Sunday, August 24, 2008


A Dream Journey!
Manadaladalli…eno onthara…ello onthara...

Don’t ask me why I have kept the story title as Kodachadrigaaa…? You will enjoy reading the same in my story for sure. This dream journey is loaded with fun and beauty. I have experienced it and wanted you all to experience what I have experienced. All I am feeling right now is what I am sharing in the story! Bon Voyage!

It was 14th August, 2008 and TS as always called me to check on what are the plans for the long weekend?

August 15th till 17th was a long weekend and we were all desperate to go out of Bangalore and keep ourselves away from the routine stressful work. I and TS were ready to go but we were not sure of where to go!!! TS called me more than 10 times to check where can we go as everywhere it’s raining badly and difficult to plan for a trekking camp. Finally, we decided to go to Shimoga and camp there and depending on the rain we can go out to places. Since only both of us were ready, I thought of checking with my other friends too. Doc! As soon as I asked him to come, he was all ready to come. When he asked where are we going, I said “Male illa andre Kodachadri…male idru Kodachadri” (means if its not raining lets go to Kodachadri, if its raining also lets go to Kodachadri) which made him laugh like mad and finally he accepted.

When I was in office, I just pinged (Gtalk) Srivatsa! That’s when he also showed interest in joining us and he offered us to go by his Black Panther! (Ford Fusion). Without a second thought I agreed and now we are the team of four who were all set to leave in the night. Srivatsa was asking me where are we going and where will we stay during these three days for which I answered we will go to shimoga first and then decide on the other places. For staying, we can stay in our friend’s place or in any temple! He was shocked by my response and finally said OK for the plan.

Since it was a very busy day for me at office, I had scheduled lot of calls in the evening. My work was scheduled to be finished not earlier to 11 pm. So four of us had decided to leave by 11 pm and drive through the night and reach Shimoga in the morning.

At 7 pm TS called me and told that lets leave in the late night as we can reach Bhadravati to see the BRP Dam which will be full because of heavy rains. I told him that lets leave Bangalore as scheduled and if we reach there early, we can sleep in the car itself.

As planned, I finished up with my calls at 11 pm and asked Srivatsa to start. By the time he came to my house I was ready and I got in to the car and started to Hebbal where we were supposed to pick up TS. While we were on the way, we were talking so much that srivatsa drove the car on the divider near to mekhri circle. We had to get down and push the car back and take it on the road. We were lucky that nothing had happened to the car. Thanks to me as I noticed the divider and warned srivatsa to apply brakes!

We met TS near the Hebbal fly over and picked him up and left from there to pick up Doc. We were so unlucky that we got stuck in a heavy traffic jam on the ring road after BEL circle. For a change, TS gave an idea that we can take the car back and go through the BEL Circle which will directly take us near Doc’s place. We took the same road as per TS’s suggestion and ended up on the road which was under construction. We had to come back and connect to the main road and then take the right deviation to the Doc’s place. TS was hungry and he had called Doc while we were on the way and had asked him to pack some fruits for us. Doc got in to the car with the fruits which relieved TS’s hunger to a certain extent.

By the time we actually left Bangalore, it was 2 am. Now, finally our 3 day journey began and srivatsa with full swing drove his car like a jet which made us reach Coffee Day near to tumkur within 45 minutes. We had my favourite Tropical Iceberg with Chocolate Sauce with some veg rolls. We loaded our tanks fully and also our car with full tank petrol.

The next stop was at Tiptur and from there I started driving and reached Arasikere. All along the way, we were listing to good songs from all the new Kannada and Hindi movies. Thanks to Srivatsa as he had the whole collection of good songs and the music system in the car was just awesome. After reaching Arasikere, again Srivatsa started driving and we had planned to stop only at BRP dam. We reached the place and it looked like our sleep got washed away as soon as we saw the spectacular scenic water flowing out of all the doors BRP Dam. All the four gates of the Dam were open and there was so much water that we could not even stand straight near to the flowing water. So much force it was carrying out of the reservoir. We took a lot of photographs and videos of the scene.

