My engineering classmates(Ctrl Esc group) had discussed several times for a trip with chains of email. But discussions never materialized into a plan. It didn't go beyond polls for short listing of places. Then, one fine day came an email by Naveen(Thode). He started the discussion with 'Sitanadi Rafting' in subject line. Within a matter of hours we came up with a plan and decided to travel on Aug 11th weekend. Surprisingly all of us were free didn’t had any important commitments and the trip was on. Totally there were 11 people(Naveen, Yeshwanth, Santosh, Rohith(+1), Venkatesh, Anil(+1), Anand & me ) on board. '+1' indicates like minded friends Rao and Suhas, of Rohith and Anil respectively. Naveen took the responsibility of organizing things and Yeshwanth joined him to book for Rafting activity conducted by Adreno.
Office to Home.
Friday 10th August, I did packing in morning itself and went to office by back up cab . I left office early at 5.30 pm. The journey back home was next to a nightmare. There was a massive traffic jam from silkboard flyover to Dairy Circle. Our cab driver took ‘n’ number of diversions. Somehow, he managed to drop me home by 7.45 pm(1 hr late than usual time). As per plan I had to be at Shantala Silks by 8 pm. I had my dinner in a hurry, took my luggage and rushed to Shantala Silks. I managed to reach there by 8.45 pm. Keshav( driver cum vehicle owner) had already arrived there. He was giving lectures to Venkatesh, Santosh and Yeshwanth on how much amount he had invested for interiors of the vehicle. He also instructed us to handle all the windows with care. Wow, do’s and dont’s by a driver, first time experience. (more about Keshav in the end.)
Hebri, Adreno Farm House.
We departed from Shantala Silks at 9 pm. Our first destination was Hebri. The shortest route to Hebri is via Dharmashtala, Karkala. Due to bad condition of NH-48 we decided to take an alternate route via shimoga. (Bangalore->Shimoga->Theerthahalli->Agumbe->Hebri)
Actually Farm House of Adreno falls was on the way to Hebri. i.e. between Someshwara and Hebri. Since we didn’t opted for accomdation option in package of Adreno, we had to book for a facility to sleep overnight. We reached Hebri around 7.30 am. Actually we didn’t do any advanced booking for lodge thinking that in a place like Hebri accomdation will be available very easily as there won't much demand. Unfortunately we found that, there are only 2-3 lodges in Hebri and all rooms were booked in advance. Then we called up Sharath ( our contact @ Adreno)and updated him our status. He adviced us to finish basic ablutions and breakfast in Hebri itself.
Hotel Durgaprasad, Hebri
We had breakfast at Hotel Durgaprasad (next to bus stand) where majority of us had delicious Menthe Dose. After the breakfast we left to Farm house(4 km from Hebri), Sharath was not there. He had left to rafting start point 2 kms away from the farm house. We went there and found out that there are many people with the rafting gear on. The first batch of rafting had already commenced. A half an hour delay cost us hours, as we had wait for next batch at 12.30 pm.
We did a timepass by taking photographs here and there, in and around the Farm House. Time was 1 pm no signs of Sharath. Finally the adreno guy came at 1.30 pm. Due to time constraints we decided to skip our lunch and straightaway headed for rafting. I met my ex-colleague Prem Krishnan (of morning batch), who had left our company recently. He had come the place with his new colleagues.
At 2 pm, we gathered at starting point of the rafting route. The organizer got the raft boat and gears in a trailer. Before starting off, the organizer asked us to sign a disclaimer.
Sanjeev and Kishore were our instructors. First Sanjeev explained in brief about the activity. He instructed us to wear jacket and helmet. Since only water proof cameras can be carried while rafting, we took snaps with the gears on before handing over the camera to Keshav.
It's the time for rafting
Then Sanjeev gave rafting instructions. Like how to sit in the boat. How to hold the paddle. How to paddle front, how to paddle back. He explained how to swim in case we fall down from boat. He also mentioned that he wont be giving too much instruction as it would lead to confusion.
The rafting started at 2.15 pm. Sanjeev was instructor for boat-1 and Kishore for boat-2. I was in boat- 2. In our boat there was big synchronization problem. The 2 guys who were not part of our group, were not paddling properly. The 15 km stretch was tough in patches. We lost control in one point and went sideways. One of the protruding tree branches struck my head. The curiosity for the need of helmet was quenched in a flash. The route was not as tough as described by Suhas and Anil ‘n+1’ times, as they had done rafting in Kullu recently.
The 15 km trail was very scenic. It reminded me of Hollywood movie Anaconda where protagonist go in Amazon river for exploration. I missed my camera very much, couldn’t capture the moments. Next time for any aqua activity I make sure go with a waterproof camera case.
Kishore used various instructions for navigation. all forward, right back and left forward, left back and right forward. The two guys( of other group), always used to be confused with right and left. This resulted in sync problem and we lost the rhythm momentarily many times.
Finally the rafting concluded under a bridge. It took 3 hours to complete the stretch and I enjoyed every moment of 15 km stretch. My long wish of rafting in Sitanadi was accomplished.
From the end point we went back to farm house by an auto. We had chappatis and chutney powder as late lunch. After having bath, we left the place at 6 pm.
