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Old 7th September 2020, 19:01   #1
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Default Weekend in the Hills of Sakleshpur, Karnataka

"Whatever it is you're seeking won't come in the form you're expecting" - Haruki Murakami

For me, this trip was supposed to be about spending time in the hills and valleys, enjoying their calming green presence and soaking in the smell of wet earth. But this trip turned out to be all about freedom. Freedom from the confines of walls that you build in your head, to keep one foot in front of the other every day. We strive, thrive and make a living but often forget that we need new experiences in order to feel alive. Experiences that take you to a different world, filled with green fields, blue skies, open space and the freedom of solitude. Silence is a sound that is definitely worth hearing, once in a while. But nothing can match the symphony of a breeze that caresses the green tresses of rolling hills, whispering to the gushing stream and whistling through the old old trees. As I have said before, the hills are my muse and it was beautiful to spend another weekend nestled in the hills of Sakleshpur.

Weekend in the Hills of Sakleshpur, Karnataka-int1.jpg

A post on Instagram from someone I follow led me to Agani gudda, a small hill nestled in the folds of the western ghats, with some beautiful view of the hills and valleys around. A quick check on google maps revealed a few potential options where we could stay overnight. After a quick check with the usual set of fellow drive enthusiasts, we decided to spend a night nestled in the hills around Sakleshpur. Soon the group expanded to 6 families and we quickly narrowed down on Tusk and Dawn(T&D) as our overnight halt. Added advantage was the guided trek to Agani gudda, which T&D was including as part of the deal. There was the issue of rain and 3-4kms of bad roads, but we decided to deal with it when we get there as we did have the option of parking our cars in a private estate and using the resorts 4*4 to reach T&D. We decided to take a small detour to Mallalli falls on the way to T&D

Green fields and empty roads
Weekend in the Hills of Sakleshpur, Karnataka-g1.jpg

5th Sep morning was a 5.30 am start and after a quick breakfast at Swati delicacy we took the detour at CR Patna and headed towards Arkalgud. Lush green fields welcomed us and we found ourselves slowing down every 10 min for a quick photo or just to take in the beauty around us. Just as we crossed Arkalgud, we found ourselves with water on either side. Gorur dam was keeping Hemavathy in check and the backwaters was a beautiful sight to behold. Decided to test out my new mavic mini and after some tentative flying decided to head out over the water and take a look around. The result was absolutely gorgeous!

the lineup from up above
Weekend in the Hills of Sakleshpur, Karnataka-b1.jpg



After a relatively long stop at the backwaters, we made quick time to Somwarpete, where google decided to confuse us by saying that the direct road to Mallalli was closed. Asked around and got the green signal from a couple of folks, and off we went. The last few kms to Mallalli turnoff is WIP and the lower GC cars (Polo, Vento and Ritz) had to take it slow. We reached Mallalli and realized that the main parking area is still locked, post which we found parking on the road and headed to the falls. Many of the folks in the group decided to walk all the way to the base of the falls and this is how it looked from way down below. I decided to take the arial route and spent time taking in the view from way up in the sky. A few pics from high up and low down.

Mallalli Falls - Arial view
Weekend in the Hills of Sakleshpur, Karnataka-ml1.jpg

Mallalli Falls - after a long trek to the base
Weekend in the Hills of Sakleshpur, Karnataka-ml2.jpg
Pic Credits - CSK



We had arranged for lunch at Chiguru Homestay and after a long lunch, we headed out towards hethur via shanivarasanthe. The road from Shanivarasanthe to Vanagoor is such a treat to drive, beautiful tarmac surrounded by all kinds of green. Fluorescent green of paddy fields, fresh green of wet grass and bushes, dark green of young trees and that special solitude green that I associate with old trees and forests. After a leisurely stroll around the lone tree that marks this grassland at hethur, we finally decided to head towards Sakleshpur and T&D.

