Koodlu Teertha, Agumbe

It’s the last day of the year 2017 and the day was spent well. As I write this blog, I feel some calmness inside me due to the experiences which I had earlier in the day. As many of you are aware of my fondness for traveling, I follow many accounts related to tourism & travelers on Instagram. One such account posted a picture of a picturesque waterfall. At first, when I looked at it, wouldn’t believe it was in Karnataka. I went through the tags for the post and many other comments to find the name of the place, which was Kudlu Teertha, Agumbe.  Luck favored me as this place was en route to Udupi. I made up my mind to visit this place on my next visit to Udupi.

We had come to Udupi to be with my in-laws as we had a long weekend ahead on the occasion of New year. We had visited St. Mary’s Island the other day and couldn’t go to Kaup beach as we were tired. At night, we decided to leave for Koodlu Teertha early in the morning and reach back home in the afternoon as elders had plans to visit a temple. We left early in the morning around 8 from Udupi and reached Varanga to visit the Jain temple. By the time we left the place, it was around 9.30 AM. We went to Seethnadi Hotel to have our breakfast and from there to the destination.

The road to waterfalls is partly good (cement road) and partly off-road. Locals inform the travelers not to travel by their cars as they might get damaged but we decided to take it anyway. It took us about 45 mins to reach the parking area of the falls from the hotel. We didn’t expect the crowd to be large in number but then we were surprised. The entry ticket per person is Rs. 50 add to that the parking fee of Rs. 50 and camera charge Rs. 200. One has to trek for 1.5 km from the parking to reach the falls.

The trek to the reach falls is tiring as it passes through difficult terrain. There are few steps in between which might help the visitors a bit. It was tiring but when the waterfalls unraveled in front of us, it was just mesmerizing. The tiredness of trekking for more than half an hour vanishes by seeing the baffling beauty of the place and the height of the waterfall from where the water descends from a height of about 300 feet. It plunges straight into a pond which is not deep and one can swim easily. The calm and tranquillity found near the waterfall are just magical, adding to it was the echo of the sounds. To reach closer to the waterfalls, we had to cross a small water stream, as soon as we stepped into the water, it sent chills all over the body. Water was too cold which freaked many people and made the person jump instantaneously. Her cousins jumped into the water while we stood there admiring the waterfall.

I was pretty pleased with the location where it was situated, how it was not disturbed by the visitors, not much litter around and no washing of clothes or any absurd things we see at other places. I had the plans to swim but then dropped it due to water being so cold. We sat on the rocks immersing our legs into the water and looking at the waterfalls, huge rocks and the echoes created by the people in happiness. It was serene and the atmosphere around makes you feel rejuvenated. Time had passed around 2 hours at this place that’s when we called her cousins to come out of the pond to which they were dejected. After a lot of persuasions, they came out and changed their clothes. As we walked back, everyone was happy to the core of visiting this wonderful place. Upon reaching near parking, we had snacks (bread omelet, lemon juice, cold beverages etc.) at a small shop and started our journey back to Udupi.

Important Information:

  • Best time to  visit: August to December
  • How to reach from Udupi:
    • By Bus: One can take a bus, get down at Hebri and hire an auto.
    • By car: It’s an hour and 30 minutes drive.
  • If your planning to visit the waterfalls, also visit Varanga Basadi which is nearby (best time is evening).
  • As the waterfall is deep in the forest, it’s recommended to carry water bottles and snacks along with yourselves.
  • In monsoons seasons, be watchful of the leeches.
  • Kindly DO NOT litter and let’s keep the nature clean.

A ride to Istakameswari temple

It was bit time that I haven’t gone anywhere which is very unorthodox. There were many plans which were made but were dusted in the wind at the very last moment. Then, in some conversation in the office, we (Mahesh, Harsha and Me) decided to go to Srisailam for a 3-day trip. We planned the itinerary for the trip and then from few of our friends got to know about “Istakameshwari Temple”. I never heard of this temple before neither my parents who visited Srisailam many a times told me about it (I guess, they also didn’t knew about it). Friend’s who had heard about this place and who visited the place, told us not to miss this temple. It would be one a kind off road drive which everyone SHOULD experience in their life time. After searching more about it in google, go to know that the temple of Istakameswari is located in a dense and picturesque forest environment about 21 Kms to the east of Srisailam. I was looking forward to visit temple and had kept huge expectations on it.

We started our 3-day trip early in the morning around 4.30 AM on 25-Sept and headed towards Yaganti. We reached Yaganti around 12 in the afternoon and visited couple of other holy places. As the sun was setting down, we headed towards Nandiyal, where we had already booked a room. Day-2 started with visit to Mahanandi and from there, we started our journey towards Srisalam. We reached Srisailam around 4.00 PM in the evening. We had already made arrangements for the room in srisailam. We got fresh and first thing we inquired was about travel to Istakameshwari temple. To our disappointment, we got to know that last Jeep travel ends around 2:00 PM in the afternoon. After hearing this, we went to visit Patalaganga and return back to our room. We planned to go to temple early in the morning and catch the first Jeep which goes to Istakameshwari temple.

