I’ve lived in Dharwad for half a decade and never wrote much about this place, apart from the piece on the cafes in Dharwad. With my enthusiasm for exploring, here’s a list I made of the best places to visit in Dharwad along with all the most common ones too!
With more people traveling here, Dharwad has expanded a lot in the past few years. Only last year I wrote a piece on the cafes, and now much more has emerged!
Most places to check out in and near Dharwad are lakes, temples, colleges, parks, restaurants, and nature resorts. Tourism isn’t something Dharwad really puts its fingers into. Yet, it’s still one peaceful town to check out. Before we get into the best places to visit in Dharwad, here’s about the town itself.
Best Places to visit in Dharwad: What’s Dharwad famous for
Dharwad’s known for being an educational hub for students from all over Karnataka, Dharwad Peda, and its peaceful climate. It’s close to nature and has easy access to the modern era necessities.
With its favorable climate and calm environment with a lot of greens around, many pensioners have settled down in Dharwad. In fact, you’re bound to find a gang of old men sitting and chatting away in the evenings – especially in residential areas.
Speaking of trees, that’s another thing I’ve always loved about this place. When overlooked from a tall building, the overall landscape of Dharwad shall be more trees than the buildings.
Before we get into the best places to visit in Dharwad, here’s more about the town in detail.
I never gave much attention to the Peda as it was common in households here in Dharwad. But moving to Bangalore, I realized Dharwad’s recognized by the Dharwad Peda. In fact, it even has a GI tag for it in India!
To those who don’t know, Peda is a sweet delicacy that’s brown in color and sugar-coated around it. It originated from the Thakur family from Uttar Pradesh who shifted to Dharwad in the early 19th century. This Peda has been here ever since. The Babu Singh Thakur Peda shops you see here are all branches of the age-old shop.
Many other Peda shops have emerged in Dharwad ever since. But for the authentic taste, make sure to get it from the Thakur Peda and no place else. People used to line up for this shop’s Peda before it opened multiple branches!
Writers and Classical Artists from Dharwad
When you throw a pebble towards Dharwad, it’s bound to hit a writer or an artist. I’ve read this line somewhere in a book – I believe it’s Sudha Murthy. Yes, it’s true. There are classical music artists and countless recognized authors from Dharwad!
Some of which I’ve heard over the years are Sudha Murthy, Girish Karnad, and Bhimsen Joshi.
Another post for you to read: 5 Best Places to Visit in Chirala: Striking Hues by the Beach
Education in Dharwad
Dharwad’s known for one thing and one thing only – education. Students all over North Karnataka, and several other parts, come here to study. Some of the most recognized schools and Universities here are the Karnataka University, Karnataka College (KCD), and Janata Sikshana Samiti (JSS).
Some of these schools and campuses have been running for over 70 years ever since India’s Independence. But with education turning more into a business, the scenario has changed over the decades.
Most of Dharwad today is an endless chain of schools, colleges, post-school tuition classes, and other for-profit educational centers competing with one another for the student’s attention.
Best Places to Visit in Dharwad
I decided to write about the best places to visit in Dharwad, looking at how most sites left out the sweetest of places. Sites like Tripadvisor have glorified the resorts and camps, missing out on some local stuff.
1. Karnatak University (KUD)
With the Karnatak University right behind my house, I practically live here. I’ve walked inside this place thousands of times over the years and it never gets old. The lush greenery, the vast 750 acres, the ever silent paths, it’s nothing short of paradise!
It’s best to visit early in the mornings for a walk through the fogs here while the rest of Dharwad wakes up lazily. Walk by the majestic main building and take a stroll on the other side of it with – the path where trees generously welcome you through the shades.
From here, there are a few other spots to check out like the Regional Science Center in Dharwad and the view near the Tiwac factory.
2. Regional Science Center in Dharwad
As a kid, this place was a whole different vibe with all the outdoor exhibits. But over time, it’s gotten old and some mobile exhibits don’t work. However, it’s a great place for kids.
Long after my visits, life-size real exhibits of a tank and a warplane have been added near the entrance. With the vast area divided into indoor and outdoor exhibits, it’s worth spending a few hours here when in Dharwad. After all, the entry fee costs no more than a vada pav!
