Sirsi. If you are not from Karnataka, chances are that you have not heard of this place.
We call Sirsi a “Waterfalls Destination”!. Not without any reason. There are at least ten waterfalls within 40 Sq KMs of this place! Each one lovelier than the other! We will tell you more about them.
It was another whirlwind road trip for us. This was in August 2015 when we decided to just drive to Sirsi and explore surroundings over the weekend. We later realised that Sirsi deserves more than a day to explore. But it was a precursor for future trips to this beautiful region.
We leave home around 5.30 AM and hit the highway early. Driving early in the morning is always a pleasant experience. A drive through the lovely Mangalore highway and deviation through Ariskere brings us to our regular adda for breakfast. Preethi canteen is Birur is our favourite stopover. The yummy “Butter kaali dosas” are one of the best you can get anywhere. A quick bite and we drive on.
Let us capture the magical monsoon moments through these pictures……
We spot a huge expanse of sunflower fields after crossing the railway crossing after Birur. The timing is perfect. The flowers are fresh and straight. We stopover for a photo shoot.
We drive through Shivamogga and deviate to Soraba at Sagar. We are in Malnad now. We can see that. Cloudy sky. Sprays of rain. Greenery all around with some lovely ponds.
Gudavi bird sanctuary is around 10 KMs from Soraba. A small detour from the highway brings us to the place. An excellent road through green wilderness takes us to reception centre managed by Karnataka Forest department. We buy Rs 10 ticket and walk to the view-point. The forest department has done a good job here by building an excellent view-point and a pathway with nice pictures of birds in the sanctuary. This is a huge lake which was overflowing.
A two level view-point is at a vantage point which help you to have a panoramic view of the sanctuary. Poorna starts chatting with the Forest staff who say that the peak season is in August when there would be thousands of birds making a mayhem of noise! We could still see some birds.
It starts raining. We thank forest staff and proceed to Banavasi which is one of the oldest towns in Karnataka. The first dynasty to rule Karnataka – Kadambas – had their capital here. A small town today, there is nothing much to see except for the lovely Madhukeshwara temple.
The temple gives the glimpses of the sculptural and architectural heritage of south India. The main sanctum santorum is closed but the priest is generous to act as a guide and take us around the temple.
The Nandi pavilion with exquisitely carved pillars.
The beautiful stone Mantapa with lovely sculptures.
The sculpture of Indra with Sachi Devi…..
It continue to rain and our next stop is Unchalli or Lushington falls. A lovely drive through the green landscape brings us to parking place. The drive through heavy rain and cloudy sky means it is dusk in the afternoon!
We put on our rain cape and start walking for around 750 meters. The first 500 meters is on the jeep track and after which we climb steps to the view-point. It continue to pour. We could hear the roar of the waterfalls. When we reach the view-point, we are awestruck at the spectacle when mist clears!
A small canteen at the parking area is like god sent. We ask the old man and his grand son in the canteen if we could get hot cups of tea. He obliges and believe us, we had one of the best chai experiences. Drinking hot tea standing under a tatched roof with rain drops puttering all around!
We don’t want to waste time and now drive to Sonda mutt. Poorna has a list of waterfalls to visit. We check with few locals who advise us that it is difficult to reach them in peak monsoon and also they are leach prone.
We drop the idea of visiting them and visit the mutt which is an ancient mutt in Madhwa tradition. The mutt is also famous for Bootharaja temple. The mutt premises is very serene and well spread out. A lovely temple tank called “Dhavala Gange” adds to the beauty of the place.
Poorna says there is a lovely view-point known as Devimane ghat. We ask locals and they say it is on Sirsi – Karwar road. We plan to go there and return before sunset.
The drive on Karwar highway is a pleasure. We drive through misty road. Numerous cascades on the way make journey livelier. Finally, the view-point presents a nice view of the valley.
It is turning dark as we drive back to Sirsi town. The last stop is Marikamba temple. Located in the heart of the city, Marikamba is the presiding deity of the place. A pretty temple housed in an ancient building built as per the local architecture. The walls of the temple is adorned by murals depicting various incidents from mythology. We could not take pics as it was raining and dark.(Photo Courtesy – Road Bloke blog)
We drive to Yallapur and stay in Banana County resort for the night.
Next day morning, we drive to Magod falls. A short drive of 20 KMs through forest bring us to the falls.
We are the first ones at the falls. We park the car and start walking up the stairs to the view-point. On the way, we could see Majjige Hole waterfalls from the distance. We reach the view-point and get a stunning view of Bedthi river jumping over the rocks to create a spectacular waterfalls.
Majjige Hole Waterfalls
While going, we notice a signage for “Kavadikere”. On the way back, we drive to the lake through a narrow forest road. It is worth a detour. What we see is a pristine lake with a temple in a corner! It is a huge lake and full. A lovely sight indeed!
We come back to the resort, have quick breakfast and return to Bangalore. On the way back, we stop at our regular adda for Benne Masala Dosa in Davanagere.
A nice weekend drive. But we need to plan to go again. To see other waterfalls…….
- Getting there
- By Air – The nearest airport is either Belgaum or Goa which are at a distance of 199 and 204 KMs respectively.
- By Train – There is no train connectivity to Sirsi.
- By Bus – Sirsi is well-connected by bus to major cities in Karnataka.
- By Road – Sirsi is well-connected by road to different places in India. (426 KMs from Bangalore via Haveri, 455 KMs from bangalore via Shivamogga, 262 KMs from Mangalore and 213 KMs from Panaji)
- Stay options
- Travel Tips
- The best time to visit Sirsi will be immediately after rains when you will be able to see most of the waterfalls in full glory. Of course, monsoon is the best time to visit the lovely place. The only challenge is to go to some waterfalls. Winter months are also excellent time to visit. During winter one can undertake treks to the bottom of many waterfalls. Summer will be hot and humid.
- Sirsi needs four full days to explore. There are at least ten waterfalls around the town. These are
- Unchalli Falls
- Vibhuti Falls (Image Courtesy – Srikanth Parthasarathy)
- Shivaganga Falls
- Burude Falls (Image Courtesy – Bharat B Rao Blog)
- Bennehole Faills (Image Courtesy – Ananta Pranaya Blog)
- Majjige Hole Falls
- Muregar Falls (Image Courtesy – Suttona Banni Blog)
- Mattigatta Falls (Image Courtesy – Bharat B Rao Blog)
- Watehalla Falls (Image Courtesy – Ananta Pranaya blog)
- Magod Falls
- Sathodi Falls (Image Courtesy – Sateesh Narasimhaiah blog)
- The astonishing sight of Shasralingas can be viewed in winter and summer when water level in Shalmala river will be less.
- The natural wonder of Yana is a delight which can be visited from Sirsi. It is a full day activity which includes a small trek and moving around the place.
- Sirsi and surroundings are also famous for ancient temples like Idagunji Ganapati temple.
Sirsi can be made a base for exploring Uttara Kannada. You may take a look at this post in this blog – Exploring Uttara Kannada
- Make sure you experience Malnad or Havyak cuisine while staying in a home stay.
- If travelling in monsoon, check with locals on conditions to visit the waterfalls. Your host in home stay will be the best guide.
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