For those seeking a serene adventure holiday, Honnemaradu (literally, golden lake) in Karnataka is the answer. The place, which essentially consists of a small village and a reservoir, offers plenty of adventure activities. It is about 200km from Mangaluru, positioned along the backwaters of River Sharavathi near Sagara town and perched atop hills overlooking the Linganamakki dam.
Honnemaradu is often referred to as a birders’ haven. It boasts of splendid views of the sunrise and sunset, and its lake is dotted with plenty of beautiful islands. Rich in flora and fauna, it is also one of the prettiest man-made lakes of Karnataka.
The only accommodation option available here is a Bengaluru-based ecotourism unit known as The Adventurers, which offers adventure activities and corporate trips, and serves food cooked using local ingredients. The place has no mobile network, and given its eco-tourism status, doesn’t allow cigarette and alcohol consumption. Though, while we were here, the clean air, pure water, good food, and the calm and peaceful surroundings more than made up for their absence, and time simply flew by. And surrounded by Sharavathi’s divine waters, which also happened to be drinkable, we found ourselves repeatedly hitting the water.
As for the food, they could be be described as ‘meals for the soul’, and not just the tummy. The rice sambar, cooked with locally grown vegetables and served with refreshing buttermilk, was just as tasty as nutritious. Later in the evening, we again hit the water, but this time for kayaking and coracle boating (which involved a ride in a small round wickerwork boat). After this, we hiked to a bonfire and camping area, which proved to be quite a highlight. We sat in a circle around the fire and got to hear some wonderful and inspirational stories, which we savoured along with dinner. We couldn’t get enough of the star-studded night sky, away from the smog of the city.
Next day, around 6am, we proceeded for a trek–surrounded by the beauty of the morning and the chirping of the birds. On the hilltop there was the Bheemana Hejje, which are rock depressions believed to be the footprints of Bhima , and locally worshipped as a shrine.
Thanks to all these experiences, Honnemaradu had proved to be a perfect getaway, which will remain etched in our hearts for the years to come.
Meenakshi Gupta, a postgraduate from Delhi University, started her career as a professor of marketing. She has been associated with the travel and tourism industry for the past 10 years, and has even been an editor of a travel magazine. A businesswoman, freelance writer, travel enthusiast, runner, amateur trekker and someone who loves taking pictures of nature and food–she certainly dons many hats.