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 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!


Madikeri/Coorg Trip

May 24, 2008

On 16’th May 2008 we started for one more dream destination “Coorg” in Karnataka, the state which is known as “Scotland of India!” & “The land of warriors, coffee and spices. This trip was also planned for weekend but this time not only boys, we included so many people from other teams as well. Again our plan was to cover as many as tourist places possible…and this time it was happened and for this full credit goes to just Dev oh! sorry sorry its DEVARAJAAAA 😀 But our leading lady sorry GIRL Varsha who took the initiative for this trip was missed the trip because of some personal reasons 😦 but we didn’t miss her much. Our trip to Coorg was very eventful. We covered:

  • Madikeri
    • Omkareshwara Temple
    • Raja’s Seat
    • Talakaveri
    • Triveni Sangam >> The best place of the lot 🙂 only swimmers allowed !!
    • Bhagamandala
  • Kushalnagar
    • Kaveri Nisargadhama
    • Dubare
    • Golden Temple

1st Day: 16’th May 2008 Friday:

As we need to pick up all, we started from our office itself and then move ahead. After picking all,at last it was Kanu left, she made us circle around bangalore city for IG Circle, thats where she lives. Finally at 10.30 we found IG circle. So finally after picking Avani, we left around 11 pm via Mysore. On the way lots of things happened. Avani’s elder sister was not much used of bus journeys, so she was very uncomfortable in whole journey. Srikanth and Dev sat together in the bus, Srikanth was on windows side, after some time Dev told him to move to other side as he wants to sit next to window. And then one blunder happened. Avani’s sister did vomitting and everything come over Dev coz he was on window’s side Yuk!!! He was in cream trousers before that happened and it became chocolate brown, coz didi had chocolate icecream before boarding the bus 😀 Then we told kaushik and Srikanth to get some medicine for her, but don’t know but in search of Doctor, they got missed. But all these things made our journey colorful and filled special colors on Deva’s trousers 😀

2nd Day:

17’th May 2008 Saturday:

It was 4.15 am when we reached Coorg. We checked in to “4 season home stay” that we had already blocked. Homestay was not very extraordinary but still it was nice. After doing some rest, around 9am we all started our journey. Our first destination was Dubare.

  • Dubare

This is mainly an elephant-capturing and training camp of the Forest Department, at the edge of Dubare forest, on the bank of the river Kaveri, on the Kushalanagara – Siddapur road. Wild elephants are captured from the forest and trained here with the help of tame Forest Department elephants. The tame elephants are brought down to the river to bathe in the morning, and tourists may be offered elephant rides or invited to help in feeding the elephants.

We reached the beautiful beautiful place by 9 in mrng. than had breakfast & few guys from our group were too much into the weird hairstyles who clicked & clicked after one very elegant lady.

The mobile nest well, afterwards was the big decision to make… to cross the SCARY river (cauvery) by boat, or to raft through (into still waters, r u kidding me… wts fun in rafting if u have to drag ur boats the whole way.) or to just walk through, water trekking u know. (which was actually very much possible & fun, only if we, the adventurers wudn’t have taken the wrong route in first place, we got stuck in mid & had to return back to shore… ) but we clicked a lot of pics, fell, slipped & compete thru whole way back, but hands down Kanu came out to be the clear winner after falling 19 times while crossing it only half the way. Most of people tried to give her tough competition tough and srikanth(QA), who claimed to be the swimmer of the group and point of contact ICE, walked all the way on rocks to avoid getting wet,( he says his intentions were, to walk away from water, so that he can dive save lives if anyone drowns !! but everybody knows the truth :D) but he got wet anyways on the shore, courtesy: everyone. So after all these and some fake photos of rafting, to show it back to our friends ;), we decided to cross the river via boat. The great steamer – before getting inside the boat, there were few dumbos fighting in the queue .. Kanu took responsibility of answering them!!

On reaching the other side, where there is elephant inhibited forest and the forest dept catches, tames, trains and cares for the elephants and offers elephant rides to the tourists. We roamed around the place which is not advised to do so as we went to a wild elephant capturing trap and the official there had to come screaming & running after us to get us away from there. Thankfully we didn’t understand what all he said other then few words like trap & wild animals… After waiting for almost an hour we decided to give elephant ride a skip to much of kanu’s dismay as she wanted to ride the elephant so bad.. (god knows y? no no even god dint know 🙂 ). we decided to give water trekking one more chance…. and we are so thankful that we did, it was so much fun to cross the river by walking through it. It was just awesome!!!

  • Talakaveri

The origin of the River Kaveri. Talakaveri isin the Brahmagirihills, about 4,500 ft above sea level. The river emerges as a small perennial spring, but flows underground again to emerge a short distance away.Here in Talakaveri there is a temple built for goddess Karveri (Cauvery).

