Heritage Centres One Day Trip Guides

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

Last updated on August 14th, 2023 at 06:13 pm

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 – 26 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 and temples at Thonnur also known as Thondanur

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

The Circuit

  1. Bangalore – Kunigal – Nagamangala – Melkote – Thonnur Lake – Channapatna – Bangalore
  2. Bangalore – Mysore Expressway – Mandya bye pass – melkote – Thonnur lake – Bangalore


314 KMs


Google Map of the circuit No 1

Google Map of Circuit No 2

The Itinerary

7 AM

On Circuit 1 – 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)

On Circuit 2 – Depart from home. Hit Bengaluru – Mysore Expreesway. If you are in South Bengaluru, take NICE road and exit at Mysore road. If you are in East Bengaluru, expressway after driving through Town Hall and Market flyover.

8.30 AM

On Circuit 1 – 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 like Swathi Delicacy before Yediyur and Dhruvatare after Yediyur.

On Circuit 2 – Have Breakfast at Mandya. You have many options.

9.15 AM – Depart for Melkote via Nagamangala for Circuit 1 and via Chikkathammanahalli.

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. Don’t miss tasty Iyengar Puliyogare and Sakkare Pongal in our favourite Subbanna Mess

2.30 PM  – Depart for Thonnur also known as Kere Thonnur or Thondanur Lake

3 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. You may also do boating here.

A good place to have a high tea with your camp chair spread out! For bird watchers, it is treasure trove. Visit the sprawling Nambi Narayana Swami temple established by Saint Ramanujacharya which is on the banks of the lake. Climb a small hill to see the Narasimha temple which also provides a lovely view of the lake. Don’t miss the beautiful Venugopalaswamy idol in the temple opposite Nambi Narayana temple.

Sprawling Nambi Narayana Temple

The Main deity!

4.30 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. The road conditions may change due to various factors. It will be good to join a road trip enthusiasts’ FB group HVK Forum managed by H V Kumar, the doyen of road trip in India. You can get the latest updates on the road conditions in this very active group.We strongly suggest that you download customised RoutO app from H V Kumar. HVK as he is fondly called, provides you customised route maps, live support on the road trip and will also help you with hotel accommodation as well. Check out all details here.RoutO – The Right Route & Travel Support For The Motorist Traveller
  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! – http://traveltwosome.com/exciting-road-trips-from-bangalore/ 

Weekend Trips from Bangalore (Covers Saturday & Sunday) – 7 Exciting options with detailed itineraries! – http://traveltwosome.com/weekend-getaways-from-bangalore/

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