Day 1 – Yagachi Dam, Ayyana Kere, and Amruthapura
Since we have not booked any hotel to stay, we decided to reach Chikmagalur as early as possible. So, we decided to leave from home at around 4.30 AM. This might sound crazy, but we did leave at 4.30 AM in our Nano. Travelling in early morning has its own fun and benefits. The busy Bangalore will be in deep sleep at this time. There will be absolutely no traffic on the roads. I always feel that Bangalore is so small at this time of the day. The places where you usually take 1 hr to reach, will take only 15-20 mins. The chilling weather makes you feel fresh and energetic.
We were travelling in Bangalore-Hassan highway. After sunrise, the journey became more beautiful. The highway was completely covered with fog. Since there were not many vehicles, Thilak did not have to reduce the speed. Both of us enjoyed the drive through misty highway. Thus, our trip had kick started with a beautiful morning.
By the time we reached Hassan, it was only 7.30 AM. It was much before our expectation. We wondered if any of the hotels would be open at this time to have breakfast. Luckily there was a hotel named Jewel Rock where we could finish our breakfast. Thilak told me that we can see a dam called Yagachi dam on our way to Chikmagalur. Yagachi dam was not in our trip plan. Since we were early, we decided to visit the dam.
It only took us around half an hour to reach Yagachi dam. This dam is present in Belur. When we went near the dam, we were amazed. The place was very well maintained. We could see the dam from a very close distance. The water was coming out of the dam gates in full force. It was just too beautiful to see. The place was not at all crowded. We spent some time near the dam and returned. Yagachi dam was definitely a beautiful surprise package for us.
After Yagachi dam, our next stop was Chikmagalur. The road to Chikmagalur from Belur was good. But, I was expecting a cooler weather in Chikmagalur, but the weather was very hot. This made the journey a bit boring. We reached Chikmagalur at around 9.30 AM and our search for hotels began. We went to Indira Gandhi road and found that there were many hotels on both sides of the road. We felt relaxed thinking that in some or the other hotel we would get the room. But our expectation was wrong. When we started enquiring in the hotels, we found that the rooms were unavailable. Some of the hotels were not in good condition. In one of the hotels, the rent for one day was 2500 Rs which we felt too expensive. Finally, we came to a hotel called Venkatesh Residency where the room was available. The room was small, but it was neatly maintained. The rent was 1200 Rs/night which was costly for that room, but we felt we might not get any other room if we leave this. So, we checked in the same hotel at around 10.30 AM. We have not wasted much time in searching the hotels. Our plan was to start our trip post lunch, now we had two more hrs to relax. Our plan for today was to visit Ayyana Kere, Amrutheshwara temple, and Ajjampura.
Route Travelled: BTM Layout > Hassan > Belur > Yagachi Dam > Chikmagalur
After relaxing for some time, we started from the hotel at 12.30 PM. Ate our lunch at a nearby hotel and started towards Ayyanakere, which was around 20 km from the city. The weather was very very sunny, but the road to Ayyanakere was too good. When we were reaching near Ayyanakere, we reached a place called Sakarayanapattana. The place was amazing. There were lot of Arecanut and Coconut plantations on both sides of the narrow road and there was a water channel by the side of the road. The scene continued for the rest 2-3 kms till Ayyanakere. The first glimpse of Ayyanakere Lake was beautiful. It was very large and was surrounded by mountains on three sides. The place was crowded. There were many people playing in water where they made a small artificial waterfall like arrangement. The water level was not very deep, so it was completely safe to play. Everyone was enjoying playing in water. We also got into the water and spent some time. The touch of cold water gave us a sense of relief from hot weather.
We started from Ayyanakere at around 3.30 PM. Our next destination was Amrutheshwara temple (Amruthapura). This place was around 55 km from Ayyana kere. It took us more than an hour to reach the temple as the road was not in a good condition near Birur and there was traffic jam because of railway crossing. After we crossed Tarikere, the road condition became worse.
Thilak drove very slowly and finally we reached the destination at 5.00 PM. I had been to this temple many years back. There were not many changes. The temple was looking as beautiful as I had seen earlier. Thilak also liked the temple. It was also built by the Hoysalas. The sculptures were very similar to the ones in Belur-Halebidu. But, somehow this temple is not as famous as them. Both of us explored the place for some time. Since we had to go to my aunt’s place which was in Ajjampura, we decided to leave from there at around 5.30 PM.
Ajjampura is around 20 kms from Amruthapura. We had to take a right at Tarikere. After Tarikere, the road was in a bad condition. 20 km distance took us around 45 mins to reach. My uncle and aunt were very happy to see us. After a very long time, I was visiting their place. After talking for an hour, we decided to leave from there. The bad roads had made us worry about our return journey, so we decided to leave early. My uncle suggested a shortcut road to Birur, which was the worst road we had ever travelled.
We started our return journey from Ajjampura and decided to travel via the shortcut road. This road has connected Ajjampura to Birur in just 22 kms. But, when we entered this road, we were shocked. The road was in a very bad condition. It was still under construction. We thought that, this road will be there only for initial few kms. But, we were wrong. This horrible road was never ending. On top of that, it became dark and there was not even a single house on the way. No single vehicle was travelling in that road. There was not even a single street light in that stretch. The road was in such a pathetic condition that Thilak could not increase the speed beyond 20 kmph. We did not have any other option but to continue in that road. Somehow, we reached Birur at 8.30 PM. For 22 kms, we had taken almost 1.5 hrs. Both of us felt proud of our poor Nano :-). We felt relieved once we reached Birur. After Birur, the road was good and we could reach our hotel in an hour. We had dinner at a nearby hotel and retired for the day.
The day was beautiful. We can never forget the foggy Hassan Highway, the peaceful Yagachi dam, the beautiful Chikmagalur, running in search of accommodation, the calm Ayyanakere Lake, sculpturally rich Amrutheshwara temple, happiness in relatives’ faces, and the dark lonely scary roads.
- Route Travelled: Onward: Chikkamagalur > Ayyana Kere > Kadur > Birur > Tarikere > Amritheshwara Temple > Tarikere > Ajjampura
Return: Ajjampura > Baggavalli > Birur > Chikkamagalur
- Photos: Yagachi, Ayyanakere, and Amruthapura Photos