Shimoga popularly referred to as Karnataka’s cultural capital is a peaceful place blessed with beautiful landscapes and nature. It is one of the less unexplored places in India which has a lot of things to offer. The beautiful hill station that is the gateway to the gorgeous Western Ghats is a perfect tourist spot. The meaning of the term Shimoga is Face of Shiva. It can be easily accessed from Bangalore as the distance is just 275 km. As fertility is rich in this region, it is popularly referred to as Karnataka’s breadbasket. For every adventure and travel lover, Shimoga remains like paradise on Earth. Gorgeous temples, dense jungle, and cascading waterfalls make the place interesting for all kinds of traveler.
30 Fantastic Places To Visit In Shimoga
1. Jog Falls
Jog Falls is said to be India’s second highest waterfall. It flows from a mounting height of around 253 ft bounded in vegetation and dense forest. It consists of four distinct falls- Rani Falls, Rocket Falls, Roarer Falls, and Raja Falls. You can get an excellent view of the falls when you climb down around 1400 stairs. Jog Falls is one of the top places to visit in Shimoga.
Being a small and quaint town, Honnemaradu is located along with the extensive lakes of River Sharavati. It is also referred to as Golden Lake. This town provides the loveliest views of sunrise and sunset that are not possible to get in cities. It is one of Shimoga’s off-beat attractions that also lets you enjoy activities such as hiking, boating, kayaking and much more. It is not occupied by many people. It remains suitable for people who wish to stay away from the maddening rush of the city.
Kodachadri consists of beautiful grassy hills and mountain peaks. It decorates the Western Ghats of India with its picturesque beauty. It is Karnataka’s 10th highest peak. The Karnataka Government has stated Kodachadri as the natural heritage site. It is home to rich and rare fauna and flora. If you are planning for a Shimoga trip, it is highly recommended to experience trekking along the Kodachadri peak. If you are lucky, you can find animals such as Indian Rock Python, Malabar Langur, and several others.
Being nestled deep inside the Western Ghats, Kundadari Hill is popular for the Jain temple. The Jain temple is located above the solid rock structure. Situated at a height of 3200 feet above the sea level, Kundadari is a popular spot that can be visited at any time of the year. It is enclosed by green woodlands and offers an excellent opportunity for hikers and trekkers to discover the adventurous side. The best part is that the Karnataka Government has constructed all-weather road, which will easily take you to the hill. Ensure to visit this heavenly abode on your Shimoga vacation for a perfect hideaway.
Agumbe is also referred to as Hasiru Honnu. It means green gold. It is famous for its picturesque landscapes and stunning natural beauty. It is a spectacular sight to witness the streaming waterfalls along the dense forests. It is must to visit this unseen ecstasy located in the Karnataka’s Malnad region. It is also recommended to visit the sunset point that is situated in the hilltop. You can get beautiful views of the gigantic the Arabian Sea from this spot. Agumbe has offered an excellent contribution to the biodiversity of the country. It houses the first spontaneous weather station for monitoring fluctuations in the rainforests.
6. Dabbe Falls
Karnataka is popularly referred to as a state of waterfalls. Dabbe Falls is one of the several waterfalls in the state. It is situated in the Shimoga district. It is popular for its serenity and beauty. The fast cascading falls provide lovely views and the rich landscapes are meant for its pristine beauty. It is sure you would feel stunned to watch the resplendent atmosphere of Dabbe Falls.
Sakrebailu is located at a distance of about 14 km from Shimoga. It is a gorgeous elephant camp situated on the Thirthahalli Road. There are numerous elephants in this camp and remains as a wonderful tourist spot in Shimoga. The elephants are mastered by the experienced Mahouts. They bring them to this camp from closeby forests to play and snack merrily in the backwaters of Tunga River. It is a wonderful sight to witness the splashing of elephants. Sakrebailu is one of the top places to visit in Shimoga.
The camp functions from 8.30 AM to 11.00 AM. It is recommended to visit this place by 9.00 AM to enjoy the elephant bathing scene.
If you are thinking to visit a spiritual place, Keladi is a must visit place near Shimoga. It is a temple town situated in Sagar Taluk of Karnataka. It is a historic town, which is the artifact of Keladi rulers of Vijayanagar Empire. Rameshwara Temple is the popular place to visit in Keladi. It is constructed in the Dravida and Hoysala style. The outdoors of the temple look humble. However, the temple has a treasure trove of revered deities and intricate carvings inside. There are three deities in the temple- Lord Ganesh, Lord Veerabhadra and Lord Rameswara (Nandi and Linga).
Heggodu is situated in Sagar Taluk. It is a small village and also one of the must-visit places in Shimoga. It is not a well-known place. Heggodu is an only town that is blessed for being located in the NINASAM that is a cultural center which contributes to literature, films, and drama. When you visit this town, you can witness several activist groups, theatre acts, and local dance troupes. Being a little town, it is visited by artists from various parts of the world to participate in the residential workshops and contribute to the local art.
