Bounded by karavali coast to the West, Deccan Plateau to the East and Sahyadri ranges of the Western Ghats ( Malnad to the South, Uttara Kannada is a district of immense natural beauty-an eco-tourist’s paradise. As a tourist destination, Uttara Kannada diverse attractions, sports like River Rafting, Mountain Biking, Rock Climbing and trekking, as well as religious shrines.
Karwar, the district headquarters of Uttara Kannada is a charming port town, situated at the mouth of Kali river. The Kali river bridge, situated at the confluence of the river and Arebian sea, dominates the town’s landscape. The Sadashivgad Hill Fort with its tomb of Peer Shah Shamsuddin Kharobat and the Naganath temple are the other attractions of the town. The Baithkola beach, on the nortern outskirts of Karwar, is one of the most beautiful beaches of the coast. Nobel Laureate Rabindranath Tagore has describe tranquil beauty of the Karwar coast thus: “The sea beach of Karwar is certainly a fit place in which to realise that the beauty of nature is not a mirage of imagination, but reflects the joy of the infinite and thus draws us to lose ourselves in it.”
DEV BAGH BEACH RESORT
Run by the Jungle Lodges and Resorts Ltd. , this resort can be reached by a 10 minute boat ride from the boat pier next to the Kali bridge. Log huts on stilts, set amidst casuarinas groves offer deluxe accommodation to tourists. Swimming off private beaches, sports, boat cruises on the river ,jungle treks and tradition coastal cusine ensure an idyllic getaway holiday.
This lovely beach can be reached by 20 minute walk from Gokarn. The track takes to the top of a barren headland with magnificient sea views and then descends to the curving sandy bay.
Om beach ( so named because it resembles the auspicious Om sign ) is a near deserted beach, which is accessed by 20 minute walk over dirt track near the south end of Kudle Beach.A walk, over the next headland and down to the pristine sandy bay, gets the visitor to the secluded Om Beach a perfect getaway.
The temple town on Gokarn is an important pilgrim centre of South India. Legend has it, that shortly after the earth was formed, Rudra(Shiva) eager to see the new creation, arrived here, squeezing through the ear of the earth end later named it karna (ear of the cow). In intense concentration, he formed his essence in to a linga and showered it with special powers. The linga was given by Shiva to the demon king Ravana as reward for his devotion. Ravana decided to stop at Gokarna to perform his pujas.
Worried about his growing powers, the gods represented by a Lord Ganapathy tricked Ravana in to putting the linga down on the ground, whilst performing his prayers. Ravana was unable to lift the linga up again (the weight of the 3 worlds pinned it down) and ever since, the linga was known as Mahabala, around which the Mahabaleshwara temple was built. Frustrated and angry, Ravana is said to have forced the linga from the earth. It then burst in to pieces and was scattered in the nearby areas, which are now venerated as the temples of, Dhareshwara, Gunavanthe and Murudeshwara. Gokarna has a beach, located at the edge of the town. Murudeshwara temple, with its stunning location on a hillock on the beach is a major tourist attraction.
Known as the Bardoli of Karnataka, for the role it played in the freedom movement, Ankola derives its name from the Ankola trees that grew here in abundance. The Mahamaya temple, with its unique architecture is worth a visit.
70 km from Karwar, this town houses the Kumbeshwara temple, earlier known as Kumteshwara ( from which the town derives its name ). It is well known as centre for the production of beautiful carved sandalwood handicrafts.
Set in the midst of the lush green forest, 50 km from Gokarn and 45 km from Sirsi, are the unique rock formations of Yana. The two peaks of Bhairaveshwara Shikra and Mohini Shikra are venerated by the locals. The tiny shrine of Shiva is an attraction, where a perennail stream bathes the shivalinga continuosly.
This town is an important railhead of the newly constructed konkan railway that connects this coastline; the newly built bridge across the Sharavati river, dominates the landscape 6 km from Honnavar are the “Apsara Konda falls” (Pond of the Celestial Nymphs) set in a picturesque setting and a fine beach that offers glorious sunset. 15km away, is the wellknown Ganapathi temple at Idagungi. The area is also renowned for the fabulous, customed dance drama form, Yakshagana.
Sirsi is a tranquil town, dotted with terracotta-tiled houses, Jain Basadis (temples) and ancient Hindu temples. The 16th Century MarikambaTemple enshrines a wooden deity, that is believed to have been found in a tank. The temple has a car festival once in two years. Nearby is a scenic spot, in the midst of a lush forest, said to have been visited by the Pandavas; Sahasra Linga (thousand lingas) are carved from a rock bed, situated in the middle of a swirling river.
Capital of the Kadamba Kings who established the first Kannada Empire in c.345AD, Banavasi town (22km from Sirsi) is the site of an annual cultural festival Kadabotsava held in December. The Madhukeshwara Temple, is famed for its architecture, deriving its name from the honey colored Linga. Of special interest is the intericately curved stones cot, which was actually used by the kings.
The water falls near by,known as Unchalli Falls or Keppa Jog or Lushington Falls is a visit.
117km from Karwar and just 75km from the railhead Hubli, lies Dandeli, getaway to the 834 sq.km. Dandeli Game Sanctuary. It is home to rare species of animals, like barking deer, sloth bear, civet cat, panther, Flying Squirrel and Malabar Squirrel. Woodpeckers and Hornbills are some of the birds sighted. Take in the jungle experience by staying at the Kali Wildrness camp, located on the edge of the Kali River or at the Bison River Resort. Ride down the Kali river in a coracle (round basket like boat), where you can watch crocodiles basking on the banks and water birds nesting, or take a jeep safari or jungle walk into the forests.
This scenic spot, offers a fabulous view of the Kali river valley, set within a frame of untamed nature.
Within the Dandeli Forest are Kavala Caves, that house a 5ft.high natural Shiva Linga.
This is a 500ft. high single hewn rock flanked by natural caves & a waterfall at whose base the river Kaveri flows. This picturesque locale, at the foot of the fall makes a fine picnic spot.
ULAVI CHENNA BASAVESHWARA TEMPLE
42km frm Dandeli, this is the major piligrim centre for the Veerashaivas, where an annual car festival & shandy are held in February-March. Nearby a number of natural caves with interesting rock formations.
About 20km from Yellapur, is the Magod falls, where the river Bedthi, cascades from a height of 650ft, into a rocky ravine .Nearby are scenic spots, like Jenukallugudda (honey rock hillock) where one can view memorable sunsets & Kavadikere (8km from yellapur), a large lake bilt by Bhima that he is said to have crossed carrying a kavadi.
26km from Yellapur, this is one of the most picturesque spots in region.
ATTIVERI BIRD SANCTUARY
15km from Mundgod, is the Attiveri Bird Sanctuary, which has a bird life of about 79 species, including migratory birds from 22countries, best seen between November & March. The Tibetan University near Mundgod, offers study & research facilities in Buddhist Philosophy to students from all over the world. The Ayurvedhic dispensary, run by Tibetans is renowned. Also famous are the Tibetan carpets & rugs woven by the community.