Awesome Agumbe!!

July 9, 2008

About Sitanadi Nature Camp:

The Sitanadi nature camp is situated amidst & inside the wilds of the Someshwara wildlife sanctuary along the banks of Seethanadi River in Udupi District and is about 400Km(approx.) from Bangalore. The nature camp is located close to the river Sitanadi and the setting is an awesome experience of raw reality. A pleasant drive away from the camp is Agumbe, which receives the third highest rainfall. This location in short is for those daring to go where only eagles have!!.

Indus Outback and Adreno together conduct the monsoon white water river rafting activity & the Koodlu theertha trek.
There is also a very different kind of trek that you are taken to, where you go approx 6 kms into the 8th thickest biosphere in the world…and climb to the Koodlu Theertha waterfalls. The complete experience is exhilarating & just pumps up your adrenaline.

The route:

Bangalore -> Tumkur -> Gubbi -> Tiptur -> Arsikere -> Kadur -> Birur -> Tarikere -> Bhadravati -> Shimoga -> Agumbe -> Tirthahalli -> Hebri

Yeah this was a kind a well planned trip, the plan was to go for river rafting, trekking and beaches on the western part of Karnataka on Wednesday 2nd July 08. The excitement amongst the team kept growing as “The Date” approached. People said not to travel by this time coz of the heavy rains, but we guys cared a damn!! We made the reservations with www.adreno.org for rafting on Thursday, trekking on Friday and we decided to plan other activities based on available time and enthu.

Day 1: Wednesday, July 2nd, 2008

We were 13 of us (4 brave girls + 9 boys): Kanu, Avani, Varsha, Sandhya, Vikram, Devaraja, Abhijeet, Yajneshwara, Esher, Ravi Kiran, Ravi Shankar, Ravi Manduri, Sanjeev. We left Bangalore on Wednesday night by bus. People boarded at different places in the city and the bus was a good hour late (around 11:45 instead of 9:30) when it left Bangalore.

Since there was not much we could do inside the vehicle to pass time, everyone suggested for “DumbC”. We all enjoyed that game alot for an hour or two….and as the vehicle drove on, almost everyone fell asleep.

The looong journey continued……The driver took us through the pouring rain and the potholed filled roads past Shimoga and Tirthahalli towards Agumbe.

Day 2: Thursday, July 3rd, 2008

By 4:30 am, we were in Agumbe (the tallest & wettest place in Karnataka), small town in Thirthahalli Taluk where the fictious Malgudi Days made real by Shankarnag. I mean, its here that the ace director imagined and brought to life all features of Malgudi, a fictious town created by the legendary Indian writer R K Narayan in his novels. Agumbe is known as the “Cheerapunji of the south”. Cheerapunji recorded the highest rainfall in a day in India. Agumbe has that credit in the south. The sleepy village of Agumbe has its own charm unmatched. Many of the poets in Kannada have praised this valley of green through their works of art, immortalizing it.

Agumbe is also known for its Sunset view.

We reached the Sitanadi Nature Camp around 7 am

and in another hour after having breakfast, we started to raft on the so called Sita Nadi.

We had planned to raft for the long run(4 hrs – 22 kms) in the morning so that we would get enough time to do other activities later in the day.

Around 10 am we all geared up (helmets, life jackets, picked up a paddle) and were all set for rafting. 5 guides and 13 people!! The instructor gave us the formal instructions, like what should we do when we get fell off the raft etc etc… After a set of safety instructions, we all boarded into the raft. There was a nothing to keep camera and hence everyone decided not to take camera for the rafting, thats why we have not even a single picture of rafting, where we enjoyed the most 😦 . The fun had just begun.

The first few minutes we were getting used to the instructions(Forward, Backward, Right Forward, Left Backward and so many other, ufffff they made us confused) and synchronous paddling. A good rapid just passed by and we successfully crossed it. After half an hour or so, we stopped by in a calmer section of the river and everyone had some fun swimming (even the non-swimmers like Kanu and Vikram). All along the entire 4 hours, we guys had fun rafting, watching for a lots of birds (and at times screwing up the synchronization because of this), enjoying the evergreen forest trees and bushes, maneuvering the different rocks and trees which were on the way etc.

At the end of the long run (around 4:00 pm), we put the rafts back on the trailer-jeep and left back to the campsite. We guys were back at the campsite, freshened up and had some good snacks (hot onion pakoras, tea and coffee). We also made plans on what we should do the next day after the trek to Koodlu theertha falls. We desperately wanted to go to beach in Udupi after that but everything depends on the enthu and time.

Around 9 PM, all of us set to walk back to the dining place. It was getting dark. After having dinner, all girls went to sleep but guys enjoyed alot by watching Ravi Shankar’s BharatNatyaam 😀

Day 3: Friday, July 4th, 2008

Places we visted:

  • Koodlu Theertha Falls
  • Maravanthe Beach at Udupi

Next day morning by 7 am we had breakfast and left for the trek with packed breakfast.

A half hour drive and we were at the point where the trek would begin.

