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Old 18th October 2023, 14:58   #1
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Karnataka Temple Run Road-Trip in a Kia Sonet


Hello fellow BHPians. I have been a long time lurker in these forums. It helped me immensely to buy a car for our family. For that I want to thank everyone for contributing to this beautiful community we have here. Looking into the reviews and weighing the pros and cons we bought a Kia Sonet HTX imt this April and have taken it a few road trips before too. Previously we had a 2008 Hyundai Santro Xing which was sold off to make way for our new car. This is my first time posting here so please forgive me for any mistakes I make.

This time we wanted to go on a long road trip and were searching for places to go. Being fortunate enough to stay in Bangalore which is makes the entire South of India within driving distance of us. There are a load of places to visit but we hadn't decided yet. A random video recommendation on YouTube of the Murudeshwar temple peaked the interest of my mom. So hence began the planning. My father had a passport renewal appointment on Thursday and hence we planned for a three day road trip starting on Friday and ending on Sunday. As we were planning to go up north, we planned what else we could see. Seeing the road options and destination we had the following four main places we would like to visit.
  • Jog Falls
  • Shri Mahabaleshwara Swamy Temple (Gokarna)
  • Shri Murudeshwara Shivana Temple
  • Shri Kshetra Dharmasthala Manjunatha Swamy Temple
Our car just had its second servicing upon completion of 5000Km the previous day and hence we were ready for the trip.

Day 1

We started off at 8:00AM from our home in Bengaluru. Being a weekday the traffic bogged us down a bit but eventually we made our way to Tumkur Road. One interesting thing is that the Bangalore Nelamangla Toll Booth did not have any boom barriers deployed. I don't know if this is a common thing here or a one off. The cars simply rolled below it slowly and was instantly picked up by the Fastag receiver. There was no stopping or boom barriers moving. I guess this will be the ultimate dream of just cruising through the highway at highway speeds and the toll being automatically deducted from overhead receivers. Anyway this is what I hope it turns out to after seeing the same system implemented in UAE around 10 years ago. We had packed both breakfast and lunch for the trip to save both time and money. My parents had their breakfast while we were travelling. We stopped over for our first break on a service road to change drivers so that I can have my breakfast. My mom had packed bread-butter sandwich along with a couple of bananas. Here I clicked a quick pic of our car.

Karnataka Temple Run Road-Trip in a Kia Sonet-pxl_20231013_041900754.jpg

The highways all the way to Ranebennur was butter smooth and the roads were pretty empty as it was a weekday. Cruise control was set to 100kmph and we cruised. We spotted a wind turbine blade being transported. We had seen some of these before and never astonishes me as to how large these things are. I simply admire that these things are transported all the way up the hills and generate power for our homes. I got a video of it too.

Karnataka Temple Run Road-Trip in a Kia Sonet-pxl_20231013_043619028.jpg

We turned left from Ranebennur towards Jog Falls. The roads here turned scenic as we headed to the western ghats. Around 2:00 PM we stopped over for our lunch. The place we stopped had a beautiful patch of grass to just sit down and have our lunch. It was fried rice mixed with paneer, corn and other vegetables . She also brought curd too (Thank you mom!) Here we stopped for around half an hour and changed drivers back to me.

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We reached Jog Falls around 3:30PM. We were surprised by the construction happening here. There were multiple bulldozers and tipper trucks working around here kicking a lot of dust. The parking ticket was 50 along with a 10/person ticket price. We saw multiple buildings being constructed here. I identified some of them as a bus terminal, a couple of glass viewpoints and a large building with ramps directly connecting to the viewpoints. Making a quick Google search revealed the construction of a Five Star Hotel here along with a rope bridge!

I hope the construction finishes quick keeping in mind the Western Ghats delicate ecological balance. Here we also saw the state of the Government rest house. Hotel Mayura Gersoppa Jogfalls as it is known was one of our contenders for staying for the first night but I was glad we didn't go ahead with it. The building is currently filled with dust and the reception was empty and looked deserted. The falls view point was relatively empty. We basically had the whole falls to ourselves for about 5 minutes. The sight was mesmerising as the water divided to four separate falls named Raja, Roarer, Jog and Rocket. I reckon due to the lack of rain or unfortunate timing we couldn't see the full glory of the falls. Nevertheless it was one place off our checklist of places to visit.

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After this we headed to Honnavar to see the sunset. Here the true beauty of the western ghats revealed itself. The windy black roads with intermittent rain is a true pleasure to drive. In my past time I watch Porsche 911's roaring along the windy roads of Switzerland. This road reminded me of the same. I am grateful that I can enjoy the same pleasure here in India for a fraction of the price. The imt gearbox and the turbo charged engine of the Kia Sonet reaffirmed to me why I chose this combination. It gives you a true feeling of "Driving" a vehicle without the left leg working out. Revving the engine to spool the turbo and choosing what gear I want and hearing the engine feedback was amazing. These instances remind me why pleasures can be had without spending a bomb and making of what you have.

