If you are ever stuck in Mangalore with a traveller’s block and wondering where to go or if you have about three to four hours to spend, then a visit to Narahari Hill will be worth all your efforts. I visited this place on July 17th 2008 and this is what I experienced.
This place is located on NH48, the highway that connects Mangalore to Bangalore. From Pumpwell circle, Narahari is exactly 26 kms (about 30 minutes drive if you start out early in the morning). Hit the highway and once you reach BC road then its 2 kms from BC Road junction. Continue on the highway and on your right you will spot an entrance to the temple, with words written in Kannada saying "Entrance to Narahari Temple". Take this road and you will encounter a steep slope. The road is well asphalted and should be a pleasure to drive. Keep following the road and once the road ends, you will need to climb some stairs. I did not count how many, but I guess there must be about 150 steps to climb.
What to see
For those of you, who haven’t driven on the NH48, then you sure have missed a pleasurable drive. If you forget the occasional potholes, the drive is a pleasure, with lush greenery on both sides. The photograph below gives a glimpse of what you can expect.
There are stretches on the highway, where speed seekers can crank in some gas. You can easily hit above 90km/hr without blinking an eyelid. But just be a bit cautious of unruly drivers ("As long as you stick to the rules fast driving is not rash driving"- Supreme court of India) who drive on the right. At Panemangloor there is a bridge spanning the Nethravathi River, its worth stopping there and having a look at the river. You may even spot some Kingfisher’s or Heron’s fishing. At BC road junction, the road is in a pathetic condition. Be a bit careful during rains. Once you come close to Narahari temple and enter the temple entrance (the one I mentioned above), you will be greeted with a scene photographed below. Your final destination is at the tip of this peak.
To reach the peak you have to climb the 150 steps. The climb itself is fantastic. Take your time and slowly climb up, if you find the climb too laborious then you can perch on the many rocks that dot the stairway and you will be greeted by many chirping birds. Within 15 minutes of my climb, I spotted Woodpeckers, Babblers, Orioles, Drongo’s, Chloropsis and Munia’s and even many more birds later. Also the place is a butterfly haven. Many colourful butterflies dot the entire climb. If you love to watch birds then this place is worth investing your time in. For the adventurous, you can even explore the nearby forest. The photograph below is a view from one such off track point.
Once you continue your climb you will finally reach the peak, which has a Narahari temple on it. Legend goes that Nara and Hari, incarnations of Lord Vishnu were supposed to have performed their penance here. This hilltop temple is also known for its small ponds, which are in the shape of Shanka (Conch), Chakra (Wheel), Gadha (Heavy Weapon) and Padma (Lotus), the weapons of Vishnu. Once on top, you can relax on the many park benches that are provided here. Pleasant cold breeze will cool you mind and soul here. This is a perfect place to relax and look at the panoramic view. The photographs below were taken when I was cooling my heels on these benches.
The panoramic view on top is breathtaking. Lush green landscape, dotted by fields and the backdrop of the purple looking Western Ghats on one side and a foggy looking Arabian sea on the other simply left me enraptured.
After exploring the peak for about 40 minutes I made my way down, determined to make it again with family and friends.
Ideal Time for visiting
The best period to visit this place I think is during the monsoons from July to December. The entire area around the mountain will be lush green and you may even be lucky enough to see low level clouds around the peak. Morning’s between 7 to 10 is the best time to visit the place. Birds are most active around this time and the temperature is at its coolest.
If you are going there during monsoons carry an umbrella. If it rains when you are climbing the stairs then trees are your only cover. Carry your own water and food if any. Once you cross BC road you don’t have any shops nearby. The only shop at the hills was closed when I visited.
This is a place worth a visit at least once. A sure shot remedy from a stressed urban life. The photograph below is panoramic view from the peak, made by stitching 3 images.
Author: Delson Roche- Mangalore