Friday, July 24, 2009

Bijadi - Day 2

As is my habit when on a trek I woke up early and set off for an early morning walk. Traipsing through the village, soaking in the quaint sights of life there I wondered about the differences in the lifestyles of city dewellers and village folks. Jolting me out of the thought process were many birds including parakeets, barbets, koels, caucals, robins, babblers, treepies and wagtails. They all sat and posed for me. I still can't figure out how they knew that I was not carrying my camera along.

The thought of 30+ kms travel in the truck once again for our visit to Toodalli falls very nearly tempted me into stuffing myself with breakfast. I somehow resisted. During the journey some could not resist succumbing to sleep inspite of the discomfort.

There were others who enjoyed the scenes flashing by.

As the truck made it's way along the path we caught sight of the falls at a distance. It definitely looked quite for away.

Having come as far as we could in the truck we got down and started walking. Rains kept visiting us quite regularly. Some of the trekkers ahead of me spotted a viper. The light was very poor which prompted me to take out the digital camera and here is what I captured. (Wish I knew how to capture the snake too)

Rains had ensured a wet ground. There was a carpet of moist leaves. Ideal conditions for leeches. Surprisingly though we did not find too many of them. The path was not well defined and we had forgotten to bring along a sickle. Harish, Brijesh and Prashanth (organisers) however made way for us through the thick vegetation. Thorny bushes and plants had quite a few of us ouching and aahhinng. Strong currents in the streams that we had to cross compelled us to make use of ropes.

The roar of the falls grew louder and then... it was right in front of us. It was a magnificient sight and it took my breath away. The force was such that venturing anywhere near to the falls was ruled out. We stood on the boulders nearby and watched in awe Mother Nature's ability to combine brute force and graceful beauty in a single entity called waterfalls.

One can never have enough of such gifts of nature but we had to tear ourselves away and head back. A few of us were slightly ahead of the rest of the group and this gave us an opportunity to take a dip in one of the streams. Being the monsoon season water was flowing with enough force. That is all that is needed for a wonderful and relaxing natural massage... how could I pass it up? Soon the rest of the group caught up with us and we continued our trek back. Yet another curious creation of nature caught my eyes. Can you guess what this is?

At the last stream puliyogare and chips were waiting for us which made me realise it was time for lunch. Yet again it was a delicious lunch.

Kshitija nature camp was our next and last stop. The view of the sea was spellbinding.

Everyone sauntered around for a while. Coffee was served which was essential after the long ride in the truck. The plan had been to finish the trek and reach the base camp by 2 pm. However we reached back only a couple of hours later which put paid to our hopes of visiting Marvante beach before catching our bus back to Bangalore. Before dispersing we took a group photo.

The organisers did a commendable job in arranging this trek. It was one of the very well organised and managed treks I have participated in. Kudos to Brijesh, Harish and Prashanth for such wonderful efforts.

Bijadi - Day 1

A friend informed me that we would be going to Bijadi for a trek. This was being arranged by the Shimoga unit of YHAI. So on 10th night we boarded the Airavath bus to Coondapur. As informed by Brijesh, one of the organizers, we got down at Koteshwar just a few kms before Coondapur. Brijesh picked us up and took us to the base camp. Upon reaching we freshened up and had our breakfast.

The group size was now close to 40 as opposed to the initial planned size of 20. So it was a little late by the time we were ready to start for the day. After the introductions we split ourselves into two groups and got into the two trucks that were waiting take us to the starting point of the day’s trek. We got down near a temple after a strenuous journey to start our trek.

Our first visit was to the phantom caves. There is a udbhava linga and a udbhava nandi just as we enter the caves. Mr Raghavendra was very helpful in guiding us through the caves. As we entered deeper into the caves wading through the damp and sometimes slushy ground we saw udbhava murthis of Goddesses Lakshmi, Saraswathi and Kali. This place is very sacred for the localites. Mr Raghavendra explained to us that the yakshagana artistes from all over the region come here to offer their prayers and tie the gejjes (anklets). It is only after this that they go out to perform at other places. Another amazing thing we saw here was the number of bats residing in these caves. Their numbers were in thousands. It was very cool inside and it was a lovely experience. Unfortunately photography was not allowed inside the caves.

Mr Raghavendra then took us to a tree which is pretty big and quite old. A bit of fun and a photography session ensued.
From here we proceeded to our next destination, Turuvinakere. As we were walking towards the lake a curious event had us wondering. As we stood and watched the others behind us walk towards us it started raining. No, there is nothing curious about that but when you consider that the people following us were getting drenched and we were standing with not a single raindrop falling on us one cannot help but wonder.

The lake was beautiful and most of them enjoyed themselves by taking a dip in the lake. It was then time for lunch. Pulav with banana chips was served and I have to say it was really yummy. I was torn between not stuffing myself and giving in to the temptation of the mouthwatering pulav. I ended up somewhere between being stuffed and being content.

Post lunch we packed ourselves into the trucks again to go to the beach for our next part of the trek. It had been a long time since I had visited a beach. Stepping onto the beach evoked memories and an indescribable feeling coursed through my body. Eyes closed, I allowed the winds to engulf me. With every breath there was an invasion of smells from all things around us. Music of the waves glided through the air and into my ears transporting me to a different world. When I opened my eyes the waves playfully rushed onto the sands one after the other like smalls kids. The kids were running up to us, touching us or just stopping short and then running away again. As they went back into the sea they took away the sand from under our feet leaving us feeling empty and imbalanced.
We found some interesting things along the way.

Walking on the sands was a lovely experience. It was short lived though. A supposedly 6 kilometers trek ended way too soon but bondas and jackfruits awaited us. Mmmmmmm…… they were D-E-L-I-cious. I headed back to the place where we were staying while the rest of the crowd indulged in games filled with fun and frolic.

As evening descended upon us, we were informed that arrangements had been made at another place for our night’s stay. A little tired from the day’s activities we trudged along hoping to reach the place pretty quickly. It was not to be so. Our miseries were compounded when the dark skies opened up. The incessant heavy rains made our long walk drearier and longer.

Soaked to the skin we rushed into Anateshwara sabha gruha for a quick change into dry clothes. Good food awaited us for dinner. Campfire, a YHAI tradition, included performances, games, fun and frolic. It was then time for a good night’s sleep.

P.S: Day 2 coming up...

For photos from this trip click here: Click