Sunday 19 August 2012

The Magic of Monsoon

Walking in the middle of the forest, taking perfidious winding roads with excitement and fear at every step, hearing the chirping of birds and watching few others fly around, feeling submerged in the passing clouds at the higher altitudes, experiencing the kiss of the breeze as the legs struggled to walk on the railway tracks. The greatest pleasures of trekking won't come without risk or struggle. 

Starting Point

Yes “You have to get lost before you can be found”.  Dudhsagar is one of the world's most exquisite falls that lies in India.The falls lies high up in the Mandovi River watershed and so are not particularly spectacular during the dry season. During the monsoon season however, the falls are transformed into one of the most powerful falls in India. Dudhsagar Falls is listed as India's 5th tallest waterfalls, and is 227th in the world at 310 m. The water plummets hundreds of feet in large volumes during the monsoon season, forming one of the most spectacular natural phenomena in Goa.  It was a most awaited adventure of monsoon.

On the Way
Since it was a 14km railway track trek!!. Initial plan was with larger group say something about 20!! But finally ended up with 4!!!!!. Direct train tickets to from Bangalore to castle rock (Chennai –Vasco train) was not available before 2 months. So we had to take a connecting trains. Bangalore to Hubli by Sholapur Express. We had 2 option one by bus as well as train. Since it was 4.30 AM we could not find any bus from hubli to Londa Junction. We decided to go in Chennai –Vasco train in general with the tickets!!. Hubli to Londa Junction is around 2-3 hrs in train. We had breakfast and packed food for trekking in londa junction as we were waiting for other train to board from londa junction to castle rock. 
The Boys

Londa junction to castle rock is half an hour journey.
Starting our journey from londa junction to dudhsagar falls. Initially it was very good experience as the time runs we had been troubled by rains as expected! We had prepared for everything meanwhile but we had to take a pause in the tunnel. We had many pit stops forcefully and also physically. The tiny waterfalls made us to re-gain our spirit saying don’t be happy with me “Mera baap aghe hain”. Totall 11 tunnels on the pathway from Castle rock to falls. It took around 4 to 5hrs to reach waterfalls. 

Tunnel No-1 Train Heading!
Starting distance it took us quiet more hours than expected so we increased our speed in the middle so that we can reach as expected. We had calculated dresses in our bags so that it will not be the burden for trekking. The tunnel trekking experience and railway track experience is worth to feel rather to explain more. The beautiful scenes, weather condition, drizzling was all time beautiful trekking experience. All our eatables and drinking water were empty in 75% of trekking. Hoping that we get food near the falls. 

But it went in vain as there was no food and drinking water in the banks of falls. That particular moment was really horrible because I came to know what is starving literally. God has given me enough so that I don’t have to starve. Thank you. 

That moment what I thought is how people in Somalia or any other African countries starve for days and months. Coming back to reality “Dudhsagar Waterfall”. 
The Beautiful DudhSagar Falls
  “The beauty of nature unites everyone”. We spent 3 hrs in waterfalls, few minutes we all were bewildered by. At around 5.45 PM expected train from Goa to belgaum. In which we were waiting to go to belgaum for staying as planned. Actually we were waiting for train not to go to belgaum but to have food!!!!!! Which we had in train. 

Catching train was more challenging as falls was crowded and all were waiting for the same train and the train has no dedicated stop there. As planned we could have returned in same train to belgaum  but we did not want to take risk of travelling without ticket. It was a last train which will go from londa junction so we had to take a tempo trax which we got luckily, which dropped us till……..  From there we went to belgaum and paused our journey of the day. 

Gokak Falls, Belgaum
Next day started little early as planned packed belgaum special kundha( Sweet) and resumed our journey to gokak falls. Which is 2 hrs from belgaum, The falls was little dreary because of less water force!! The hanging bridge view was a good with sound of breeze, Surroundings is the well maintained place which attracts lots of tourists. As planned we boarded our train from nearby stop of gokak falls.

                                       Travel teaches toleration. Benjamin Disraeli

Wednesday 15 August 2012

Beauty under and overneath

On the Eve of Independence day. The planning of bike ride had taken a very good progress. Actually it was my first bike ride of my life but as a pillion. Since it was one day ride we had decided to  visit Gaganachukkki and Barachukki falls and Talakad. The map was clear to us since it was 300 km to plus fro!