Lone tree - Hethur grassland
Weekend in the Hills of Sakleshpur, Karnataka-ht1.jpg

View from the lone tree - Hethur grassland
Weekend in the Hills of Sakleshpur, Karnataka-ht2.jpg

We reached Hanbal at 4.30 PM and after a quick chat with the T&D manager who was waiting to lead us to the resort, we decided to drive up all the way. The last 3 kms to T&D was challenging, to put it mildly. We were literally crawling up and down mud roads, which at places was churned into slick muck by a few 4*4s. I remember one stretch of the road where I could see patches of green moss on the brown muddy mounds and could feel the tires slip and slide a bit before biting in. On the whole, the last 20 min to the resort was a fun drive and we got there and heaved a sigh of relief. The rest of the evening and night was just light hearted fun and banter accompanied by some hot food. Based on the discussions with the managed, half of us had decided to not undertake the trek to the top of Agani gudda(gudda in kannada is hill).


Video credits - PCR & his wife. Video is at 2X speed.

That feeling after you cross the bad sections!
Weekend in the Hills of Sakleshpur, Karnataka-br1.jpg

6th Sep morning, 3 families headed out to conquer Agani gudda and the rest of us woke up to a lazy beautiful day nestled among the hills. I had decided to sit out of the trek and hence spent time flying the drone and experimenting with various modes and setting. After breakfast we had some fun in the small waterfall that is adjacent to the dining area and waited for the other families to return from the trek.

Agani Gudda - Trek view
Weekend in the Hills of Sakleshpur, Karnataka-ag3.jpg
Weekend in the Hills of Sakleshpur, Karnataka-ag4.jpg
Pic Credit - CSK's Son

Agani Gudda - Drone view
Weekend in the Hills of Sakleshpur, Karnataka-ag1.jpg
Weekend in the Hills of Sakleshpur, Karnataka-ag2.jpg



Tusk and Dawn Resort
Weekend in the Hills of Sakleshpur, Karnataka-td1.jpg
Weekend in the Hills of Sakleshpur, Karnataka-td6.jpg



After a relaxed lunch, and a quick nap for the weary trekkers, we headed back to civilization at 2.45 pm. The return leg amidst the slush and mud was not very challenging as it hadn't rained much overnight and we already knew what to expect. Decided to drive back via Mudigere handpost - Belur - Hassan to avoid the Sakleshpur - Hassan stretch. We made good time and reached Swati delicacy at 6 pm. After a long relaxed coffee session at Swati, we headed back home. Traffic on the highway made me think about pre covid long weekends. Decided to avoid Nelamangala toll and drove back home after taking the detour inside Nelamangala town.

~650 kms on the odo and a lot of it was driving around the hills and valleys of Coorg and Sakleshpur. I can't think of a better way to spend a weekend!
Weekend in the Hills of Sakleshpur, Karnataka-g3.jpg

Last edited by procrj : 8th September 2020 at 09:50.
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Old 8th September 2020, 09:34   #2
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Default Re: Weekend in the Hills of Sakleshpur, Karnataka

Route and Road Conditions
  • BLR - CR Patna - Arkalgud - Shanivarasanthe - Somwarpet: Very good to great roads.
  • Somwarpet - Mallalli Falls: Last 3-4 kms to the turn off towards Mallalli is bad as the road is WIP. Can be negotiated in any car with some careful driving. Do note that Gmaps will reroute you at Somwarpete as it still shows a part of the road between Somwarpet - Mavinakatte to be under construction. Donít take the detour that Gmaps offer and stick to Somwarpet - Mavinakatte - Mallalli route.
  • Somwarpet - Shanivarasanthe - Vanagoor - Hethur: Very good roads, especially the stretch from Shanivarasnathe - Vanagoor, which is interspersed with fields on both side.
  • Hethur - Byakaravalli - Anemahal: Good roads.
  • Anemahal - Hanbal: - Good roads with the occasional broken patch.
  • Hanbal - Tusk & Dawn: - Driveable roads for the most part, except for the last 3 km stretch of mud and stones.
  • Hanbal - Jannapura - Belur: - Wonderful stretch of twisty roads. Absolute treat to drive this in the afternoon with minimum traffic.
  • Belur - Hassan - BLR: - Nothing new here, roads are good but weekend traffic is getting back to pre-covid level on the Hassan highway.
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Old 8th September 2020, 22:32   #3
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Default Re: Weekend in the Hills of Sakleshpur, Karnataka

