Karnataka is such a beautiful state located in the southwest part of India. While Bangalore the capital of Karnataka is rapidly growing as a high-tech hub, many people from various states and countries migrated to the state. Karnataka has its own cultural and historical significance along with natural beauty. I had a chance to explore heavenly Karnataka in monsoon traveling on the train all by myself. Several days of solo travel helped me to explore the best train routes to travel gorgeous Karnataka starting from Bangalore to the neighboring state Goa. In this article, I have tried to provide a plan to travel across the Western Ghats and coastal Karnataka just by using public transport.
How to reach Karnataka
If you are an international traveler and traveling by air, Bangalore International airport is the best port of entry. If you are already in India and traveling from a different state and choose to travel by road, you may check the following websites.
Make My Trip – For booking flight/train/buses, hotel booking and many more
Indian Railway – Travel by train anywhere in India.
Red Bus – Travel by bus from neighboring states.
The Green route
Green Route is one of the best train routes in monsoon season. The train ‘Ypr Karwar Express’ runs every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday from Bangalore to Karwar. Journey gets scenic after Sakaleshpur as the train passes beautiful mountains and 57 tunnels across the Western Ghat.
1st Stop – Hassan
One can plan in a way to reach Hassan by bus as the scenic route starts after Hassan. There are historic monuments and natural beauty around Hassan. Hence it is worth spending at least 2 days in Hassan unless you want to hike the mountains around.
On the way to Hassan from Bangalore, you may spend a day in Shravanabelagola. 60 km from Hassan, this is a popular Jain pilgrimage and named among one of the Best heritage sites from UNI. The world-famous Gommateshwara statue is on top of the Vindyagiri Hill. This is probably the best barefoot hike on steps early in the morning as footwears are not allowed.
There are two UNESCO heritage historic temples built by the Hoysala dynasty.
- Belur – 38 km from Hassan provides easy reach by bus. There are frequent buses from Hassan to Belur every half an hour.
- Halebidu – 32 km from Hassan provides easy reach by bus. There are frequent buses from Hassan to Halebidu every half an hour.
There are frequent buses from Belur to Halebidu and visa versa.
2nd Stop – Sakleshpur
There are sightseeing and hiking places around Sakaleshpur. It is worth to spend a day in Sakleshpur or make a commute from Hassan to Sakleshpur for a day trip. The 2 best sightseeings are Kadamade tea estate and Manjarabad fort. There are limited buses to Kadamane estate. Hence one should plan according to the bus timings unless you hire a taxi. Kadamane estate provides a nice tour to the tea factory.
3rd Stop – Mangalore
It is one of the best train journeys on the Green route from Sakleshpur to Kukke Subramanya in monsoon. From Sakaleshpur, the train travels across Western Ghat and crosses 57 tunnels. Thrumming rain with green foggy mountains around makes the journey contented. One could spend a day in Kukke Subramanya if you are interested to visit the temple.
Otherwise, there are beautiful beaches around Mangalore. Tannirbhavi beach and Panambur beach are pretty close. There are many pilgrimages including Dharmasthala which are easy to commute from Mangalore.
The beauty of Coastal Karnataka starts from Mangalore. Konkan railway connects Kerala, Karnataka, and Goa. The Green route connects the Konkan Railway from Mangalore. Konkan railway goes across the Arabian sea. There are multiple trains everyday runs in this route.
Coastal Karnataka is famous for unique food and cultural affairs. Dance forms like Yakshagana, Huli Kunita (Dance in tiger costume), Bhuta Kola, etc. are some of the unique cultural performances in special seasonal events. Kambala (buffalo race on wet paddy fields) in monsoon before farming is the yearly event demonstrated by farmers.
4th Stop – Udupi
Udupi is famous for the ancient Krishna temple. However, the place is also near to Malpe beach where you could get a ferry to visit St Mary ‘s Island. There are other small Islands where few cultural events take place near Kundapur. Shringeri, Agumbe are day trips from Udupi.
5th Stop – Murudeshwar
A beautiful beach, temples and a huge Shiva statue is what Murudeshwar is famous for. It is on the way to Gokarna, hence worth stopping to check if you would like to visit pilgrimage. Half a day must be sufficient on the way to Gokarna.
6th Stop – Kumta
Kumta and Honnavar have two beautiful rivers Sharavathi and Aghanashini. A mix of western ghat and Arabian ocean and a combination of various cultures makes Kumta an obvious beauty. There is a tribe called Haalakki that resides around the area follows the unique lifestyle. Kumta has a beautiful riverfront along with mountains in the background as well as peaceful beaches.
7th Stop – Gokarna
Om beach and half-moon beach in Gokarna is famous for recreation. Many international tourists visit every year to do yoga and relax on the beachside. There are yoga schools and good resorts as well as temples in Gokarna.
8th Stop – Karwar
There are beautiful clean beaches to watch the sunset and do several activities in Karwar. Karwar is also famous for seafood. Since it is boarder to Karnataka and Goa, it attracts tourists and conducts many events on the seashore. Kali river garden in Karwar offers many outdoor activities including water sports and camping. Karwar is easy to commute to Goa by road on Konkan railways or by bus.
You might be interested in other articles How to solo travel India and 7 obvious reasons to travel across India.