The arrival of the “monsoon rain’ in India is a phenomenon, and quite literally an “emotion” for the people of the Western Ghats and its natural wealth. The southern peninsular region of India along its western coastline has a long ridge of mountain ranges called the Western Ghats. These mountain ranges trap the incoming monsoon clouds and the forests that abound it acts as the catchment region for the rains. It has also recently been declared a world heritage site by UNESCO. The large agrarian population and the life in the rainforests of the Western Ghats come alive in the monsoons celebrating this time of abundance.
Western Ghats in Karnataka state stretches from Dandeli in the north to Mangalore in the south and from the edge of the western coastline they go far inland as far as Coorg/Madikeri. During the monsoon season, numerous streams fed by incessant rain drain off the mountain sides leading to numerous and often spectacular waterfalls along this entire region.
Explore Coffee Plantations in Sakleshpur
Sakleshpur is one among the only 24 bio diversity hotspots in the world. It is one of the places receiving the most rainfall in Karnataka. The sub-tropical climate and heavy rains during the wet season create an environment where several unique plant and animal species flourish. What one should not miss is cycling through plenty of off terrains trails and exciting roads through coffee plantations.
Manjarabad fort which is a famous tourist spot is located just outside Sakleshpur. The fort is reputed to have been constructed by Tippu Sultan, the erstwhile ruler of Mysuru. It is also believed that he had constructed a tunnel from this fort to another fort in Srirangapattana near Mysuru.
The hospitable people of Sakleshpur have turned around the tourism industry by embracing the Bed & Breakfast model and now offer several choices for a weekend getaway. Sakleshpur in known for the numerous homestays that cook up a storm with home grown ingredients and family recipes.
Balur – a quaint village in the “Malenadu”
Balur is a 400 acre coffee plantation which dates back to 1800s. The River Hemavathy originates from just above the estate. The Planter’s bungalow has stood testimony to the changing seasons and centuries at Balur since 1853. The estate is rich with streams, waterfalls, lush green plantation and delectable food. We will trek up to watch the coast line and ride about the estate.
Kalasa – The temple town of Western Ghats
Famous for its Ayurvedic medicinal plantations, Kalasa is on the way up into the hills towards Kudremukh National Park. Thick hilly forests with a background score from the Malabar Trogan’s, Whistling Thrush makes it a paradise for a traveler.
A ride through Kudremukh National Park
One cannot miss spotting a common Langur on a branch or even a Malabar giant squirrel as you pass through the National park. Look out for Sambar Deers as you go past lush green forests. Further from here is Shringeri, which is rich with stories of the land and its heritage. “Teachers training” is also known to have originated from Shringeri.
Agumbe Rain Forest Reserve Station
Agumbe is said to receive the heaviest rainfall in Karnataka and the second highest in India. You can also get an insight into the native reptile species (The King Cobra) and its conservation in the forest reserve. Kavaledurga Fort is a few kilometers from Agumbe and a hike to this quaint 9th century fort is something you must not miss. It was built by the famed feudatories under the Vijayanagar Rulers.
It is one of the best beaches in India with the Arabian Sea to its right and Sauparnika River to its left. Unlike any other beaches in the country the Maravanthe beach is quiet, quaint and truly and nature lovers private escape. Relax, rejuvenate and relish some coastal food, is all you must do here.
This week long bicycle tour “Chasing the monsoons” in the Western Ghats in Karnataka, starts from Sakleshpur and goes all the way to Maravante beach on the Mangalore belt. Some of the things to experience on the tour:
- A medium intensity trail, cycling a total of 300km along 8 days
- Celebrate the beauty of the Western Ghats during monsoon
- Night trek in the wilderness
- Coffee and tea Plantation walks
- Ride through National park
- Hike up to Kavaledurga fort
- Beautiful views of the river and sea on either sides