Lately I was reading the book ‘Butter Chicken in Ludhiyana’ by Pankaj Mishra which is about travels in small towns of india. The towns mentioned here are not on any tourist map but most of us come from places like this. So when the opportunity to go to Sagar which is around 350 kms from Bangalore came I readily agreed to it. This claim of fame of this place is Jog falls which is highest water fall in india.
The route was to hit Tumkur road through NICE road then tiptur, birur, tarikere,bhadravati, shimgoa and sagar.I had not seen so many distractions along any other route I had been to. You see the diversions for belur, halebid, shravanbelagola, kemmanagundi, chikmaglur, shivgiri, Bhadra tiger reserve and few bird sancturies.There were many impulses to take one of those routes but going by the planned way we were expecting to reach sagar around 11 o clock in night so did not took any chances. Marked Bhadra tiger reserve for return journey which we could not do.
Our sighseeing and everything was planned by our Local hosts. We had thought for varadapura, Jog falls and Holebaagilu for which one has to take a boat ride on backwaters. This was not a good time to visit Jog falls and it was looking to be stripped version of its usual self. There are 4 falls named Raja, Rani , Rocket and roarer which are named based on their speed, how they fall and how they look etc. Great place to visit in monsoon and there are quite a number of places to stay around the fall which we could not find on internet. Due to logistical issues we could not visit Holebaagilu.
In the night we went to visit the local shops looking for wooden carvings hoping to find them at bargain but either they were at normal prices or made by artists who are still at learning stages.
This place is also famous for sandalwood carving and arecanut or betelnut plantations. One of the interesting things we saw there was a well in a room in every house. In the villages we saw arecanut plantations. There were few sandalwood trees also. It was quite different than what I had in mind. They looks to be ordinary tree. The core have actual sandalwood and it takes years to develop the core so that they can be put to commercial use. Each tree can grow to fetch in crores but in most of the cases it is stolen by thieves for few thousand rupees. Till now these were the property of government and were not allowed to be grown by individual but now a days they are providing the knowhow and allowing it on profit sharing basis. Considering the risk most people tend to stay away from growing sandalwood.