At a glance
Linganamakki's emerald isle,In the backwaters of Linganamakki Reservoir on the Sharavathi River, amidst the rich forest lands of Malnad and in the vicinity of the highest waterfalls in India.
About the city
In 1965, Linganamakki dammed the Sharavathi River. When the dam's sluice gates were closed and the temporary walls erected between the hills blasted away, the waters from the Sharavathi roared into the gorge, consuming large tracts of evergreen forest. Once the waters settled, an enormous shimmering mirror of blue spread over several square kilometres. Linganamakki Reservoir is better known as Honnemardu after the tiny hamlet that nestles above the hills overlooking the waters. And when the reservoir overflows, the run-off cascades 960 ft downstream as the Jog Falls, India's highest and the second highest waterfall in Asia. Almost half way across the reservoir, an emerald isle visible from Honnemardu nestles amidst the blue waters. Take a coracle from the mainland and glide across. Even as your tent is pitched at dusk, you can hear the chirp of the cicadas, the wind whistle through the bamboo thickets and the soft swish of bats as they settle on trees laden with fruit. The silence is disturbed more rudely by the loud metallic calls of the racket-tailed drongo. But it's the nights that are the most magical. As a bonfire blazes and the sweet aroma of roasting potatoes wafts towards the tent, you can lie on your back and gaze at the stars with little else to do. There you are, on your very own island in a lake surrounded by verdant hills, miles away from the hurly-burly of the city.
Places in and around
Honnemardu is in the heart of the Malnad region, a land with a rich history, numerous Jain basadis (tiny temples), Hindu shrines and tribal villages. It's also a land with enormous scope for adventure. Driving along the road hewn in the hills, you can glimpse through the trees the sheer drop and silver flashes of the Sharavathi River far below. And then the road dips towards Honnemardu. There, perched on a bluff, is the base camp of The Adventurers, a Bangalore-based NGO (Honnemardu Campus: 08183-354500), in operation for about 25 years, that organises camping and adventure activities on the lake and in the verdant hills around. Trained instructors familiar with the surrounding forest areas guide you through these activities, which are popular with a wide range of Bangaloreans, from kids to the middle-aged. Safety measures include life jackets and instructors trained in rescue and first-aid programmes. The experience begins when you are paddled to the isle from Honnemardu by guides in a coracle. Explore the small isle. You can explore some jungle trails, watch the sunset and enjoy the whole outdoor experience. Tents are pitched once you reach the isle. There's no electricity, but you won't need lights there's the moon and starlight. There are maybe a couple of snakes, they say, but no wild animals, and rest assured, the snakes wouldn't be able to enter the tent. A guide always stays with the group on the isle overnight and a professional instructor, trained for rescue and first-aid, mans the coracle to and from the isle. Settle down to the vegetarian dinner with a thermos of coffee and a container of water. Wrap up the night with a leisurely round of star-gazing. Come the morning and the guide takes you back to the camp at Honnemardu. This is truly a wildlife and nature reserve for there are absolutely no tourist facilities of any kind for miles around. Theyve arranged for a breakfast of fluffy white idlis and chutney, topped with steaming hot Coorg coffee. you are fortified for the action during the day! Bio-degradable garbage can be left behind. Carry back all other trash. Only veg food, no liquor, no smoking. The isle can carry maximum 60 people. Birds and butterflies The forests around Honnemardu and Jog Falls are a birdwatcher's delight. Numerous species can be sighted while walking along the ridges of the valley the European bee-eater, fairy blue bird, ruby-cheeked bulbul, orange-headed ground thrush, scarlet minivets. you will find blue rock pigeons sheltering on the rocks just amidst the waterfalls, swallows flying around, red whiskered bulbuls and if you are lucky, the elusive yellow-browed bulbuls. Interestingly, there are a number of very beautiful butterflies: red helens, blue mormons, blue bottles, striped tigers, oak leaf, truly a feast for any butterfly lover. A copy of Salim Ali's Book of Indian Birds would be extremely handy. Gademane About 10 km from Honnemardu is this little village famous for its Chitara art. A noted organisation doing this remarkable work is Chittaradangala. Villagers here used charred rice powder and colours concocted from jungle fruit to paint walls and these days, canvases, with drawings that resemble cave paintings of ancient times. You can also buy paintings here.
379 km North West of Bangalore
By Road: -
9 hrs - A comfortable drive on national highways. For the last 5 per cent, hope you have either a 4WD or a sturdy frame En route halts Tumkur, Shimoga Bus: KSRTC buses go to Talguppa. From here, catch a jeep to Honnemardu (Rs 250 return approx)
By Rail: -
6 hrs + road 2 hrs - Nearest railhead: Shimoga Town (80 km/ 2 hrs) Best option TO Shimoga Express (dep: Bangalore City 11 pm; arr: Shimoga 4.55 am). Only jeeps can travel to Honnemardu. They cost approx Rs 400 one way Best option FROM Bangalore Express (dep: Shimoga 11 pm; arr: Bangalore City 5 am)
Linganamakki's emerald isle,In the backwaters of Linganamakki Reservoir on the Sharavathi River .
From Bangalore NH4 to Tumkur via Dobbspet NH206 to Talguppa via Arsikere, Bhadravati, Shimoga and Sagar District road to Honnemardu
When to go:-
All year round, except the rains. Honnemardu is best post-monsoon
KSTDC(bookings and info) Badami House, NR Square, Bangalore Tel: 080-2275869, Fax: 2352626 Email: email@example.com
Where to stay :-
Bangalore Office Tel:080-3305508,3409712
Tariff: Rs 500 per day, Rs 300 for students
$ 70-100 for foreigners.
Open throughout the year.Price includes all meals. Stay in tents, use of equipment and guidence from trained instructors.