A Journey Through Paradise - Iconic Western Ghats Road Trip
A Journey Through Paradise
Humans and animals alike have acknowledged the necessity of travel since the dawn of time. One of the most appealing aspects of travel is that it transports you to new realms to which you would not otherwise be exposed to.
Travelling allows you to encounter individuals from many cultures, each with their own traditions and way of life. Take a time when you travel and discover these new places to think not only about the differences you see in their lifestyle and conduct but also about the things that bring us together. This practice will not only expand your mind, but it will also allow your true self to emerge.
The Sahyadri Mountain range, which is India's oldest mountain range, is referred to as the Western Ghats. So we planned a 4-day Western Ghats itinerary that includes both the interior unexplored sites and the easily accessible destinations. The issue is that I have far too many favourites and only 4 days. As a result, the trip is more important than the destination. If you get inspired by our madness you can cut short the destinations or extend your stay in one or more locations.
- Day 1 – Start from Bengaluru to cover Sirsi Marikamba Temple, Unchalli Waterfall, Magod Water Fall, Kuli Magod Waterfall, Tibetian Camp Mundgod and reach Belagvi By evening (Total Distance Covered 850 km)
So, our Day 1 started at 3:30 am as we had many destinations to be covered and reached Sirsi to visit 16th Century Marikamba Temple (Destination 1) at 8:30 am, the first leg of 460kms was done in 5 hours in spite of dense fog on the Highways ( Route Taken NH48 till Haveri and then State Highway) road conditions are good with minimal rough patches & infinite scenic views. We spent some time at the temple absorbing the architecture and the history of the power goddess marikamba by then it was time for breakfast, we had our breakfast at Sirisi and started our journey to Unchalli Falls (Destination 2) which is also called Keppa Joga locally since the sound of the waterfall makes you experience being deaf, is created by a 116-metre (381 ft) drop in the Aghanashini river, 58kms from Sirsi town is a narrow scenic road which takes you to a different world. Unchalli Falls, also known as Lushington Falls, the falls is named after J. D. Lushington, a District Collector for the British Government, who discovered the falls in 1845. The walk of 1.5km is steep with 100 steps to reach the viewpoint, There are a total of 3 viewpoints you get to see each at a depth of 75 - 80 steps, but climbing back was a task and drained us out completely if you visit here recommendation would be to carry water bottles and some quick snack, also be careful with leech bites if travelling during rains.
We lost track of time here looking at the beauty of nature and had to rush to our next destination, that was Magod Falls (Destination 3), here you find very fewer eatery options, hence we had booked our lunch at a homestay at Magod who also helped us with a local guide to visit the less explored waterfall called Kuli Magod (Destination 4) which was about 1.5kms from Magod falls and a sunset point called Jeenukallu Guda translating to Mountain of beehives.
Magod Falls is a renowned waterfall on the river Bedti in the North Canara (Uttar Kannada) district's Yellapur taluk. The Bedthi River plunges from a height of 650 feet into a steep ravine in two different leaps. This area is perfect for expeditions because of the densely wooded landscape, the roar of pouring water, and the lovely scenery. From the parking lot to the viewpoint of Magod Fall, there is a well-built stairway with handrails. Magod Waterfalls can be visited between 9 AM and 6 PM on all days.
Kulimagod Falls (Destination 4) (in Kannada, kuli means pond) stands out for its sheer beauty and accessibility. It is formed by a tiny tributary of Bedti and its relatively easy accessibility has made it a not-to-be-missed spot for nature tourists who travel to Magod Falls, it takes a good amount of trekking down the valley for one to reach the foot of this waterfall, one can get under its misty showers falling down from a height of about 50 feet. So be ready to trek in the steep landscape and climb back.
By the time we came back after enjoying at the waterfall the Sun dint wait for us, and he set so out Jeenukallu Gudda sunset viewpoint remained incomplete, also the Mungod Tibetian camp closed at 6 pm due to pandemic, hence we just missed it by an hour, but never the less with a lot of memories, some leech bites and painful legs we decided to head to Belagavi which is about 200kms from there and call it a day, the road condition between Yallpur and till Hubli is not that great hence you will take time to reach, NH48 that takes you to Belagavi.
Summing up Day 1 - 848kms driven 4 destinations covered out of 6 planned but a day well spent, day 2 was supposed to be more exciting as we were heading to Goa.
- Day 2 – Start from Belagavi to reach Goa, Places planned to cover - Aguada Fort, Chapora Fort, Parra Road (Famous Coconut Road) and Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception Church and Calangute & Baga Beach (Total Distance Covered 179 km)
Started from Belagavi after breakfast at 9:30 and reached Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception Church (Destination 5) at 12:30 pm. Our Lady of Immaculate Conception Church is located in Panaji, true to its name, the façade of this church is painted an immaculate, sparkling white. To the untrained eye, this might even belie the actual age and antiquity of this church.his church houses the ancient bell that was removed from the Augustinian ruins of the Church of Our Lady of Grace. This bell is considered to be the second-largest of its kind in Goa.
