“On earth there is no heaven, but there are pieces of it” – Jules Renard.
One such beauty is Malnad or Malenadu, a richly-forested, heavy rain fall area spread over the western and eastern slopes of the Western Ghats, covering parts of Shimoga, Chikmagalur, Uttara Kannada, Kodagu and Hassan districts in Karnataka.
Malenadu translates to ‘land of hills’ – is blessed with fantastic winding roads surrounded by coffee estates, daunting hills with Jain temples at the summit, temples of great archaeological & mythical significance, abundant wildlife, birthplace to numerous rivers and delicious Malnad cuisine.
- KTM Duke 390
- Hero Karizma
Bengaluru > Hassan > Kottigehara > Belthangady > Bajegoli > Karkala > Varanga > Karkala > Bajegoli > Sringeri (since Agumbe ghat was closed due to road works) > Begar >Nantur > Kundadri Hill > Hariharapura > Kuppalli > Koppa > Jayapura > Balehonnur > Aldur > Chikmagaluru > Belur > Hassan > Bengaluru
Total Distance: 700kms
Varanga, a small town between Karkala & Agumbe is a popular pilgrim centre for Jains with 3 main Basadis aka Jain Temples:
- Neminatha Basadi – this is the oldest & biggest amongst the 3 Jain Basadis with a history of about 1,200 years
- Chandranatha Basadi – this houses the Jain Math and has a history of about 1,000 years
- Kere Basadi – Knows as the ‘Lake Temple’, this is situated in the middle of a green lake in Varanga, like a ‘lotus in a pond’. This Basadi has a history of close to 850 years
Useful Information on Varanga Jain Temples:
- Best time to visit: Early mornings
- Best time of the year to visit: October to February
- Contact the Jain Math inside Chandranatha Basadi to visit the Kere Basadi (lake temple) – it is closed most of the times. The only way to reach this Basadi is in a small wooden boat.
- Footwear should be removed before entering the Jain temple
One of the few temples I love and feel drawn towards. With a rich history of about 1,200 years, Sringeri is flocked by pilgrims and nature lovers alike.
Cloud-surfing views of the Western ghats, two beautiful ponds on the hill-top and a Jain Basadi with a history of 2000 years – ‘peace’ and ‘serenity’ sum-up Kundadri Hills.
Useful Information on Kundadri Hills:
- No Entrance Fees
- Cars & motorcycles go all the way up – one has to climb about 50 steps to reach the view point & the temple
- Where to Eat: Chitranna (lemon rice) & Kokum Soda at Hotel Sri Annapurneshwari in Hariharapura (28kms from Kundadri)
- Don’t miss to ride across the ‘Cable Suspended Bridge‘ in Hariharapura
Kavishaila & Kavimane, Kuppalli:
Kuvempu’s ancestral home or Kavimane in Kuppalli has been restored and converted into a museum. The poet’s 250 years old house is a quintessential Malnad house with a courtyard in the middle and jackfruit wood pillars.
Kavishaila is a rock monument on top of a small hill in Kuppalli made of megalithic rocks dedicated to Kannada poet Kuvempu. The rocks have been arranged in a circular fashion with a memorial at the centre of the rock monument where Kuvempu was laid to rest after his death.
PS: Relish the beautifully marked and well paved roads leading to Kavishaila & Kavimane once you deviate from the main highway
Useful Information on KaviShaila & Kavimane:
- Entrance fees of 10 INR/person is charged to Kavimane
- Photography inside the house is NOT allowed
- Footwear should be removed before entering Kavimane
- Riding Gear: request the ticket counter guys to hold them
- Carry a hat and sunglasses while visiting Kavishaila
- No facility to keep the riding gear at Kavishaila
- Ample parking for motorcycles at Kavimane & Kavishaila
- Both are open all days of the year
Badra Coffee Stop – Coffee Shop, Balehonnur:
Do not miss their cold coffee and bread omelette !! Look out for an assortment of coffee powders and Malnad food products.
Badra coffee stop is open all days of the week from 8 am to 7:30 pm
Wish you guys lots of motorcycling and food-trips 🙂 – have a wonderful 2017 !!
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