Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Monsoon Rains

I choose this title because this is what I wished to experience in this trip. What better place to feel it then Agumbe. The place getting highest rainfall in K'taka. June had been a dry month for me as I was not able to go anywhere. so I was quite excited about this trip. The original plan was to make a short trip somewhere near Bangalore. Only Kokil turned up and hence at the last moment I decided to make it a 2 day extravaganza. We decided to go to Agumbe so that Ankur will not miss any place. He already visited Agumbe with us in the month of March.

There was not much planning done. I booked the tickets to Agumbe for onward journey. Return tickets were booked from Singeri. The plan was to trek to Narasimha parvata on first day and visit Sirimane falls on second day. But due to heavy rains and naxalite issue the possibility of trek to Narasimha parvata was faint. In such a case we planned to see Kudlu teertha falls near Hebri. So everything was set. I packed my bag and brought it to office to avoid last minute misadventures. I nearly missed the bus due to heavy traffic last time. Ankur and Mudit were going to HYD from Majestic. So I joined them to Majestic. We took an auto from Honeywell office at Bannerghatta road. We were too early to Majestic and have to wait for a long time for Kokil and Sahil. Finished dinner at the usual Andhra restaurant at Majestic. Ankur, Mudit and Sahil boarded buses to HYD and in a short while Kokil and myself were in a bus heading to Agumbe. The bus goes thru Shimoga, Teerthahalli and takes nearly 9 hours.

Next day morning we woke up to a pleasant cloud covered surroundings. The atmosphere was just the way I was expecting. It started to rain as we were getting closer to Agumbe. There was countless streams beside the roads. The road itself washed with non-stop rains during the night.
We were at Agumbe by 6:30 next day. I enquired for a small guest house near the bus stand. It was already booked but to our luck there was a new Hotel (Mallya lodge) which came up recently. We got a decent room for 300\-. The young owner of this Hotel(Sudheendra) is quite a nice chap who can converse in English and Hindi. This is always gud for our group as we don't have any Kannadigas. We were informed that it is highly impossible to go to Narasimha parvata as Police is not giving any permission. Moreover no guide will dare to enter the jungle in heavy monsoons. This was understandable as Agumbe experienced severe downpour this time of the year. Huge trees have fallen to ground taking electric poles with them. The village didn't had current for last 2 days. The streams were flooded, there was no sunlight the whole day and everything was damn wet. This is a tough life if one has to live in such conditions even for few days.

Immediately after freshening up we headed for B'fast. Then we took a bus going to Hebri. We got down at a stop where there is a big arch. Kudlu teertha is 10 km from this juncion. On enquiry we were told that there will be a vehicle which can take us to closer to Kudlu. We waited for some time and decided to go by walking. As luck will have it, the bus soon arrived. We boarded the bus and got down at a junction. Kudlu was another 6 km left from this junction. The climate was too good. It was raining all around and climate was cool and pleasant. We took out our raingear and started walking. The walk was pleasant in the rain. This was something I always wanted to feel. Walking in the rains with no one to stop you. We came across a river which was flowing furiously. We didn't even noticed this river in the month of March when we were here. I was enjoying the rain very much. some times it rained heavily for few mins before dropping down to the usual beat. It was a nice feeling. Only problem was that I was not able to take out my camera for snaps. We had very few snaps in this trip. After a long walk on the road (which we realized on the way back in the Jeep) we reached a small house where tar road ends. Immediately after that one has to cross the Sitanadi river. This was a small stream in March but not now. It's flooded and had taken down many trees. It was flowing with a trememndous speed. There is a Y fork after crossing the river. The left is a tar road and the right is a mud road. Avoid the templatation to take left and proceed on the mud road. There was not a living soul on this path. We just kept walking on this road. There were lot of tiny streams flowing across the path. At some places the path itself turned into a stream. The place was amazing as all the plants, trees and grass were drenched in rain water. We kept walking and at one point I got a doubt whether we are on the right track. Last march we came on bikes and hence the distance between the river we crossed and the final destination didn't looked much. But now we were walking for nearly half an hour and there was no sign of an end. Finally when clouds of confusion were fully engulfing me, I saw the steep climb which I remembered from last time. Within few minutes we were in an opening. We could see all the beautiful hills around us with numerous unknown falls. There were three very big falls which we noticed from far. The sheer beauty of the falls can be seen from the distance. I was impressed by one particular fall which was quite wide and amazing from distance. After few quick snaps we ventured towards Kudlu. Applied tobacco powder to avoid leeches. we had to cross a stream in the beginning. This was unnoticeable in March but now it was in full flow. The water was gusing over the rocks which were completely submerged. There was hardly any way to cross it. We tried for couple of hours to cross it upstream or down stream. But it was too risky to cross it. For the first time I gave up to Nature's challenge. It was for good as crossing it wud have definitely swept us away. It was little disappointing but It was ok as no one with the given resources wud be able to cross it.
So we tunred back. Had lunch of biscuits and bananas and then it was a long way back home. We rested at the last house near the river. This was the first time we were sitting down since the beginning of the trek. Then it was a long way back to main road. Fortunately we stopped a milk van who dropped us at the main road. It was such a great relief. As soon as v thanked him and crossed the road, v got a bus to Agumbe. It was a perfect timing. So by 5:00 we were resting in our Hotel room. We went into sleep pretty fast. It was raining cats and dogs outside. At around 7:00 we woke up and went out for dinner. I was disappointed to know that Hotel Taj is not serving Dinner that day. Perhaps they were not finding enough customers at this time of the year and hence temporarily closed. We had dinner of neeru dosa and Masala dosa at a near by hotel. We went to bed pretty early.