We spent some time here and rushed to our next destination that was Fort Aguada (Destination 6), Fort Aguada is a vast and magnificent citadel that defines the landscape of Goa, with a 400-year history. The fort, together with its lighthouse, is one of Goa's most popular tourist destinations. Fort Aguada is located in Candolim, a popular tourist destination in North Goa, and it overlooks the Arabian Sea and provides mesmerising views of the surrounding area. This seventeenth-century fort is an icon of Portuguese heritage and architecture, and it deserves to be on your sightseeing agenda for sure.
Parking is 100 rupees here and the entry fee by ASI (Archeological Survey of India) is 25 per head. The washroom facility is available here. It took about 2.5 hours to explore the fortress and enjoy the view of the Arabian sea from the fort top and it was now time to head to our next destination.
Parra Road (Destination 7) One of Goa's most well-known roads, frequently featured in films." This route near Parra, with its thick coconut palms on both sides, is a must-do destination for photography lovers. Take a drive along Parra's beautiful lanes, which are bordered on both sides by thick palm groves, and marvel at nature's real beauty. These small, winding roads can give you a sensation of aliveness. One can't help but take a few minutes to take in the scenery of the famed watermelon-growing fields. Very quickly we finished clicking pictures and doing videos here and we were ready to head to our final destination for the day.
Fort Chapora (Destination 8) Dil Chahta Hai Fort is the name given to Chapora Fort, which is located in northern Goa. By going there personally, you can experience those memories. This fort is located 700 metres from Vagator Beach and overlooks the Chapora River. This fort has adequate paths and roads. Vendors line the carpeted roads, selling food, juices, and water to satiate your mid-day appetite. The availability of these items makes trekking to the slanting heights of Chapora Fort easier, as well as ensures that you do not become tired on the way. The views of the mesmerizing sunset along with the orange and white skyline make the spot perfect for photography.
We waited till the sunset here enjoyed the view and decided to call it a day, we reached our hotel in Calangute and enjoyed the evening at the restaurant in the hotel, as we did not feel like stepping out.
Summing up Day 2 - 179kms driven 4 destinations covered out of 4 planned missions accomplished. Day 3 was supposed to be a bit relaxing & exciting as we were heading to a place called Gokak
- Day 3 – Visit Beach early morning and start from Goa, Places planned to cover - Gokak Falls, Godachinamalki Falls, Hidakal Dam
Calangute Beach (Destination 9) We woke up early at 5:30 am to visit the famous Calangute beach but it looked like the rain god was angry on us as it was pouring cats and dogs, so we waited till 7 am and spent some time amidst the high tides at Calangute beach, we then came back to the hotel to finish our breakfast and start our Journey to Gokak.
Hidakal Dam (Destination 10) Hidakal Dam was built to generate hydropower and provide water for cultivation in the surrounding area. This dam serves as a roosting location for migratory birds such as Demoiselle cranes and Bar-headed geese, which visit every year. The dam is an area of great natural beauty, archaeological importance, and bird-watching opportunities, and it is well worth a visit. However, access to the dam gate is restricted due to security reasons.
Gokak Falls (Destination 11) Gokak Falls is 6 km away from Gokak town and gets its name from the Goki trees found in abundance in these areas. It resembles Niagara Falls due to its features like the fall, shape etc. Here, River Ghataprabha takes a leap of 52 metres over the sandstone cliff amidst a picturesque gorge of the rugged valley, making a beautiful sight. This place has the credit of generating electricity for the first time in the country in about 1887. A prime attraction of the Gokak Falls is the hanging 200-m-long bridge that lies 14 m above the bedrock. Tourists can also visit monuments on both sides of the rocky gorge which include temples of Goddess Durga, Lord Shanmukha and Lord Mahalingeshwara built in the traditional Chalukyan style of architecture.
We had almost lost time at this point due to unexpected bad roads which made us take a long time to reach the place, we decided to keep the next destination Godachinamalki for next time and spend some time at leisure at Belagavi again to rejuvenate ourselves from all the travel stress, bu now we had covered almost 1200kms in 3 days,
Summing up Day 3 - 250kms driven 2 destinations covered out of 3 planned missions accomplished. Day 4 was returning to Bengaluru but on the way, we had planned to visit an ancient cave at Chitradurga town.
- Day 4 – Visit Chandravalli Tota ( Chandravalli Farm) in Chitradurga and head back home after a drive of 560kms.
Chandravalli Tota (Destination 12) Chandravalli Tota is a must-see place for all of those visiting Chitradurga. It is about a 20 minute to half-hour drive from the Chitradurga Fort. Amazing place, with lots of cloak and dagger stuff of the 17th and 18th Century. Apparently used for discussion between the Kings, Religious Heads and also to stash away money. There are a couple of guides available at the caves, who give you interesting stories and charge around 200 to 300 bucks.
The pitch-black darkness of the caves is something to die for. Interesting to see how sages lived and colluded with the Kings at that time.
There are also small places of worship, bathing and living quarters. While the height seems a little cramped, the spaces are fairly large, surprisingly, considering the whole thing is underground and is at multiple levels. Apparently, these caves were connected to the Chitradurga fort.
As we finished our visit to this place we were left with many questions on how this was planned and built in those days, and we started towards completing our journey to Bengaluru.
4 days 1850 km 12 places 3 friends and tons load of fun and memories created, that was our trip alongside the WESTERN GHATS!
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Until next time it's me Nikhil Signing Off...
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