Escape to Nature's Lap: Discovering Shakleshpur
Updated: May 7
Do you still hang out with your childhood, school, or college friends? I consider myself lucky to have them still around, and I definitely cherish those friendships. No matter what, I know I can count on them, and we often get together on weekends to chat about anything and everything. The comfort level we have with each other is truly amazing. During one of these get-together, over some whiskey and beer, we decided it was time for a good getaway. It had been quite a while since we had gone somewhere together, despite meeting almost every weekend, so we decided to take a road trip to Shakleshpur.
Sakleshpur is a beautiful hill station located in the Western Ghats of India, part of the Hassan district in the state of Karnataka. Known as the poor man's Ooty, it is situated about 220 kilometers away from Bangalore, making it a perfect weekend getaway.
Originally, the plan was for eight friends to hire a cab and enjoy the trip together, but as plans often do, things took a bit of a turn. In the end, only three of us, Bobby, Param, and myself, were able to make it. Despite the change in numbers, we were still determined to make the most of our trip to Shakleshpur.
Due to a tight schedule at work, I arrived home late the previous night. Thankfully, Bobby was very punctual and acted as my alarm, waking me up on time. After getting ready, we picked up Param at 6:00 am and hit the Hassan highway. The cold morning air, with temperatures around 13 degrees, was refreshing, and the early start meant we had hassle-free roads and enjoyed some stunning views. After a few miles, hunger struck, and we began searching for restaurants on the highway. We eventually stopped at a place called Sambrama, which I highly recommend to anyone traveling on this route. The restaurant served delicious food like Tatte idli and Vada, which were perfect to satisfy our hunger.
After finishing our breakfast, we quickly got back on the road as we knew we only had one and a half days to explore Shakleshpur. As we drove along the highway, I couldn't help but admire the numerous cyclists and motorcyclists sharing the road with us. Being a cyclist myself, it brought me immense joy.
On our way to the resort, we decided to make a pit stop at some archaeological sites and agreed to visit the Majrabad fort and Belur. With the help of our GPS, we decided to head to Belur first and then to Majrabad fort.
Upon arriving at Belur, we discovered that it is situated within the Hassan District and is renowned for the Chennakeshava Temple, which boasts exceptional craftsmanship by the Hoysalas. Needless to say, the city of Belur was stunning, and to add to our amazement, we were welcomed by the magnificent gopuram of the Chennakeshava temple.
The Hoysala dynasty was a prominent South Indian empire that ruled from the 10th to 14th century CE. They were known for their architectural achievements, particularly in temple construction. The Chennakeshava Temple in Belur is one of their most famous temples and is known for its intricate carvings and sculptures. The temple was built in the 12th century CE and is dedicated to Lord Vishnu. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is considered to be one of the best examples of Hoysala architecture.
We spent a few hours exploring the temple, admiring the intricate carvings and sculptures. The temple's architecture was simply stunning, and we were in awe of the Hoysala artisans' skills.
The name Hoysala comes from the Kannada word "Hoy" meaning "strike" or "attack" and "Sala" meaning "lion", which was the emblem of their clan. This is portrayed in this particular carving.
Exploring every nook and corner of Belur was a delightful visual treat for us. Afterward, we headed to Manjarabad Fort, which turned out to be conveniently located near the resort where we were staying - an added advantage, don't you think?
Manjarabad Fort is a star-shaped fort located in the Western Ghats of India, near Sakleshpur in the Hassan district of Karnataka. It was built by Tipu Sultan in 1792 as a strategic defense mechanism against the British. The fort is built on a hill and has a unique design resembling an eight-pointed star when viewed from above. It has a series of circular walkways and steps leading to the top of the fort, offering a panoramic view of the surrounding hills and valleys.
Here are a few photos we took on our way to the fort, as well as the stunning view we enjoyed from the top of the fort.
After exploring the fort, we were both tired and hungry, so we decided to head back to our accommodation where a delicious lunch awaited us. However, due to confusion between the resort and the homestay, we accidentally went in the wrong direction. We had to call to clarify and it was a bit frustrating as we were already very hungry and tired. Fortunately, the food was so good that it made up for everything.
After lunch, we freshened up and took a much-needed power nap. Our plan was to catch the sunset, but unfortunately, we were running late as it was already 5:30. Climbing up the hill at this point didn't seem like a practical idea, so we settled in the resort area instead. We grabbed some drinks and engaged in some delightful conversation, something we never seem to tire of.
Soon, we realized that it had gotten dark and the bonfire 🔥 was already prepared for us. With a chilly wind, a starry sky, drinks, music, and a warm fire by our side, we had everything we needed. We began to reminisce about our childhood, share our dreams and aspirations, and discuss other topics.
The time for dinner had arrived, and after satisfying our hunger, we headed straight to bed, anticipating a long day ahead with a trek to kickstart it.
We were awakened by the buzz of the alarm clock and the pleasant chirping of birds. Starting my day surrounded by nature is an absolute joy, as it's not something I experience every day. We got ready for the trek, grabbing a cup of coffee to help us shake off the previous night's hangover. Accompanied by the resort workers, our trek wasn't too tiring as they regaled us with fascinating stories about the place and the beautiful views kept us motivated.
On reaching the summit in time, we basked in the sun, captured some stunning photos, and created memories as usual. Unfortunately, we missed the other important member of my blog, Ajay.
After having breakfast, we decided to take a stroll around the resort before leaving. Around 10:30 am, we finally said goodbye to the place and began driving back to Bangalore, feeling sad that our getaway was coming to an end.
While driving and having a conversation, we came across the idea of visiting another historical site, as it may be our last chance to do so. After having lunch at a roadside Dhaba, we headed towards Halebidu, another exciting historical place that always thrills me as a history enthusiast. Halebidu served as the capital of the Hoysala Empire in the 12th century and is located in the Hassan District. It boasts some of the finest examples of Hoysala architecture. The city got its name "Halebidu" because it was destroyed and abandoned, becoming the "old capital" after being plundered by the Delhi Sultanate in the 14th century. We explored the place, took some great pictures, and here are a few of them.
We drove back to Bangalore while discussing our next getaway, whether it be near or far. It doesn't matter if we're with a large group or just a few people, we all need a break from our monotonous lives. And this trip definitely provided us with that. So, when are you going to break away from your routine?