Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Monsoon drive to the magical valleys of North Kanara

Retracing the same route traveled some years back is always fun. And I do not mind going to the places I have already visited any number of times if I like the place. One such trip happened this monsoon. Two years back, TS and I had visited Manchikeri which is near Yellapur in Uttara Kannada district and we had explored many waterfalls in that area and we thought this time we should take our wives along with us as well. So five of us including Lavanya, Soujanya and Srivathsa decided to retrace the same route which TS and I visited 2 years ago. The only additional place we thought of seeing was Dudhsagar waterfalls. Thanks to TS's friend Ajit, we got to stay at their 2nd house which was vacant and we even got to taste the yummy food his mom cooked for us on all the three days. 

The best thing happened during our journey was our trek to Benne hole falls. It was raining heavily and the forest floor was full of leeches. The trek was even more better because only five of us were there in that place. It was a nice to walk in the rain, and on slippery rocks with leech bites allover and passing through amazingly huge trees. After a steep descent into the valley, Benne hole came as a surprise in front of our eyes. We were just there and it was amazing to see the spectacular waterfalls. Looking at the way it appears and flows into the valley, I must say it has got the apt name. 'Benne' (in Kannada) means Butter and 'Hole' means river. It was nice to sight many orchids, fungi, lot of geckos, smaller streams, many wild flowers, insects and many more in those thick woods while walking. 
Magnificent Benne Hole Falls

Ficus and the Rock

(Utricularia flower and the gecko)

Cup fungi

Huge tree trunks near Burude falls

On the second day, we visited Magod, Jenkal Gudda, Sathodi and Kavadi kere. I always like visiting Magod for its sheer beauty. Bhedti river amazingly flows and jumps down the huge valley. One more key difference in this place is that people cannot play in water. Because its a huge valley and one will be watching it standing at the opposite side of the waterfall, it is not possible for people to jump into the water. May be that is the reason there are less number of people. Even if they come, they will not stay for longer time. They just stop, see the falls and leave. There are a lot of exceptions anyway; and those exceptions are more than enough to spoil the place. Sighting the flight of Great Hornbill crossing the valley at Jenkal Gudda was the best thing happened to me on that day. It was really a great experience.

Orchids on the way to Magod ~ Oberonia sp

Gorgeous Magod in its natural composition

Bhedti river jumping down the cliff

Mist magic at Magod

Majjige hole falls seen from Magod

Beautiful tree, mist and the Magod falls

Mornings at Magod are always filled with magical mist

Valleys of Jenkal Gudda

Great hornbill flight at Jenkal gudda

Malabar Melastome flower

Sathodi with a rainbow

Blue evening at Kavadikere

Reflection of the temple at Kavadi kere
Although I liked our journey, the good times we had and the places we visited, I was extremely disappointed to see the places getting degraded day by day. Blame the tourists or their senseless behavior when it comes to keeping the places clean. I was disappointed to see so many tourists at Sathodi and the garbage pile up all along the way. I think some of the places are going out of control and any kind of conservation programs will hardly do any positive impact. People are getting easy access to the wilder places, roads are being built, roads are getting wider at some places, tress are being felled, concrete structures are being built to accommodate more people to sit and spend time, and it goes on and on. 

Mandovi river jumping down the valley at Dudhsagar
Habenaria sp on the way to Castle Rock
And yes, I should make a special mention on our visit to Dudhsagar waterfalls. All these days I was thinking I should visit Dudhsagar and see Mandovi river falling through those huge cliffs. I had also heard that it is a nice walk on the railway track to see this beautiful waterfall. Drive through the thick woods of Dandeli and reaching Castle Rock is fun and I also could see a lot of orchids and beautiful flowers all along the way. The moment we reached Castle Rock railway station, I knew I made a mistake getting there. There were more than 100 or 200 cars parked in the station and the station was full of people. We did not even know that we could take the train to reach Dudhsagar station. After getting to know that we can take the train and come back by the evening train, I said to myself, this is going to be a disaster. It was raining and we had locked the car and parked 500m away from the station and thinking that we will have to trek to the waterfall, we did not even carry our wallets. TS had some money and he could buy tickets only for one way journey. So we were mentally prepared to walk back 14 kms. There were at least 1000 people or even more. Imagine a train with 15 coaches full of people (sitting and standing) getting down at one station. Now you know the number. I was very disappointed and wanted to return back. Folks forced me to go till the waterfall and then return. So, effectively I was at the waterfall only for 10 minutes and started walking back. All along the track I could see only people walking shoulder to shoulder. If someone had taken a aerial photograph of the track, it would've looked like 'people falls'. Oh, garbage dump? perhaps, 10 goods trains full of garbage can be collected if at all someone is willing to do this herculean task. 

More pictures you can visit my flickr set here



Anonymous said...

Super pics maga.. loved each one of them !! ..

- Sudhi

Raghu said...

Photos are really awesome

Narasim Katary said...

The photographs are wonderful, both technically and subject matter.

The one I liked most was the Mandovi River cascading down the rock face surrounded by lush vegetation

The two large Burude Trees are making love and you chose to disturb their privacy and intimacy. Do you want to be cursed like Pandu?

The problem of careless tourists despoiling nature is a global phenomenon. In India, the numbers are overwhelming. The calling cards that they leave behind is a shame. There is no easy solution to this except through visiting permits and a strict enforcement of "No Trash Left Behind" regulation. Regrettably, fines will be taken as seriously as traffic fines now.

Thanks to your exceptional photography, I do not have to endure the vast number of tourists and still vicariously enjoy the breathtaking beauty of nature. said...

pls elaborate on the route taken, by bus or car.. how far one place to another..