With nature in its full bloom, the town of Shimoga has been home to several great dynasties and kingdoms. Packed with several marvels of nature in the form of picturesque landscape, gorgeous waterfalls, mystical temples and lush green surroundings, its raw beauty will leave you absolutely enchanted. The main city of Shimoga District derives its name from the words ‘Shiv-Mukha’ implying ‘Face of Lord Shiva’.
Blessed with swaying palms and verdant paddy fields, the place has earned itself a nickname of rice bowl as well as the breadbasket of Karnataka. The four rivers namely Sharavathi, Kumudavath, Tungabhadra and Varada make their way into the city, adding mystical charm to the region. Pleasant weather, beautiful rolling hills, a profusion of areca nuts and an endless list of attractions has made this place a must for enthusiastic vacation makers.
Places to Visit
Dabbe Falls, nestled within the lush green folds of Saravathi Wildlife Sanctuary, is a hidden gem in the Shimoga region of Karnataka. The alluring call of the forest and the gorgeous stream of water rushing down the cliff attract nature lovers and explorers to the Dabbe falls. The word ‘dabbe’ translates to ‘steps’ in the native language. The reason behind such a name is the streambed of the Dabbe falls which resembles steps or to be more precise, a kind of terrace jutting out from the steep wall of the cliff. The waterfalls and pools in each step before it overflows and forms a cascading wall of water down to the next step and this continues making Dabbe one of the most picturesque scenes to behold in the region.
The road to reach Dabbe is not much of a road but an almost perpendicular walking track down a cliff. However, it is the excitement of traversing such difficult paths that bring back the adventurers to the lap of nature time and again, because at the end of the track they are rewarded with the fascinating view of Dabbe behold, roaring down the steps. You will not only get to enjoy the crystalline, pristine water of Dabbe but also experience the rich diversity of flora and fauna in the surrounding wilderness.
Situated about 115 km away from Shimoga town, Kodachadri is a peak in Western Ghats packed full of flora and fauna.
Kollur, lying at the base of the Kodachadri about 20 kms away was one the home to Adi Mookambika, devoted to Mother Goddess who ended the life of demon Mookasura. Other major attractions lying in the vicinity are Agastya Teertha Waterfalls, and Arisinagudi Waterfalls.
A small, beautiful town, located in the Taluka District of Karnataka, is Singandur. Locally known also as “Sigandooru”, the city is well known for its Shri Chowdeshwari Temple that is dedicated to the Goddess Chowdeshwari. Present on the banks of the Sharavati River, the temple is a must-visit for many devotees from all over the world. The Chowdamma Devi, as the goddess is referred to, is an ethereal being who punishes thieves for stealing and protects her devotees from losing items to thievery.
Surrounded by lush greens and the Linganamakki dam, on three sides, the Sigandur village is encircled by the Holy Sharavati River. Hundreds of worshippers flock to the temple to pray to the deity and hope for protection against thieves from stealing their belongings. It is believed that any stolen items that belong to the devotees will be returned to them and the thieves will be punished for their wrong-doings.
It is a common holy practice for visitors to bathe in the sacred river Sharavati, during the annual festival held in the month of January. This sacred village is one of its kind since no other kshetras offer this form of worship. A significant item called the “board of Shri Deviya Rakshane Ide”, once placed in a home, will provide the goddess’s pure protection of objects, buildings, land, and gardens as well as the people themselves.
One of the most sought after attractions and natural wonders in the region, Jog Falls is located nearly 100 km from Shimoga town. Lying in Sagara, it is the 11th highest waterfall in India created by Sharavathi River.
The waterfall has earned over the years a few number of names i.e. Gersoppa falls, Gerusoppe Falls and Jogada Gundi. The fall plunges from an elevation of 253 m and pours in four parts namely Raja, Rani, Roarer and Rocket. A 30 minutes walk will take you at the bottom of the fall and at Watkin’s platform, you can admire the spell binding views of the surroundings. The ideal time to explore the place is either during or after the monsoon and the place can be reached by a car or a bus from Shimoga.
