Initial plan was to go around Sirsi, Yana, Gokarna, Murudeshwara, Jog and back. But due to circumstances we had to change the trip destination. We chose to drive to Bekal and near by places. Initially I thought I should go to Mangalore and drive 50 KM southwards to reach Bekal. But, after discussing with few people, I came to know that the road to Mangalore is very bad and hence decided to take following routeBangalore - Srirangapattana - Ilawala - Hunsur - Madikeri - Sullya - Jalsur - Cherkala - Bekal/ Kanhangad. Total distance was around 380 KM.
View Larger Map The road from Bangalore to Hunsur is a heavenly. You can just rip at 120 without a problem. After Hunsur there is no road divider, but still road is excellent till Kushalnagar. From there to Madikeri, the road is very bad. Again from Madikeri till Bekal the road is very nice. Bekal fort is biggest in Kerala under the maintenance of ASI. Its adjacent to the beach and lovely scenic place. Photo and video cameras are allowed. But tripod was not allowed. :) They charge very nominal entrance fees, I think its Rs. 5 per person and Rs 10 for cameras. Be prepared for a lot of perspiration. There only one small juice shop inside the fort. You get easily tired of walking. There is an entrance to the beach at the other side of the fort. You can enjoy the splashy waves there. You get some wind there. Other than this there is nothing much to see. Few shots for famous movies like Bombay, Galipata and others have been shot in this fort. Just about a KM from fort, there is a beach park and Bekal beach. Again there is a nominal entrance fees and parking charge and fees for cameras. Very nice and clean beach. You can enjoy the sun set there. Good thing is there is a very well maintained bathroom/ Change room. After the beach you can take a clean water bath there before you drive off.
Accommodation: There a resort just beside the fort called Bekal Resorts. But it was not yet ready to be occupied when we went. Another place was Bekal Beach Camp just beside Bekal beach Park. But its little expensive. They provide tents on the beaches. Should be exciting :). We stayed in Hotel Bekal International in Kanhangad, which is around 10 KM from Bekal. This is an economy hotel, which was clean. But restaurant was terrifically bad. Being vegetarian we searched and found a nice eat out called Vimala Upahar in Kanhangad town. Another excellent place to stay is Nalanda Resort in Nileshwar town, just beside the backwaters. Not that expensive too. If I go again, I will stay there.
While coming back, locals suggested another short cut route to Madikeri. Route was Kanhangad – Panattur – Bhagamandala – Madikeri. Though it was short, the road after Panatthur till Bhagamandala was a nightmare. I suggest to take Jalsur – Sullya – Madikeri, even though it is longer.
Places nearby: Hosdurg Nityanandashram with caves, Hosdurg Beach, Valiaparambha Backwaters and BeackWill write more with pics later