Continued from here… [in other words, read that first, dearies]
And did I mention that all this driving along the Karnataka coast was during peak monsoon time? Luckily for us, the rain gods sportingly piped down for most of the three days that we were out, coming out in full force only during the last leg of our journey back home, between Hassan and Bangalore on Sunday evening. So the weather remained cool and breezy throughout, with mild showers in between, and the roads had just that slight wetness which made the drive all the more pleasant for us.
On to Marawanthe… roughly 50km from Udupi, and just ahead of the more popular Kundapur with the resorts and hotels. Marawanthe is a lovely stretch of the coast, all the more special because of the narrow road that passes beween the Sauparnika river on one side and the sea on the other. We stopped at several places on the way between Kundapur and here, experiencing the joys of walking on the beach in the rain.
Just ahead of Marwanthe, we turned off into Baindur in search of Ottinene cliffs, which the Karnataka tourism website describes as “overhanging cliffs”. Promising. As it turned out, the drive up to the top of the cliffs was through rough patches of road, but the was entirely worth it. From the top, we could see the coast for miles and miles, blues and greens to rival Kerala. (As it happens, we also came across several spots with scenic backwaters that could give Kerala a run for its money any day – there Karnataka tourism did have some plans to start backwater cruises but I have no idea what came of that)
Marawanthe done, we drove up again, the idea being to reach Karwar by late afternoon, spending an hour or so at Murudeshwar on the way. I don’t know when and how we got talked into it (late the earlier evening, a couple of friends who had dfriven down in their own car had joined us in Udupi) – and we found ourselves poring over maps, trying to get to Jog Falls! So, we duly turned off at Honavar and driving on the route to Sagar, trying to find our way to Jog Falls. As it happened, it started pouring heavily by the tie we reached Jog Falls and all we could see were the falls from a distance, during brief pauses in the rain. Bang went our hopes of being able to see Raja, Rani, Rover and Rocket up close and personal.
After that damp squib at Jog, we drove on to Shimoga through the only bad stretch of roads we encountered in the entire trip. Dinner and sleep later, we started on our drive back to Bangalore – this time driving up and down the steep curves of the Bababudangiri range (more known locally for the Shrine of Baba Budan), made all the more dramatic by the fog and mist that ensured that we could not see more than a few feet ahead of us. As we neared Chikmagalur, the mist suddenly gave way to clear skies, pretty pink flowers and mud tracks, emerald green carpets grass and unexpected sugarcane fields on the sides of the road and the smell of coffee in the air (imagined by those of us with a particular love for coffee!). Chikmagalur was sadly only a lunch halt, since by that time, the idea of the long drive back to Bangalore was already weighing on our minds.
Leaving Chikmagalur, we headed towards Belur and Halebid, where we spent a couple of hours taking in the maginificent temples with their lush carving. Belur and Halebid easily deserve a full day – with a good camera in hand, I must add. And I intend to do just that some time soon.
On the way back, we got caught in heavy rains, making the highway drive a dangerous one, and it was late in the night when we reached Bangalore. Back to the smoke and noise… and worst of all, back to work the next day. And back to dreaming about the next time we would get to be on the road again!
Read the first part here – In a battered Zen along the Karnataka coast – 1