Thursday, January 12, 2012

Travel to Uttara Kannada

Last week of 2011 we had shutdown in office. Hence we went for a small to trip to Uttara Kannada district. We started on 27-12-2011 and returned on 28-12-2011. It was around 600 kms of drive in span of 2 days. We covered Gokarna, OM-Beach, Sonda, Sahasralinga and apsarakonda. Undoubtedly Uttara Kannada district is the most beautiful district in Karnataka since it is unexplored. Beautiful beaches, temples, the hilly regions, lot of water falls, rivers like sharavati, kali, aghanashini, shalmali, kali, landscapes, konkan railway tunnels, western ghats near coast is mesmerizing to watch. The beauty is because most of the places are not explored as tourism spots. There is not much industrialization too.

We started at 7AM from KAUP and had to reach Gokarna by 12PM otherwise temple would close and re-open only by 5PM. So we throttled our alto to the max and even touched 120kmph at times in two lane highway. Due to this we could reach Gokarna by 11AM i.e. we took 4 hours for 200kms including half an hour of break at Kundapur for breakfast. We could have reached earlier if the road was clean between Murdeshwar and Honnavar. (The potholes are really nasty)

One has to take deviation from highway towards west for about 10kms  to reach Gokarna. The scene in between is fantastic with beautiful backwaters and hills. However, Gokarna seems to be crappy with lot of garbage around. Also foreigners make such holy place so much ugly. At least they should realize that it’s holy place and respect the sentiments of deities. OM-Beach is around 6 kms from Gokarna. The look atop of view point resembles that of OM-symbol. Hence the name given to beach as OM. Lots of tourists visit OM-Beach. Here are some pictures.

Then we travelled towards Sonda which is around 90kms from Gokarna. The travel from Gokarna to Sirsi is really marvelous. The first 20kms is the ghat section named as Devimane ghat. The look from one of the spot here is magnificient. Later part is sort of curvy road. Beautiful track to drive though. The ghat looked like layered region. It was around 5PM when we reached Sonda. The weather was too cold since we were right at the mid of Western Ghats. The next day we visited Sahasralinga where you find shivalingas mounted on Shalmali River. I am not sure about the mythology of the place. There is also a hanging bridge constructed near by where you can have look of the river. We could spot only few lingas and rest might have been submerged under water. It may be possible to have better look in summer season and during monsoon, you will see only water. Here are some snaps
To reach Sahasralinga, you have to travel from Sirsi along Sirsi-Yellapur Highway for about 15kms. From there, you have a deviation towards left to reach Sahasralinga. Its about 2kms from main highway. Watch for signboards after traveling for 14kms.

After Sahasralinga our next stop was at Aghanashini River near Kumta. The beautiful landscape attracts everyone. I took some snaps and we moved on. We again saw the beautiful Sharavati river in Honnavar. The rail bridge built across the river is longest along konkan railway route (spans for 2065m). Few kms from here is the apsarakonda falls and beach. The view from atop of the hill near is eye-catching. There are also good hang-outs atop. Due to lack of time we skipped this place. However I took some manual shots with 0.5 second shutter. Here are some pictures.


Apsarakonda can be reached even before Honnavar if you are traveling from Udupi. It is about 4kms from Sharavati bridge. There are two routes. One leads to the small falls where you have a temple and other leads to Kasarkod beach. The signboards are not clear though. Both roads are very much narrow that there will be deadlock if two buses travel face-to-face. The road leading to falls is quite narrow and steep. From Kasarkod beach, you can climb up the hill to have magnificent view of  apsarakonda beach. Kasarkod beach area is also very good and worth visiting.
Undoubtedly Uttara Kannada is beautiful spot to visit especially during monsoon. It is because of beautiful nature and sea being close to western ghats, UK receives heavy rains during monsoon. Especially places like Bhatkal and Gokarna receive more than 500cms of rain a year.

It was around 5 PM when we left Apsarakonda. On the way back, we again had glance of beautiful Maravanthe beach near Kundapur. It was already around 6:30 in evening. We could not get down here due to poor light. The quote from Wikipedia says:

“One of Karnataka's most beautiful beaches. It is about 55 kilometres (34 mi) from Udupi. NH-17 runs right next to the beach and the Suparnika River flows on the other side of the road, creating a spectacular scenery and considered only one of its kind in India. The river Souparnika, which almost touches Arabian Sea here, makes a U turn and goes eastward to join the Sea only after a journey of more than 10 kilometres (6.2 mi), which is a geological wonder”

I never knew about last point the author has mentioned. Really marvelous. It looks as if river is teasing the sea or nature is showing human civilization that I have better design etc... so many things. The picture is pretty much old not the one taken during our travel.
The road from Udupi to Honavar is OK but not even at many places. From murdeshwar till honavar there are really big pot holes in between. So be careful if you are driving. They are really nasty!! The road there after is also good. The road between Kumta and Sirsi is a state highway and has been completely relayed barring few hairpin curves where drainage work is under progress. The first 20kms is ghat section road while later part is curvy road. The road from Sirsi to Sonda is also good. The roads leading to apsarakonda, OM-beach and sahasralinga are very much narrow as stated earlier. Be careful if you are driving for first time or else you may end up in a valley. For experienced drivers it will not be problematic.

Most destinations bare Rs.10 maintenance fee. Sahasralinga, apsarakonda and OM-beach do have them. Due to lack of time we could not visit some of the places like Yana, some falls. Also jog-falls and gerusoppa is very near to Honavar and Sirsi. We skipped due to the fact that it was not monsoon season. Mid-way we also skipped Idagunji, Murdeshwar and Kumbhasi temples since we were getting very late.

Some tips from my side (non-exhaustive)

1) Make sure you have proper travel arrangements like camera (with fully charged battery) with large storage. I can assure that your storage will be over taking so many snaps :-).

2) Have some prior knowledge about the places so that you can explore more.

3) If you own car, drive yourself!! These are beautiful tracks to drive. Have proper solid and liquid reserves along with you. [not alcohol :-)]

It was around 8:45pm when we reached Kaup. The memories were still hogging me. It is difficult to understand the design of nature. We missed many places however we have made note of them to visit again. Request to visitors is not to garbage such beautiful places.

I am still amateur photographer and I hope pictures have given some impression to readers about the places.

Lastly, a small video of our trip. I have used Ulrich Scnauss “A Million Miles Away” music for the video. This is the third time I am using the music. Watch and Enjoy

Thank you for reading the blog!!


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