After Dubare, we started out for Talakaveri, (we had lunch in between, the south indian buffet, which didn’t look so Delicious, but was eatable enough).

we visited the temple where the auspicious cauvery river is born. The temple is built on a little higher plane and offers a magnificent view of the valley below. From the temple there are steps going up to a small hill, where supposedly rishi vashisth use to meditate. we heard from highly unreliable sources that you could even see kerala boarder from the top of that hill. All of us went ahead to the top of the hill, it started drizzling on the way up. The view from there was just breathtaking… it was too good, but we couldn’t stop & take in more of that scenic view, coz by the time we caught our breath reaching on top, it started raining very very heavily. Some ppl (Srikanth(QA), Srikanth, kaushik) had a tough time climbing the steps there. Sumit and Kanu were too fast and furious 🙂 . Devaaaaaaaaaaarajaaaaaa disappeared as he saw some girl in some other gang!!

  • Triveni Sangam (The best place we all have ever seen in our life.) Life becomes complete only when you jump here !!

It is on the banks of the confluence of three rivers, Cauvery, Kannika and a mythical river Sujyothi, to form the ‘Triveni Sangam’. Srikanth qa and Sumit had a wondersful TEA there.. everyone missed the tea !!

  • Bhagamandala

It is situated at the Triveni Sangam. The temple here, built in Kerala style, has smaller shrines dedicated to various gods.

  • Raja’s Seat

Soon after this, we hurried to the Raja’s seat. The Raja’sseat is so called because , according to legend, the kings of Kodagu spent their evenings here, at this vintage point, watching spectacular sunsets. Overlooking a deep valley is the delightful garden, this is a favourite tourist spot in Madikere. The lovely flowers in full bloom and the fascinating view of the winding roads made the visit a memorable one. The garden also hosts a musical fountain show in the evening (similar to one in Vrindavan Gardens – Mysore).

Musical fountains at Raja Seat

After visiting Raja’s seat, we headed to Omkareshwara temple.

  • Omkareshwara Temple

The OmkareshwaraTemple, dedicated to both Shiva and Vishnu, is almost 200 years old andis a surprising blend of Islamic and Gothic styles.It has a Gothic and Islamic style of architecture was built by Lingaraja in the year 1820. The Shiva linga installed inside the temple is believed to be brought from Kashi.

3rd Day:

18’th May 2008 Sunday:

We checked out from the hotel at 7 am and started our downward journey to Kaveri Nisargadhama.

  • Kaveri Nisargadhama

This place is built in a natural Island of River Cauvery. It has cluster of wooden huts, Boating, Elephant Safari, Hanging Bridge and a Deer Park as some of the Attractions.

After having very nice lunch, we started our downward journey to Bangalore. In between we stopped for more than an hour to visit Golden Temple. The campus consists of a big dormitory at the entrance, 2 temples, a prayer room (here we witnessed a big group of young monks recite prayers aloud). The domes of both the temples are Tibetian looking — colourful andsloping at the corners. A remarkable feature of the temples is that they are studded with colossal, colourful wall paintings that are detailed uptothe smallest square millimeter. Inside one of the temples is a huge hall in which there are 3 gigantic, gold plated statues, the centre one being that of the seated Buddha. The place below the statues is covered with colourful floral decorations andlamps. Some say the place gives you a feeling of being in Thailand! On the whole, the temple emanates a sense of peace within.

  • Golden Temple

Its a tibetian monks temple. Beautiful temple with sculpures and many paintings. Even you can have some shopping there. This temple is situated in the Tebetian collony.

Since it had been more than 2 months thinking for going to trip. So, finally when Avani told us that she is going for her sister’s engagement and she won’t be in Banaglore for next two weekends, so without missing a single minute we asked Nidhin and decided to take a risk as there is no guy in our team, just 4 girls (GIRLS GANG) and made Waynaad our prime destination.

This trip was planned for weekend that means just 24 hours stay. The plan was to cover as many as tourist places possible…But it is not very often that things go as planned and it is even rarer that you get more than what you expected.

And finally the day came when we had to move for one of our dream destinations “Waynaad” in Kerala, the state which is known as “GODs own country!” 26’th April 2008 was that day.


26’th April 2008 Saturday:

According to plan we had to start early in the morning so that we could see the sunrise. So, even being girls for a change everyone got ready by 4:00 AM :D. But our taxi(Taxi No. 420) came late and we started at 6:45 am. I don’t think there is any need to say how much excited we were.

Wayanad is a hilly district in Northern Kerala. Wayanad derives its name from “Vayal nadu” which means Land of paddy fields. With its unique and peculiar geographical position, Wayanad is blessed with mist clad mountains and picturesque valleys. It is situated at an altitude of 700 to 1200 meters above sea level.