Riders r Ready!
But as always initially we struggled for the exact road. Planned to start at 5 AM but we managed to start before 6AM. While going we choose mysore road and took kankapura high way while coming back. Mysore road as we all know traffic also wondered whether “Road main gadda hain or Gadda main Road hain”!!. We stopped at bidadi for breakfast, we  were served bidadi special tatte idli with butter vow vow. Resuming our journey very soon as we had not reached planned distance for time taken. After maddur we had to take a left diversion for shivanasamudra. 

Bidadi Tatte Idli
 After a diversion there was a good greenery around with atmosphere was very pleasant. Reached shvanasamudra paused for some time. Later went to Barachukki falls. The magical scene of river Cauvery made us to feel a worth visit.  We had some trouble to carry our riding gears. But we had to manage all those. At Barachukki we had to descend around 150 – 200 steps to reach the falls in the midst of woods. After reaching the base area, one has to be careful as our pre – historic friends will be waiting to pounce on your bag. Then, we went on a coracle boat (teppa) ride on the pool of water in front of the waterfall. 

Barachukki Falls
The boat charges are something like 50rs per head for a 20 minutes ride. it was most startling experience could feel the force of the water and scary though none of knew how to swim. We rested in piece for some time in the banks of falls. Resumed our journey to Gaganachukki falls. The speciality of these falls is due to the Kaveri river itself splitting a few kilometers to the south into western and eastern branches. The western branch results in the twin waterfalls of Gaganachukki, whereas the eastern branch results in the Bharachukki falls.

Gaganachukki Falls
The sparkling blue waters of the Cauvery River wind through rocks and ravines and fall 75m off the Deccan Plateau to form the twin falls of Barachukki and Gaganachukki. Monsoon season makes this waterfall swell to enormous proportion, creating a waterfall perhaps a thousand feet wide. When the Cauvery is in madness, watching the river crash into a cloud of foaming spray can be an awesome and unforgetful experience. Gaganachukki especially is a steep fall where water gushes down with great velocity. Actually, it is believed to host first hydroelectric project in India.

Teppa Ride
The next destination was to “Buried Beauty” The Talakadu (Talakad). It is the classical Indian story. A tale told by gods and demons, filled with kings and queens, replete with curses and boons. There is a little bit of history here, blended with some geology and topped with legends and myths. Set on the banks of the river Cauvery, this saga dates back to the 4th century and has certain intriguing elements, defying the very laws of nature. Talakadu is famous for the Panchalingas – the temples dedicated to Lord Shiva called Pathaleshwara, Maruleshwara, Arkeshwara, Vaidyanatheeshwara and Mallikarjuna .Of these, the first two are the oldest, built by the Ganga kings. We paused to give our feet a bit of rest and heard the story of Tala and Kada, the two hunters, after whom the town is named as per guide information. The detailed stories is interesting but I don’t want to reveal because there should be curiousity once anybody will visit.

A curse of a woman he says is the cause of this sand blown town, an erstwhile fertile capital of several dynasties that ruled over Karnataka. A tale filled with greed and lust for power. It was the time when Talakadu and Srirangapatna were under the Vijayanagar empire. The death of the last Viceroy, Srirangaraya provoked the Wodeyars of Mysore to declare war. As Srirangapatna fell, the Wodeyar ruler sent his soldiers to covet the jewels of the late Viceroy’s widow, Alamelamma. As she fled from her pursuers, she is supposed to have jumped into the Cauvery, uttering the curses. My guide gets all dramatic as he proclaims the curse…
              “Talkādu Maralaāgi, Mālingi maduvaāgi, Mysuru dhorege Makkalagade hōgali”

We had walked for more than a hour, deeply engrossed in the continuous banter of our guide. Our feet caved in many a time, as we scaled the steep sand dunes. In the last two hours, we had traveled back to several centuries. We paused for a moment, taking in the sight. The silence was devastating. The voices of the past were buried under the layers of sand. We sat there, trying to build castles, but the wings gently swept them down. This, we realized was the destiny of Talakadu -the confluence of the historic and the holy spirit, where myths and legends merged, but were all completely swept away by the blasts from the past.

Now coming back from history to real world, it was 3.30PM we had our lunch than we went to history. The fervor to say about the history I had forgotten about our lunch!!. Starting our journey towards kaveri river which is point of tourist attraction, nowadays crowded as it is a low water level.
As planed while coming back we too highway which was very neat and less traffic had to fight closely with rain other than it was easy ride and we reached back home by 8.30pm.