Sagara, situated near Jog Falls in Honnemardu, is a popular tourist destination in Shimoga District. This city is located in close proximity to historical sites like Ikkeri and Keladi, where the Sadashiva Sagara Lake was built by Sadashiva Nayaka, a king belonging to the Keladgi dynasty. The lake is now known under the name Ganapati Kere.
This city is renowned among travellers for pilgrimage sites like Marikamba Temple and Mahaganapati Temple. It is also located in the vicinity of Varadamoola, the point where river Varada originates. This city is surrounded on all sides by pristine natural beauty teeming with water and forests; the springs of Varada River attract many nature enthusiasts belonging to the Keladgi dynasty. The lake is now known under the name of Ganapati Kere.
While on a trip to Honnemardu, it is suggested that tourists should visit Gademane village, which is situated in Malnad. Gademane village is well known for Chitara art work that is created by natives of this village, who belong to the Deeva community and are known for their artistic skills. On reaching this village, travellers will be mesmerised by the beautiful paintings on the walls that have been created by the residents.
In case of auspicious or special occasions, natives decorate the walls of their home with numerous pictures. These wall paintings are made using burnt rice powder and different colours that are produced from jungle fruits. Unfortunately, this is a dying art form, though many groups have come up with different plans in order to save it from getting lost in the annals of history. Tourists planning to visit Gademane village can explore these paintings, which will remind them of popular cave paintings.
A must-see site for any traveller going to Honnemardu, Varadapura is home to the samadhi of His Holiness Shri Sridhara Swami, who is considered as one of the most famous saints of the 20th century. The renowned ashram of the saint, which is called Sridhara Swami Mutt, is located within Varadapura itself. This town is also known as Varadahalli as well as Vaddali. In order to reach it, tourists need to travel 6 km from the diversion located at the point where Jog Road concludes near the limits of Sagara City.
Sigandur, home to Goddess Chowdeshwari Temple, is a prominent place in the vicinity of Honnemardu. The temple itself makes the place a popular tourist attraction, while the absence of any commercial activity adds to its charm as a quaint town. Residents of the adjoining areas believe that Goddess Chaudeshwari acts as a protector against robberies and thefts.
Chowdeshwari Temple boasts of a huge structure, where the Jathra is held during the period of Sankranthi. Numerous devotees converge at the temple during this period to Sigandur City. Travellers who are interested in visiting this temple need to have entry coupons that are given on a first-come-first-serve basis. In order to reach the temple, they need to cross the Sharavati River and a forest.
A popular place to visit in Honnemardu, Kalasi is a town best known for its twin Shiva temples, namely Lord Neelakanteshwara Temple and Lord Mallikarjuna Temple. This town is situated 8 km from Sagara city and is connected to Jog Falls via Sorab Road. The two Shiva temples located here were built in 12th century by father-son duo of Jankana and Dakkana, who followed Hoysala architecture while creating both of them.
The larger of the two, Mallikarjuna Temple boasts of a Garbhagriha, Sukanasi, Rangamantapa and Basavamantapa. Tourists can enter the temple through three entries, which are located in three different directions. It is situated 30 feet away from Neelkanteshwara Temple and has the same star-shaped plinth and roof that its neighbouring temple has. The Garbhagriha of Neelakanteshwara Temple has a Gopura on top. While travelling through this place of worship, travellers will come across a statue of Goddess Bhuvaneswari and the Hoysala seal.
Keladi is a temple town located in proximity to Sagara city in Shimoga District. The place is famous among visitors for its museum and an ancient Shiva Temple. It is a must-see location for those travelling to northern Karnataka, as it gives them the perfect chance to explore the scenic beauty and pray at the religious sites located here.
Three Keladi temples, namely Veerbhadra, Parvathi and Rameshwara, located in this town, are renowned in the region. These temples take travellers to the past and acquaint them with Keladi Nayakas and other dynasties that ruled the area. The three temples located here reflect Dravidian and Hoysala styles of architecture.
Keladi Museum still has some old manuscripts that were written during the rule of the Keladi dynasty. This museum also has a precious and historically important collection of inscriptions, coins, cooper and palm leaves belonging to the Nayaka period.
Ikkeri, which means 'Two Streets' in Kannada, is a town situated near the city of Sagara in Shimoga District. This town is a must-visit place for those coming to Shimoga. It acted as the capital of the Keladi chiefs from 1560 AD to 1640 AD.
The Aghoresvara temple is the prime attraction of this site, which has been constructed using granite. It reflects some architectural elements from the styles of the Chalukyas, Dravida, Hoysalas, Deccan Sultanates and Vijayanagara. Stone walls of this temple are adorned with intricate carvings and sculptures, namely Erotica, Temple Relief, Sculpted Elephant and Old Kannada Manuscript, to name a few. On the western, eastern and northern sides, the temple has ornamental doorways; the northern doorway is flanked by two elephants.
Tourists visiting this temple can watch figures of Bhairava, Mahishasuramardini, Subramanya and Ganesh. At present, the entire responsibility of Aghoresvara temple has been given to the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) for maintenance and up-keeping.