We got up around 3:00 AM in the morning and were standing in the line around 4.30 AM. But then we got to know that, the temple opens at 5 AM. As we were standing in the line, rain started to pour heavily. We moved slowly and finally completed our darshanam around 7:00 AM. We were happy that we made it in time but bit worried as the rain didn’t stop yet. We hurriedly come near Nandi Circle to enquire about the Jeep and they said, first Jeep starts at 8:30 AM. we had approx 1 hour, so we decided to have our breakfast and come back. After having breakfast, we came back and inquired and luckily the first Jeep was available to travel, we hopped in the back of the Jeep which was not good in condition.

At exact 8:30 AM, driver started the engine and we were on the way. As the Jeep was not in condition, we swapped it with better one and resumed our journey.  The driver needs to sign and enter the vehicle number before entering into the forest area. We are so excited that, Me & Harsha were giving expressions to each other such as “Yes! Yes!”, “Yeah! Come on” etc. At first, the road bit bumpy but than came the surprise. We were continuously jumping in the Jeep. There were incidents where in the vehicle was stuck between stones and children in the jeep started sobbing. I still remember, Mahesh (Goudru) asking the driver “Shall I get down from the jeep?”. The road such a bliss and entertaining that it always kept on edge. After loads of jumping and moving, driver stopped the jeep and said us to walk for 10 minutes which will take us to the temple.

As we started walking, we saw Ganesh Idol against the rock, we took the blessings and moved forward. After walking for few more minutes, we saw the first glimpse of the temple. We took coconut and washed our legs to enter into the temple. The temple has small opening to enter inside it, one has to bend or crawl to go in it. We went inside and first saw the idol, I was mesmerized. The Goddess has a serene and beautiful smiling face which at once captures the attention of one and all. It is believed that by having the darshanam of Istakameswari Devi one can fulfil all the desires. This temple is an ancient structure datable to 8th – 9th centuries A.D. The sculpture of the deity is very unique and have no parallel any where in India. After performing Pooja, preist informed us to put vermilion on the head of the idol. When we applied the vermilion on the head, it felt like skin touch even though the idol was of stone. Couple of friends did tell me about this thing but I didn’t give much attention to those words then. We sat there for good 10-15 minutes and started our journey back.

Trip Information

Location Istakameshwari Temple, Srisailam
Distance from Srisailam 21 Kms (Approx)
Pickup Point Nandi Circle
Drive time 1 Hours (one side)
Best time to drive July – September (As the weather is cool and there is so much greenery in the forest)
Jeep charge 750 per person
Journey duration 3-4 Hours

     The trip was such a awesome fun with lots of memories and moments. The journey to Istakameshwari Temple was more than we expected and will be one of the best journey’s I have made so far. Looking forward to much more such journey’s ahead :).

Day 2: Trip to Srisailam

Day 2 started on a rainy note. I woke up around 4 AM in the morning to see that it was raining heavily, so I went back to bed. It was around 6.30-7.00 AM in the morning when I woke up again and found it was still raining. I woke up the other two guys and checked what shall we do on the schedule. We decided to get ready and see if rain stops till then. By the time we got ready and leave the hotel, rain subsidised. It was around 7.30 AM when we hit the road to reach Mahanandi.

Day 2: Route Map
Day 2: Route Map

It was 9.00 AM when we reached Mahanandi temple, and the first look of the temple made me say “Wow”. The temple is surrounded by hills and the fog on the hills made it look much more mesmerizing. It was still drizzling due to which Mahesh & Harsha couldn’t have bath in holy pond. We finished our darshan early enough that we were outside the temple around 10 AM. We had our breakfast at a tiffin centre which was beside the temple and started our journey to Srisailam. The weather lived up to its reputation for the season which made the drive comfortable and untiring.

We reached Sikharam at 2.00 PM to view the temple of srisailam from the eyes of Nandi. One can see the three temples present in Srisailam from this spot.  After relaxing for a while, we left to our destination. We reached Srisailam at 3.30 PM and drove to the Lodge where we had already book the room. It was very sunny and humid at that hour and was difficult to stay in that room. We enquired for an AC room but wasn’t able, that’s when my dad’s power comes into picture. I told him the situation and he quickly called and informed the people of the lodge to accommodate one AC room for us as the president of the Hotel committee was my dad’s friend. Finally, we got one AC room where-in we got freshen up and went out to enquire about “Istakameshwari Temple”.

To our disappointment, there are only limited Jeeps which travel to that place and the quota for the day was done. We were told to come early morning tomorrow at 8.30 AM so that we can ride in the first jeep. That’s when, we decided to go for rope way and boat ride to Srisailam dam. It was 5.30 PM when we sat in the rope way and headed downwards for the boat ride. It costed us around Rs. 300 per person for both rope way and ferry ride. The ferry ride was good where the driver stopped in the middle of the dam and explained us the what, when, who information about the dam, its prophecy etc. It was getting dark when we hopped on the rope way to go back up. We reached room at 7.00 PM and relaxed for a while. Then after a while, Me & Harsh went around to have tea and see how the vicinity looks at night. We sat near of the road side platforms and were looking at passers-by having their own moments and enjoying it.

We went back to the hotel and the dinner was being served. One of the good thing about the stay here was, inclusion of food (breakfast, lunch and dinner). Mahesh had already collected the coupons for the diner. We quickly went and sat on the table where hot and tasty food was being served. We had dinner to our hearts content as we didn’t had proper food the whole day. We decided to go for a walk (had more than we can :)) around to digest a bit. Got back to room after a while and decided to wake up early morning 3.00 AM.