Battle Forts, Waterfalls & Hilltops – A Weekend In Sakleshpura

“Not until we are lost do we begin to understand ourselves.” – Henry David Thoreau, American Poet, On Travel

It’s been a while since I blogged (officially here at least) – have had a packed schedule past few months.

Finally, I have squeezed out time on a weekend as I type this, to blog about a weekend a few weekends back!

And what a weekend it was – spent out and about in Sakleshpura, a town in Karnataka.

For those unfamiliar (of which I was one till I visited this place), Sakleshpura is located in the south western Karnataka, a southern state in India. To be precise, it’s a hill station town and headquarters of Sakleshpura Taluk in Hassan district. It receives plenty of rainfall and is a popular weekend getaway for Bengaluru folks due to plethora of sight seeing spots.

At 221 km from Bengaluru (capital of Karnataka state, India), it’s just a 5 hour drive away.

Let me immerse you into the experience!

1) Quick Facts

Places To Visit, Distance & Budget

Day From  To Distance Total Time Spent
0 Bengaluru Eka Resort, Sakleshpura 225.4 km 5 hours travel, 1 hour dinner break
1 Eka Resorts Bisle Ghat View Point 42.6 km  1 hour travel one way, 1 hour spent at spot
Bisle Ghat View Point Mallali Water Falls 28.3 km 1 hour travel one way, 1 hour spent at Falls
Mallali Water Falls Eka Resorts 46.9 km 1 and a 1/2 hours
2 Eka Resorts Manjarabad Fort 3.7 km 15 min
Manjarabad Fort Bengaluru 227 km 5 hours travel, 1 hour dinner break
Budget Required: INR 6,000/Person (Or) $ 91.75 Which Includes 2 Days’, 1 Nights’ Stay At Eka Resort & Travel Via Van 

2) Day 0

1. Bengaluru To Eka Resorts, Sakleshpura

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Don’t Take ‘The Road Less Traveled’ Here; Lest Taking Double The Time

We hired a local van accommodating 16 of us and left Bengaluru city around 11:30pm in the night.

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Without Darkness, We Can’t Appreciate Light…

Due to the absence of an aux cable, we had to resort to portable mini-speakers playing the role of jukebox for us. It is recommended to take an aux cable to connect directly to the van’s audio system.

Nevertheless, ‘a hip and a shake’ was not subdued as we gossiped and enjoyed into the night with much fervour.

We stopped post 12:30am at a food joint to have late dinner.

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A Restaurant We Spotted On The Highway
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Food Binds Everyone, Doesn’t It?

The food here was quite good. Delivering both south and north Indian cuisines, it was quite packed when we came in. I suggest you try the starters – paneer and baby corn manchurians, they were scrumptious. One downside, though, for many here was that this was a pure vegetarian restaurant. Delicious food, nevertheless, for a restaurant possibly in the middle of nowhere on the highway.

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And We Were Off!

We had alighted at Eka Resorts by 6am in the morning. There was a slight nip in the air of the dawn mist floating around everywhere.

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The Sun Too Yawns Awake Amidst The Chilly Nip, Much Like Us…
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Again, We Didn’t Take The ‘Road Less Traveled’…
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Winding Right, Almost There…
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Alighted! Eka Resorts, Sakleshpura…
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The Entry

This was a very affordable resort, you can Google Eka Resorts and find out the tariffs – around the range of INR 2,500 (or) $ 38 for a 1 night, 2 days’ stay including food. And the food is really good – mix of south and north Indian cuisines again, both vegetarian and non-vegetarian. The rooms are really spacious and are situated poolside.

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Life Is Much Like A Swimming Pool – You Dive Into It, But You Can Never See How Deep It Is – Dennis Rodman
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Trees Dot The Space Between The Rooms And The Pool
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Side View Of The Cottage Rooms

After settling in, freshening up for the day and having breakfast we set out for Bisle Ghat around 11am in the morning.

3) Day 1

1. Eka Resorts To Bisle Ghat View Point

Bisle is a small village in the heart of south-western India’s Western Ghats (a mountain range that runs parallel to the western coast of the Indian peninsula, located entirely in India. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is one of the eight “hottest hot-spots” of biological diversity in the world). The village is located in Hassan District’s Sakleshpura Taluk.

It adjoins Bisle Reserve Forest, which has some of India’s most spectacular rain forests.

Around 5 km from Bisle, there is beauty spot of Bisle called Bisle View Point. From here one can see the mountain ranges of 3 districts: Kumara Parvatha (1319 m) of Dakshina Kannada district, Pushpagiri (1712 m) and Dodda Betta (1119 m) of Kodagu district and Patta Betta (1112 m) and Enni Kallu (900 m) of Hassan district. The highlight of this point is that the view has a valley, with Giri River separating the beauty point and these mountain ranges.

The road ahead was dotted with such greenery, that it felt like you were in the ‘Avatar’ movie, only that creatures were missing.

