Shimoga ( Karnataka , South India)
Likewise many of tourist destinations of Karnataka, Shimoga also offers historical monuments of archaeological and cultural importance. Situated on the banks of river Tunga, Shimoga is a historical place which beckons the tourist with her emerald finery studded with lakes, rivers and valleys. The ancient fort is almost in ruins but a few old monuments and temples can still be seen. Shimoga town itself is steeped in history. Shivappa Nayaka ruled this place. A fine museum is set up at the old palace where the entire history of the dynasty and several ancient masterpieces of sculpture are exhibited. The Sacred Heart Cathedral in the town is a beautiful monument which is nearly 125 years old. It is a popular base for tourists visiting places around the region as good lodging facility are available here.
Agumbe: Situated about 30 kms from Sringeri and located on an elevated spot on the Western Ghats, Agumbe is a small village which has become famous for viewing the glorious Sunset in the distant horizon. The landscape and surroundings present one of the loveliest sights in the world. Best season is to visit Agumbe is November-December.
Bhadravati: 10 kms away from Shimoga and located on the banks of river Bhadra, Bhadravati was once called the Birmingham of Mysore, having the iron and steel producing plant and the Mysore Paper Mills. The town has developed into an industrial region. This was the earliest place to produce iron and steel in South India.
Gajanur: The Dam here is an ideal place for picnic. Elephant training camp, being run and managed by the forest department is located here. Visitors can make use of the forest lodge for overnight stay and view wild life around the area.
Hombucha: Located 60 kms from Shimpga is Hombucha, a famous Jain pilgrimage established in the 7th century by the noted ruler Jinadattacharya. Padmavathi Devi, the main deity of the temple is held in great reverence. The famous Lakki tree planted many years ago is still green and fresh inside the temple. The Panchakuta Basadi has five cells in a row occupied by serene and splendid images of Mahavira Tirthankara. The temple has a striking Manastambha, a monolith pillar encrusted with carved elephants and lions, a procession of Ashtadikpalas with their musicians.
Ikkeri is a hamlet of Aralikoppa village which was once the capital of the Nayakas of Keladi. The temple of Aghoreshwara, built in the 16th century, is a well proportioned stone building constructed in a mixed style of Hosala and Vijayanagar. A huge Nandi is installed in front of the main temple in a separate structure.
Jog Waterfall: The magnificent Jog waterfall, located 110 kms from Shimoga, is the highest in India. The river Sharavathi cascades down 292 metres in four distinct branches known as Raja, Rani, Roarer and Rocket. This is also the centre of hydro-electric generating station in the state named after Mahatma Gandhi. Best season to visit Jog Waterfall is November-December.
Keladi: Keladi is situated 5 kms away from Sagar. Historical place of Keladi is associated with Rani Chennammaji. The Keladi dynasty had 16 kings and two queens of whom Chennammaji was most famous. The temple of Rameshwara and the Veerabhadra built by the Nayakas are the famous monuments of the place. There is a museum near the temple which is worth a visit as the entire history of the place is depicted here.
Kavale is a small village near Soraba which has a Shiva temple. It contains very old mural paintings of the 14th century. The style reminds the Vijayanagar School of arts. This is a place worth a visit.
Kubatur, 64 kms away from Shimoga, is a famous historical place for the Shiva temple, dedicated to Kaitabheshwara. The entire temple is a treasure house of sculpture. The outer walls, inner halls, ceilings, pillars and every inch of space is filled with finely carved figures.
Kudala Sangama: Situated about 15 kms away from Shimoga is Kundala Sangama. The place is known thus because of being the confluence of rivers Tunga and Bhadra with an enchanting beauty in natural surroundings. An ancient Mutt of Shankarcharya order is located here with a Pontiff.
Mattur: Only 10 kms away from Shimoga is a small but culturally rooted village of Mattur. This old village on the banks of river Tunga is the only place in the country where Sanskrit is the spoken language of the residents. All the 90 families who live here speak Sanskrit. There is a Sanskrit college which is run on the ancient Gurukula system.
Sagar is a prosperous town in the Malnad area which has developed as the best sandal wood carving handicraft centre.Also famous for its Marikamba temple which has a modern structure with many paintings. Nearby is Varadahalli where the famous Samadhi of Sridhara Swamy is located.
Tavarekoppa, 10 kms from Shimoga, is a famous for lion safari and sanctuary developed recently by the Government of Karnataka.
Santebennur: A historical place belonging to the Palegar time of1558 is having some exceedingly good temples of beautiful sculpture. The huge Pushkarini (pond) with a two storeyed building in the middle is a fine structure with mixed Hindu and Muslim architecture. Built entirely of dressed red granite stone, the sides and corners have shrines for the Ashta Dikpalas.
Other places of interest worthy of visit are Belagami and Badalike near Shikaripur, Talagunda, Bidanur, Kappagodu and Kuppattur.
How to reach Shimoga:
Shimoga is well connected by rail from Bangaluru and the road is exceedingly good as hundreds of buses operate from this place to various parts of the state. Good accommodation is available here. Taxis can be hired for visiting places at reasonable charges.