Shimoga isn’t just about being the ‘Gateway of Malnad’. Standing on the banks of the Tunga River, Shimoga abounds with natural beauty and man-made wonders. For a travel enthusiast, Shimoga has many a gem to offer, including sparkling waterfalls, lush green forests, scenic landscapes, lofty mountain peaks, and architectural splendour. If you are planning a trip to Shimoga, there are certain things that you just can’t miss doing while visiting the place. Let’s check out 10 interesting things to do in Shimoga.
1. Head out for a mountain trek to Kodachadri
When you are in the vicinity of the towering Western Ghats, what better way to explore its beauty than to embark on an exciting trekking trail? Shimoga’s location near the hilly region is a great excuse to let loose the trekker in you and discover the magnificence of the Kodachadri peak. Kodachadri, the 10th highest peak in Karnataka, is known to be a trekker’s paradise. The trail meanders through dense green forests abundant with exotic flora and fauna. En route to the peak, you will be able to witness the breath-taking beauty of several dazzling waterfalls and rolling meadows. These apart, the gorgeous views of the sunset and sunrise from the peak make this trek all the more compelling.
2. Soak in the beauty of the Jog Falls
A visit to the Jog Falls can very well be the crowning glory of your Shimoga trip. Cascading down a height of about 253 m, the second-highest plunge waterfall in India truly offers a majestic sight to the viewer. Also known as Jogada Gundi or Gersoppa Falls, the waterfall is created by the Sharavathi River. Depending on the season in which you visit it, you can witness it as a plunge waterfall or a segmented waterfall. While the monsoon turns the waterfall into a vigorous plunge, at other times of the year it rushes down as four distinct cascades known as Raja, Rani, Rocket, and Roarer.
3. Enjoy a safari at Shettihalli Wildlife Sanctuary
If you are a wildlife adventure seeker, the Shettihalli Wildlife Sanctuary will delight you no end. The safari at the sanctuary is an excellent means to satiate your need for a thrill. It’s not every day that you get a chance to see a leopard roaming about a few feet away from you or a sloth bear lazing around as you pass by it. Being home to a wide range of wild animals like the tiger, sloth bear, elephant, leopard, jackal, spotted deer, langur, etc. and a host of reptiles and birds, the Shettihalli Wildlife Sanctuary is one place that offers you the unique opportunity to have a rendezvous with nature and wildlife. Indeed one of the must things to do in Shimoga.
4. Turn into a bird-watcher at Mandagadde Bird Sanctuary
The Mandagadde Bird Sanctuary beckons you to enjoy the company of exotic birds in their natural habitat. The picturesque island located on the River Tunga is a heaven for migratory birds flocking from all over the world. It is the perfect place to get a close view of the winged beauties and to discover their habits and queer traits. For those of you who love to photograph the avian population, the island sanctuary is the ideal location to capture some rare and exotic species in your camera lens. With diverse species like Median Egrets, Little Cormorant, Snakebird, and Darter making the island their home, the Mandagadde Bird Sanctuary is sure to offer you many happy hours of bird-watching pleasure.
5. Experience the thrill of water sports at Honnemaradu
Nestled along the backwaters of the Sharavathi River, the quaint village of Honnemaradu is a must-visit destination for adventure fanatics. If your heart lies in water sports and camping, this is one place you wouldn’t want to miss exploring. Honnemaradu packs in the perfect mix of adventure, activities, thrill, and relaxation for you. While at Honnemaradu, you can go for trekking, camping, wind surfing, coracle water rides, kayaking, canoeing, and other exciting activities and water sports. Regardless of your age, the place has something to offer for everyone.
6. Witness the splendour of ancient art and architecture at Keladi
Keladi in Shimoga is a treasure trove of ancient art and architecture. Whether you are a history buff or a religious minded person, the temple town of Keladi will not disappoint you in any way. The 12th century Rameshwara Temple is the main attraction of Keladi. It stands as an excellent example of Hoysala and Dravidian architecture. While the temple looks quite plain from outside, it is designed with intricate carvings and has ornamental pillars inside. The temple is dedicated to Lord Rameshwara (Shiva). Idols of Lord Veerabhadra and Lord Ganesha are also worshipped in the temple.
7. Explore the ruins of the Nagara Fort
Forts are a slice of history in themselves. Every fort has a story to tell and the Nagara Fort in Shimoga is no different. If you are curious to have a glimpse of the bygone era in Shimoga, a visit to the Nagara Fort can enthrall you. This 16th century fort was built by the then ruler of Keladi, Shivappa Naik. A unique feature of the fort is that it was surrounded by a highly efficient system of water circulation meant to enhance its safety by many notches. Remains of the king’s court, palace, temple area, cannon, and water tanks within the fort are worth exploring. The panoramic view of the surroundings from the fort ground will make your visit worthwhile.
8. Discover the cultural activities of Heggodu
The village of Heggodu may be small in size but it is very rich in its cultural exploits. So much so that artists from across the world come to the village to be a part of its cultural pursuits. Can you miss the opportunity of enjoying such a cultural milieu? Ninasam, a cultural organisation based in Heggodu is responsible for putting the village on the art and culture map of the country and beyond. Getting a chance to witness the performances of the local art groups, dance troupes, and theatre artists at Heggodu is sure to make your trip to Shimoga a much more fulfilling experience.
9.Enjoy a picnic at Gajanur Dam: When you are on a holiday, picnics are a great way to enjoy your day with family and friends. The Gajanur Dam provides you the perfect setting for enjoying a picnic in a scenic environment. The dam is constructed across River Tunga. Situated against the background of lush green paddy fields and areca nut plantations, the dam is a sight to behold. The natural beauty of the place and its peaceful atmosphere has made the dam one of the most popular picnic spots in the region. You can indulge in boat rides and coracle rides while at the dam.
10. Taste the local cuisine of Shimoga
One of the best ways to discover a place is through its local cuisine. Though South Indian cuisine is predominant in Shimoga, the cuisine of Karnataka is the native food of the land. The Kannada cuisine includes both vegetarian and non-vegetarian delicacies. Since Karnataka is a large state, every region in it has its particular delicacies. When you are in Shimoga, do not forget to try some of its famous delicacies, such as Midigayi Uppinakai (a tasty mango pickle) and Avalakki (beaten rice). Thotadevvu and Genesale are sweets unique to this region. If you have a sweet tooth, the taste of Shimoga’s special sweet delicacy called Halasina Hannina Kadubu will surely gladden your heart. It indeed is a one a thing to do in Shimoga.
There are to explore. However, these are the 10 things to do in Shimoga.