Karnataka Temple Run Road-Trip in a Kia Sonet-pxl_20231013_113118206.jpg

Along the way we spotted a hanging bridge and stopped over for a quick photo. This is an amazing hanging bridge for the people of the local villages. This helps them cross the Sharavati River with ease. 2 Wheelers can also cross the river here.

Karnataka Temple Run Road-Trip in a Kia Sonet-pxl_20231013_115605883.jpg

We reached Kasarkod Eco Beach at 6:00PM just before sunset. The sun was hidden by clouds and we couldn't quite see the sun set. There is a parking fees of 40 here. This beach is one of the best beaches I have ever seen in India. The sand is golden brown and very clean. The beach has a tiled parking spot along with a shop selling ice-cream, cold drink and other stuff. This is a blue flag certified beach. It has a park and proper changing rooms and bath in beautiful bamboo structures. The beach is powered by Solar Panels installed near the car park. I would definitely recommend everyone to check this beach out if you want to have bath. The beach has lifeguard on duty with proper flags depicting the depth and safe swimming zones.

After this we headed over to our beach stay at Prarthana Beach Stay. It is located in Kumta. The road leading up to it is very narrow and at night its not he best. The resort however is a good value for money. It has wooden cottages and a beach right in front of it. We had some snacks upon reaching the place at 7:30 PM and had out dinner here only. The food was good. We went for an after dinner stroll near the beach. Here I have attached the day's journey on Google Maps and the Mileage here.

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Day 2

Starting off the day at the beach opposite our resort was refreshing. We had our complementary breakfast here and headed to the Temple in Gokarna. The drive from Kumta to Gokarna is very scenic. Heading off from the highway to the inner roads of Gokarna which are quite narrow. Sometimes I wondered if I am even supposed to drive up to the temple through this road. I just trusted the guy behind me knew the road and asked me to go ahead. There is barely enough space for a car to squeeze by. Later upon reaching the beach parking I heaved a sigh of relief. There I came to know that this was a one way and only allowed cars to come in one direction and there was a separate road for leaving the Beach. The parking fees was 30. It was incredibly hot and humid. We removed our footwear in our car to head to the temple.

I and my father draped the traditional lungi and headed to the temple. The ground and sand was scorching and slightly burnt our feet. We queued up for the temple and had to wait around 2 hours to enter the holy sanctum. Men are required to remove their shirts and baniyan here, while women are allowed in traditional clothes. Prasadam is also served for free here. We had our lunch here. The sambar and rice along with curd was refreshing. You have to wash your own plates after eating here.

After this we headed to Rama Teertha which is around a 800m walk from the main beach. The scorching sun didn't help either. This place has a natural stream which is believed to have medicinal and healing properties. We drank from this water and took our blessing here. There is also a central tank where people bathe from the natural stream. From here we returned back to our car. The car was scorching hot inside. I just got inside and started the engine and put the blower on full blast. Here I probably found the most practical use of the sunroof . I opened the sunroof to let out the warm air outside. This helped a lot.

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After this we headed over to Sharavathi Kandla Mangrove Boardwalk. This place is beautiful. The entry ticket is only 10 and definitely worth it. It has no parking fee either. Definitely recommend this place to your trip to Murudeshwar/Gokarna. Located in Honnavar this is a very beautiful and peaceful place to chill. It provides information about mangroves and the walk is very picturesque. There is also a very small bridge over the water. The place is great for a photoshoot and also saw a pre-wedding shoot taking place. It is perfect for the afternoon as the mangroves offer shade and is cool.

Karnataka Temple Run Road-Trip in a Kia Sonet-pxl_20231014_102955957.jpg


Last edited by itspatra : 19th October 2023 at 12:52.
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Old 19th October 2023, 12:35   #2
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re: Karnataka Temple Run Road-Trip in a Kia Sonet

Now heading over to the star of our trip , Shri Murudeshwara Shivana Temple. Its a half hour drive from Honnavar. The approach road to the temple gives a magnificent view of the Raj Gopuram. The 250 feet (20 Storied) Raj Gopuram is considered the tallest in the world. We reached here around 5:00 PM during golden hours. Parking was plenty here and if I am not mistaken the parking fees is 40. I and my father draped the lungi again here.

There was a large line at the entrance and not knowing better we just queued in this line. After a couple of minutes we saw people entering the temple without standing in the line. Amazed by this I left my parents in the que to check it out. I realized this line was not for entering the temple but for the lift which takes people to the top of the Raj Gopuram . The whole area is developed by R.N Shetty. You can see his portraits inside the temple too. This temple was relatively less crowded and the darshan was over within half an hour.