TS had planned to take us to one of his uncle’s place in the Kuvempu University Campus next to the BRP dam. I was all the more excited to visit the university once and the kind of campus they had built was attracting us since a long time. Luckily we got this opportunity to visit their residence where we were to fill our stomach with a very delicious breakfast. They had prepared Idlis and Dosas for us that were very tasty and a coffee after that made our day. We were started feeling that the whole trip is worth just because of this one visit. After the heavy breakfast, Pruthvi – TS’s relative, took us out for a round and wanted to show us how beautiful the campus is and how good the forest surrounding the campus. He was explaining us on the types of animals that are there in the forest and how calm the campus will be. We spent about 1 hour with him outside and had a very good walk. I was jumping as usual which made Srivatsa to click some stunning photos of my crazy jumps. After all the jumping and walking, we were set to click some good photography shots as we were trying to catch Butterfly’s and birds. Luckily we got quite a number of good shots and thanks to Canon! Without which I would not have clicked the best shot of my life. All through our visit, the rain had stopped and it was just drizzling. After the continuous rains for one week, the day we went there made the rains to calm down and open gates for us to visit them. Lucky we and our camp! And it was a Happy Independence Day!

We left BRP at 12.30 pm and reached shimoga by 1 pm which took us to Shivu’s place (TS’s brother). This is the place we were planning to come and halt for the day. Since it was a festival on that day, lot of sweets and delicious lunch was awaiting us. As soon as we arrived, Ajji (TS’s grand mother) made arrangements for the hot water for us to take bath. I was the first to take bath and other three followed me and we were all set for the lunch innings to begin. TS’s sister-in-law and Ajji both were very caring and showed lot of concern towards us by serving the food. Obbattu! It was very long time since I had this sweet. We had all the items prepared for us nicely and all our stomachs were full.

After a while, we went to Shivu’s factory and there we met Jagadish (TS’s 2nd brother). He is a laughing stock. Whenever we meet him it will be a very good time with him and hilarious moments to enjoy. Jagadish went to some place on his official work and we planned to visit two places that day. One is called as Kudli – here two rivers will meet at one point and will flow as a single river. This place is 18 kms from Shimoga town. Tunga and Bhadra are the two rivers which flow as Tungabhadra from this point. The place was astounding and we were shocked to see so much water on that day. Thanks to the heavy rains which gave us this spectacular view. We clicked a lot of photographs and then returned back to shimoga. From Shimoga, Shivu got down as he was feeling uncomfortable because of headache. Only four of us drove down 18 kms to reach one more reservoir called as Gajanur Dam. This again is a spectacular reservoir to watch. We were unlucky here as they were not allowing us to go on top of the dam because it was under some construction of the power generation unit. This made us to stand at the side of it and watch. TS was very hungry and got us all the kharapuri which was really very khara and made us to eat a chocobar ice cream too! This visit was also wonderful as there were lot of dialogues exchanged between four of us and especially with Doc as he was desperate in searching for a good girl to get married. Time went by in pulling Docs legs and we returned back to Shimoga.

As we reached Shimoga, Doc was searching for a medical shop! (Who knows what he was searching for). Since I was feeling hungry and wanted to have honey cake, I took them to a bakery on the MG Road. Doc found his medical shop there and took what he wanted and we all had the honey cake and packed some juice and food for our next way. We were planning to go for a movie but since Jagadish was not there with us, we could not go for the movie instead we ended up meeting Vishveshwaraiah (TS’s mava) at Shivu’s factory. It was nice meeting him as we discussed a lot of issues of interest which kept us busy till 8.30 pm. After that there comes the issue of Belief in God! Shivu raised this topic which led to a lot of arguments and finally settled with no answer as always. We came back home at 9 and by that time Jagadish also came back. We all had our dinner together and watched TV. Jagadish entertained us more than the TV which made us get tired and set to sleep. Finally slept at 10.30 thinking that we need to leave early next morning as we had planned to visit Kodachadri peak! The plan was to Trek Kodachadri in the morning and get down by the evening so that we can reach Siganduru for the night halt. That’s what the plan was but anyway good night!
------------------------------------------------------------end of Dream Journey 01!
We were planning to get up early (atleast by 5 am) in the morning but when I got up at 5.30 am, these guys were still in a sound sleep. Finally we all woke up at 6.30 and took quick showers. Shivu asked me whether we are eating breakfast and then leaving or taking the parcel for the way? For which we all agreed to have the breakfast and leave. Hot chapattis were served with delicious chutney followed by a very good and strong coffee. By the time we left house, it was almost 8.30 and we went searching for the gas station to fill the Panther’s tank. Fully loaded tank, from shimoga left towards Hosanagara. When we reached the deviation from where the road connects to Hosanagara, we were feeling like we are driving on the heaven! What a beautiful sight to our eyes. Both sides fully covered by greenery and a very nice road with light drizzles. It was just WoW! And our cameras did not wait too long for us to click photographs of the astounding scenic greenery. We stopped at frequent intervals as all along the way we were just stuck with the beautiful views. Srivatsa was telling “this was the wonderful drive I have ever had”. All along the way, lovely Kannada songs were tuning into our ears.