10. Gudavi Bird Sanctuary
It is an extraordinary place to visit in Shimoga. It is situated within the thick forests and is just 15 km from the Banavasi Road. Gudavi Bird Sanctuary consists of rural fields on north and west and houses deciduous forests on south and east. It is spread on a landscape of about 0.73 sq.km. It provides several impeccable assortments of birds to view and explores. During monsoon, numerous kinds of birds migrate to Gudavi Bird Sanctuary for reproducing.
Being a tiny historical place, Ikkeri is just 3 km from Shimoga Town. Aghoreshwara Temple is the main attraction in Ikkeri. It was built by the Keladinayakas. The main deity of the temple is Lord Shiva. The temple has vast open areas in its surroundings. At the entrance area of the temple, the Nandi image remains as a major attraction mainly due to its glossy finish.
12. Tyavarekoppa Tiger and Lion Reserve
The Tyavarekoppa Tiger and Lion Reserve is a famous wildlife destination in Karnataka. It is just 10 km from Shimoga. The reserve occupies about 200 hectares of land. It is the best place to rehabilitate the tigers and lions that are freed from various circuses all over India. The forest department conducts the safari for tourists. It is actually a beautiful open zoo.
13. Tunga Anicut Dam
The popular Tunga Anicut Dam has been constructed across the Tunga River. It is situated just 12 km from Shimoga. It lies within the Shettihalli Wildlife Sanctuary. There are no entry fees to visit this dam. The dam is surrounded by thick areca nut plantations and green paddy fields. It is the best site to witness in Shimoga. It is possible to visit this dam at any time of the year. It is constructed in S-shape. There are several forested islands in catchment space that enhances the picturesque beauty of dam.
14. Shettihalli Wildlife Sanctuary
Shettihalli Wildlife Sanctuary is a popular wildlife sanctuary Shimoga, Karnataka. It is a lovely place to witness different kinds of fauna and flora. It occupies a land area of about 395.6 sq.km. There are three zones in the sanctuary. They are tourism zone, buffer zone, and core zone. The sanctuary remains open on all days from 6.00 AM to 6.00 PM. It takes about four to five hours to completely explore this sanctuary.
15. Mandagadde Bird Sanctuary
It is located within the Shettihalli Wildlife Sanctuary. The mandagadde bird sanctuary is a famous nesting spot on the island in the middle of Tunga River. It attracts both wildlife enthusiasts and tourists from various parts of the state. The size of this sanctuary is 1.14 acres. It houses more than 5000 birds. The chirping little birds create a pandemonium of sound that remains a little heavy on eardrums. The island is graced by various varieties of birds like open-billed storks, night herons, wooly neck stalk, pied kingfisher, maiden egret and much more. It is best to visit from July to October as you can capture several beautiful moments in your camera.
16. Gajanur Dam
It is situated just 12 km from Shimoga. Gajanur Dam is referred to as Malnad’s Gateway. It is located within the small village – Gajanur. Several lovely birds and presence of River Tunga are the main features of this village. It is a scenic picnic spot as it is surrounded by thick plantations, green fields, dam, and forest.
17. Kavaledurga Fort
Kavaledurga Fort is also referred to as Bhuvanagiri Fort. It is a marvelous structure in Shimoga. It was constructed in the AD 9th century. It is a lesser explored historical place in Shimoga. In recent years, several archaeologists are taking steps to reinstate certain ancient structures in remaining fortifications. The fort includes complex arrangements and defenses for the purpose of rainwater harvesting. The walls of the fort are constructed using granite blocks which are about 30-40 ft. in height. In strategic areas, watch towers have been set up. It is the best picnic and relaxing area for trekking enthusiasts. It is advisable to carry your own water bottles and food as there are not much hotels and restaurants near the fort.
18. Shri Sridhara Swami Ashram
Situated in the Varadahalli village in Shimoga district, Shri Sridhara Swami Ashram is a popular hill shrine. This ashram was established in 1954 by Shridhara Swami, who is a saint from Sajjanghad (Maharashtra state). The ashram was established to follow his spiritual meditation. Many people from Maharashtra and Karnataka states started to follow his ideologies and principles when they became aware of his religious and spiritual devotion. Till date, the ashram is visited by numerous devotees to get the blessing of this pious person.
19. Chakra Dam
The gorgeous Chakra Dam is developed through the Chakra River. It is located near the Shimoga that is in a tiny town referred to as Chakra Nagar. The main purpose of constructing the dam is to feed water through the Linganamakki reservoir and to serve as a complementary reservoir. If you have plans to visit the dam, you need to take special permission. People love to visit this dam as it offers sufficient quiet time and remains free from the sounds of the busy city. The abundance of calm and natural atmosphere attracts visitors from various areas.
