According to a Hindu legend, the sage Parashurama beheaded Renuka's head with an axe on the orders of his father, the great sage Jamadagni. Parashurama tried to wash the blood stains off the axe by dipping it in various rivers, but a sesame-sized blood stain remained on his axe, until he dipped his axe in the Tunga River near Thirthahalli. This place is now called Parashurama Thirtha (or RamaThirtha) and is the origin of the name Thirthahalli (halli means village in the Kannada language). Near RamaThirtha, there is a stone Mantapa called Rama Mantapa. This legend has made Thirthahalli a holy place for Hindus, who believe that a dip in the river Tunga will cure one of all sins.
Another legend set in the time of Ramayana, indicates that Maricha, a relative of the Lanka king Ravana came disguised as a golden deer to enchant Sita, the wife of Rama. When Sita asked Rama to get her the deer, Rama followed the deer and killed it. This incident is supposed to have happened near a place called Mrugavadhe in Thirthahalli Taluk. Mrugavadhe means Killing of an animal in the local Kannada language.
Thirthahalli has a rich archaeological history with Neolithic sites uncovered in Kundadri Hills near Agumbe and portholed burial chambers found at Arehalli near Thirthahalli.
A fort was constructed at Kavaledurga, near Thirthahalli at around 9th century AD. The king of Belagutti, Cheluvarangappa strengthened this fort in the 14th century. Venkatappa Nayaka, a Keladi king, acquired this fort and constructed seven battlements to protect this fort in the 16th century. Hyder Ali conquered this fort in the 18th century and later the fort came under the rule of Tipu Sultan and became part of the domain of the Wodeyar dynasty of Mysore.
Thirthahalli is located at 13.7°N 75.23°E / 13.7; 75.23. It has an average elevation of 591 metres (1938 feet). it is located in the midst of the dense forests of the Western Ghats.
Thirthahalli is 60 kilometres from the district headquarters, Shimoga. The National Highway NH-13 (Thirthahalli road) provides access to other cities. The nearest railway station is in Shimoga. Numerous trains run from Bangalore and Mysore to Shimoga. Traveling for North, Mangalore and Udupi railway stations are the major ones. The nearest airport is Mangalore International Airport.
The Tunga Bridge, also called Jayachamarajendra Bridge, is a bridge connecting Thirthahalli to Kuruvalli. This bridge has an arc-like structure at the top which is supported by consecutive pillars on either side of the bridge. This bridge was designed by Sir M. Visvesvaraya. The bridge was completed in 1943, and inaugurated by the erstwhile H.H Jayachamarajendra Wadiyar, the then Maharaja of Mysore, also named after him. Now the bridge connects Thirthahalli to Koppa, Sringeri towns and is a part of NH 169.
Sri Rameshwara Temple
Sri Rameshwara Temple is the main Hindu temple of Thirthahalli. This temple is made of stone and is on the banks of the river Tunga. It is near Parashurama Thirtha. The sanctum sanctorum of the temple has a Lingam which is said to have been installed by Sage Parashurama himself. The day when Parashurama cleansed his axe to remove the sesame-sized blood stain, the New Moon Day of the month of Margashira in the Hindu calendar, is termed Yellu Amavasya; Yellu meaning sesame and Amavasya meaning New Moon day, and Thirthahalli has an annual festival, Yellu Amavasya Jatre to celebrate this.
The three days out of the five-day festival which are of particular interest to the public are Yellu Amavasya, when Utsava Moorthi, the main idol of Lord Sri Rameshwara is taken to the river to be consecrated; the second day, when the decorated temple chariot is pulled along the main street of Thirthahalli by devotees; and the third day, when the Utsava Moorthi is taken on a Teppa (raft) down the river Tunga to the river bank at Kuruvalli and brought back. This celebration is called Teppotsava (raft-festival). On this day, a lot of colourful crackers are lit and also the river banks, Tunga Bridge and Rama Mantap are decorated with lights.
The river Sharavathi forms a water falls near Shimoga; a myth holds that when Rama & Sitha were in Vanavasa, Sitha got thirsty and asked Rama to fetch water. There was no water source in that place, so Rama shot an arrow to where the Goddess Ganga came and quenched her thirst, and a river sprang up. Now, Jog Falls is a source of hydroelectric power in Karnataka.
Anandagiri and Siddeshwara Gudda
Two hills in Thirthahalli are Anandagiri Gudda, on Shimoga Road, and Siddeshwara Gudda, on Agumbe Road near Balebailu. Both are reachable by foot from the town, and both offer scenic vistas.
Situated 18 km from Thirthahalli on the [Thirthalli - Koppa road], Kuppalli is the home town of the great Kannada poet and playwright Kuvempu.
Agumbe is a small town in Thirthahalli Taluk famous for being the location where the television serial Malgudi Days (based on a novel of the same name by the famous writer, R K Narayan) was shot. In addition to the scenery, this area has the world's first king cobra sanctuary. Agumbe is also known for its rainfall and is referred to as "Cheerapunji of South".
The temple of Sri Siddi Vinayaka and Matsyadhama is located in Chibbalagudde, ten kilometres from Thirthahalli, near Kuppalli. The temple is there on the bank of Tunga River. You can also see lot of beautiful fishes in river.
The temple of Sri Mallikarjuna Swamya is located in Mrughavade at a distance of 24 kilometres from Thirthahalli. The temple is situated on the bank of Brahmi River.
It is a beautiful place situated 15 kilometres from Thirthahalli, where you can find submerged remains of the temple. It is between Kaimara and Yedur on the road from Thirthahalli to Kundapura via Mastikatte.
The Kundadri hills are near Thirthahalli and Agumbe; there is a beautiful pond and an old Jain temple here. It is 30 km from Thirthahalli town and 20 km from Agumbe near guddekeri.
Gummanamakki is said to be the place where all the regional Hindu gods gather and celebrate a certain festival in the month of December on the banks of River Tunga near Malur.
Located at a distance of 18 kilometres from Thirthahalli is a 9th-century fort which was renovated in the 14th century by Cheluvarangappa. The massive fort has lines of walls built on the contour of a natural hillock. At the top of the hillock is situated the temple of Shikhareshvara also known as The Srikanthesvara Temple.
Located at an approximate distance of 13 kilometress,is home to the birth place of the kannada poet Kuvempu(Kuppali Venkatappa Puttappa).Now this is converted into a library
Vanachethana Located at an approximate distance of 25 kilometers , Art Estate Built from "Devitho Nagesh" as a Nature lover,spread all over Positive things everywhereKuvempu
Shantaveri Gopala Gowda - Socialist Leader and Politician
U. R. Ananthamurthy
M. K. Indira, Kannada Novelist.
Girish Kasaravalli, Kannada Film Director.
Kadidal Manjappa, former Chief Minister of Karnataka
Justice. M Rama Jois - Judge
Government Degree College
Government Pre-University College
Government High School
Govt. Girls High School, Soppuguddde
Government Higher Primary Boys School
Sahyadri Higher Primary School
Sevabharathi Higher Primary School
Sahyadri High School
Sahyadri Pre-University College.
St.Mary's Higher Primary and High School
Vaghdevi Higher Primary and High School
Vaghdevi College of Education
Sevabharathi Shishu Mandira
National Residential School,Konandur
Sharavathi First Grade College, Konandur