It was around 9:15 AM. A total of around 13 people with 4 guides. Guide gave us brief instructions that there would be a large number of leeches and that we should be prepared. The guides also distributed tobacco leaves and Neem oil to protect from leeches. Some people had their own way of going about the leeches (salt, socks over pants, etc…).

We set going and the guides joined us and Esher led the group 😀

So finally we were there – Koodlu Theertha falls at around 12:00 pm. A magnificent sight it was as the River Sita was taking a huge dip in the name of the falls. A few snaps and the entire group of people joined the place and the typical reaction (at first sight) of many was “Wow, this (falls) is amazing and the next moment, they would bend down to pick and throw the leeches away from their foot.”

It was 1:45 or so and we guys wanted to leave back (as the trek back would take easily 2-2.5 hours). On our way back, we didn’t stop much.

Day 4: Saturday, July 5th, 2008

Places we visted:

  • Bahubali Temple
  • Kudremukha
  • Lakya Dam
  • HanumaanGundi Waterfalls
  • Belur Temple

Bahubali temple near Karkala. It’s huge idol of Bahubali – carved from a single stone. It said to be of 1436A.D. (inauguration was done on 2/29/1436 to be precise).

The govt had decided to close the national park to visitors because of a naxalite problem, so we didn’t saw even a single monkey while crossing that National park.

Hanumaan-Gundi (Gundi=pit/hole) is one amazing waterfall surrounded by dense jungle and hills.

Water falls from a height of more than 100 feet. Somebody told us reaching the falls involves walking down about 75 steps, but we can only assume he meant 750 😦 We were relieved that we finally made it to the bottom (getting back up was another story altogether). We were not allowed to take bath in the water because of excess of water in the stream and very slippery rocks. There is a small (but deep) pond at the basin of the fall. Those who knew swimming exploited their skills to its full extent! We thoroughly enjoyed ourselves for the next 2 hours. The water was extremely cold and waterfall was like standing under a chilled shower. Tooooo good!!

After few photo sessions, dipping our legs in the chill water and bombing each other with huge water splashes using rocks, we climbed back up.

KudreMukh is a mountain in Chikmagalur district, in Karnataka, India. The name given to a peak of a mountain for it shape like a horse-face (kudure=horse & mukha=face) and refers to one picturesque view of a side of the mountain. It is noted for its scenic beauty, located in midst of mountains. The broad hills, 95km south-west of Chikmagalur town, overlook the Arabian Sea and are chained to one another with deep valleys and steep precipices. As yet undiscovered by tourists, Kudremukh is a trekker’s paradise. Three important rivers (Tunga, Bhadra, Nethravathi) are said to have their origin here.

Next stop was “Lakya Dam” located near the Kudremukha project area which is a pollution control dam used by the “Kudremukha Iron ore Company (KIOCL)”. However after stiff agitation by environmentalists, the supreme court of india had ordered the closure of mining activities by KIOCL by Dec 31, 2005. So, the Lakya Dam had no water but had tons of tailings (Mud) from the mining activity.

The temples of Belur and Halebeed were built around 12th century by the rulers of the Hoysala Dynasty. The story goes that the dynasty was founded by a young man called Sala who killed a tiger with bare hands.

Halebeedu, when translated from Kannada means old habitat. This was named as Dwarasamudra in the times of Hoysala Dynasty and became an ‘old town’ after invasion from Muslim Rulers of the north. As with most of the historic temples, this temple also has seen some damages. The deity of the temple is Shiva in the name of Hoysaleshwara who is worshipped in the temple’s two shrines even now.

The Belur temple is more known for the “Shilabalike” – the images of women carved in stone all around the temple. Each image is of a women doing different things or engaged in different occupations. They have interesting names such as ‘Shuka Bhashini’ for a lady talking to a parrot; ‘Darpana Sundari’ for a lady with a mirror and such.

The temple also hosts two of the largest Nandi statues in India.

The symbol of Hoysalas hence is a man killing a tiger. Halebeed was the capital of the dynasty where the temple stands. The temple of Halebeedu was constructed over a span of 190 years and remained incomplete. The Belur temple took more than 100 years to construct. The material used for both temples is soap stone which is soft and easy to carve when taken out from the earth but gets harder over prolonged exposure to the atmosphere.

The guide told us they are the 7th and 8th largest Nandi statues in the country. The carvings seen around the temple are amazing. Every inch of the wall is filled with art and the attention to details in each carving are surprising. Carvings on the circumference has 7 layers, bottom layer are elephants which are more than thousand in number, with each one in a different position than other. No two elephants are unique. There are stories of the Mahabharata and many mythological stories carved on the outer wall.The guide said that people hid the temple from invaders by covering it up completely in sand because of which the temple is intact. The carvings in Belur temple are as intricate as its counterpart in Halebeedu. The temple hosts an idol of Vishnu in the name of Chennakeshava, which can be translated from Kannada as ‘the beautiful Vishnu’.

guys dancing in the bus

Finally we were back to good(?) old(?) Bangalore around 3 am in the night with quite a few aching muscles and wet clothes/shoes/socks. Absolutely no cribs though!!! What a wonderful trip it was! The weather played it really nice for us to illuminate the natural beauty of the Agumbe and Kudremukha and to have a “NATURAL” experience!

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