For people who are always looking for ways to get out of the city and enjoy some of the scenic landscapes our country has to offer.This is an attempt to provide some weekend drive informationfor all those Bangaloreans, who would want to take weekend drive.
Below is an itenary, which was not planned but just happened, typical Bangalore style!! . If you find any mistakes in the description of places or surroundings, please post them in the comments section, and I will promptly correct them
Below is what I and my friend had done a couple of weeks back, and I think anyone planning for a weekend trip can use this as a guide. This is part 1 of the travelogue.
Places covered in this drive. The below trail shows the destinations and the routes taken.
Day 1 Bangalore — > Hassan
Day 2 Bangalore –> Hassan –>Shettyhalli –> Hassan –> Halebidu –> Chikkamagalur–> Mullayanagiri–>Baba Budan Giri –> Hassan
Day 3 Hassan — > Manjarabad Fort (Sakleshpura) –> Hassan –> Bangalore
It just so happened that my friend was planning to visit his parents in Hassan, and I had called him hoping we could go for a photo shoot, he promptly replies, why dont you just come over to Hassan, we’ll try landscape photography this time. So i thought for a sec, and told him sure why not.
I and my friend met near Mantri mall, Malleshwaram at 3:30 PM on a Friday, and started our journey and 3:45 PM.
Drive to yeshwanthapur, make sure you take the fly over and drive towards nelamangala,the 15 Rs you pay for the toll road is worth it.
Take the exit near nelamangala, and once you take the left turn you should be greeted with the below signboard
From here on this road is fantastic till Bellur, gives you a feel of driving on Bangalore Mysore highway, minus the traffic. Driving on this road, you see several nurseries, if possible, get off the highway, and try to take some snaps if you like.
The landscape is very green and scenic, and you can definitely pull over to take some more shots if you want, but for us,we had to reach my friend’s parents house, so we couldn’t afford to capture the scenic drive. If you’re not in a hurry to reach Hassan, you can even visit Shravanabelagola on the way to Hassan.
There are several toll booth’s on the way, but currently they’re not collecting the fees, as the road work is still in progress. The road till Bellur is very good, beyond that the roads are good, but not great, and in some places it becomes narrow and potholed, and in places become a single lane 2 way traffic (or whatever it is called ) But the roads are generally good overall, with some small stretches which require you to take some extra care.
We reached Hassan at 7:15, i guess this should give you an indication of the road conditions . Here you can stay over in some hotel for the night. Hassan being a commercial area, you are not into the woods yet, so finding good food and accomodation is not a problem.
Next day we left Hassan at 7:00 in the morning, drove to Shettyhalli, which is about 30 KM’s from Hassan. The drive to Shettyhalli again is very scenic, and the rains made the drive surreal. Some of the very memorable things about the drive is the folk around Shettyhalli, this place can give you a glimpse of the lifestyle in places away from the city, particularly kids walking or cycling to school, people waiting for the occasional bus to arrive etc.
The place Shettyhalli is famous for an historic church which was built by the Britishers, the church carries a very European look and feel to it, and it’s a site not to miss, in the Monsoon the Church gets overrun by water, and only a part of the Church is visible and is not approachable. This is because this area serves as the catchment area for a near by dam (dont remember the Dam name , pun intended
Drive a little bit ahead and you get a bridge, from here your get a 360 degree view around the catchment area, and the view from here is out of this world, here you also get to see the cloud cover over the vast and beautiful Western Ghats!
Since our primary intention was to do landscape photography here, we couldn’t get any bird photos, but we chanced upon, sunbirds, hornbills, shikra, Oriental white ibis etc.
Next, from Shettyhalli we next drove to the historic city of Halebidu. It’s about an hours drive from Shettyhalli at about 60 KM’s. You basically have to drive back to Hassan, and from there to Halebidu. You can read more abou Halebidu here. Wiki
The guide’s here are very helpful, and they speak Kannada, English , Hindi, Tamil, Telugu , so no one would feel left out here. They charge 200 Rs, irrespective of whether your a group or an individual.
The tour is quiet informative, and shows the brilliance of the temple sculptors.
If you go off-season that is around July, it is not crowded, and you tend to enjoy and appreciate the place better.
Below are some shots from the temple.