98454 0767, 94481 66970
Our agenda for the next day was to visit Jog Falls. So we headed towards Kundapur, as there was fair chance of getting accomdation there. First we went to hotel Sharoon. All rooms were booked in it. Our accomdation hunting ended few block away(can’t recall lodge name). Next we went to Hotel Kinara(Kundapur beach) for dinner. We were guided to this place by Suhas, he had stayed in Kundapur for 20 years. After having dinner we came back to the Lodge and slept immediately.
Morning we got up at 8 am. For us it took a while to get ready as bath room light was out of order. Lodge people took a long time to fix it. By 10 am all were ready. We had breakfast at Hotel HariPrasad. There Idly, Vada were not good whereas Uppittu was eatable. After breakfast we started our journey to Jog Falls.
We decided to go via Honnavar to Jog Falls. The route to Honnavar was bad in patches, due to incessant rains condition of NH-17 seem to be tending towards that of NH-48. On the way we halted at Marvanthe Beach for 15-20 minutes. Thode broke the jinx of not seeing a beach in his life so far. After a brief photo session at the beach we decided to move on.
Enroute to Jog falls we had pit stops at 2-3 places. One of them was at viewpoint of Shravathi valley. I had traveled on the road 6-7 times in last 2 years, but each time I crossed Shravathi viewpoint either it was night time or I was in a KSRTC bus. So didn’t really got a chance to see the valley from the viewpoint. When we were at viewpoint it was drizzling slightly, so the view not so clear, as we had seen in some travelogues. After taking photographs we continued our journey towards Jog Falls.
View from British Bungalow
We reached the place around 3.15 pm. First we decided to go british bungalow view of the Falls. In the front page snap of the morning newspaper, the falls seemed like Niagara falls. We were expecting the falls to be in same condition. But we were not so fortunate, the condition wasn’t the same as in newspaper snap. The intensity of water had reduced. But the volume of water was way more than previous three times I had visited the falls.
First we went to viewpoint of Rocket Falls. In a matter of minutes it started raining. Fortunately we had a shelter at the viewpoint. Before proceeding to see Raja Falls - the ‘Mungaaru Male’ spot. We came back to parking lot and took an umbrella. Then I went with Venkatesh to see the Raja Falls.
Mungaaru Male Spot
The way to the Mungaaru Male spot was very slippery. The sufficient water would have flowed in the area for last 4-5 days. We managed to reach quiet near to ‘Mungaaru Male’ spot, took photographs and came back to parking lot around 4.15 pm.
Next agenda was go to the main viewpoint. The british bungalow viewpoint is in uttara-kannada district, whereas the main view point is in shimoga district. To commute between viewpoints, one has cross bridge across Sharavathi river just 100 metres behind waterfall upstream.
There was a big hiccup as we were about to enter the bridge. The expected massive traffic jam(mentioned in morning newspaper) had turned into a reality. The distance of main viewpoint is around 2km from the bridge. We decided to get down form the vehicle and walk, because if had continued sitting in the vehicle, it would have been dark when we manage to reach the viewpoint.
After walking a km we came across a guest house on right side of the road. Next to that was Rani Falls’s(4th fall) viewpoint. This is the closest viewpoint. One can see water descending 900 feet, just 2-3 metres away.
The bumper to bumper traffic more horrible than it seemed initially. The main culprit was a trailer (more than 50 meters in length) carrying a huge transformer to one of the power generating stations. The trailer was standstill on the road, and hence resulting in traffic mess.
Then we headed towards main viewpoint and reached the point at 5.15 pm. When we reached there the view of the falls was completely covered with mist. The place was crowded like anything with thousands of people.
Awaiting for Mist to clear
All would have come to see Jog Falls in the form mini Niagara. (I feel they were a day late, as the intensity of water had reduced). As soon as mist cleared there were huge cheers and whistles. The atmosphere was like a cricket stadium when someone scores a boundary or a sixer.
The cheers were short lived as the mist covered the view within a minute. This process continued for next one hour, as the falls was playing hide-n-seek with the spectators. We tried to capture the moment with cameras, but couldn’t get clear view even for a moment and had to compromise with partially misty view.
At 6 pm we decided to leave. We found that that Naveen(Thode) was missing. Then we thought he might have already gone towards the vehicle. While going back we searched for our TT in bumper to bumper traffic. Later we found that our vehicle parked next to a chai shop and Keshav sitting in chai shop munching hot bread-omlet with tea. Suddenly, we realized that we had skipped our lunch in afternoon. We joined Keshab and had omlette,lemon rice and tea.
In the mean time Thode also joined us. After filling our stomach, we decided to start our journey back to Bangalore. On the way back we had dinner at Shimoga. At 4 am early in the morning we were back in Bangalore, concluding the trip which materialized after 100+ emails in a chain. Thanks to Thode for organizing a successful trip.
This guy just rocks. According to Rohith ‘Keshav’ is one of the mystery of the trip. He is one of the unique drivers we had come across so far. When he used to feel sleepy, he stopped the vehicle and slept for a while, whereas in the same situation others drivers would have slogged .
The vehicle which he owned had stickers all over the place. We stumbled upon one of stickers “Ninnade Kannu Adaru Neenalla”.
Ninnade Kannu Adaru Neenalla
These fours words have a lot of hidden meaning. It’s left to your imagination.
Keshav’s one liners were integral part of the trip. His dialogues kept us entertaining throughout the trip. I have never seen such an outspoken driver so far. Well, his driving skills were also exceptional. The control he had over the steering was just amazing!