When I visited, it cost me around 15 rupees for all the exhibits excluding the 3D theatre show. Since it closes around 5:30 pm, visit it early in the evening. Also, the 3D show isn’t very worth it.
I found a detailed trip guide on the Dharwad Regional Science Center on another blog – lifeathangarki. They’ve some cool pictures of the exhibits to check out!
Another post for you to read: Visvesvaraya Museum Bangalore – A splendid 1 Day Visit!
3. Hills by Tiwac
Many don’t know this, but Tiwac is only a manufacturing factory establishment on a hill. Until 1996, its main product was building mechanical clocks here in Dharwad. With less demand for the product, the company today manufactures various other mechanical products.
So what’s to visit around here? This factory itself is set up on a hill. The hills around it are the catch. And, oh are they beautiful in the mornings at sunrise! With the early morning mist, the foothills of the hills beneath you become invisible. It’s nothing short of the vibe of standing on an island between clouds!
How to get to Tiwac Dharwad: It’s the same road as Karnatak University. Pass by the main building of the University and head straight past the park and the road circle. Head straight after the tiwac company over to the next hill.
Ask anyone for Tiwac here and they’ll tell you where to go!
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4. Kelageri Lake
Kelageri Lake, named after the local area Kelageri, is one of the few remaining large lakes in Dharwad spreading over 170 acres. These are again best for chilly morning walks.
A part of the lake is lined with footpaths and maintained gardens on either side, making it a great spot to check out. Many people who walk, jog, or even cycle come here early to breathe in the crisp air by the waters.
Here’s some history about it: It was primarily built in Dharwad to support irrigation, and still today – you’ll find buffaloes bathing here in the evenings! However, it’s disappointing to see the waste people dump into it.
People have polluted it over the years, locals wash clothes here and sewage from different areas is dumped here. I wondered how some people were swimming here when I visited.
Communities are becoming more aware of it. The public has been taking steps to clean the lake.
Another post for you to read: Nandi Hills Guide
5. Someshwar Gudi
Writing this piece on the best places to visit in Dharwad, one of my relatives looking at this in-progress article suggested I pay this ancient temple a visit. I’m glad I listened! Checking up on Journeys across Karnataka before visiting, I doubted if it was the same temple. There were so many changes!
The temple’s stone structures today are painted in palettes of orange and golden. Yet, with the look of its walls’ texture and the borders of its Kunda (temple tank), one can tell its been around for ages. Also, with all its doors facing east, it was fascinating to see its structure so well-maintained to date.
Curious about its history all of a sudden, I spoke to a priest sitting here who told me of its 12th-century building during the Chalukyan period. He went on about the deeper aspects of their more-than-human powers, most of which I didn’t understand.
But for those interested, read all about the idols at Someshwar Gudi on this Blogspot post.
6. Unkal Lake
With Swami Vivekananda’s statue at the center of the lake, temples, stalls, and a large park covering the lake, it’d be on this list of best places to visit in Dharwad.
However, this lake stands on the outskirts of the Dharwad. The lake greets one into the city of Hubli while driving on the highway between the two cities – Hubli Dharwad. This lake is spread across 200 acres and is over 110 years old, and its panoramic view is bliss to look at.
With the large linear park sandwiched between the lake and the Hubli-Dharwad road, it’s become a popular spot to picnic for many. Moreover, the residential areas of Hubli nearby and the President Hotel looming over the lake make it all easier to get here.
Unkal Keri, however, is 15 kilometers from the heart of Dharwad – Jubilee circle. From Dharwad, the easiest way to get to Unkal lake or Hubli itself is by the BRTS Chigari bus.
7. Ulavi Basaveshwara Gudi
Every shrine has its own story. This one does too. I asked my grandpa are there were more best places to visit in Dharwad while and he suggested this Gudi (temple). Though not much of a worshipper myself, I visited it anyway.
According to the blog – Life At Dharwad, this shrine has been around here since the 12th century. I read the Blogspot article before visiting it of how pilgrims would stay here ages ago while traveling. Where four pillars account for one private space for a family.
I sat at the temple for quite a while. Though unsure if I was really sitting in a pilgrim’s space, it was a blissfully calm moment for sure. When I visited in the morning, many students sat here too perched in various spots to read.
Others, like me, simply enjoyed the peace.