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And Off We Set Out!
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Fields Dot Left And Right Once In A While Indicating Some Human Colonisation
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Human Presence Gets Concrete Evidence Just As Often – Kadu Mane (Meaning Forest Home In Kannada, The Local Language)
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The Road Wound Right…
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To Show Some Extensive Foliage (And A Deer There)…
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Then It Wound A Sharp Left Without Much Ado
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To Show A Mini-Van Coming Our Way – What Are You Looking At, We Told Each Other

Notice the clouds in the backdrop. At this stage, we were steadily rising to reaching the hilltop viewpoint, and these clouds are a testament to the incline.

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We Passed Another ‘Kadu Mane’…
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Whose Residents Must Surely Be Blessed Since They Were In The Vicinity Of This View…
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And This Is Road They Start Their Days In!
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Nearing The Top…
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“The Best View Comes After The Hardest Climb.”
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Once Upon A Time A Waterfall?

Observe the rocks here. They seem to have borne the persistent tide of waterfalls over the years – but wherever did all the water vanish of late?

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The Top Opened Its Arms For Us
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But Not Without Making Us Struggle A Bit Prior To It
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Finally, The Entrance To The Viewpoint!

The next few pics show different views from the Bisle Ghat View Point.

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So This Is What 4,000+ Feet Above Sea Level Looks Like, With Views Of 3 Other Mountain Ranges
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Panoramic View Possibly Encompassing 3 Mountain Ranges: Kumara Parvatha (1319 m) of Dakshina Kannada District, Pushpagiri (1712 m) & Dodda Betta (1119 m) of Kodagu District
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To The Left…
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To The Right…
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And To The Centre – Filled With Mountains!

2. Bisle Ghat View Point To Mallali Waterfalls

Post spending an hour immersed in the lap of nature, we departed for Mallali Waterfalls.

Mallalli Falls is situated in the northern region of Kodagu District, Karnataka. The Kumaradhara River is the main watercourse for this waterfall. The Kumaradhara later flows through Kukke Subrahmanya and merges with the Netravati River at Uppinangadi, which then empties into the Arabian Sea at Mangalore.

This was another hour’s travel away; even though distance was just 23 odd km, the route was narrow and laden with rocks thus making it seem arduous.

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Dense Vastness All Around – Oxymoronic A Bit?
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Vast Denseness All Around – This Makes More Sense, Doesn’t It?
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Signboard Says Left But Road Meanders Right!
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I Counted Chickens Before They Hatched – It Does Wind Left Eventually!
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Sleek, Meek Creek Sneaks Under
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Dusty Roads But Not Very Gusty Winds, Thankfully, Else Our Van Would Have Become All Fusty!
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Almost There… Closer We Get, Narrower It Gets!
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Almost There; Just Round This Corner

Now before I present to you the stunning visuals of the Waterfalls, I want to describe the splendour of it.

Imagine you walk up on a cliff and for 50 feet ahead, all you can see is hilltops of the neighbouring ranges (the sun nestled among the trees that dot above you to your left).

As you further your strides and reach the edge of the cliff, you are spellbound by a view like none other.

A place where the sky, land and water confluence – Mallali Waterfalls!

Why I say confluence is because at the edge of the cliff, one can see 1,000 feet down below, powerful waterfalls, at eye level, highest points of land in the region (hilltops) and at the same time, clouds from the sky kissing these hilltops. Voila! A place where sky meets land which in turn meets water! Add to this the glorious glow of the sun above and we have a scene out of the ‘Avatar’ movie right here in front of us!

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Where Sky & Water Meet – Mallali Waterfalls!

The foot of the waterfalls meets the foot of the cliff 1,000 feet down and that’s where we were headed – to experience the vigour of the falls 50 feet away from it.

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Down We Descended The 1,000+ Stairway
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Steep Fall If One Far Away From The Course
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Steeper Fall From There – Once In A While On The Way Down, We Would Be Greeted With Breathtaking Views…
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Like This One…
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Lest We Forget This One…
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And Certainly Not This One!
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The Stream Plays Peek-A-Boo As We Almost Reach
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Flow Like A Waterfall – Wild, Powerful & Free Yet Within Its Own Path At All Times!
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Very Narrow & Slippery Walkway Near The Foot Of The Falls – Be Wary
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Closer… Only 100 Feet Away Now… 1,000 to 100 In Half An Hour By Meandering The Slippery Pathway

At the right top corner in the pic above, one can notice the splashes of water on my phone camera. At just 100 feet away from the foot of the falls, water was ferociously spraying in all directions.

The image above and the ones I will share below have all been taken blindly – I just captured them with my hand aloft because I was unable to face the waterfalls at all due to the vigour of the water spray.