20. Sacred Heart Church
It is India’s second largest church located close to Shimoga. As it is a huge church, it covers about 18000 sq. ft. It has the Gothic and Roman styles of architecture. It has a gigantic prayer hall and a huge space that can accommodate about 5000 members. The main feature of the church is the Jesus statue. This church attracts a large number of people, especially for Sunday masses.
21. Tripurantaka Temple
Tripurantakesvara or Tripuntaka temple is one among the well-known temples in Shimoga district, Karnataka. It is 287 km from Mysore and 346 km from Bangalore. It is an ancient temple located in the Balligave town. Later or western Chalukyas has constructed the temple around 11th century A.D. Tripurantaka, which is Lord Shiva’s another form is the main deity of the temple. The temple has Chalukyas architectural style.
22. Sharavathi Wildlife Sanctuary
Located in the Shimoga district, Sharavathi Wildlife Sanctuary occupies the Sharavathy valley area. It occupies a land area of about 431 km. The sanctuary is sustained by Sharavathi river. It is surrounded by moist deciduous, semi-evergreen and evergreen forests. The forests remain as an abode to several reptiles, birds, and mammals. Moreover, the sanctuary is popular for lion-tailed macaque. There are also several butterflies in this sanctuary. The backwaters provide sufficient water sports opportunities.
23. Gandhi Park
Gandhi Park is very popular in Shimoga. It is the oldest and biggest park in Shimoga. It is the best spot to spend time with kids. Recently, it was renovated and has been attracting a large number of people. Children love to spend hours and hours in Gandhi Park as there are a lot of play activities. It has been well maintained especially after renovation. Mostly, local people visit Gandhi Park. If you are planning for a Shimoga trip, ensure to spend some time in Gandhi Park.
24. Nagara Fort
The gorgeous Nagara Fort is constructed on a tiny hill near the lake. It is one of the best places to visit in Shimoga. The Nagara Fort follows a well-developed scheme to circulate water. It comprises two tanks and a large Darbar Hall and a cannon. Akka Thangi Kola is the other name of two tanks.
Mattur is a small village in Shimoga district, Karnataka. Mattur and Hosahalli (which is a twin village) are popular all over the world for being one among the few prevailing destinations where ancient language- Sanskrit is used in routine and colloquial conversation. The village houses a certain group of temples, which they are located in the stretch of 800 meters from the central village. The temple complex consists of Lord Rama, Someshwara and a Shivalaya temple. The temple premises is beautifully decorated with a tiny freshwater stream and a cute garden flowing close by.
26. Bhadra River Project Dam
Constructed on Bhadra River, the Bhadra Dam is the River Tungabhadra’s tributary. It is surrounded by thick greenery and a fabulous place to visit in Shimoga. It is a beautiful river and serves as an abode to several rare birds like a green imperial pigeon, black woodpecker, emerald dove, and red spurfowl. There is no entry fee to visit this dam.
27. Linganamakki Dam
Linganamakki Dam is the largest man-made water tanks in the country. It stretches through the Sharavathi River at a stretch of 6 km. It is situated near Kargal town that is in Sagara Taluk. It has an exhilarating scenery with beautiful views of forested hills and islands enclosed in dense foliage. The water storage capacity of the dam is higher than other dams. Due to this, there are several lovely backwaters along with myriad islands.
28. Shopping areas in Shimoga
Shimoga is a famous spot in Karnataka for shopping. It houses a wide range of items to provide its shopaholic visitors. Shimoga is popular for wooden toys decorated in lacquer, sarees with kasuti embroidery work, sandalwood, rosewood carvings, and handicrafts. Some common shopping areas in Shimoga are Shivappayanaka Market, Savalanga Road, B.H. Road, Gandhi Bazaar, Durgigudi, Balraj Urs Road, and Nehru Road or Nehru Avenue.
29. Shivappa Nayaka Palace Museum
Situated on the reservoirs of River Tunga, Shivappa Nayaka Palace and Museum is a famous attraction situated within the Shimoga. It is the most preferred destination among tourists. It was established by the Keladi’s Shivappa Naik during the 16th century. It has been constructed beautifully using rosewood. It is possible to see the remains of a bygone period in the museum. The museum is located within the palace. It showcases gorgeous stone carving along with several possessions of that period.
30. Shiva Temple
The Shiva temple is the most famous temple in Shimoga. It is an early stone temple devoted to Lord Shiva. It was constructed during the Shilahar Kingdom in the 11th century. It is situated on River Krishna banks that are in the Khidrapur village. The temple houses a Swarg Mandap. It means an area without a roof.
Apart from the above list, there are a lot of things to do and see in Shimoga. However, these 30 places to visit in Shimoga are completely worth to include in your Shimoga tour itinerary.