We just want to reach there as soon as possible so we didn’t told our driver to stop anywhere in between, but he wants to fresh after a drive of 4 hours so he stopped car himself before taking a turn for Bandipur National Park.

Road was clean and we saw great scenery and we did not leave this opportunity. Being photo freaks and ever ready for capturing scenes as well as ourselves we started clicking pictures. Not to miss, we carried laptop along with us as two digital cameras were not enough for two days 🙂

We were enjoying the beauty of Kerala. It’s really very green and that greenery is too dense also.

On our way, we crossed Bandipur National park, there we saw lots of monkeys, deers and a baby elephant as well. Baby Elephant was looks like a newly born and scared, bcoz everybody was taking his photographs. Avani just loveeeeeeeeees animals, she didn’t like that, so she told our driver to inform forest officers about that elephant.

We had decided to make Kalpetta (which is also the district headquarters for Wayanad) our base. We reached Kalpetta Town almost at 12:30 pm; here we had already booked a tree house for us. As we checked into a resort we started talking to the owner about the places worth visiting in Wayanad and we shortlisted the spots that promised to be most exciting and challenging. Then owner showed us 2 more cottages in that resort but they are not tree houses so we decided to stick with that only.

Atlast we entered into tree houseo, actually it was not a tree house but it was made up on a pillar so we can say it was a Pillar House, toooooo good. We clicked lot many pictures of our pillar house and after that we all took bath and got ready to explore beautiful Wayanad.

We had our breakfast. While going for Waynad visit, owner handed a tourist guide for Wayanad, although he didn’t know much about places but still we were happy that we have somebody with us to show us something(As we all know that something is better than nothing). The first in the list was ”Edakkal Caves”. This is supposed to be the biggest caves in India. This is almost 40 Km from Kalpetta town.

Girls without Shopping……….nah doesn’t suit. We all shopped from stalls put up at entrance of Edakkal Caves. Shopped items were Porch Swing, Hats, Bangles, Cardamom etc.

After Edakkal we all except Param were very excited and keen to see Soochipara waterfalls. One of the problems in wayanad is difference between two  tour spots is at least 30-40 kms which means lotsa travel one of the reasons Param preferred to go back to pillar house instead checking Soochipara waterfalls.  Rest of us were enjoying travel time. Rain started spreading magical showers, it was awesome to watch wayanad soaked in rain. On the way we encountered beautiful coffee estates, really wanted to capture in camera but due to time constraint couldn’t make it.

Way to Soochipara

Finally we reached Soochipara but our hard luck 😦 it gets closed after 6:00 PM. Hence moved back to Pillar house. Once back to Pillar house all we wanted to do was Eat and sleep. As mentioned earlier all of us were fussy about food. Finally we ended up gulping Idlies. In addition to this we prepared Maggi and Bread Poha ourselves and relished it. As soon as we filled ourselves we planned for next day with owner and told him our preferences about food. Avani asked him with killing smile if he could arrange for Dosa in addition to idly. He wasn’t sure about dosa. Next day we planned for Kuruva Island and thought if time permits might as well cover nearby places. Once back in our room it was fun teasing rather scaring Param that any animal can come in night so be careful. Forgot to tell you some friend of Param told her kerela is not safe for girls to roam in the evenings. You can imagine amount of fun we had scaring her [;)] After tiring day we slept early as had targeted to leave pillar house by 8:00 AM.

Day 2

Everybody set their alarms and Avani was suppose to be first one to take shower but Varsha got up first after 5 minutes constant alarm sound set by Avani. Varsha was the first one to get ready and then our army followed same sequentially as we did not want to waste time. Morning view of resort was mind blowing. At one end you see small pond and the other filled with banana fields. One has amazing feeling inhaling fresh air. Place was untouched by pollution miles and miles away. Param and Varsha went to prepare Bread poha for lunch. Owner came with Idlies and dosas and Avani was so elated after all owner had listened her plead [;)] We had few photos with our hats and made payment in resort and headed towards kuruva islands.

Another problem in wayanad was language and yet other was signboards………..we lost our way twice. Thinking of island we all were so excited and had beautiful pictureseque of it. Finally we reached Kuruva Islands and first sight of it blew off our excitement….not at all what we had expected. Saw little water and couple of boats. All with saddie saddie heart thought lets click few pics atleast. Later on realised its what we had assumed as island was just way to go to island. Finally we reached to island via boat. We hired a guide over there and he told us we have to do river trekking here (there were several small river patches). River trek was fun. After river trek we went for bamboo rafting which was awesome though very short.

Finally we started for Bangalore. On the way we played Dumb Charades. Kanu amongst us is superb player. She was given movie (Chak de India) Guess she was acting like beggar………to enact “de” in Chak de India 🙂 We reached bangalore at 9:00 PM. Everyone exhausted yet planning for next trip 🙂

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May 1, 2008

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