Sagara is a town located in the district of Shimoga of the Indian state of Karnataka. Located within the Western Ghats range, it is known for its proximity to Jog Falls and to the historical places of Ikkeri and Keladi. Varadamoola, the origin of the river Varada, is also near Sagara.
Sagara derives its name from Sadashiva Sagara, which is a lake. Sadashiva Nayaka, ruler of Keladi dynasty built a lake in between Keladi and Ikkeri. The lake Sadashiva Sagara is now called "Ganapathi Kere" (Ganapathi Lake).
Sagara is surrounded by beautiful water bodies and mesmerizing forest regions. The Varada river serves the people in this region with its lush springs. A dam is constructed on it, provides the basic water requirements of the town. Apart from this, there are a lot of historical places surrounding the town. Surrounded by the western ghats, Sagara attracts nature lovers.
The economy of Sagara is mainly driven by Arecanut or Beetlenut and rice (paddy), spice and forest products trading as well as agriculture. Beetlenut is one of the cash crops and the villages surrounding Sagara grow these agriculture products. Along with beetlenut, spices like Pepper, Clove, Cinnamon, Nutmeg, and cocoa are also grown. Service economy at Sagara town is highly dependent on variation in the pricing of these agriculture products.
Villages near to Sagara also grow vegetables, green pepper, red pepper and mangoes. These are usually used for the consumption locally and some of them are transported to Bangalore.
Sagara has a concentration of the Gudigars - families that for generations have been engaged in sandalwood and ivory carving. They are trained in the craft from childhood. While the Gudigar men make idols, figurines and knick-knacks like penholders, agarbathi stands, cuff links, photo frames and paper clips, the women are adept at making garlands and wreaths out of thin layers of scraped sandalwood.
The Gudigars make some of the most exquisite pieces using simple tools like knives, screwdrivers, hand drills and saws. They work in the verandahs of their houses. The Karnataka Government ensures that they are given a regular supply of the wood. The items they make are sold in government emporia and through licensed private dealers.
Bus service is provided by private bus operators and KSRTC runs buses that connect Sagara to other places in Karnataka. A Shimoga-Talaguppa railway line existed; this line is currently being converted into broad gauge and construction is going on. When this construction work is completed, Sagara would become a vital place in terms of railway connections due its proximity to the Konkan Railway and other important railway routes in the southwestern part of the country. The Sagara train station is known as Sagara Jambagaru.
Ninasam, the famous cultural organisation is located at Heggodu, which is about 10 km from the town. It is a stage for all those aspirants who are eager to learn stage activities like dancing, drama, acting, direction, music, etc. The Ganapathi Temple, Lakshmi Venkatesha Temple, Rakteshware Temple, Anjaneya Temple and the Shree Ram temple are all located in this place.
The peculiar thing about Sagara is that the Ganapathi Temple and a Mosque share a common wall. This is believed to be so because of the attack of the kings Hyder Ali and Tippu Sultan on the kingdom of Keladi.
Sagara is surrounded by places of historical importance and natural beauty including the Marikamba Temple and the Mahaganapati Temple within the town. One can find these places with the help of milestones and hoardings which are usually in Kannada.
A Shiva temple of historical importance is located here. It is located at a distance of 6 km from the town. One has to take a diversion at Sorab Road. There is a museum conatining old manuscripts written during the times of the Keladi dynasty.
This place is of historical importance due to the presence of a temple dedicated to Lord Shiva. One has to take a diversion at B. H. Road and travel 6 km.
This is another historically important place with a temple dedicated to Lord Shiva. It is situated at a distance of 8 km from the town and one has to travel along Sorab Road for 6 km and take a diversion.
This place is situated 6 km from the town where one has to take a diversion from Jog Road soon after the end of the town limits. It is famous for the samadhi of His Holiness Sri Sridhara Swami who was among the great saints of 20th century.
Honnemaradu is situated on the banks of the backwaters of the Sharavathi river. A big water mass extends up to the Chakra dam. It is about 25 km from Sagara town towards Jog and 10 km from Talaguppa. Indian Institute For Adventure Applications is a training institute situated here which uses adventure as a platform for learning.
Holebaagilu is situated on the banks of the Sharavathi River at about 30 km from Sagara. One has to take a diversion from B. H. Road towards Ikkeri Road to get there. The Sharavati backwaters of Linganamakki dam has submerged acres of land here. It is a place of natural beauty. It is situated in Kolur Grama Panchayat Limits. One has to take a "launch" (flatboat) to get across the backwaters to reach the other side where Sigandooru is located. The ride is really enjoyable. The first priority is given for localites and their vehicles in this launch since they are the affected ones due to this submersion. Madenur Dam which was submerged due to the construction of the Linganamakki Dam is at a short distance from here. It can be seen only during summer.
Sigandooru is a holy place of Goddess Chaudeshwari. A large temple of Goddess Chaudeshwari is situated here. This Goddess is a highly believed deity in Sagara and the surrounding taluks as a protector against theft and robbery. It is just 3 km from Kalasavalli which is situated after crossing the backwaters at Holebaagilu. Bus frequency is very less from Sagara and other places like Bhatkal and Shivamogga. It is better to opt for a rented taxicab or use private vehicles. The last trip of the launch leaves at 5.30pm towards Holebaagilu.
The world famous Jog Falls ís in Sagar Talluk, Shivamogga District. It is approximately 25Km from Sagar if we go by national highway 206.