Hulikal Ghat: The Monsoon Giant of Karnataka - Be On The Road | Live your Travel Dream!

Tuesday, September 15, 2020

Hulikal Ghat: The Monsoon Giant of Karnataka

The panoramic Shola forest view from Hulikal ghat, Karnataka

It is one of the wettest places in Karnataka, in the Western Ghats and also in India. I am talking about Hulikal Ghat or Balabare Ghat, the monsoon giant that is nestled in the Western Ghats just south of Shimoga and Tirthahalli. Connecting the Shimoga district with the district of Udupi, this lush mountain and forest expanse of the Western Ghats attracts monsoon laden clouds like clockwork every year between May and November. Such is the quantity of precipitation here that it gives birth to one of the tallest waterfalls in India – the Kunchikal Falls. Not many know about it as it is part of a hydro electric project (Varahi project) and hence off limits for the general public. This Kunchikal falls is said to be taller than Jog Falls of Karnataka and the Noh Kalikai Falls of Meghalaya.

But, Hulikal is not just about the Kunchikal Falls. The heavy precipitation (6000 to 10,000 mm every year) that it receives gives birth to many streams that travel in all directions to join different rivers. And not just streams, but an entire ecosystem spanning shrubs, fungi, evergreen forests, rainforests, shola forests, insects, birds, animals, reptiles and so much more. Riding or driving through the Hulikal Ghats during the monsoon is nothing short of magical. The innumerable waterfalls falling right next to the highway, the floating mist cover, the vast expanse of greenery, the beautiful curves and the richer environment all make for a heady concoction. Add to it a tiny village, a cup of steaming hot coffee in your hand, the melody of the forest and you think you are living in a dream.

The grogeous Hulikal Ghat road

It doesn’t matter whether you are on a bicycle, motorcycle or inside a car, Hulikal ghat is bound to bowl you over with its amazing beauty. And if you happen to be a monsoon chaser or love rains, you are bound to fall in love with this monsoon giant. After all, not many places in the world get as much rainfall as Hulikal Ghats and this abundant rainfall gives birth to vibrant nature, one that is pleasing and calming for the senses. Do let me know what you think of Hulikal Ghat when you plan your next road trip there.

Gorgeous Hulikal Falls on the Hulikal ghat highway

Where to stay:

There are no places to stay on the Hulikal ghat.

If you don’t mind simple places, PWD has a rest house near Mastikatte. You could try there.

If you wish for luxurious accommodation, do head to Sagara, Shimoga, Kundapura or Udupi.

If homestays are your thing, you will find quality homestays near Tirthahalli, Agumbe and Sringeri.

The lush green expanse as seen from the Hulikal ghat of Karnataka

Where to eat:

The best place to eat would be Mastikatte as there are a few restaurants serving good food. There are also a few small hotels serving simple food and snacks on the Mastikatte-Tirthahallli road.

Hulikal Falls by the Hulikal ghat highway of Karnataka

Other nearby tourist attractions:

1) Kunchikal Falls – one of the tallest waterfalls of India

2) Talasi Abhi Falls – a remote waterfall ideal for a short trek and offbeat picnic

3) Kavaledurga Fort – a 9th century fort that commands stunning views of the Varahi reservoir and the Western Ghats

4) Thombattu Falls – a wide waterfall on the Thombattu river

5) The rainforest village of Agumbe known for its King Cobras, waterfalls, treks and sunset points

6) The reservoirs of Mani Dam and Savehoklu

7) Nagara Fort – a gorgeous fort built during the reign of the Keladi dynasty

8) Chandikamba temple – a pretty temple located on the main ghat turn and that offers great views of the lush forest

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