Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Wedding Bells

The wedding bells started ringing for our friend Mohammad. The monsoon was at it's peak in the coastal karnataka. Monsoons had always evoked a nice feeling in me. The rains, hills, waterfalls, streams, rivers, jungle and beach. All these marvellous creations wake up to a new life in monsoons. In addition, It also flood newly wed couple with lots of emotions and feelings.We planned to attend our friend Mohammad's marriage and at the same time feel the monsoons of coastal karnataka which he and Naveen had always been talking about.

So the plan was made soon after Mohammad distributed the wedding invitations. The complete trekking plan was always shrouded as Mohammad wanted us to be in Bhatkal most of the time. People joined us n dropped off.

Finally myself, Ankur, Rizwan and Antony were in the trip list.Tickets were booked few day before the trip. Return tickets were not booked as we were not sure of the sunday evening happenings. Plan was to visit Jog falls on Saturday and do Murudeshwar to Honnavar beach trek on Sunday. But the plan kept changing till the end.

On the D-Day, Me and Ankur took a bus to Majestic, while Antony and Rizwan decided to come directly from Home. Being little cautious, we started from Honeywell nearly three hours before the actual departure of the bus. We had some terrible experience in Bandajje trip when 3 of the team members missed the bus due to heavy traffic. So with lot of time to kill, we had a nice and comfortable dinner at Majestic. Then it was a bit of waiting for Antony and Rizwan. The bus was on time and the journey till Honnavar was fine. Next day early morning was witnessed beside the driver after requesting him to stop the bus to relieve myself. The winding roads were cleanly washed by heavy rains during night. The trees on the beautiful hills around us were green and fresh after a night full of rains. Gradually, sun rays lighted up the entire landscape revealing the beauty and simplicity of mother nature.

Soon we reached Honnavar. We got down at KSRTC bus stand and had to take a auto to reach the centre from where to take the Maxi cab to Murudeshwar. One can directly get down at this centre instead of going to Bus stand. Once we were inside Maxi cab, the plan was changed to go to Apsarakonda instead of Murudeshwar. This was the beginning of a nice adventure. Apsarakonda is just few Kms from Honnavar. It is a small village. There is a road on the right which takes to a devasthanam (temple). As soon as we got down from the cab and took few steps, a heavy downpour started. We raced to take out our rain gear and sandals. Myself and Ankur were well prepared to face the rains. Rizwan and Antony were less prepared as they were new to such trips. However, In the entire trek I never heard a single complaint against the rain. After a nice n lively walk in the rains, we reached the temple. After a little enquiry, we reached the Apsarakonda falls. It is just beside the temple premises. At this time, It was flowing hard and carrying lot of mud with it. It was not as impressive as It would have been in other seasons when the water will flow more gently. After couple of minutes, we decided the walk uphill and see the beautiful Apsarakonda beach from there. The walk uphill and the view from the top is going to be in memory for long.
The rain was becoming increasingly strong. There were countelss small waterfalls on top. The rain was hitting us like infinite needles. We were not able to open our eyes. I enjoyed the nice little feeling the rain drops were making on my skin. The view from the top of the hill was amazing. We saw a small cave formation, a perfect place to spend a night during winter or summer. We took some snaps there and then the decision was made to do a beach trek till Murudeshwar. This was not initially in the itinerary because Mohammad wanted us to directly come to Bhatkal without wandering here and there. But I am glad that v did this trek. I shall never forget this trek, We were crossing hill, stream and seeing beautiful beaches and sea from top of these hills.
There were so many streams and couple of times we crossed fast flowing streams. It was a nice experience. All the time rain was a constant companion. We crossed few cashew plantations. We were walking on plain hilltops with numerous streams criss crossing it. Here we were walking in the stream itself. The cool and soothing affect of rainwater flowing on our feet was amazing. Once we were attacked by red ants. At that very point I saw the most beautiful stream I had ever put my eyes on.
Few places we were walking on plain grounds of hill tops, covered with bright and lovely green grass. This was one trek when each single point along the trek was mesmerising then the last one. I was not tired but only thing which was worrying was being late for Mohammad's mrg. Soon we hiked down to a beach called Monkey paaji(sounds weird but this is what locals told us). We were able to see the giant Siva temple from this point. Evidently the distance was too large for us to cover and be on time for wedding. So we hiked till Manki and took the cab directly to Bhatkal. At bhatkal we landed up in Musba lodge which was booked by Mohammad for us. Soon we met Mohammad and were carried to his house for a nice and tasty lunch. After that we slept for a while before preparing for Nikaah at night. Rizwan's and Antony's clothes were wet and Antony had to buy a new set of clothes for wedding. Wedding was surprising simple. We landed on our beds after the wedding was over sometime close to midnight.

Next day morning we planned to trek from Bhatkal to Murudeshwar. Got up pretty quickly and left for Jaali beach in Bhatkal. The early morning climate was amazing and to top it up Jaali beach was real splendid. There were lot of stones piled along the beach so as to protect the beach side houses from high waves. We took nice snaps at these points. I also took a beautiful snap of few children playing at the beach.
Almost immediately after this rains started. The rains accompanied us almost for the entire trek. Most of the time we were walking on the man made stone walls beside the beach. Jumping, hopping and balancing ourselves on this wall was cool. The rain drops were hitting hard on my rain coat. I removed the cover on my head and felt the full fury of rains on my face. The feeling of just being with nature is so harmonious. This is how god created us and this is what soothes my soul.
On reaching the end of the wall, we saw a big stream joining the sea. That was the end of our trek. We took the road back to NH and took a cab to Murudeshwar. We visited the giant Siva statue, took some snaps and finished our lunch there. The journey back to Bhatkal was in cab. We literally had half a day before return journey at 9:00 PM. We reached bhatkal and slept for a while. I dislike the idea of day time sleeping in trips. There were so many places still unexplored and going to bed was the last thing in my mind. But anyhow, we have come for marriage and hence we should stick with the timings laid down by Mohammad. But the sad thing was that the reception got postponed from 5:30 to 7:30 and it started at nearly 8:00. Hmmmmm what all places we could have hiked if v knew that reception was at 8:00. :(

We were just in time for the 9:00 PM bus after the hurried reception. We booked the sleeper tickets and the journey was quite pleasant. First time I was travelling on a sleeper bus. I was told by people that private bus operatiors like VRL, Seabird are much better then KSRTC in this part of Karnataka. We reached Bangalore by 9:00 and caught up with office at 11:00.

All in all the experience of a beautiful beach trek in heavy rains covering mesmerising hills was really memorable. I rate this trek among the best of my hiking endeavours. It felt as if we were walking in gods territory where the sign of human touch is negligible. Just like a heaven on earth.
Do a trek from Apsarakonda to Manki during peak rainy season and u can feel, what I am talking about.


Ray of Light said...

The pictures were amazing... and the description of the trip was good- short, and upto the point. This article is in sync with the theme of the blog- love to trek, live to trek.

Oreen said...

Hey, just hit upon your blog while surfing and am very impressed...you write well and the pics are breathtaking... i loved the part where you removed the hood to feel the rain on your face...

keep trekking... will check you out every now and then...