A visit to Honavar happened just by chance. My friend and I were visiting Murdeshwara for scuba diving in Netrani Island and we had a day to spare. And we tried to make use of this free time by hiring a car and traveling to Honavar. It was such a shame that I had never heard of Honavar prior to this.
If you are either in Murdeshwara or Gokarna, then Honavar is an extension to those places. I highly recommend stopping at Honavar before proceeding any further.
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Also spelt as Honnavar, Honavar is a coastal town in the state of Karnataka. Known for its spectacular landscapes and history, this port town hosted foreign traders from Arab and European countries. It was also a well known seaport during the British period in India. Located on the banks of Sharavati River, this town must surely be on your list of places to visit in Karnataka.
Honavar is said to have been derived from the name Honnupura, which may be references to a market and export hub for gold and valuable things.
The best time to visit Honavar is between the months of September and March as the weather is pleasant and calm. to cover all places in Honavar, you would need just a day or two.
How to get to Honavar?
Honavar is around 466 kilometres from Bangalore city and the journey by road takes about 8 hours 30 minutes. The route is towards Nelmangala and has toll roads.
- Flight – Hubli is the closest airport to Honavar and is around 5 hours journey by road.
- Train – There are train services between Bangalore and Honavar. The train runs 3 times a week. For up to date information, refer IRCTC website.
- Bus – There are overnight buses between Bangalore and Honavar. For bus information and options, refer Redbus website.
It is best to hire a taxi in Honavar, Gokarna or Murdeshwara so you can drive around the places hassle free. The driver whom we hired during our travel is extremely safe and friendly. I highly recommend him for your travels as we did not have any issues whatsoever. The taxi ride for visiting these places cost us INR 2000 for the day.
- Name: Nagaraj.
- Contact number: +91 9449059013.
5 things to do in Honavar
- The tickets is purchased at the entrances of each place.
- There is a parking fee of INR 50 to 60 at each of the place.
Dating back to 1600s, Mirjan fort is an octagonal fort with four entrances. Some contemporary sources suggest that this fort was constructed by Shareef-Ul-Mulk. The fort is huge, spread in an area of 11.8 acres over an elevated mound and it is beautiful to see this side of the history. There are four entrances and is surrounded by a moat filled with water. It is around 60 kilometres from Murdeshwara.
- There is no entrance fee to visit this amazing marvel.
- You cannot take cameras or drones inside, it requires special permission and registration prior the visit. However, you can take pictures and videos using mobiles.
Not sure if it is deliberately done by the authorities but the fort has a lot of overgrown grass inside the premises and it’s an adventure to climb each wall. But the views of the nearby fields are absolutely breath taking from the top of the walls.
There are boating options available where one take a private or a shared boat to enjoy and relax a ride on Sharavathi River. The boating happens on the backwaters of the Lingamakki Dam. It is very beautiful on a nice pleasant day. For a private boat ride return, we were asked to pay INR 1000/boat. Unfortunately, we did not go ahead with the boating as it was extremely hot on the day we visited.
Initially known as Kasarkod beach, the Eco beach is a beach on the Konkan coast in Honavar. Stretching for around 5 kilometres, the Eco beach is to promote eco-tourism in Karnataka and is the cleanest beach of all. The beach is patrolled and has a number of activities to do such as cycling.
- There is an entrance fee of INR 10 per adult.
Sharavati Kandla Mangrove Forest
Another place to visit when in Honavar is Sharavati Kandla Mangrove forest. There is a wooden boardwalk where visitors can take a walk among the beautiful mangrove forest. The walkway is less than 1 kilometre and takes only 15 minutes to walk around. It is a great place for photographers as there is an ample opportunity for good pictures. It is also a place to find plenty of flora and fauna.
- The ticket price is just INR 10 per person and one can walk between mangrove forest on a boardwalk.
Did you know that Mangrove forests are very important to our ecosystem? Mangroves provide essential habitat for thousands of species. They also stabilize shorelines, preventing erosion and protecting the land from storms.
A small waterfall formed by the confluence of Sharavathi River and the Sea is the Apsarakonda waterfall. According to legend, Apsaras (fairies from heaven) used to visit this waterfall to bathe and relax.
- There is no entrance fee to visit Apsarakonda waterfall.
- One needs to get down a few steps (say around 15 to 20) from the parking to visit the waterfall.
- There are professional photographers at the waterfall where one can get thir pictures taken for a fee. I think it was around INR 500 for a shoot.
Honestly speaking, I somehow did not like this place as it was crowded and is a very small waterfall for all the hype. And I think you can give this place a miss.
Safety for solo female travelers
Karnataka in general is very safe for solo female travelers. It is in fact the best place to start your solo travel in South India. Honavar too is extremely safe for solo female travelers. However, like any other place in the world, be careful of your surroundings.
Honavar is surely a hidden gem of Karnataka. It is not that popular and because of that you can find less people traveling to this beautiful town. I suggest staying at this amazing place for a few days to soak in the beauty of what the town can offer.
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