At the heart of Karnataka, lies the beautiful district of Shimoga. The city boasts of nature in abundance, beautiful temples, historic forts and palaces as well as great food! This cultural capital of Karnataka is bound by the rivers Tunga, Bhadra, Sharavathi and Varda, making it the highest rice producing region in the state.
There is much to see and enjoy in the misty lands of Shimoga, from the famous Jog Falls to the lesser known town of Keladi. Here is our Shimoga travel guide with information on the sightseeing places and things to do here.
Among the most popular places to visit in Shimoga is the second highest plunge waterfall in the country Jog Falls. Also known as the Gerosoppa Falls, the waterfall is formed by the river Shravati dropping down from a height of 830 ft. While the falls trickles down to a thin stream in the summer months, the monsoon season sees the waterfall return to its full glory. The falls are broken into four distinct parts and named interestingly after their volume and flow of water as Raja, Roarer, Rocket and Rani.
Photo Courtesy: Shuba
Sakrebailu Elephant Camp
A very interesting tourist attraction in Shimoga is the Elephant Camp located in Sakrebailu, 14 km from the city. This unique Elephant training camp will surprise visitors with the amazing things the magnificent animals are taught to do here, such as singing and even playing musical instruments! Visitors can get a glimpse of these and other activities like the elephant bath and walk every morning.
Photo Courtesy: Arun Prabhu
At a short distance from the Sakrebailu Elephant Camp is a popular sightseeing place in Shimoga, the Gunjur Dam. Located at a distance of 12 km from the city, the dam is built across the river Tunga. The scenic location is definitely a must-visit.
Photo Courtesy: Hari Prasad Nadig
Tiger and Lion Safari
An interesting thing to do in Shimoga is experience the Tiger and Lion Safari. Situated at a distance of 11 km from the city, the place consists of both a sanctuary as well as a zoo. The safari buses take visitors through the sanctuary to catch a glimpse of various wild animals; the buses are available at 30 minute intervals. The zoo is also interesting with animals like cheetah, peacocks and bears. Make sure to take your cameras, which are allowed on the premises at a moderate fee.
Photo Courtesy: Eirik Refsdal
The historical town of Keladi near Shimoga is a rather exciting place to visit. The town is popular for its temples. Once the Keladi rulers' capital, the main attraction of the town is the Rameshwara Temple, which has been constructed in the Hoysala-Dravidian style. The place also has a museum which has many interesting antiques on display.
Photo Courtesy: Wiki
One of the places to visit in Shimoga is the River Sharavati, which is responsible for the state's major attraction, the Jog Falls. The river originates in Shimoga district and is a hotspot for biodiversity. A survey of the region has recorded over 23 amphibians as well as a vast variety of fish and birds. A part of this region has been recognized as the Sharavati Valley Wildlife Sanctuary, which is popular for the presence of the endangered Lion-Tailed Macaque.
Photo Courtesy: Abhishek
Mandagadde Bird Sanctuary
At a distance of 30 km from Shimoga city is a popular tourist attraction, the Mandagadde Bird Sanctuary. Spanning an area of 1.14 acres, it is among the popular bird sanctuaries in the region. A paradise for bird watchers and wildlife enthusiasts, the sanctuary sees over 5000 varieties of birds during season. The months of July to September are ideal for visiting. Boating facilities are also available.
Photo Courtesy: Karunakar Rayker
Shivappa Nayak Palace
Among the things to do in Shimoga is to visit the sightseeing place of Shivappa Nayak Palace, located in the heart of the city. In the glorious past, the palace was said to have spanned across an area of over 200 acres. However, today it's just the exquisitely built palace that stands. Though simple, the structure stands out for its elegance. Completely crafted from Rosewood, the palace has two main stairways leading to rooms and a large balcony from where the King is said to have held durbars with the people.
Photo Courtesy: Wiki
Food and Shopping
There are many delicacies unique to the region, rice is the staple diet, a form of beaten rice preparation called avalakki can be tried. Accompaniments such as midigayi-uppinakai which is a mango pickle and sandige, a form of papad, will make your meals enjoyable. Top it off with some unique desserts such as genesale or thotadevvu.
The local artisans are especially adept at carving wooden items, especially from sandalwood. You can explore the handicrafts and other products of the region by making a visit to the Government Emporium.
Photo Courtesy: ideowl
How to Reach Shimoga
By Road: A good network of national and state highways connect Shimoga to all major destinations. You can drive down from Bangalore (280 km), Mysore (245 km) and Mangalore (193 km). Both private and public buses are available from major destinations.
By Rail: The Shimoga Railway Station is a majore railhead that is well connected to all major destinations in the country.
By Air: At a short distance from the city is the the Shimoga Domestic Airport, it is well connected to major cities in India. The Mangalore International Airport (195 km) is the closest for travellers from outside the country.
Photo Courtesy: Sankara Subramanian