We reached Hosanagara and we took the road to Nagara which is the way to Kodachadri. As we are moving towards Nagara, rain was playing in its own way sometimes heavy showers and sometimes just the drizzles. We reached a place where we saw a lot of lovely kingfishers. We stopped and waited for the photographs but it was too difficult to catch even one kingfisher in our cameras. Unlucky kingfisher! It could not come into our cameras. Without spending too much of time, we left from that spot and we entered Nagara. As we are entering, we were welcomed by a beautiful fort. We clicked couple of good pictures of it and moved on. We reached a beautiful spot where there is a channel flowing and a check dam built on the same. The water force was too much and gave us good shots for our camera. That’s where our Doc got a little hyper when he saw a row of hills covered with vibrant green landscape. Doc went to an extent of changing his nurses’ uniform colour to vibrant green in his hospital. All the best Doc!! From here whenever Doc says uniform, we relate to these hills covered with vibrant green. We reached Nagara and took the way to Sampekatte (the name is given like this because there is Sampige mara with a good katte built for it).

Sampekatte is a place which connects to Kodachadri and from this place one can start trekking. There are two routes to Kodachadri: One is from Sampekatte and the other is from the Karekatte. Most of the trekkers will take the Karekatte route because the trekking experience will be good from there and the Sampekatte route is just the Jeep route. We were a bit confused as to which route we need to take as we need to park our vehicle in a secured place. We enquired with people over there and asked them we need to park our vehicle in a secured place and at the same time we need to trek from Karekatte side. People were shocked as Karekatte is 35 kms from Sampekatte. Finally they suggested that we can park our car in a place called Kattinahole and from there we can take a jeep and get drop till Karekatte. This was a great idea and we decided to do the same. Since it was raining and we were sure of leeches in the peak, we packed some salt and limestone (will tell you how it helps in the later paragraphs). We started towards Kattinahole which is 6 kms from Sampekatte.

Here comes the best part of our 3 day camp. Wow too good to tell and too good to miss! We were almost 4 kms from Sampekatte and we were not sure where Kattinahole is. We thought of stopping and asking with someone. We were all bachelors and as soon as we saw a girl there, our car stopped by its own. I opened the window and asked her how to go to Kattinahole. She is a simple good looking village girl and she was willingly assisted us by telling us the right way. She said “keep going in the same way; you will get one Vigneshwara temple (lord Ganesha) and one Aanjaneya temple (lord Hanuman) after these two temples, the next village you get is Kattinahole”.

Till here nothing happened. We said thanks and when we were about to move, there comes the best part of my story: The girl with her innocent face, asked us…… Kodachadrigaaaa…?

Wow! It was just wow… what an expression she had while asking that question; how do I express it in my story? No… I cannot express the same here. It was the experience that all four of us carrying even now. Kodachadrigaaaa…? This question is still humming and giggling in our ears!