Located in the Shimoga district of Karnataka, Agumbe is a small village often referred to as the “Cherrapunji of South India”. This biodiversity-rich region has the highest rainfall in south India and the second-highest annual rainfall in India. Agumbe is an enriching experience as this hill station is blessed with picturesque beauty and trekking trails. It is one of the last surviving lowland rainforests. Agumbe served as the setting for India’s very famous fictional town Malgudi in the TV serial Malgudi Days.
It is home to some rare species of medicinal plants like Myristica, Listsaea, Garcinia, Diospyros, Eugenia and more, hence it got the nickname “Hasiru Honnu” which means green is gold. Being home to an extensive rainforest and the wide variety of flora and fauna, Agumbe houses the Agumbe Rainforest Research Station. This is India’s oldest weather station which exclusively monitors any changes made in the rainforest areas. Interestingly, Agumbe is also called as the “Cobra Capital” because of the high number of Cobras found here. Agumbe provides great options for trekking, beckoning the adventure enthusiasts to visit this offbeat destination hidden in the lap of nature.
Tunga Anicut Dam
This is the most popular picnic spot near Jog Falls, with lush green paddy fields surrounding it. One also finds Teak jungles, all around the dam.
Mandagadde Bird Sanctuary
Mandagadde Bird Sanctuary is a small picturesque island located in the River Tunga nearly 32 km from Shimoga town on the way to Thirthahalli.
The perfect time to explore the island, which is a part of Shettihalli Wildlife Sanctuary, is from July to October during which the island is visited by a plethora of migratory birds such as darter, egret, snake-bird, cormorant etc.
Also known as the Keladi Kote, this fort is located in Shimoga district and is named after the Keladi dynasty that ruled this place.
Kote means fort in kannada language. Food and tents must be carried by all visitors on their way here.
Located 12 km from Shimoga en-route Thirthahalli, one can witness a perfect picnic spot in a way of Tunga Dam built over River Tunga. Gajanur is a small village popular for its various birds. An Elephant Camp where elephants are trained can also be enjoyed there by visitors. What makes it a popular attraction is the landscape, it’s got plantations and lush forests surrounding the massive dam. This calls for plenty of photo opportunities.
The Barkana Falls are located between Agumbe and Shimoga and derive their name from ‘barka’, the mouse deer, a shy creature that inhabits this particular region. The trek route runs through the dense rainforests of the Western Ghats.
During monsoons the regions start buzzing with life as new streams begin to emerge and the canopy of vegetation gets dense enough for any traveler to lose orientation. The best time to visit these falls are in the early days of winter.
Must Try Food in Shimoga
1. Hotel Shubham
2. Sri Meenakshi Bhavan
3. ISIRI Multicuisine Restaurant
4. Rice Bowl Vegetarian Restaurant
5. Royal Orchid
6. Kanauj Restaurant
7. Atithi Vegetarian Restaurant
8. Hotel Ganesh Prasad
9. Saanvi Hotel
10. Sri Sai Hotel Restaurant
How To Get Here
The nearest International Airport is Mangalore Airport, roughly 195 km from Shimoga city. Shimoga has its own Railway Station named as Shimoga Nagar Railway Station which is connected to the major cities of Karnataka and other states like Mangalore, Hampi, Bangalore, Pune and Mumbai. You can also reach the place via bus. There are frequent buses from Bangalore to Shimoga. You can also hire a taxi to reach Shimoga and you can continue with the same taxi to explore the city.
The nearest International Airport is Mangalore Airport, Mangalore, roughly 195 km from Shimoga city. Frequent flights to various national and international destinations such as Hyderabad, Abu Dhabi, Bahrain, Kozhikode, Bangalore, and Chennai take off from here. You can hire a taxi from the airport to reach the main town.
Nearest Airport: Mangalore International Airport (IXE) – 132 kms from Shimoga (Shivamogga)
You can also take a bus from the main cities in both Karnataka and Maharashtra to reach Shimoga. There are many state transport buses plying on this route. However, the best thing to do to explore Shimoga is to hire a car. You can use the same car to explore the city of Shimoga. You can hire a car from various companies that will charge you by the car you hired, the number of days and the kilometers you covered.
With a railway station of its own, Shimoga District is well connected to many major cities in the country. A regular rail service also connects the region to Bangalore directly which is 280 km away. Avail a bus or a taxi from outside the station to commute anywhere in the district.