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Old 30th July 2007, 18:35   #1
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Default Trip with a deference (Kamalashile)

Guys, I just realised that I got into a typing mood so please bear with my ramblings, put in too much effort to delete stuff

This trip was different in many ways, one it was not a trip which I looked forward to with great enthusiasm as we
were going to perform a puja which supposedly would bring an end to the run of misfortunes which have struck my
family lately.Secondly, we were going to an unheard of place and the health of both my wife and mom were of great
concern to me.

First a little background here, immediately after the Wayanad trip I was in hospital for kidney stones, soon after, my wife fell and
injured her knee which required a semi-major surgery, at the same time mom was diagnosed with some problem of her leg which made her bedridden and as though that was not enough, one of the labourer's in my farm broke his leg in five different places in a workplace accident.So I had spent most of the last ten-fifteen days in hospitals.

Mom was convinced that only the intervention of the almighty would lessen our troubles. She heard from her relatives that performing a particular puja in a particular temple is the solution.

Now the temple identified was called Shri Brahmi Durgaparmeshwari temple at a place called Kamalashile.
I got to know that it was located somewhere in coastal Karnataka near Kundapur. Enquiries from people who had visited the temple revealed different versions of the route to be considered.
I ruled out the normal Bangalore-Mangalore-Udupi-Kundapur due to the bad road conditions.Moreover both my wife and mom were just out of rehab.

I decided to use the power of the internet and googled my way to a more comfortable route. I discovered an amazing tool in the form of Wikimapia.org. For people who are not aware of this website, let me tell you it is mindblowing, it has satellite imagery with a very high resolution which identifies almost every house in a stretch of road. More than
anything else it is free unlike google earth.

Now the date fixed for the puja was 28th of july(Saturday), so we planned to set out on the 27th, and return after the
puja on the 28th.

The route chosen was Bangalore-Tumkur-Tiptur-Arasikere-Kadur-Birur-Tarikere-Bhadravati-Shimoga. I knew this stretch prety well as I have driven many a time on this road.

From Shimoga, using the satellite imagery, I charted out a route via
Theerthahalli-Mastikatte-Hosangadi-Siddapur(not to be confused with Coorg) and finally Kamalashile. I printed a page of instructions more or less like what rallysts use with prominent landmarks like bridges,lakes,
rivers,villages,temples,buildings,hotels etc. all along the route.This included approximate distances from one point to
the other.

We started at six in the morning and after fuelling up at my regular place we were on Tumkur road in half an hour.

With mild traffic on the way, I was overtaken on the toll road stretch by a lancer and a logan respectively and at one point of time I overtook them both, but the speeds we were doing(120-140) in the stretch made me slow down and they disappeared.
Reached Kyathsandra for breakfast at 7.30. Gorged on the idlies but as I said in my earlier post, this place has been relegated to second place after the Bidadi idlies.

From Tumkur, drove non stop till Birur and stopped at Birur for a snack even though none of us were hungry. We stopped at a small joint called Preethi canteen which is just after the Birur town circle on the left. We were told by a friend that this place has surprisingly good food and the recommendation was faultless.

After Birur, the road is still not so good just as one enters Tarikere town and till about 10kms after the town. I missed the byepass and entered Bhadravati town and was stuck behind slow moving buses till we reached the other end.

We were at Shimoga by 11.15 and decided it was too early for a lunch break. At Shimoga, I took the byepass and at the end of the stretch we reach a T-junction, took a right turn towards Theerthahalli. This stretch of about 30kms till Theerthahalli is a very scenic stretch and the road curves its way through the Shettyhalli forest reserve. We can glimpse the Bhadra backwaters on our left for many kilometres.
Shimoga-Theerthahalli road

Some interesting spots for taking snaps on this stretch are the Tunga Anicut(small dam) and the Mandagadde bird sanctuary.

This sanctuary is right by the main road and there are no entry fees either.

