How I Discovered Interesting Facts About Shimoga During My Weekend Trip
Taking a break every once in a while is essential. For the ones who prefer exploring the beauty of nature and verdant greens, Shimoga is a must visit destination. Also known as the ‘Face of Shiva’, this hill station in Karnataka is blessed with beautiful landscapes and breath-taking scenery, which is a welcome change from the crowded cities. This inspired me to bid a temporary adieu to Bangalore, my hometown, and to set off on a trail that unravels the hidden marvels that this enigmatic land holds. After a 6-hour long bus journey, I travelled a distance of around 275 km to reach Shimoga, the ‘Gateway of Malnad’.
After being welcomed by the lush coconut trees and areca nut plantations that swayed due to the gentle breeze, I headed to Royal Orchid Central Shimoga, which was just a short walk away from the bus stop. After having some grilled sandwiches and chilled milkshake at Pinxx, its multi-cuisine bistro, I decided to head to my first stop, Keladi, which served as the capital of the Keladi Nayaka Kingdom. A complete nirvana for all those souls longing for some riveting spiritual experience, this quaint village, houses the famed Rameshwara Temple. A mélange of Hoysala, Dravidian and Kadamba architectural styles; this intricately carved stone temple was crowded with devotees offering prayers to Rameshwara, Parvati and Veerabhadra.
After spending an hour in this oasis of peace, I decided to take a break and binge on Patrode (a dumpling made out of rice flour wrapped in colocasia leaves and steamed) at a nearby diner. A plate of Halasina Hannina Idli, a steamed dessert made out of jack fruit, brought a delicious end to my lunch diaries. Brimming with excitement, I headed to the next destination that this ‘bread basket of Karnataka’ had in store for me, Jog Falls. Reckoned as the largest waterfall of India and second largest in Asia, these falls originate from the mouth of Sharavathi River, as a local family that was here on a picnic informed me. Gurgling water rapidly cascading from a height of 253 meters, the pleasant breeze gently brushing my hair, the breathtaking view of the enveloping grassy hummock ranges – oh what a mesmerizing experience it was! The fact that visitors were jostling against each other to capture their perfect selfie against this jaw dropping backdrop was hardly a surprise.
After this refreshing experience, I decided to call it a night by heading back to my hotel room. After comfortably reclining in the bed of my Club Room, I ordered a hot cup of cappuccino and spent some time with my favourite travel companion, my novel – The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari. Waking up fully charged the next morning, I treated myself to a delicious breakfast of Eggs Benedict paired with a tall glass of juice and made a move to my next sojourn, Sringeri Sharada Peetham. The first matha established by Adi Shankaracharya, this monument flaunts Dravidian architecture. Overlooking the banks of Tunga River against the stunning backdrop of Malnad hills, this heritage site was indeed a delight to explore!
The next site on my itinerary was Mattur, a unique village that this is said to be the only place left in India where Sanskrit is the only lingua franca. Passed on across generations by the Vedic scholars, here everyone from shopkeepers to home makers communicates in Sanskrit. After this exciting encounter, I stopped by at the placid bank of Mattur Lake for a short halt.
By the time twilight had set, I headed back to my hotel for dinner and to gear up for my early morning bus to Bangalore.