Mysore – Legendary Road Trip 14 & 15/02/2015

Places: Melkote, Shravanabelagola, Thonnur Lake, Mysore, Ranganathittu.

Distance:  500 kms overall
Route:  Bangalore -> Mandya -> Melkote -> Shravanabelagola  -> Thonnur Kere -> Brindavan Garden -> Mysore City -> Chamundi Hills -> Mysore Palace -> St. Philomena’s Church -> Ranganathittu -> Mandya -> Bangalore

Type: Temple, Lake, Sight Seeing
Ideal for: Friends & Family
Bikes: Apache 160r, Pulsar 135, Discover 150
Crew:  Siva, Vinay, Santosh, Sukesh, Sachin and sagar
Budget: 1500 Rs/Head

Best of the beast

Brief about the places:

1. Melkote:  Melukote is the location of the Cheluvanarayana Swamy Temple, with a collection of crowns and jewels which are brought to the temple for the annual celebration. On the top of the hill is the temple of Yoganarasimha. 

2.  Shravanabelagola: The statue of Gommateshvara Bahubali is one of the most important pilgrimage destinations in Jainism, one that reached a peak in architectural and sculptural activity under the patronage of Western Ganga Dynasty of Talakadu.

3. Thonnur Lake: It is the serene and unspoiled beauty of a pristine lake called Kere Tonnur. It’s a man made water barrage across Yadavanadi connecting two rocky hills and built from the times of king Ramanuja around 1000 years ago.

4. Mysore: Karnataka‘s second biggest city. It was the erstwhile capital of the Wodeyar dynasty and is considered the cultural capital of the state. Mysore is the second cleanest city in India and one of the most well-planned ones.

5. Ranganathittu Bird Sanctuary:  It is the largest bird sanctuary in the state, only 0.67 km². in area, which is about 40 acres and comprises six islets on the banks of the Kaveri river.

Saturday Morning: Assembled in front of R.V College gate at 6 am as planned. The Mysore road on weekend is really rush, care must be taken while driving as cars will be going at crazy speed and overtake closely. After crossing Mandya, there is right turn to Melkote. The road transformed from scary, busy road to calm, peaceful road with beautiful surroundings. Reached Melkote at 10 am. 

Sunrise on the way

Breakfast after Maddur

Melkote: The first view of the temple is worth mentioning with building constructed on the edge of the hill. Had to climb around 50+ stairs to reach the top of the Vidyagiri Hills. Temple on the top is dedicated to Lord Yoga Narasimha swami. Felt the touch of ancient temple, it wasn’t rush at the time we visited. There were many monkeys to trouble people. Had blissful darshana of Yoganarasimha swami. After a small photo session we left the place.

First look at the Melkote temple

View from the Melkote hill

Stairs leading to the hill top


Roadway to heaven: Visiting shravanabelagola would cost us 70 kms so we had dropped it initially but at the last moment felt like seeing it so we headed towards Shravanabelagola (the best decision we took).  The road from Melkote to Shravanabelagola was heaven. The silky smooth road, clean road with green surroundings. There was no traffic on this route so it turned out to be one of the best road I ever traveled. Tempted to take photos, soon we encountered a lake where we all stopped and had lot of photos.

Road from Melkote to Shravanabelagola

Stopped on the way for a small photo session

Shravanabelagola: As soon as we reached Shravanabelagola a man asked us to keep the luggage and footwear in old home like hotel and have lunch after seeing temple, he confirmed us that bags are safe with him. A short 30 mins trekking would lead to the 58-ft tall monolithic statue of Gommateshvara. The rock was hot at the beginning after climbing little it was tolerable. Nicely carved steps and supporting railing would make the climb easier. There is Vadegal basadi half way. There is even water source at this point.  Siva was too much exhausted to climb anymore and he refused to come till the top. I convinced him some how. On the top there is a small cave where all the tirthankaras are sculptured and worshipped.  Spent peaceful time at the top and started descend, as usual descend was much easier. 

First look on the hill

Stairs leading to the top

A look from half way

Rock on Style pose 😛

Vadegal Basadi, the first basadi we encountered

Vadegal basadi side view

Tyagada Kamba
 Beautiful pillar constructed during 10th century. 
Minister Chavundaraya distributed gifts from here

Tyagada Kamba: A closer look

Protected scripts on the rocks

Temple corridoor on the peak

First look at the Gomateshwara statue

58-ft tall monolithic statue of Gommateshvara
constructed in AD 982
Cave behid the statue where idols of
Great thirthankars are worshipped

Thirthankar statues

14th century scripts well preserved
Closeup of the above script

As soon as we reached the base the hotel owner was asking us to move faster as there were some school group waiting for lunch. The meal was delicious, they charged 60/meal no matter how many chapathi we had. After having stomach full meal we were sleepy to ride the bike but the journey has to move on. The next destination Thonnur Kere was around 45 kms from here, We stopped at a place for the Tea which kept us well awake and alert.

Hotel where we had lunch

Thonnur kere: We had plan to get into water at thonnur kere, but the depth of the water was too much so we kept us away from water (bad descision : after coming to Bangalore one of my friend told that there is other side of the lake which is much like a beach, and even the sunset view is better from other side, but we didn’t know about this fact). Took a small ride in the stinky Teppa, the fisher man told that the dept of the lake is still unknown to them and the lake has never dried since decades. The next stop was Balamuri falls, since it was already 5 pm it would have closed by the time we reach there, so we decided to stay, spend some more time here until sunset.