Anyway as she asked this question, we were lost and I don’t even know what we answered her! We left from there but in the corner of our minds we were not willing to move and worst part is that there was one seat left in our car. For quite some time, all of us were silent and looking at each others faces and asking nothing but Kodachadrigaaaa…? Her expression was priceless! She was a simple and good looking girl with lot of innocence with in. I liked her very much (rather all four of us) and started thinking and recalling her expression of her saying Kodachadrigaaa…? Phew! It always happens that you feel good within whenever you see what you wanted to see… don’t you?? We all will have some expectations of how your girl should be and Kodachadrigaaa…? The expression answered and matched the same. We were unlucky because this happened with in no time and it’s all past now. Only thing which is left within us is the expression she had on her face! Whenever we think of it, we will feel out of the world! And will take ages to come back to normal.

Did you also like??? Kodachadrigaaaa…?

We reached Kattinahole finally and parked our vehicle. There is a hotel which offers lunch and jeep services to the peak. We checked with the shopkeeper Gopal; he offered us to drop us till Karekatte at some cost. We agreed as we were desperate to trek from the Karekatte end. We had the good lunch there in the hotel, packed some junk food for our way and got in to the jeep. Gopal was a very good natured person and he is running this business from quite a number of years. He has seen a lot of people coming to Kodachadri and he was telling his experience on his business now that more and more people are coming to Kodachadri. I and TS were also sharing our experience of us coming to Kodachadri in the year 2002 and there were hardly a few people who used to trek to the same. Gopal was also mentioning that government has sanctioned a road and has allotted 13 crore rupees for the tar road till the peak guest house. This disappointed us a lot. Finally we reached the Karekatte spot and got down from the Jeep. Gopal offered us to call him if a jeep is required while coming back for which we said we are going to trek back in the night. Giggles!

It was 2 pm when we started climbing. I and TS were remembering the time when we trekked in 2002 and sharing the same with Doc and Srivatsa. We had climbed the peak in heavy rain and lots of leaches. Wow that was one very good experience as even 6 years later we are able to recall each and every move and dialogue of that camp. Listening to us sharing our experience, Doc and Srivatsa were excited to get the same experience. It was not raining too much this time but still, as we started climbing, rain started pouring heavily. We prepared ourselves to face the leeches and packed our legs with some salt as leeches will fall down as soon as it touches the salt or the limestone. As we started, we could see a lot of leeches attacking our shoes which made us to run. It was wonderful inside the forest and a perfect view for our cameras. A lot of photographs on the way and we were enjoying each and every step of our climbing. TS recalled each and every incident happened at different spots enroute to the peak. So much happiness, so much fun and such a good experience of feeling the nature! Where, when and how many times you get when you are working in Bangalore????

Hold on… forgot to tell you one more illusionary experience. Oops when we were climbing whatever/whoever comes on our way was asking the same question… Kodachadrigaaa…? Wow… it was simply awesome. Just imagine a leach coming to you and asking Kodachadrigaaa…? With the same expression behind it. One more to add to it is we have named that Kodachadrigaaa…? Girl as Rooopa! Don’t ask me why! But we did name her as Rooopa! Phew! Too much isn’t it??

As we were moving we met two more people on the way. Preethi and Rajesh started trekking from the Karekatte route at 11 am in the morning and we met them half way to the peak. Rajesh was obviously carrying more weight with the camping tents and other things than Preethi with one moderately weighed backpack. Both were newly married couple and working at NXP technologies Bangalore. We introduced ourselves and moved on saying all the best to them!

We reached the guest house at 5.30 pm and saw a lot of crowd who were already occupied the guest house. They all came by jeep and were staying that night in the guest house. We were in a dilemma whether to stay back or not for which we finally decided not to stay! And lets do the night trek.