We reached Theerthahalli by 1'o'clock and went for a drive till the end of town looking for a good hotel, finally decided that the hotel in the beginning of town was better to look at turned back and were welcomed by the owner himself who even guided me while parking.Food was quite good and very reasonable.

Theerthahalli is a pretty place with over inquisitive people. We were asked about ourselves and where we were headed to, whom we know in the vicinity etc. by the hotel owner to the shopkeeper where we bought some puja articles.

Just after Theerthahalli town, there is a fork with the left arm going towards Udupi and the right arm going towards Sagar. Took the Sagar road and from here my satellite map came of use. Wife kept reading out directions and I drove from one map location to the other, looking forward to the next landmark. It was amazing, did not have to stop for
directions even though it was a new place as it was all charted.

The drive to Mastikatte is through thick forests for about 25kms and not a soul in sight.It started raining and the road was not so good. We were stopped by a very self important looking constable in a small village called Yedur, he wanted to "hear my car reg no. from my mouth even though he could see it himself" because of naxal threat in the region.

Mastikatte, looks just like out of a R K Narayan book, wanted to take snaps but was pouring so had to give it a pass.

As we leave Mastikatte the land narrows so much that it is a finger of land extending between deep gorges which is the Varahi dam reservoir, we cross a bridge and come to a checkpost, asked the forest dept. personnell whether I could drive up to the dam which is just to the left of the checkpost, but was denied permission, they said, I could not
even photograph it.

After the checkpost, the Balebare Ghats begin, these are by far the best Ghats I have come across in Karnataka, beautiful roads, lush forests and no traffic in sight for kilometers. The entire stretch is for about 15kms, but one gets the feeling that it is more than that. We have lots of small waterfalls by the roadside just like this one

A viewpoint along this stretch

A waterfall along the way

Once the ghats are crossed we reach Hosangady, which seems to be a settlement for the people while the dam was being constructed. After Hosangady we reach Siddapur and just 6kms later is the Kamalashile Temple. Time was 3 pm.

Is a typical Malnad type temple very simply constructed with no frills. The area around the temple is very clean and
there are just 2 shops and a small canteen in this place. No crowds milling around, not even pilgrims. One needs to
cross a small bridge in order to reach he guesthouse. The bridge is across a river Kubja which flows next to he
temple. The guest house is a building with just 6 simple rooms with very basic facilities.
View of the Temple

The guest house with the canteen in the foreground

One notices the difference in attitude in the temple almost instantaneously, you are greeted warmly by the temple authorities, asked whether you had a comfortable trip, offered coffee (YES), and taken to our rooms. Here, I had asked for 2 rooms for the three of us as both my mom and wife were not suppsed to sleep on the floor, so I thought 2 rooms would have at least 2 cots and I could manage either way.
But, the temple authorities regretfully informed us that about 195 people were undergoing an art of living course and had taken up all the rooms, 195 ppl in 6 rooms and not a soul in sight.

But they said that since I too had booked, they would ask them to vacate one if not both rooms for us.
We felt sorry for the people who had arrived before us and asking them to make way for us even when they were crammed into 6 rooms was not to our liking. The temple authorities would not have no for an answer and got one room for us but unfortunately it had just a single cot.

To cut it short (should have done this long ago), we asked for alternate accomodation and were told the nearest hotel was in Kundapur which is about 35kms away, they even called up a hotel(JK towers) and blocked a room for us, but my wife had other ideas, she is very fond of beaches so she took this opportunity to have the best of the limited fare.

She won an argument that since we were to be staying in a coastal town we might as well spend the night on the beach. So she fished out Turtle Bay resort's number from her phone and booked us a room there.
So off we went at about 5 pm to Kundapur, Turtle Bay is about 15kms away from kundapur, so we travelled another 50kms to reach Turtle Bay. We were asked to report at the temple at 9am the next day for the puja.


