Shimoga or Shivamogga (originating either from Shiva-Mukha: Face of Shiva, Shivana-Moogu: Nose of Shiva, Shivana-Mogge: Flowers to be offered to Shiva or "Sihi-Mogge", meaning "sweet pot), is a scenic town on the banks of river Tunga, the gateway of Malnad.
A road trip from Shimoga to Sringeri, to visit the Sharada Peeta established by Adi Shankara proved a spiritual joyride en route lush green paddy fields, arecanut and coconut groves.
Adi Sankara is believed to have seen a snake protecting a she-frog from the hot Sun during its labour here. Overwhelmed by the sanctity of this place, he founded the Sharadamba Temple in the 8th-century, the first of the four mutts that he established pan India.
Passing through Thirthahalli, the Neolithic archaeological site, one recalled two popular legends:
At the behest of his father Jamadagni, the sage Parashurama beheaded Renuka's head with an axe. He tried to wash the blood stains off the axe by dipping it in various rivers, but a sesame-sized blood stain remained, until he dipped his axe in Tunga near Thirthahalli. From this Parashurama Thirtha, came the name Thirthahalli. According to a Ramanaya legend, Maricha (in deer form) was killed by Lord Ram near Thirthahalli, at a place which was named Mrugvadhe (killing of a deer)
Shivmoga is a tranquil place, with a bustling bazaar, cheerful people and a rich collage of mandirs and masjids, invariably built adjacent to each other. Scenic waterfalls, majestic hills, dense forests, landmark forts, swaying palms and paddy fields...you find them all in this region which was ruled by Kadambas, Gangas, Chalukyas, Rastrakutas, Keladi and Vijaynagar Kings. More than a tourist destination, Shimoga is an industrial town and an educational hub.