It is still 2 kms to the peak and we started climbing. We had a good fun and Doc was on his heights to make fun and all along the way we were just laughing. At frequent places we clicked lot of photographs. When we were about to reach the peak, we saw a huge buffalo standing and blocking our way. We were all scared as to how do we cross the same??? Oops! Its Doc who took the lead… it is too funny to explain you guys how he crossed that buffalo but of course gave us confidence to cross the same as well. We met a very big gang who are all from Bangalore working at different companies. One of them was Murthy! Who introduced himself and was checking with us whether we came by jeep or trek? After knowing the answer he was quite shocked and said “there is no one in our gang like you guys otherwise I was very much interested in trekking”. We reached a point on the peak where in it was too awesome and attracting our cameras to click a shot. We reached very difficult spots just for the photographs and which made the other big gang to open their mouths and just see us and nothing else. Finally we reached the final point on the peak called as Sarvagna Peeta! This is the place where there is a temple kind of a structure built for a god called Shankaracharaya! We clicked few snaps and then went back side of the peeta. Murthy came there and was talking to us for sometime and we were sitting and eating the goodies which we had taken. There comes one more couple to the peak. Rekha and Karthik from Hassan; even thought these guys came by jeep, we could see a lot of leech attacks on Rekha’s leg and that’s when we offered them some salt. They were quite pleased as we also offered them some biscuits as well. They wanted us to click a photograph which I did click and made them smile for a while. They had got a torch with them luckily. It was 7.30 pm and was getting very dark at the peak with light rain showers. Rekha and Karthik wanted us to accompany them till the guest house and were scared to trek down till the guest house. We as usual with our good sense of humour, made their way easy. Hold on! We are lucky here as they offered us to go with them in their jeep till Kattinahole. Since we were already experienced the night trek from peak till here, we agreed to go with them.

Phew! It was easy to climb down than taking the jeep. That’s what the feeling we had while sitting in the jeep. Jeep driver was experienced to the core and knows each and every stone on the route. We finally reached Kattinahole and washed ourselves. I went and offered Karthik and Rekha on our contributions for the jeep journey. For which Rekha said “No no no no no ….. You have done so much for us and we do not need anything else and also we have not paid anything extra to the driver”. We were of course happy and wished them happy journey!

We were unlucky that Gopal could not offer us the dinner at that time as it was 9.30 pm. We then said that’s fine and moved on. We were supposed to go to Nittur and from there we had to take the Siganduru road. But somehow we missed a left turn and road was so good that Srivatsa didn’t even stop to enquire with someone. We saw Chevrolet Tavera – Rekha and Karthik’s vehicle and started overtaking the same. We overtook them and were moving in a very good speed. We somehow got doubt that this is not the way to Nittur as the road to Nittur is not this good. So we had to stop and enquire. By then Tavera passed on. We came to know that we are 6 kms away from Nittur and we had to go back. Phew! Now we are on the right track and went all the way to Nittur and from there we took the road to Siganduru. Doc and TS were asleep and I was also yawning and sleeping at times. Srivatsa luckily did not get sleep and our car finally stopped at Siganduru. The hotel was closed and we had nothing left to eat but for a big bottle of Maaza. We had maaza and went into a room in the temple and took the mats and slept off! It was 11.45pm when we slept. Good night again!
----------------------------------------------------------------end of Dream Journey 02!
It was 5 am in the morning and the temple staff came and woke us up and asked us to take shower to get ready for the pooja at 6 am. We were a bit lazy to get up and take shower but we had left with no options. We woke up and went in search for the bathrooms thinking that we will get hot water. But there was no hot water and we had to take the cold water bath!!! Phew! As soon as I poured the cold water on my head, I was like… hooooohhohhooo! I can’t express that here sorry!

We finished with the temple activities and we were feeling very hungry as there was no food in the night. 6.30am we went to the one and only hotel of Siganduru and ordered idli, Vada, buns of two plates each! It was too tasty to have it that early and filled our stomach. Packed some junk stuffs for our way (including lollypops). We left from there and reached the place where we need to get in to the Launch (Steamer) to cross the backwaters. We parked our vehicle and since we had time till 8 for the launch to arrive, we were enjoying the scenic beauty around and clicked lot of good photographs. Launch arrives at 8 and we boarded the launch and started our aquatic journey! It takes 30 minutes to cross the backwaters and while we were on the way, srivatsa clicked some photographs and for him this is the first time he is taking his car on the launch.