Moving thread from Assembly Line to Travelogues forum. Thanks for sharing!
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Old 9th September 2020, 09:53   #4
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Default Re: Weekend in the Hills of Sakleshpur, Karnataka

Thanks for a wonderful travelogue. The photos look like they are from some other country but they are right in our "backyard". Very beautiful and its also a great time to travel given the rains. Good that you documented the route taken etc, which comes in handy if we were to plan this. Avoids the question: Hey can you please share the routes? :-). Thanks again.
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Old 9th September 2020, 10:02   #5
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Default Re: Weekend in the Hills of Sakleshpur, Karnataka

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Originally Posted by procrj View Post
"

We reached Hanbal at 4.30 PM and after a quick chat with the T&D manager who was waiting to lead us to the resort, we decided to drive up all the way. The last 3 kms to T&D was challenging, to put it mildly. We were literally crawling up and down mud roads, which at places was churned into slick muck by a few 4*4s. I remember one stretch of the road where I could see patches of green moss on the brown muddy mounds and could feel the tires slip and slide a bit before biting in. On the whole, the last 20 min to the resort was a fun drive and we got there and heaved a sigh of relief. The rest of the evening and night was just light hearted fun and banter accompanied by some hot food. Based on the discussions with the managed, half of us had decided to not undertake the trek to the top of Agani gudda(gudda in kannada is hill).
Just to give folks an idea of what the fire roads are like to the resort





Awesome report!
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Old 9th September 2020, 10:15   #6
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Default Re: Weekend in the Hills of Sakleshpur, Karnataka

Nice travelogue! It's very refreshing to watch the greenery in Western ghats. Monsoon is the best time to visit those places. Thanks for sharing the route conditions

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Belur - Hassan - BLR: - Nothing new here, roads are good but weekend traffic is getting back to pre-covid level on the Hassan highway.
You are right. I almost felt like driving on Mysore road couple of weeks back on the way back from Hassan. These days I see a drastic increase in local two wheeler traffic and vehicles driving on the wrong side of the road between Nelamangala - Hassan. These traits were restricted to Mysore road in the past. Traffic on NH-75 was pretty disciplined in the past but sadly it's no longer the case.
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Old 9th September 2020, 12:18   #7
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Default Re: Weekend in the Hills of Sakleshpur, Karnataka

Fantastic travelogue! I have been thinking of a drive to Sakleshpur with family, but in two minds about the night stay. Is it safe to stay over with necessary precautions? I don't want to miss this monsoon-induced greenery!
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Old 9th September 2020, 16:39   #8
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Default Re: Weekend in the Hills of Sakleshpur, Karnataka

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Just to give folks an idea of what the fire roads are like to the resort
You should do this stretch during monsoon

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These days I see a drastic increase in local two wheeler traffic and vehicles driving on the wrong side of the road between Nelamangala - Hassan.
Agreed. I did see a lot of 2 wheeler traffic on the highway even at 7.30 pm and one of the reasons could be reduced frequency of KSRTC/Local town buses due to COVID. I am pretty sure that traffic will only increase during the long weekend of Oct 2nd.

