Tag Archives: Monsoon trek

Dos & Don’ts for a Monsoon Trek

I’m just back from the monsoon trek to “The DudhSagar” falls… Well this one is which I had circulated just before the start of the trek- but did not find time to update in between all the excitement…

Since, I’m back now with more excitement than what I had left, some more updates to the list circulated before the start of the trek..!!

Do’s:

  • Shoes or floaters: Remember it is a monsoon trek in the Western Ghats.. So you might as well not end up spending 2 days with your feet soaking in wet shoes or walking bare feet and wind up with painful cramps.. None of us are going to carry you for the rest of the walk anyway, we will already be burdened with sufficient baggages to carry. So choose your footwear wisely or else, be prepared to be stranded along the railway tracks
  • Carry your own torches- else find your own way out of the numerous tunnels that we are going to encounter
  • Carry your own towels- Phuleeezz… no compromise and sharing on this one- come what may!!
  • Carry sufficient food for 2 days. Though this one is not a mandate! For all the meat eating fellas: you have ample number of leeches to binge on and a golden opportunity to taste a wide range of human blood. For those of you who are vegans: worry not, there will be twigs, barks and leaves all around us.
  • Own water bottles- or else we’ll push you into the mighty “Sea of milk” – the picture that you have been admiring with your jaws dropped everytime it is circulated.
  • Optional: raincoats / umbrellas or get wet in the rain totally- for you will not get such a pure rain water back home in the metropolis

Don’ts:

Dare not to forget the above..!!

Now the updated version:

  • In addition to the above points: Please carry extra cash- lest be mobbed by the railway police who will catch you and try to buckle you up in the name of causing public nuisance just for keeping the light on for extra few minutes..!!
  • Dare not to talk back to the police even though you are blamed for no fault of yours..!! You will have to spend the night at the police station instead of the train..
  • Carry tents to stay- don’t go just by a word of mouth, be prepared for the worse- You might have to get drenched in the pouring rain the whole night if someone had told you about a shelter.

Across the brook- Bridging two Worlds

<Dated: Sometime when I was three or four>

Every girl has a Superman in her life.. For some it could be her father or in some case- a distant uncle.. And for me- it is “My Super Grandpa”.The wooden bridge layed across a brook in my hometown is one of the many reasons for which he is immortal in the memories of the nearby villagers even a decade after his departure. So, now I get down to how this happened: 

Introduction:

There are three ways to reach Abbi falls:

  1. A motor able asphalted road- about 8kms from Madikeri town. The most comfortable one if you have own transport from the town.(Lots of details are available on the net)  
  2. A partially adventurous one- about 8kms from Madikeri. One needs to take a private bus from Madikeri to Kootpole. And hike for about 4 kms to reach the falls.
  3. The most adventurous route(difficult)-  trek through thick jungle lined by deep valley on one side and thorny bushes on the other side.(Will write about this one some other day) 

There are moments in life, when the heart is so full of emotion That if by chance it be shaken, or into its depths like a pebble Drops some careless word, it overflows, and its secret, Spilt on the ground like water, can never be gathered together  Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

I choose to write about the 2nd route- The closest to my heart..!!

It is in this route, that one has to cross a brook in order to reach the waterfalls. When I say a brook- it is not a small stream that you can jump across; especially during the monsoons. One needs to walk over a carefully laid wooden bridge holding tightly onto nothing more than a thin steel wire..!!

The Bridge across the brook
The Bridge across the brook

This is a bridge which is not meant for the tourists and that is why it continues to remain unknown. This bridge is actually one single tree kept across the river carefully. It was laid across with a purpose of providing accessibility to the nearby villagers who could not afford a taxi for daily commutation.

And among these villagers, the one who stands out is “The Superman- My Grandpa”. He is the sole man behind the existence of this bridge. From selection of the finest tree(neeredithakai Mara- in Kodava Thakk), to gathering labourers to pull it all the way up from his estate to the river bank and putting it across the rivulet(about 60 feet wide)- he is the only mastermind behind it all..!!

I recollect faint memories of sitting by the side and watching all this action as a little girl… Some 25 odd men pulling the tree up the sloppy estate, I lending a squirrel’s help with my tiny hands to my grandpa in his mission, getting a pat on my back for my hard work.. And once the bridge was done, I remember the days when grandpa used to hold my hands tight and teach me how to cross the river.. It just fills my heart with coldness…

 

Walking over the wooden bridge
Walking over the wooden bridge

This bridge stands strong till date- even after bearing all seasons for more than two decades now.. It is become a part of the villagers’ everyday life… Though it was built with the idea of having easy access for grandpa to reach his estates every day, he did not restrict it only for himself. It was open for the public too, helping all the villagers living around this area. This truly stands out as a symbol of his greatness… And I miss him so much every time I walk this way or I hear of people speak of this great man..!!

