For six months, I researched on Internet and asked people about what one can do for a week in Shivamogga District, Karnataka. I was surprised that nothing much was available on the net, and whatever was available like this one from the official district website was poorly described. In 2010, an incredibly detailed master plan was made. I couldn’t find any updates on the internet, but I can tell you that nothing has ever come out of it. Once I embarked on my journey, I realised how poor the tourism facilities are in Shivamogga. For starters, the map below shows the city is situated along the Tunga River. Believe it or not, there is not a single park on the riverfront for recreation.
Based on the research, I decided to do two routes. One starting from Shivamogga and going North West, marked in Red. The other, going South West marked in Violet. The Red Route.
Road to Bhadra:
Most part of this 8 KM road is untarred and potholed. The only source of food and shelter at Bhadra is the Jungle Lodges & Resort facility. There is no boating or any other facility for general public. We could not go on wildlife safari as it was possible only through JLR, where we were not staying.
Sharavati Reservoir at Honnemaradu.
Road to Honnemaradu:
Honnemaradu is a breathtakingly beautiful place, but with no access and any kind of tourism facilities. It is a crying shame.
The Violet Route: Sakrebyle Elephant camp.
Total value for money. Open only from 8:30 AM to 11:30 AM. The man is preparing a meal of rice grains packed inside hay. They have a lovely bath in the Tunga river and rest for the rest of the day.
Mandagadde Bird Sanctuary.
Total disappointment. A dilapidated building, a rusted watch tower, no boats, no birds.
There is another bird sanctuary in the area on the RED route named Gudavi. Did not go there- it is just .73 SqKM. How many birds can you fit in there?
We did go to Jog Falls, but the flow was quite poor as it was past the monsoon season.
My final thoughts:-
All the places above has immense tourism potential. Excuses like ‘Forest Area’ etc does not cut ice. There are places like Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary in Kerala, Masinagudi/Avalanche in TN where there are well organised and conducted trips. But the fundamental needs like roads, food, water and safety have to be addressed first before this hugely untapped tourist area around the Tunga river can be a reality.