagar. At Talaguppa take a detour at Talaguppa Police station to drive along the back waters through Hebbebylu and reach Sagar. Check this post on this blog
- Visit famous temple at Ikkeri on the outskirts of Sagar.
- Have lunch in Sagar.
- Return to Tirthahalli
Day 9 – Return to Bangalore after Breakfast.
- Visit Tyavarekoppa Lion and Tiger Safari on the outskirts of Shimoga towards Sagar.
- Visit lovely Hoysala temple at Amritapura after Tarikere.
- Have lunch at Hotel Vinayaka Cafe at Kadur
- Tirthahalli and surroundings experience heavy rainfall during monsoon. Take proper rain gear.
- Make sure your car is in good condition. Check condition of tyres.
- Always check locally for latest road condition. Your host will be of help.
- You can hire a car at Tirthahalli for doing trips.
- Plan your itinerary based on number of days you can spare.
- While trekking or walking in monsoon, you may suffer leech bite. Don’t worry. It is a minor hiccup.
There are good home stays in and around Tirthahalli which provide nice accommodation with excellent meals. We have stayed at Bananki (http://www.banankihomestay.com/) and the Malnad cuisine served by them is awesome. A very good home stay.
Other nice home stays we have stayed in
For more options, you may look at this nice website
Plan a trip and come back and share your memories of monsoon experience here……
Here is a complete list for you to experience monsoon – Monsoon drive, Monsoon train journeys, Waterfalls to visit and many more – in India. Please take a look at this
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