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Fantastic travelogue! I have been thinking of a drive to Sakleshpur with family, but in two minds about the night stay. Is it safe to stay over with necessary precautions? I don't want to miss this monsoon-induced greenery!
Every resort/homestay is doing everything they can to ensure that surfaces and rooms are sanitized and clean. Hot food is served to ensure that there is minimal chance of infection. Its also important that you take precautions and ensure that there is minimal contact with others, which is something that we have been following since Aug 1st week, which is when we started traveling again. My advice would be to go ahead and get some fresh air, unless you have an infant or 60+ adult accompanying you.

Last edited by Aditya : 9th September 2020 at 20:49. Reason: Typo
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Old 9th September 2020, 17:46   #9
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Default Re: Weekend in the Hills of Sakleshpur, Karnataka

Loved reading it Procrj. And the pics / videos from the MavicMini is just outstanding. I don't know if it is coincidence, i was talking to the exact same place yesterday evening and was trying to secure a booking for the 2nd Oct and later on, i see your travelogue here.

Just an OT question - i hope the resort is clean, follow the safety guidelines around sanitisation ? And given my trip will be with family as well, the big need is clean linens, towels and the bath. Would you rate them good please?

Thanks for sharing.
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Old 9th September 2020, 17:53   #10
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Just an OT question - i hope the resort is clean, follow the safety guidelines around sanitisation ?

Thanks for sharing.
Probably infinitely safer than your local supermarket.

Just saying

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You should do this stretch during monsoon
Plans are on
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Old 9th September 2020, 18:15   #11
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Probably infinitely safer than your local supermarket.

Just saying
Oh, fully agree with this Redliner..
As a family, we stayed at a JLR property last month for 2 nights and though their standards may not be a 5 star equivalent, they are good and decent and clean enough for the family.

Pandemic or otherwise, the ask from the family is always only about clean wash rooms, linen and Towels. It was more around 'Cleanliness' than 'Safe'.
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Old 9th September 2020, 18:15   #12
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i hope the resort is clean, follow the safety guidelines around sanitisation ? And given my trip will be with family as well, the big need is clean linens, towels and the bath. Would you rate them good please?
Yes, tables chairs etc. are sanitized as soon as you get up from there after your meal. Rooms are clean, towels & linens are clean but do expect local wildlife like spiders, snails etc. to find their way into the washroom as they have an open section to allow sunlight.

If you plan to go to T&D, do ask them to take you into Kadamane estate in advance, the manager did mention that this is a possibility but we didn't have too much time to spare.
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Old 9th September 2020, 18:19   #13
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Default Re: Weekend in the Hills of Sakleshpur, Karnataka

Thank you !. Kadumane has a bit of an ethereal charm isn't it ? I have stayed at the Estate Sinnadorai property. That's a good one. It sort of lost its charm when the Dam / Piping work started.

I will let them know. Thanks again.
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Old 9th September 2020, 20:02   #14
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Every resort/homestay is doing everything they can to ensure that surfaces and rooms are sanitized and clean. Hot foot is served to ensure that there is minimal chance of infection. Its also important that you take precautions and ensure that there is minimal contact with others, which is something that we have been following since Aug 1st week, which is when we started traveling again. My advice would be to go ahead and get some fresh air, unless you have an infant or 60+ adult accompanying you.
Thank you for the information. We are a family of three, without any infants and senior citizens. Thus, given your inputs about the accomodation, I feel it should be safe. We are just tired of sitting at home or doing some ring road drives at night! Even the kid has started saying that she is bored of these night drives.
I will get in touch with the resort and see if we get a booking. Of course, alll precautions will be taken. Thanks again!
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Old 9th September 2020, 20:09   #15
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"Whatever it is you're seeking won't come in the form you're expecting" - Haruki Murakami

I can't think of a better way to spend a weekend!
Attachment 2052918
Thanks for sharing. Refreshing to see those pics! I've been to Tusk and Dawn twice and really liked the place. Their manager Anil comes across as a nice person too. I'm planning to do a solo ride on a weekday to find some solitude, which has become a very rare commodity ever since work from home started

Good to know you guys managed to drive the last stretch without any car getting stuck!
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