Another post for you to read: Trees in Reva – A Blissful Dive into Paradise
8. Sadhankeri Garden
Another sweet spot for a quiet morning walk is the Sadhankeri garden. I’d heard of it but never visited it. But for the sake of this piece, I decided to check it out. And I’m glad I did!
Compared to other parks in Dharwad, this is the best one I’ve visited. Surrounding a small pond, the garden features many sitting areas inside, statues, walking pathways, and my favorite – many many trees.
As the garden officially opens late, the early morning walkers don’t pay to enter. I didn’t either. More than the pond, I loved the pathways. Under the shades of green, moss patches peek through the paving bricks as you walk. With the many pictures I captured of the place, I’m considering making a separate post on it!
As to its whereabouts, it was built in the honor of the great Kannada poet Da Ra Bendre. The Sadhankeri Garden is right opposite his house – Bendre Bhavan. I wasn’t aware of it before I visited the garden, but today Bendre Bhavan stands as an Art Museum.
9. Nuggikeri Temple
Dharwad does have a lot of temples by lakes, doesn’t it? The Nuggikeri Hanuman temple comes on the Kalghatagi road around 6 km from the Toll Naka intersection.
It’s a far-off end from Dharwad and yet it gets crowded on Saturdays. When I visited in the morning, fortunately not many people were around. When visiting with a two-wheeler, I took the shortcut to visit this temple – the dirt path. Parking my scooter before the Nuggikeri lake, I walked the paved path by the lake to the temple.
It was one charming sight of the temple before the lake and its reflection dancing on the gently flowing waters. Across the lake’s other side, there were other old buildings beaming before their reflections.
10. KC Park
KC Park or the Kittur Rani Channamma Park, like the Karnatak University, is one of the most well-known parks in Dharwad.
Apart from the fountains and the playground here, this park also holds the memorial of John Thackeray – the British collector who was defeated during the war against Kittur Rani Channamma. The obelisk today has no clear labels whatsoever.
Added to it, what was once the pompous KC park in Dharwad is only a landmark today. Old people come here for morning walks and some kids play badminton. Neither are there many trees here nor do the fountains work.
When I visited in the morning, it looked nothing short of an abandoned park. But being Dharwad’s most well-known landmark, I added it to the list as well.
Another post for you to read: Cafes in Bangalore
11. Green Resorts
With the climate and environment being a paradise to most, there are many nature resorts around Dharwad. No, they aren’t in the city. But on the outskirts of Dharwad, there are some large eco-resorts out there.
I went cycling the other day towards the Dandeli route from Tapovan, Dharwad. Past the dhabas and curvy roads, I made it to the Nature First Eco-Village by the road – and returned. I’ve yet to experience staying at one of the nature resorts.
While these resorts are expensive, they’re great to get away from the hustle and bustle. However, for budget travelers (like me), here are some great accommodation deals from Booking.com.
Places to Visit Near Dharwad
More than the best places to visit in Dharwad, there are more places to visit near Dharwad. Locals here have easy routes to many close-to-nature lakes, rivers, dams, and towns.
People coming from Bangalore spend a lot visiting Dandeli for its riverside stays. Dharwad? It takes only a 2-hour drive (50 km) from here to Dandeli! Along with some friends, I even made a trip to a fall in Yellapur from Dharwad for under 500 bucks.
What makes it better is the sweet curvy routes to the destinations with incredible nature views. The journey itself makes it ecstatic to visit the places near Dharwad.
As far as my memory serves, here are the top places to visit near Dharwad:
- Yellapur and its falls (75km)
- Dandeli for rafting and nature stay (50km)
- Kalakeri Viewpoint (15-18km)
- Dori Lake (30km)
- Supa Dam (69km)
I’ve yet to add more. Hit me up if you think you know of places to visit near Dharwad.
Another post for you to read: A shoutout to Charlie Animal Rescue Center!
That sums up this piece on the best places to visit in Dharwad. Most people who’ve come to Dharwad to work have either settled down here or wish to settle down. Being away from the hustle and bustle of a metropolitan city and cheaper lifestyle, not to mention the homely climate, it’s hard to resist not to.
I’ve lived in Dharwad for half a decade and still do pay a visit to my family there at least once a year. I’ve lived there for the whole first pandemic wave and understood more about the hearts of people here than ever. I’ve yet to learn more.
But that should suffice for now. Have a great day :)
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