Located on the border of Bayaluseemae and Malnad, Sakleshpur is one of the most beautiful hill stations in Karnataka. Situated in Hassan district, the town lies on NH-48 and has an average elevation of 949 m.
According to history, the region was under the rule of the Chalukyas, Hoysalas and the kings of Mysore.
During the reign of the Hoysalas, a shivalingam was found in this town. However, the shivalingam found was broken, which was called as shakaleshwara. Since then, the town came to be known as Sakaleshwara among local residents. According to another legend, the town was known as ‘sakala aishwaryagalinda kudida pura’, which literally means ‘the place is home to all kinds of wealth’.
Besides, the town is also known for Sakaleshwara swami’s ratha yatra, which is held in the month of February, every year on Purnima. Tourists travelling to the destination can also visit a newly constructed Shiva temple, which is known as Holemalleshvara. This temple is situated right next to the Hemavathi River in front of the famous Shakaleshwara Temple.
Sakleshpur has several attractions like the Manjarabad Fort which was constructed by Tipu Sultan, the ruler of Mysore as a strategic defensive location. The Kukke Subrahmanya Temple is another attraction which is believed to be the residence of Lord Subramanyeshwara. Moodabidri is an ancient centre of Jain learning.
Sakleshpur is listed in the world as one of the 18 most diverse spots that harbour rich flora and fauna. The sub-tropical climate and heavy rains during monsoons favour the growth of several unique plant and animal species. Trekking is a popular activity in Sakleshpur. Tourists can scale the Bisle Ghat or trek up the Bisle Forest Reserve. For these activities and others, there are Sakleshpur packages which combine hotel stays and are preferred by many travelers.
Deriving influence from communities from the three neighbouring South Indian states, as well as the state of Maharashtra, the cuisine of Sakleshpur comprises both vegetarian and non-vegetarian delicacies.
Traditional dishes include bisibelebath, jolada rotti, ragi rotti, akki rotti, saaru, huli etc. There are several restaurants and eateries on B.M. Road, Ashoka Road and near Sakleshpur Bus Station. Bakeries and food joints are clustered on Main Road, K.H. Road, Hethur and Vanagoor.
Since Sakleshpur is known for its plantations, tourists can buy coffee, rice, pepper, cardamom, ginger and tea. Highly demanded in domestic and international markets, coffee is the most popular purchase here. Another popular buy is wood carving.
Sakleshpur is about 221 km from Bangalore. To reach Sakleshpur, tourists can drive down through Hassan and Ballupet. Mangalore, 100 km away, is the closest airport. The town has a railway station and has trains connecting it to Mangalore and Bangalore.
Sakleshpur is linked with Hassan, Kodlipet, Alur, Sanivarsante, Kurubathur, Bolgod and nearby places by an extensive bus network. Situated in the Hassan District, the bus station is operated by KSRTC. Between Bangalore and Mangalore via Sakleshpur, regular AC and non AC buses ply that are operated by the KSRTC. These buses also link the town with Hassan and Halebid.
Accommodation options in Sakleshpur include lodges and resorts in the villages nearby. The most popular hotel options in Sakleshpur are homestays that are located near the Western Ghats. There are also hotels and resorts in Hassan.
The best time to visit Sakleshpur is from October to March.