We now headed to the large shiva statue which is located a couple of flights of stairs over the main temple. This statue is considered the second tallest in the world. It has a temple under it and were lucky to witness a puja here. There is also a cave here which portrays the story of the atmalinga. The narrator narrated the story in English, Hindi and Kannada. The cave is air-conditioned and is a good place to visually see the story. We headed to the rear of the Shiva statue where we saw the setting sun. Nearby we saw the a Chariot and statue of R.N Shetty. This place also offers a hotel to stay over for the night. RNS Residency offers great views of the temple and the sea. There is also a restaurant which overlooks the sea and beach.

After this we headed over to the beach to bathe. The beach offers many activities such as camel/horse ride, banana ride, jet ski, boat ride etc. The beach here is of a very gentle slope. So it feels you are deep in the sea but in reality the water is barely over your knee. The water was warm from the morning sun and felt good to bathe here.

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We left from here after the sun had set. We had booked our hotel in Manipal, Udupi for the night. The drive to our hotel was about 2 hours long. We reached our hotel around 8:00 PM and checked in here. Our room was upgraded to 3 single bed room which offered a balcony view, a mini-fridge and larger than our original room.

The hotel is located in a prime location. It right next to Syndicate Bank Head-Office and a stone's throw from Kasturba Medical College (KMC) and Manipal Institute of Technology (MIT). The hotel where we stayed has SBI Manipal Branch on the ground floor. The hotel offers two restaurant. Madhuvan Veg a pure veg restaurant and Madhuvan Mandara Multi Cuisine Restaurant which has a attached bar. We had our dinner here and rested for the night.

I have attached the days timeline from google maps and a pic of this days mileage. Notice the almost accurate details on Google Maps and on the vehicle. It is impressive that I can actually calculate how much and how long I travelled on my fingertips from years ago.

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Day 3

The complementary breakfast provide here was great. The authentic south Indian food of Idly, Vada, Dosa, Neer Dosa and Dahi Vada was good. We filled up our stomach with these and checked out. The Sunday morning drive from Manipal was very peaceful. The city looked sleepy and chill. We headed off to Dharmasthala. The roads we took this day were not the best. With construction work being carried out left, right and centre the roads we travelled were filled with potholes and gravel.

We reached Dharmasthala around 12:30 PM. Here too my father and I draped the lungi and removed our shirt and baniyan. There are special entry tickets of 200/person. We queued up at the normal line. The entry line was numbered 2. There are various holding chambers here with long serpentine rows for crowd management. I must say that the crowd management here is excellent. Even though there was a large crowd, at all times we were kept moving. Massive fans kept the air moving and kept all of us cool. We started off at holding chamber 3 and made our way eventually to the temple. Entering the temple we could see there are more lines surrounding the holy sanctum. The gold plated roof is very bright and clean. I am surprised it has not tarnished yet. There are counters for buying Prasad inside the temple.

Karnataka Temple Run Road-Trip in a Kia Sonet-pxl_20231015_063929369.jpg

After this we exited the temple and headed to lunch. We were seated on the top hall where there are metal stools and tables. First came the sweet paysam and then servings of rice, rasam, sambar and curd. We ate to our heart's content. The road was very toasty in the heat of the afternoon sun. We quickly made our way to our car and employed the same strategy of cooling of our car. The toilets here are free and clean. The parking also is free. Now we started our journey back to home through Shakleshpur. The ghats till Shakleshpur was cemented the entire way!. The cement roads also had proper marking and was two-lane road.

The last time we visited this area was a road trip to Mangalore and Udupi a couple of years ago. During that time I remember the ghats to be much more scenic and picturesque. The roads were high enough for the clouds to roll in and the road sides offering views of the valley below. Does anyone know if this is the same route or are there other more beautiful routes to Udupi from Bangalore?

From Shakleshpur a new four-lane highway is being constructed towards Hassan. We visited Shakleshpur over a month ago and was amazed by the amount of progress that was made in this short time. I hope it is constructed at the same pace moving forward. We reached Hassan around sunset. From Hassan to Bangalore the drive was pretty uneventful. There was a lot of traffic near Nelamangala and that is pretty much usual at this point. We reached home around 9:00 PM . I parked the vehicle and grabbed my scooty to get dosa for dinner.

I attached the timeline of the same trip below and also the overall trip distance and mileage. (Note: AC was running all the time the vehicle was on and the temperature was set at 20C, one blower speed) Thanks for reading my post and giving me your valuable time. Cheers!

Karnataka Temple Run Road-Trip in a Kia Sonet-screenshot-20231019-122655.png

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Karnataka Temple Run Road-Trip in a Kia Sonet-pxl_20231015_155802678.jpg
This is the total trip info

Last edited by itspatra : 19th October 2023 at 12:55.
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Old 19th October 2023, 18:14   #3
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re: Karnataka Temple Run Road-Trip in a Kia Sonet

Thread moved out from the Assembly Line. Thanks for sharing!
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