The 16th of January was like any other day and we had the car waiting for us at 9AM. The first stop was the Sakrebayalu elephant camp. It is very near to Shimoga and is open only till 11AM.The entire route is full of betal plantations with Cocoa, Vanilla and pepper as climbers on the betal trees. That explained the richness of the villages around. Cadburys also has a cocoa plantation here.
So the kids were all excited to see the elephants and we reached there by 9.30AM. There are a total of 16 elephants in the camp and there was a small excited crowd watching the elephants bathing. I guess, they must've been used to this except that they are wild ones and are being trained in the camp.
The place is situated on the banks of River Tunga above the upper Tunga dam and there is a one-boat boat service available.
After spending some fun-filled moments, we took a 10 minute ride on the Tunga which was exciting.
The next stop on our way was the Shivappa Nayak palace in Shimoga itself. This is a small palace used by the Keladi nayaks as their summer sojourn.
Just before the palace, we stopped at a local Marama temple aka Mariamman temple out of curiosity and found that there is nothing different from our Mariamman temples in our towns.
The palace has good landscaped gardens filled with sculptures brought in from all around Shimoga. In a way, the palace is the local museum as well. We spent some time there looking at the sculptures. Sibi and Vanathy played a game with the cannon while we went around.
There were lot of kannada manuscripts on palm leaves from that period is on display and Sibi had fun looking at the weapons used and reading through the names on each of the sculptures.
When I saw a 'Ananthasayana' sculpture, asked Vanathy to strike the Ananthasayana pose and she did it extremely well.
There are no entrance tickets and apparently, the palace acts as a local meeting point for those who cut schools and wait for their mates. We saw quite a number of these people and not too many tourists as well.