Relaxing at Thonnur kere

Playing with water and photography

A ride on the stinky fisherman’s teppa

Ek group photo to banti hai

Sun-cream 😛

Sunset as we witnessed

Brindavan Garden: The place was too much crowded to see the music fountain, we knew that this place would be utter flop but we didn’t had any other place to visit as it was already dark (second mistake: we could have been checked into hotel and visited Chamundi hills as view from Chamundi at night would be spectacular). Siva had warned that a staff would watch for people taking photos and charge 50Rs as camera ticket, me and santosh ignored his words but poor santosh caught taking photos and staff charged him 50 Rs. Just keep the camera in pocket you can open it near the fountain show but not on  the way. After seeing music fountain for 10 mins we left the place.

There are many daba on the way from KRS dam to Mysore city, Stopped at Fishland, (our third mistake: serving was dead slow, we waste three hours for the dinner). The food was good at a decent price. It was 11 by the time we reached the Lodge. I had booked the lodge on the previous day as to avoid roaming for room as we will be already tired. Vinay suggested to go to Chamundi hills after freshup but everyone was really tired, so we decided to stick with the initial plan to visit Chamundi hills at early morning.

Sunday Morning: Things never work the way we plan, we were too tired to getup early morning. Everyone gotup at 8 am and left the lodge at 10 am. 

Chamundi Hills: Unlike Bangalore roads, Mysore roads are calm and traffic free. Though the sunny weather was not in our favour, uphill ride to was joyful. Reached the top at 11 am. The temple was over crowded, it would have consumed 2 to 3 hrs for the darshana so we skipped. Visited other small temple on the other side. While descending we took left turn to visit the famous Nandi temple.

Roads of Mysore

Men in black, and sukesh 😛

Uphill ride

Mysore trip isn’t cimplete if you don’t have photo in front of Mahishasura statue
Rush at the chamundi hills

Selfie time 😀

Stairs leading to hill top, pedstrians use this path


Mysore Palace: We visited the Historical palace. The maintainance of the palace is worth appreciating. No photography is allowed inside the palace. Clicked some photos outside and headed towards next destination.

Mysore palace

Elephant ride in palace premises

St. Philomena’s Church: The next stop was St. Philomena’s Church,The twin spires of church towering over the trees and houses grabbed our attention. The church architecture inspired by Cologne Cathedral kept our eyes wide opened. Inside the church is altar with a statue of saint, and an idol of Christ. Near the altar are steps which lead us to the crypt below, where the relics of the saint are preserved. Walking into the crypt is an eerie experience, but memorable one. The casket containing the relics seems to exude its aura, enveloping visitors, believers and non-believers alike. The names of the thousands of who lie interred all around seem to call out their stories.

St. Phelomena’s Church
St. Phelomena’s Church

Had lunch and returned to the lodge at 4 pm. After taking rest and fresh up we checked out at 5 pm. Next desination awaiting us – Ranganathittu Bird sanctuary. 

Checout time at lodge
Hotel Peal Inn; never see you again

Ranganathittu Bird Santuary: Reached Ranganathittu at 5.30 pm, the guard said it was closing time and asked us to return back by 6.30. Paid the over priced entry fee of 50 Rs/head and 15 Rs/bike. There is 50 Rs/head more if you opt for boating to see the birds closer. We could’t see many birds as birds would migrate in winter. You need a DSLR to capture the beautiful birds, the naked eyes is not enough to see the birds clearly.

Birds which could be seen at Ranganathittu

Hum saath; saath hai
Sunset time; Birds returning to their nest

Boating to get a closer look at Birds

It was already dark by the time we left Ranganathittu, riding on mysore road at night is what we were afraid of. We decided to be in sync and ride slow which worked out very well. Reached Bangalore at 10 pm. Had the last cup of Tea at Dream Land in front of RV college. We discussed how splendid two days were.

1. Mysore Road is a nightmare for bikers as cars would be riding very fast so ride safe and wear a helmet.
2. There is another side of Thonnur lake where you can get into the water, the google maps won’t take you there so ask to locals. You can even skip Thonnur kere and visit Balamuri falls if you have never visited before.
3. You can visit Chamundi Hills at night, there is no time restrictions. However, temple would be closed but you can have a wonderful view of mysore from the hill.

4. We couldn’t explore much in Ranganathittu, but I saw a blog where it is nicely explained. Read the post here

Checkout the below Google sphere photo for 360 degree view of the places
Note: If you are on mobile select “open with google maps” if it asks,

1. Melkote Yoganarasimha swami temple
2. Shravanabelagola
3. Chamundi Hills
4. Mysore palace
5. St. Philomena’s Church
6. Ranganathittu Bird Sanctuary

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  1. Nice trip. Thanks for sharing your trip experience. I like Mysore so much. The royal city, known for its various trysts with different dynasties. A curious mix of tradition and modernity, Mysore is an upcoming IT and industry hub in the midst of grand architecture and its long standing cultural heritage. Check out Brindavan Gardens, one of the most visited places in Mysore by locals and tourists.

  2. Thank you Dimpy.Glad that you liked the post. Yes Mysore is an incredible place. I wish IT doesn't ruin mysore culture and heritage with migrating population and traffic just like Bangalore. Mysore is a calm place and people of mysore are also good. Yeah we had been to Brindavan Gardens too.

  3. We are family of 6 with kids visiting Coorg on 15th August. will be arriving to Bangalore airport at 2:00am. As Flybus from airport is too expensive We will be going to Madikeri Townhall area by taxi. Can you suggest the budget friendly option ?