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Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Sakleshpur-Hassan District



Sakleshapur or Sakaleshpura (ಸಕಲೇಶಪುರ) in Kannada is a taluk in Hassan district in the South Indian state of Karnataka.
The town is in Western Ghats (Malnad). It has a temperate climate. Coffee, Cardmom, pepper grown in surrounding villages are brought to Sakleshpura for sale. The town lies on National Highway 48 (NH-48), And the only town in Western Ghat which is connected through Rail. Which connects Mangalore with Bangalore.

Climate

Sakaleshpur receives very heavy rainfall from the southwest monsoons.

History

The name shakala is a Sanskrit word means "Bhinnavada" or "Birukada". In the past a shivalinga found in this town which was broken.The linga was called as shakaleshwara which since then became sakaleshwara in the tongue of the local people. A temple was also built at the entrance of the town. Later town was also called as sakaleshapura.
Another theory is that it was sakala Aishwaryagalinda kudida pura literally meaning the place that has all kinds of wealth (for e.g. Water(River), Coffee, Cardamom, Pepper, Hill Station, Education, Rail head, Road links, etc). Sakaleshwara swami's rata yatra is held on Purmima in February of every year.
In front of the Shakaleshwara temple, a newly constructed shiva temple called as "Holemalleshvara" is situated right next to river Hemavathi. During the rainy season the temple is filled up with water and is as famous as the Shakaleshwara temple.

Agriculture & commerce

The primary mode of employment in the Sakleshpur region is agriculture. Crops grown include coffee, rice, pepper, cardamom, ginger and tea with coffee being dominant. Sakleshpur coffee is shade grown on the slopes of the Western Ghats as the elevation is not high enough to enable the intensive cultivation practices followed in the Brazilian and Colombian highlands. But shade cultivation is acclaimed by environmentalists rather than sunlight cultivation followed in Ethiopia and other African Coffee growing nations, as western ghats runs through Sakaleshpura, Large timer yielding trees such as Rose wood and jackfruit trees provide shade for these coffee bushes.
Coffee growers are typically small farm owners with plantation sizes ranging from 10 acres (40,000 m2) to a couple of hundred acres to even 10 thousand acres as in Kaadumane Estate. Of late, several corporations such as Tata,IBC Group and the TI group have adopted large scale cultivation. The larger plantations process and market the coffee themselves in the domestic and international markets.
Sakleshpur Taluk accounts for around a third of Indian cardamom production.

Bio-diversity

Sakleshpur is located in the Western Ghats, a mountain range that stretches from Kerala to Gujarat. The southern range, which includes Bisle reserve forest and the region around Sakleshpur is listed as one of the 18 most diverse spots in the world in terms of flora and fauna. The sub-tropical climate and heavy rains during the wet season create an environment where several unique plant and animal species flourish. With people of Karnataka being very hospitable, the tourism industry is increasingly embracing the Bed & Breakfast model and now offers several choices for a weekend getaway.

Tourism

The Manjarabad fort is located just outside of Sakleshpur on National Highway 48. The fort is reputed to have been constructed by Tippu Sultan, the ruler of Mysore as a strategic defensive location as it commands the approach to the plateau beyond Sakleshpur from the coast.It is also believed that he had constructed a tunnel from this fort to another fort in Srirangapattana near Mysore

Trekking

The Green Route "Trek on the Railway Track", as it is well known, is a stretch of track from Sakleshpur to the Subramanya Road Station, which was closed down in 1996 to convert the gauge from Meter to Broad Gauge.
This track, that traverses some distance of the Western Ghats, had been abandoned, but now the track is being converted to broad-gauge. It forms a part of 56.80 km stretch from Sakleshpur to Kukke Subrahmanya, dotted by 58 tunnels, 109 bridges and about 25 waterfalls. Part of this popular trek route is mapped at TripNaksha. So, for all you trekking freaks, this is the place to be in. Walking along these bridges, towering over 200 feet valleys is a thrilling experience since these tracks do let you look down to have view of the valley beneath(many lack the wooden reapers) . Since 2005 goods trains are carrying freight to/from the Mangalore Port. Its recommended to trek after monsoon season i.e. during October. The passenger trains have started plying on the route since 2008.
Another place to trek in Sakleshpur taluk is Bisle ghat or Bisle reserve forest.
The town itself makes for a pleasant halfway stop for travellers along National Highway 48—being the apex town in a long trail of road beginning in Bantwal near Mangalore, winding its way up the Western Ghats. As such, the town is often swathed in mist as the cool temperate surroundings are met with warm air from the coastal lowlands. The exit highway is equally picturesque with tall hedges lining both sides of the road, enclosing coffee groves within.
Kumara Parvatha, also called KP by trekkers is a challenging hike.

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Photos: Chethan. K-Mangalore
Information Courtesy: Wikipedia

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