Update as on 10-July-20:

The wooden brooke that connected worlds for so many decades is now gone. A concrete walk bridge is underway. Thanks to the lockdown due to Covid19, the work on the bridge has stopped and there exists none at the moment.

img-20200712-wa00184714343028133359887.jpg
A concrete bridge underway

Stay tuned for updates….

Monsoon retreat- Jog falls

‘Jog’ is a charmer on all Karnataka tourism promotions. Why not? It’s the second highest waterfall in India after all! A glimpse of the mighty Jog at least once in a lifetime is an unwritten rule for every person born or living in Karnataka. And why not see it take a plunge in all its might? This exclusive visit could happen in no better time than the monsoons. So, my mother, brother and I planned this weekend trip to see the Jog. such that we could reach Shimoga by 6.00.a.m.

Our itinerary:
Day 0: Leave Bangalore to Shimoga (Overnight bus)
Day 1: Shimoga to Sagara (local transport), visit Linganamakki dam and hydroelectric project, The Jog falls, Tyarekoppa Lion & tiger safari. Return from Shimoga to Bangalore (overnight bus)

The details:
When we reached Shimoga in the morning, it was pouring not just cats & dogs, but also cows & buffaloes. A jeep’s ride had been arranged by my mother’s colleague to take us from Shimoga to Sagara town. The rains were so heavy that we could barely see the road ahead. With that, we would fall into just every other pothole that was covered under the flooded roads. Finally, we had managed to reach Sagara, the nearest accessible town to Jog falls.

Once there, we thought to see the Linganamakki Hydroelectric project that falls on the way to Jog. There also used to be a cable car ride down the reservoir that we were interested to go on. Unfortunately for us, our visit was timed just about when permission to visit the project was cancelled for some security reasons. Nevertheless, the view of the Linganamakki dam and the scenery around almost evened up for the miss.

Views of the Sharavati project around Jog falls
Top: the view of Sharavati valley; Below: The Linganamakki dam

And then, with an uphill drive of about six kilometers, we reached the place which was the sole motive of our travel from Bangalore. “The Jog”!! But, there was more disappointment awaiting us on our arrival. It was something that caused us total dismay…!!! The clouds paired up with thick mist had enshrouded the waterfalls completely. And our entire surrounding had just blanked out with mist. There was absolutely nothing in front of us except the mist and more mist… To top it all, it was raining cats and dogs. There was no Jog, nothing. ‘What an unfortunate day for us’, we thought and decided to return after a futile wait.

We turned our backs and started to walk towards the jeep with a heavy heart. As we did, I just happened to turn back and check on our luck with the waterfalls. And yes…. we were LUCKY…!! The mist was slowly clearing out… And we could faintly spot the Sharavathi streaming down in full action.

As we stood for two minutes more, the view was then all clear: The Mighty King (Raja), the Graceful Queen (Rani), the Thunderous Roarer and the Storming Rocket – YES… We saw them! We felt a great sense of achievement, very contrary to what we had felt just a couple of minutes ago. While we got some nice clicks, the mist enclothed the falls, back again. We waited for it to clear out to capture a few more photos because this time, we knew that the action was repetitive.

Jog falls in monsoon
Jog, from different view points

After a while we walked around to get different views of the falls. We went to the top of the waterfalls, walked down closer to the bottom of the waterfall, locatiosn from where we got the side view of the Jog, and so on… It was quite an adventure in itself to get around these difficult spots, especially considering the heavy rains and the slippery path. But, the excitement of getting to these locations was all worth the risk! After having an eyeful and heart full of ‘The JOG falls’, we decided to say good-bye to the place.

On our way back to Shimoga, we visited ‘Tyarekoppa Lion & tiger safari’. Along with spotting a lot of deer, sambars and peacocks, we also counted on the big cats like the lion and tigers on a safari ride. It wasn’t a typical safari you would have in the wild, but it was more like taking a ride inside a fenced enclosure. But, it is a well maintained place and great if you are travelling with children.

Tiger safari near Shimoga
Roarrr, a tiger at the safari

And that was all the time we had with us. We had almost reached the end of a fun day-Sunday and we boarded the bus back to Bangalore at night. We had to gear up for the crazy week that was awaiting us…

Conclusion: An experience of the monsoon in the western ghats and a glimpse of the Jog in the monsoon are retreats that should go into the bucket list of everyone visiting India.