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Yes, You Read It Right – Forget The River Base, The Area In And Around The Base Per Se Is Slippery Too!
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We Reached Here. Further Ahead Is The River Base. Recommended Not To Tread Any Further, And Best To Tread Hand In Hand Till Here.
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And That’s The Closest View I Could Manage – 50 Feet Away

Few Other Captures In & Around The Falls

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The Western Ghat Mountain Range
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Panorama Of The Waterfall Site
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See That Silhouette Of The Massive Mountain Behind? That’s The Highest Peak In This Region.

3. Campfire

Day 1 ended with a campfire dinner by the swimming pool.

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Welcome To The Campfire – Where Friends, Gossip And Marshmallows Get Toasted Together
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Welcome To The Campfire – Where Friends, Gossip And Marshmallows Get Toasted Together
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The Resort Had Slept, But We Didn’t

4) Day 2 – Eka Resorts To Manjarabad Fort

Day 2 had only one activity and place to see – the Manjarabad Fort.

We woke up at 10am on the lazy Sunday. Post checking out at 12pm, we set out to the Fort.

Manjarabad Fort is a fort built in 1792 by Tipu Sultan, the then ruler of Mysore on the pattern of the military forts developed by the French architect Sébastien Le Prestre de Vauban. It is in the Hassan district in the Indian state of Karnataka. Since the fort is located on a hill at an elevation of 988 metres (3,241 ft), it gives a clear and commanding view of the surroundings. On a clear day, even the Arabian Sea can also be seen from the fort.

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Lunch Stop – Akki Rotti, A Famous, Delicious Karnataka Dish

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Alighted At The Entrance To Manjarabad Fort Area – An Incline Of A 1000 Steps From Here
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Signalling The Entrance In Kannada, The Vernacular Of Karnataka
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And Off We Trotted Upwards!
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Stopping Once A While In The Trek To Soak In The Pristine World Around Us – 1 Km Above Sea Level
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Entry Point Inside
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The external walls of the fort have been built with granite stones and lime mortar while the interior buildings, which accommodate army barracks, armoury, stores and others, have been built with fired bricks.
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First Atrium (Of Sorts) Inside The Fort
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Not Sure About Authenticity Of The Fact, But It Seems These Apparently Were Prison Cells Back In The Days

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Panorama Of The Clearing
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Panorama Of The Main Area Of The Fort At Hilltop
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A Well
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One Of The Two Underground Cellars By The Side Of The Well. These Were Built To Store Gunpowder And These Remained Cool Even In Summer Months.
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Inside The Cellar. At The Landing Below, Is A Room To The Right Which Feels As Cold As Ice.
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Inside A Watch Tower
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View From The Watch Tower – Entire Hill Ranges Are Visible – To Keep An Eye On Approaching Enemies

The next few pics outline the views of the expanse ahead from the fort.

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Standing Atop The Terrace Gave Me This View
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To The Other Side
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This Is What A Panorama 3,000 Feet Above Sea Level Looks Like. Apparently, One Can Even See The Arabian Sea From This Point (200 Km Away) On A Clear Day.
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Zoom In To See The Western Ghat Mountain Range – Fixate Yourself And This View Is Hauntingly Beautiful

And that was it! We stayed at the fort for a good 1 hour to capture some of the best picturesque captures ever taken and of course, a good round of profile picture shoots as well (thankfully we have an awesome photographer friend with a DSLR).

This place has a good flow of visitors and the tourism board of the state has plans to develop the facilities in the vicinity further.

We departed for Bengaluru at 5pm from the fort and reached by 11pm, which included an hour’s dinner break.

5) Summing Up

Sakleshpura is a perfect weekend getaway from Bengaluru. Best enjoyed in groups of 5-10 to visit all the places, it’s also easy on the wallet. The entire trip cost us INR 5,000 to INR 6,000 ($ 90).

Recommended to hire to van for the entire trip since it saves time and money instead of having to search for transport at, to and from each spot.

Whether it was my favourite weekend getaway, well, not really, but it was a great experience nonetheless and I urge you to visit it once. I loved Dandeli & Kodaikanal for the sheer variety of places in and around to see.

Do check out my other travelogues below:

  1. FORESTS, ROCKS & RIVER RAFTING – A WEEKEND IN DANDELI & GOKARNA (PART 1)
  2. CAMPFIRE, WATERFALLS & BEACHES – A WEEKEND IN DANDELI & GOKARNA (PART 2)
  3. A WEEKEND IN PARADISE – KODAIKANAL
  4. A DAY BACK IN TIME – WORLD HERITAGE SITE MAHABALIPURAM
  5. A WEEKEND 8,651 FEET HIGH – DODDABETTA, ONE OF SOUTHERN INDIA’S TALLEST PEAKS, OOTY

Until my next blog (mostly on business), ciao!

We travel not to escape life, but for life not to escape us.” – Anonymous

 

 

 

 

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One Comment

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  1. Great description! You should consider writing on tripadvisor as well. Keep travelling! 🙂

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