Reached the resort at 6 pm, we were the only people at the resort, the whole place had just 3 members of the staff
along with a watchman, we were shown a cottage, it was just a shack with stilts. My wife immediately took off to the
beach just outside the cottage, I joined her there hoping to get some snaps before darkness.
The beach

View of resort from beach

I liked this

and this

The beach I must say, is very clean with a gentle incline towards the waterline.The sea was quite rough due to the monsoon so had to satisfy myself by just standing on the edge.

Service is apparently an alien word to the resort staff, the guy in charge wore an attitude so big that I could have seen it from Kundapur had I looked hard. They were out of everything, including staff. Not even a soft drink. Food orders were to be placed 45 mins in advance and kitchen would close at 8.30 pm we were told. So immediately on checking in we ordered food that too vegetarian.This was at 6.15pm.

9.30 pm we are sitting listening to an FM radio belting out hindi numbers and nobody's in sight.Off i went searching for the guys and found them chatting away happily to one another, queried about food and was
told it would arrive in 5 mins.Almost 10 pm and we were beginning to lose our cool, I was tired from the long drive and hungry, called the guy in charge and gave him such a dressing down that the attitude disappeared.
Food was finally presented to us. We had initially decided to stay for another day and return on Sunday, but the resort put us off so
much that we decided to check out first thing in the morning.

Woke up at six, went for some early morning snaps, cleaned the car a bit and by seven thirty we were ready to leave.
Morning at the resort

Checked out of the resort and it started raining. Tanked the car up at an Indian oil pump and checked the mileage.
It had given 14.9 kms to a litre of HP power
View of the river at Kamalashile

9am, we were back at Kamalashile, had breakfast at the temple, and got down to the puja. Beautifuly performed and even I, who normally balks at temples was engrossed in the whole proceedings. Puja got done by 12.30 and we were invited for lunch. Lovely lunch once again and almost decided to stay back room or no room.

Finally decided that getting back and having a whole day to rest was more prudent, we packed up and left at 2 pm.

Retraced the entire route backwards with rain through out.
Just outside the temple

Road from Siddapur to Hosanagady

The only stops on the way back was at Reliance pump at Tarikere for bathroom,

Bhadra wildlife preserve in the background

Birur for an evening snack of dosas, and finally at Reliance A1 after Tumkur for dinner at 10.30pm. Reached home at 11.45 pm.

Date of Journey : 27th and 28th july 2007
Number of people : 3 adults
Car : Optra
Fuel : HP Power, Indian Oil Extra Premium
Distance covered : 920 kms
Fuel Economy : 14.36km/lt

Thanks guys for bearing with my ramblings!
Wikimapia - Let's describe the whole world!

Welcome to Kamalashile Sri Brahmi Durgaparameshwari Temple
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Old 30th July 2007, 19:25   #2
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Sad to know about the medical problems in the family, Wishing you all for a speeding recovery.
great trip with some really beautiful pics, those pics reminded me of my trip to Udupi (via Shimoga-Agumbe).
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Old 30th July 2007, 21:08   #3
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great report there....these are some very unusual & non -touristy places in Karnataka...let us know if there are any more.
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Old 30th July 2007, 21:16   #4
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Nice Writeup Hari, I knew about your problem and you did take a nice decision to visit the temple...

Another right decision was to take a break in Turtle Bay, the pics reminded me of my Kundapur trip....

I need to do that Tirthahalli - Shimoga route, looks like it is really scenic... is there a Siddapur near Hosangadi...I can see another siddapur just right of Nh206 after Sagar....

ya wikimapia is excellent, i traced the sirsi-devimane ghat through it.


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Old 30th July 2007, 22:41   #5
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Wish your family a speedy recovery. May God bless you!! the way you narrated your trip is really excellent..
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Old 30th July 2007, 23:15   #6
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Wish your family a speedy recovery dude. These pictures are fantastic. I love that place. Sigh....i miss india.
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Old 31st July 2007, 10:58   #7
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Wish you and your family get well soon. (Drink lots of water & beer and don't touch coke/pepsi).

Your trip reports and pictures are EXCELLENT.
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