10 Things You Should Absolutely Do In Shimoga, India

things to do in shimoga india
| 4 min read

Located in the heart of southwest India’s Karnataka state, Shimoga is simply a gift from the gods. Known as the Gateway of Malenadu, the whole district is famous for its rolling landscape, covered in dense, emerald forests that hide beautiful temples, breathtaking valleys, and a rich ecosystem that thrives in the region’s cool climate. Shimoga was founded in the 3rd century BC as part of the Mauryan Empire. Since its establishment, it was ruled by several Indian dynasties. The one that left a lasting mark, however, was the Nayakas of Keladi. Shimoga is truly a paradise for those who love nature, culture, and architecture! To help you plan a two-three day itinerary, here are the top activities in Shimoga you shouldn’t miss. Scroll below for the top 10 things you should absolutely do in Shimoga, India.

1. Take the side trip to Jog Falls

Mighty Jog
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user http://new.photos... used under CC BY-SA 3.0

Though it’s roughly 100 km (62.1 miles) away from the city centre, since you’re already in Karnataka, don’t miss the opportunity to view the breathtaking Jog Falls. Known as the second-highest plunge waterfall in the country, Jog Falls (known locally as Jogada Gundi) can be seen from the viewpoint in Sagar. Allow half a day for this activity, as the trip from Shimoga to Talguppa/Sagar normally takes about two hours. The best time to visit is from September to November.

Jog Falls

Address: Shimoga District, Karnataka

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2. Visit Shivappa Nayaka Palace Museum

things to do in shimoga india | visit shivappa nayaka palace museum
Source: instagram

For your dose of local architecture and history, a visit to the Shivappa Nayaka Palace Museum is a must. Built in the 16th century, it was constructed under the orders of the Shivappaka Naik. The Shivappa Nayaka Palace Museum is best known for its collection of stone carvings that date back to the Keladi period (1499-1763).

Shivappa Nayaka Palace Museum

Address: Shimoga, Karnataka

Opening hours: 9 am - 6:30 pm

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3. Go bird-watching at Mandagadde Bird Sanctuary

Witness the flight of egrets, darters, and many other species of birds at Mandagadde Bird Sanctuary. Located on the Tunga River, the bird sanctuary is situated on a small island a little over 1 acre (0.4 hectares), the dense forest cover is home to a wide variety of migratory birds. This is one of the best (and very few) places in the region to go bird-watching while enjoying the peace and serenity the surroundings over.

Mandagadde Bird Sanctuary

Address: National Highway 13, Mandagadde, Shimoga District, Karnataka

Opening hours: 7 am - 6:30 pm

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4. Immerse yourself in Keladi art and architecture

Keladi Rameshwara Temple, Shimoga, Karnataka Keladi is a temple town in Sagara Taluk of the state of Karnataka in India....

Posted by Travel Hut on Sunday, 12 February 2017

Looking for more art and history in Shimoga? Hop on a bus to the village of Keladi, where you can find the ancient Keladi Rameshwara Temple. It showcases one of the finest examples of Hoysala-Dravidian architecture in all of the country. While you’re there, don’t just admire the stone carvings. Verdant tranquillity surrounds the temple if you’re looking for a breather.

Keladi Rameshwara Temple

Address: Keladi, Shimoga District, Karnataka

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5. Trek up Kodachadri

Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Adityaprasad42 used under CC BY-SA 4.0

A part of the Western Ghats mountain range, hiking up the Kodachadri is no mean feat, towering at 1,343 meters (4406 feet) above sea level. The whole trek can take up to a total of 10 hours, but the views high up at the peak are rewarding. The hike itself is enjoyable. From the jump-off point at Nagodi Village, you’ll traverse through a dense jungle where you can admire the local flora and fauna. Trekkers are highly advised to wear adequate clothing as the trail passes through a nature reserve. Leeches are also abundant in the area.

Mount Kodachadri

Address: Shimoga District, Karnataka

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6. Go on a safari at Shettihalli Wildlife Sanctuary

things to do in shimoga india | go on a safari at shettihalli wildlife sanctuary
Source: instagram

A sprawling wildlife sanctuary, Shettihalli is not to be missed if you are a wildlife enthusiast. The whole conserve is home to tigers, elephants, spotted deer, leopards, and more. The Mandaggade Bird Sanctuary is part of the area, so if you’re willing to dedicate four to five hours or even one whole day to experience the Karnataka wildlife, spend it at Shettihalli.

Shettihalli Wildlife Sanctuary

Address: Basavapura-Shimoga Road, Adinasara, Karnataka

Opening hours: 6 am - 6 pm every day except Tuesday

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7. Seek adventure at Honnemaradu

Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Sarthak Banerjee used under CC BY-SA 3.0

If adventure is what you’re after in Shimoga, take a full day trip to the village of Honnemaradu, a haven for outdoor lovers, particularly watersports enthusiasts. As it is located on the banks of the Sharavathi River, it is a popular destination for kayaking, windsurfing, canoeing, and coracle water rides. On land, you can go trekking and even spend the night camping by the river to wind down after a long day of adventure. Since it is located relatively close to Jog Falls, you can include these two places in a one-day excursion out in the Sagar sub-district.


Address: Sagara, Karnataka

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8. Wander around the ruins of Nagara Fort

Take your history lessons further at Nagara Fort. Built in the 16th century, the Nagara Fort was the centre of the Keladi rule. While all that’s left now are the ruins, a trip to Nagara Fort offers a unique glimpse of Shimoga history and even engineering, as the fort is surrounded by a one-of-a-kind water system that also formed part of its defences. If you’d like a panoramic view of the complex, hike up one of the surrounding hills.

Nagara Fort

Address: Shimoga District, Karnataka

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9. Taste some of Shimoga's delicacies

Karnataka state’s culinary traditions are diverse, so while you’re in Shimoga, don’t forget to sample some of the local food. Scour the streets of Shimoga and look for Karnataka-style masala paddu, midigayi uppinakai (mango pickle), avalakki (beaten rice), and Shimoga’s crowning glory the Halasina Hannina Kadubu (jackfruit idli).

Shimoga City

Address: Shimoga District, Karnataka

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10. Play with the elephants at Sakrebyle Elephant Camp

Socialize and frolic with friendly giants at Sakrebyle Elephant Camp, located about 14 minutes’ from the city centre. Visitors are free to watch the resident elephants bathe at River Tunga, go trekking, or tour the whole camp on the back of an elephant. Two to three hours is enough time to fully enjoy the camp.

Sakrebyle Elephant Camp

Address: Balekodlu Road, Sakrebyle, Karnataka

Opening hours: 8:30 am - 6 pm

Price: 30 INR (0.70 USD) for locals and 100 INR (1.40 USD) for foreigners

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Get ready for the trip of a lifetime

To make the most out of your Shimoga trip, group destinations by location and explore attractions according to your taste and interests. Moreover, don’t hesitate to ask locals for recommendations– they know better! Finally, don’t forget to take pictures and leave nothing but footprints, and kill nothing but time.

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Any must-sees we missed? Tell us about them in the comments section or write a post here to help out fellow travelers!
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