Plan for Sunday was to visit Jogigundi falls, Sirimane falls and hang out at Sringeri Mutt. The day progressed according to the plan. We visited Jogigundi in Rasheed's Auto. The waterfall is small but still impressive. As ususal what we saw was an enormous amount of water flowing fast. Well this is what I had come to see. Nature in it's full fury. Checked out from Hotel and headed to Sringeri from where we were supposed to go to Kigga to see Sirimane falls. Bus services are pretty gud. We were at Sringeri in no time. But we had to spend some time at Sringeri bus stand to catch a bus to Kigga. Finally we decided to take an auto for Kigga which is nearly 12 km. As it was to happen, Kigga bus came as soon as we started in Auto. Kigga is a small village. It is scenic with all the houses lined up beside a long road ending at Kigga temple. The road to sirimane is from the right of the temple. Autos can take u help u in travelling 5 kms of the total 9 kms. I think they can take u right till falls in summer. But this time they can't oblidge. So we started walking the final 4 km. The mud road had become quite soft at places. There were few trees fallen on the road. It took us 30-40 mintues to reach Sirimane falls. It goes without saying that fall was full due to incessant rains. It is a small fall but quite beautiful. If ur definition of a waterfall is 100 mts plus then you can avoid this place. I entered the falls for a quick bath. Despite the sheer force of the water it is possible to get close to the fall as it is shallow. The trek back was quite pleasant. Kokil was amazed to witness the dishonesty a dog when we didn't gave him any food. The dog shifted for more prospective group.

We walked the entire stretch back to Kigga. We bought down a Jack fruit from a tree beside the road. Unfortunately it turned out to be quite raw. Once at Kigga, we had lunch and saw a small marraige ceremony being perfromed at Kigga temple. It was drizzling and a nice time and place to get married. After that we headed to Sringeri. Checked in the Mutt's guest houses. It costed 75\- and the room we got had a beautiful view of Tunga river. Kokil spent a long time at the window admiring the view. We did little brid watching of another kind from the window. After a fresh bath we visited the Sarada devi temple. This place had a nice feeling about it. I visited this temple three times and every time the peace and tranqulity of the place touches me. Especially this time of the year when the climate was so pleasant. First time v crossed the bridge to go to the ashram on other side of the river. It was quite peaceful and I could have spent days at this place. The views from the bridge was too good. The cool winds of the mosoon were flowing past me. We visited the temple and by this time it started raining. We waited for some time till I took some nice pics. After that it was pretty much fast. checked out and caught the bus back to Bangalore. The journey back home was a bad one. Though I ensured to book front seats but a big lady with her infant son were too much to sit with. The kid kept kicking me and I was having a tough time to even sit in my seat. Overall the trip was a cool one. I wished to see nature in it's full fury and I succeeded in seeing it. The streams we came across were flooded. The falls were full and gushing. It was raining most of the day. It rained close to 40 mm on Saturday in Agumbe. The trip was quite simple without much arguing\convincing required with a big gang. Kokil is a perfect partner for trekking trips like this. He matches me when it comes to the mental\ physical toughness and tolerance required in such trips.

1 comment:

Kiran Acharya said...

Your sirimane falls photo is posted and linked in www.drvsacharya.blogspot.com
congratulations!