12 Hidden Gems Near Thirthahalli To Experience The Malnad Beauty Of Karnataka


Thirthahalli takes its name from the legend and the river Tunga – Thirtha meaning ‘holy water’ and Halli meaning ‘village’. The place is also known as ‘Parashurama Thirtha’ or ‘Rama Thirtha’. There is a stone temple dedicated to Lord Rama near the ‘Rama Thirtha’. Thirthahalli is a quaint little town situated on the banks of river Tunga and is also a taluk headquarters in Shimoga District.

Set along the dense forests of the Western Ghats in Karnataka, Thirthahalli is a must-visit place for those who love the serenity of nature and Indian heritage. The area is also known to have produced some of the great Kannada writers such as Kuvempu, Ur Ananthamurty and M K Indira.

Sri Rameshwara Temple

Sri Rameshwara Temple is an ancient temple located on the banks of River Tunga. Located near the ‘Parashurama Thirtha’, the temple has a Shiva linga inside the sanctum and is believed to have been placed there by Parashurama himself. It is regularly visited by devotees to give their offerings to Lord Shiva. Enjoy the unique experience of worshipping God alongside Mother Nature and the cascading River Tunga. If you are looking for a tranquil place of worship then this is a great spot to meditate along the banks of River Tunga.


Tunga Bridge

The Tunga Bridge, also known as the Jayachamrajendra Wadiyar Bridge is a popular tourist attraction in Thirthahalli. Built over the holy Tunga River, it was constructed by the famous architect and scholar Sir M Vishveshwaraiah. The Tunga Bridge is known for its arc-like structure at the top supported by multiple pillars on either side of the bridge. It was completed in 1943, and inaugurated by then Maharaja of Mysore, H. H. Jayachamarajendra Wadiyar and consequently named after him. The bridge now connects the town of Thirthahalli to its neighbouring village.


Anandagiri Hill

Anandagiri Gudda is located on the Shimoga highway and is a beautiful scenic spot with viewpoints overlooking the dense jungles of the Western Ghats. The hill towers are at a height of 300 feet and is a popular picnic spot for the locals. One can climb Anandagiri Gudda during any time of the year. Its height may be around 200 to 300 feet (60 to 90 m). There is large mantapa with a big doom on this hill.


Siddeshwara Gudda

Siddeshwara Gudda is located about 10 minutes from Anandagiri Gudda on the Agumbe highway. At 200 feet height, the hill offers panoramic views of the surrounding villages and forests. Due to heavy rainfall in the area, the hill is open for visitors only during the months of October and November. From the top of this hill, one can see the other big hills of Shimoga District such as Kodachadri and Kundadri.


Kavaledurga is located about 20 kms from Thirthahalli and it is famous for the Kavaledurga Fort. Built in the 9th century by the Nayakas of Keladi, the fort is now a trekker’s paradise offering magnificent views of the Western Ghats and the Varahi River. The fort mainly consists of a ruined palace site and a small temple at the summit popularly known as Srikanthesvara temple.



The Varanasi of South, Koodli, is amongst the holiest places of Southern India and the site of confluence of two holy rivers Tunga & Bhadra. A place endowed with a lot of history and religious importance, Koodli has been an important place of worship, meditation and peace from ancient times. It is located at a distance of mere 16 km from the city of Shimoga in A place filled with peace, faith and piety, Koodli is a must visit place.



Kuppali is a small village in the Thirthahalli taluk located about 16 kms away from the Thirthahalli town. Nestled in the Western Ghats, Kuppali is famous for being the birthplace and childhood home of the accomplished Kannada playwright and poet Kuvempu. Do Visit the Kavishala megalithic rock monument dedicated to Kuvempu. The monument was built in a circular manner resembling the stone and is the final resting place of the great literary figure.


Gajanur Dam

Located 12 km from Shimoga en-route Thirthahalli, one can witness a perfect picnic spot in a way of Tunga Dam built over River Tunga. An Elephant Camp where elephants are trained can also be enjoyed there by visitors.


Mandagadde Bird Sanctuary

Mandagadde Bird Sanctuary is a small picturesque island located in the River Tunga nearly 32 km from Shimoga town on the way to Thirthahalli. The perfect time to explore the island, which is a part of Shettihalli Wildlife Sanctuary, is from July to October during which the island is visited by plethora of migratory birds such as darter, egret, snake-bird, cormorant etc.



Located 10 kms away from Thirthahalli, Chibbalagudde is famous for its powerful Sri Siddhi Vinayaka Temple, dedicated to Lord Ganesha. This charming village is located where River Tunga changes course and makes a complete U-turn before it heads north to Shimoga. Due to its distinct location, one can find soft silty shores and lots of fish. Matsyadhama, which is also in Chibbalagudde, is known for its abundance of big fish and is an excellent spot to head with kids and feed the fish.


Tavarekoppa Tiger and Lion Safari

A thick cover of forest is situated there inhabiting tigers and lions moving freely in its deep parts. A lion and tiger safari began there in 1988, across a huge area of 200 hectares. It is a picnic spot enriched with varied types of flora and fauna hidden in its every nook and corner. It offers a special recreational ones for kids.


Nagara Fort

The beautiful Nagara Fort is built on a small hill near a lake and is a must visit place. The fort has a well-developed system to circulate water, and also comprises of a large Darbar Hall and two tanks known as Akka Thangi Kola, apart from a cannon. Packed with several marvels of nature in form of picturesque landscape, gorgeous waterfalls, mystical temples and lush green surroundings, its raw beauty will leave you absolutely enchanted. Go and explore this beauty of malenadu on your next vacation.

Credits – Sharath Hassan

Cheers!! Happy Exploring!!

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