It was around 12:30, when we were about to leave Halebidu, so we decided to have lunch and from there drive directly to Chikkamagalur. You should not have trouble finding a decent place to eat in Halbidu, or you can drive directly to Chikkamagalur, being a commercial area, you have better options for food, but then seriously what is the fun in eating in a chaotic city when you can eat some of the delicacies prepared by the Village folk, trust me it’s worth it, we did it, and it was cheap!! [Do it at your own risk though]
We drove from Halebidu — > Chikkamagalur –> Mullayanagiri (Highest point in Karnataka at 1,930 metres)
It takes about 90 minutes to reach Mullayanagiri from Halebidu, we decided to skip Belur. Once you reach Chikkamagalur, your greeted with the city chaos, try to find your way out of there, ask people for direction to Mullayanagiri, and people should start pointing you towards the foot of the Western Ghats.
Once you enter the Ghat section, take extreme care while driving, it is definitely fun, but dont drive recklessly, respect the place and the conditions and other drivers, you will enjoy the place.
The drive to Mullayanagiri, is quiet an exhillarating experience, the place goes from good visibility to zero visibility, there were instances when I couldnt see anything beyond 5ft and we had to drive watching the road which was lit by our Car’s headlights, and hoping that the road doesnt end with a cliff in another 5 feet. Since we were being extra careful, we had kept our camera gears aside, and we were making sure we were safe.
A view from inside the car, while driving.
This shot was taken when we were approaching the peak, as you can see, there are no barricades on the side, and the visibility can get very low.
Couple of points to keep in mind while driving near Mullayanagiri, keep your head lights ON. This was also my first time driving in Ghat section, and people usually are courteous (unlike what you find in City traffic), because of the nature of the drive. People are willing to give you the right of way, in case they feel it is safer to let you go.
Mullayanagiri is usually foggy, irrespective of what time you go, so dont hurry in planning to get there early in the morning. We were also planning to go there early in the morning :p , until a local suggested otherwise.
Once you reach Mullayanagiri, there’s man made stairs which will take you to the highest point, we couldn’t get there because the weather was really bad, and the low visibility wasn’t helping either.
Below is a video from the top.
As you can see, we couldnt get to the the top, as it was very windy, you can see that I had to grab my iPhone towards the end, as the wind was too strong and it was blowing it away
From Mullayanagiri, we decided to return to Chikkamagalur, as we drove back and reached the fork, where you take a left to reach Baba Budan Giri and right to Chikkamagalur, we thought what the heck let’s go to Baba Budan Giri also, it takes about 45 mins to reach Baba Budan Giri, the drive is similar to what it’s like driving to Mullayanagiri, only that the roads were a bit bumpy here.
Below is the footage of the drive to baba budan giri, and of Baba budan giri itself. The entrance to the cave was blocked due to maintenance.
To be honest, I had never visited places like Mullayanagiri and Baba budan giri in my life, what I mean to say is the low visibility and the incessant rains in these places, this is something that i had experienced for the first time in my life. And i am sure even experienced guyz would continue to be left in awe of the beauty of these places.
From here, we returned to Hassan, and decided to call it a day
On Day 3, we decided to go to Manjarabad fort, this place is about 65 KM’s from Hassan, and is situtated in Sakleshpura.
Manjarabad fort was supposed to have been built by Tipu Sultan, as a strategic defensive point.
The road to Manjarabad fort is again good, some roads are twisty, and require you to be careful while overtaking. Ask for directions to reach Manjarabad fort, it shouldn’t be very difficult to find the place. Once you reach Manjarabad fort, park your vehicle, get some junk food if you want in the local shops around here , as you’re going to hike for about 10 to 15 mins to reach the Fort. The hike is safe and easy, if you can even call it a hike that is , there are also stairs at the base of the fort, so be ready to get tired on your way to the top, again this shouldn’t be very tough.
Below are some photos from Majarabad fort.
We spent around 2 hrs here, and decided to get back to Hassan, at Hassan we had our lunch at 5:30 PM, in a Dhaba relaxed for some time, and decided to start for Bangalore at 6:30.
On our way back our tyre rim had been damaged due to which the Tyre had lost all the air, so we had to stop in the highway, and change the tyre, we lost a good 40 mins because of this. We reached Bangalore at 10:30 PM.
Next day we got back to work
This was a very pleasant and happening trip, nothing was planned, everything was decided on the go, so it was even more fun.
I sincerely hope you enjoyed this Travelogue.
Feedback most welcome!!