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Uttara Kannada – THE LAND THAT SINGS!!

No doubt, India the country of Taj Mahal is full of wonders. However, we’d like to introduce you to an India rare to find in the travel agency brochures. Here you’ll find a few great scenic views from the large mountain range in the western coast of India, a wet symphony in green. Word can’t describe the Western Ghats and the Uttara Kannada! You have to come yourself and see it!!

Clinging to the south western flank of the Indian peninsula, Uttara Kannada is a tropical paradise, redolent with myths and legends. The gift of life to this strip of land between the Arabian Sea and the wall of mountains known as the Sahyadris or Western Ghats is brought by the monsoon. The hill ranges of Western Ghats cover less than 6% of India’s landmass but harbor more than 30% of the world’s plant and vertebrate species (Das et al., 2006), and are thus considered to be one of the global biodiversity hotspot (Myers et al., 2000). About 12% of the mammals species present in the Western Ghats are endemic (Das et al., 2006).

The natural luxuriance has filled its art forms with a lushness visible in the carvings that embellish the temples and in the gold jewellery that women wear which picks its design from seeds, buds, flowers, snake heads and tiger claws. As also in the vibrant costumes of the Yakshagana performers which reflect the colours of nature itself.

This district is in the Indian state of Karnataka. .Karwar, the administrative headquarter of Uttara Kannada district provides a tranquil expanse to discover peace and one’s inner self. The Nobel laureate Rabindranath Tagore who had stayed for three months at Karwar and had himself realised that Karwar beach was “a fit place in which to realize that beauty of nature is not a mirage of imagination but reflects the joy of the infinite….” he had compared to Switzerland on seeing the natural beauty in and around Karwar sea coast, the river Kali valley and western ghats.

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This scenic coastal district has 24 beaches which lend themselves beautifully to the worshippers of sun and sand. With more than 70% area under forest cover Uttara Kannada is a colourful canvass of nature. The Western Ghats with their rich hilly tracts, picturesque valleys, spectacular designs of lofty monolithic rocks and gushing waterfalls make this district the “The heaven on the Earth”

Uttara Kannada has many monuments and heritage spots which attracts the tourists in large number. The Madhukeshwar Temple at Banavasi, Ulavi Channabasaveshwar Temple at Ulavi, Siddivinayaka Temple at Idagunji, Mahabaleshwar Temple at Gokarna, Mathobara Temple at Murdeshwar, Marikamba Temple in Sirsi are famous places of worship in the District. Jain Basti and Swarnawalli Math, Sonda Fort, Mirjan Fort etc. are famous for ancient monuments. Mosque at Bhatkal is also known for its marvellous designs.

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Uttara Kannada is known for many folk arts.  Yakshagana one of the famous folk theater form that combines dance, music, dialogue, costume, make-up, and stage techniques with a unique style and form is common in this district. Folk Arts like Suggikunitha, Holi Dance, Hulivesha, Siddi Dance are famous and traditional. The main tribes of the district are Sidhi, Kunabi, Halakki Vokkaliga, Gonda and Gouli. Sidhis are said to have been brought by the Portuguese from Africa as slaves some four hundred years ago. Their population is around ten thousand and are generally found in Haliyal, Yellapur and Ankola taluks. Now their culture is completely Indian and have adopted mainly Hindu religion. A small population of them are Muslims and Christians.  

The district’s high rainfall supports lush forests, which cover approximately 70% of the district. The Malabar Coast moist forests eco-region lies in a narrow strip between the Arabian Sea and the foothills of the Western Ghats up to 250 meters elevation. These forests have been almost completely converted to agriculture and teak plantations. The main geographic feature of the Uttara Kannada is the Western Ghats or Sahyadri range, which runs from north to south through the district. The terrain is undulating with valleys and hill ranges. It receives average of 3000 mm rainfall and temperature -16 to 36 degrees Celsius.

The district is also home to patches of savanna and degraded scrub jungles, which are often the result of overuse for logging or grazing. The rocky beaches at Binaga, Arga, Belekeri, Tadadi, Ankola, Kumta, Dhareshwar, Kasarkod, Murdeshwara, Bhatkal and Belke of the district are rich with marine fauna diversity. The rocky beaches of Uttara Kannada District harbor the invertebrates belonging to the phyla Porifera, Coelenterata, Annelida, Arthropoda,Mollusca and Echinodermata. Attiveri bird sanctuary is home to more than 350 species of birds including migratory birds from 22 countries.

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Uttara Kannada is famous for a variety of seafood delicacies. In all honesty, there is nothing called Indian cuisine. The term is a rich amalgamation of distinct cultures, regional ingredients and exclusive cooking techniques that render every region, state and even district a unique spread of mouth-watering delicacies. From North to South and East to West, there is so much on offer that one can spend an entire lifetime savouring the nuances of each cuisine. Fish curry and rice is the staple diet of the locals. Cashews and coconut are also extensively used. The staple diet includes a portion of steamed rice with a vegetable or seafood accompaniment like fried fish. Seafood is immensely popular due to its ease of availability, and is prepared with a lot of local spices.

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