After crossing, we took our way to Sagara where Shivu was waiting for us to get in. Yes! He joined our journey on the last day. Luckily he had packed idlis for us from home. We picked Shivu at Sagara and left to Jog falls! Phew… too awesome to watch Jog in this season. We went to the usual view point first and clicked some photographs and then we thought of going to the Mungaru Male spot; the point where the water falls from top. We had to park our car on the main road and before we left, we thought of eating something and went in to a small shop. The shop keeper lady was very kind and we ordered khara puri for all of us. After getting to know that she had akki rotti also, I could not stop tasting one! I and srivatsa took one rotti each and enjoyed eating it and in the mean while Doc and TS had chittranna. Shivu was satisfied with a lemon juice he himself prepared in a bottle. One good learning here is that the lady was using the rain water which was collected on top of her shop to clean the dishes. She said “Every evening before I go home, I clean the top sheet so that the fresh water gets collected by morning”. Too good isn’t it???

Now! the dangerous scene of our trip. We just followed Shivu where in he took us to the edge! Phew… THE EDGE and there is no life beyond it. But it was awesome experience. So many people were staring us and scolding us from where ever they were. It’s the extreme edge and if there is a slight slip also there is nothing after that. Shivu asked me to hold the tree at the edge and look down once which I did and I did… wow! Too good to see and breathtaking. We clicked some best photographs there and while going back, Srivatsa clicked best shots of a green Snake which was posing from a tree.

TS and Shivu wanted to go to one more spot there for which I refused because it was already 1.30 pm and we were to reach one more water falls which is 60 kms from where we are and return back to Bangalore as early as possible.

We left jog and took the route to Siddapur and then the route to Unchalli waterfalls. It is about 38 kms from Siddapur and we reached there by 3 pm. It was a spectacular view to the water falls but we all were unlucky because no one could see the falls because of the fog covered. That much water was just falling. Finally we returned back; while returning Shivu took a deviation which led us to a beautiful place where there were small waterfalls. TS and Doc missed it as they did not follow us. Me, Srivatsa and Shivu enjoyed the place for sometime and clicked few good shots and returned back to the spot where we had parked the car. We had tea there in the tea shop and left the place thinking that we have to come back once again when there is less water.

While we were returning on the way, we experienced the one which was not expected. Accident! Hold on… nothing happened to any of us. There was a KSRTC bus coming from the other end and Srivatsa was driving the car in his super speed and at the turning we came to know the bus is coming from the other end. Both bus driver and Srivatsa applied sudden brakes and luckily nothing happened but the major happening was missed in a second. Had the bus moved one inch more to the left, it would’ve gone in to a steep side and the next day we would’ve read it in the news paper. Shivu the craziest of all, when this accident happened, he was taking video of the same. Phew! I don’t know what the driver and conductor would’ve thought about us but the whole event was crossed without any tensions for either parties. There were few scratches on our car which is manageable.

We all were hungry and all set to have the idlis Shivu had got for us. But we were finding it difficult to find a place where water is available so that we can stop and have the food. Doc was shouting at srivatsa to stop the car. Finally we stopped at a very good and awesome looking place where there was a hut and deep well. We had our food there (it was not enough though) and then left to Shimoga. On the way we also had stopped the car to eat Pine apples. Wow it was too tasty and we had the whole lot of pine apples that the shop keeper had it with him. Guess how much we paid for each??? Its 5 Rs each.

Finally we reached Shimoga at 7 pm and left shimoga at 7.40 pm. We had our dinner at Kadur at 11 pm. Out of belief that we left we left kadur at 11 pm and we reached Bangalore – Nelamangala at 1.30. 200 kms in just 150 minutes - now you know how good Srivatsa at his driving!

We dropped Doc at his place and TS to his place at Hebbal. I was unlucky that srivatsa did not drop me home as he could not drive more. I got down at Mekhri Circle and took an auto rickshaw and reached home at 2.45am.

Well before I say good night! This is the dream journey of all four of us to keep ourselves away from the routine stressful work which made us enjoy experience and rejuvenate ourselves in the forest and out of the world. The question Kodachadrigaaaa…? Is still humming in our ears and if we just think of it, we will be refreshed. By the way… Kodachadrigaaa…? Is no more a question. It’s an expression of Rooopa which is priceless!

Good night! Don’t ask me Kodachadrigaaa…? Until you say you have experienced it!
Hope you enjoyed an awe-inspiring Dream Journey! Of Srivathsa, TS, Doc and myself
Documented by Srikanth on 24-Aug-2008 at 12.08 pm.

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