06:30 AM : “Tea ready” screams were loud and un-welcome. All got up, some brushed, some didn’t. Everyone came out with their lotas (glass/cup). Had steaming tea, felt relaxed, throwing away the early morning blooos;). It was decided that we will trek to the falls, comeback and then have breakfast. The family head himself agreed to accompany us and show us the way to falls. He walked bare foot all the way.
It was an hour-long walk across the fields, green lands, forest and grassland. We had to cross a section of forest where water flows across the road. Had to carry the shoes across. One good thing about this trek was that there was no baggage on the shoulder.
I was in the very front, talking to the local head himself about the life in the forest, their cultural celebrations, familial occasions etc.
He said Deepavali was their major festival, and they worshipped Goddess Durga and Lord Ganesha in the village. Marriages at home consists of a three day long celebration with many people coming from all over and staying at their house all thru the season. Celebration happens at home itself, most of the times with the stuffs they grow, unlike the cities. His household had seen all the marriages, he meant all his children were married off, and his family had 8 people including three young children. Their prime food was “AKKI ROTTI” (rotis prepared from rice gram)
He also said that the forest officers and cops strained them by saying that they had occupied forest lands and they could be executed for the crime. When they carry a wood log, foresters come calling them, and wont return until these villagers bribe them. He expressed his displeasure over the behaviour of these officers.
We had to trek thru a thick section of forest where large trees were accompanied by little thorny shrubs, mountain kind of area and the shoals (sand breaks), slippery. It was getting more exciting and challenging, when we came across a river line, which we had to cross to reach the other side. Nayka asked us to walk bare footed from then, leaving away the foot-wear there itself, which we did. With pricking stones, thorny road and muddy lands, we walked bare footed to reach that corner of the road where water from mountains and forest assembled and fell from atop.
A three stepped, single threaded water fall fell from a distance of a few hundred feet at the first part, on to a big rock, then fell again taking a break, to a larger area where a lake was formed, where one could swim across. From there it would fall much deeper to much larger land and flow across a vast valley. Other side of the falls was a lush green mountain surface that waved as if to welcome us in a “Mexican wave” fashion with the wind that blew them off gently. To our astonishment, we saw water carving big rocks to make it hollowly structures with their sheer force and energy. Nature at its best was in display for us. All stood under the water fall which washed away our sins and negative thoughts, which blew away our tiredness and pessimism. Some people also swam across the lake that was formed with water falling on to the land. I couldn’t take part in this, even though I wanted to, because, I experienced a strange and sudden blanking of my eyes; everything seeming so blur and a happening in a different world. I was just inches away from falling unconscious. Dwarka advised me to keep my eyes shut and sleep for some time. It was tough to believe that I could be so much weak. I did as Dwarka suggested, and in mins time, I recovered.
We trekked back to Padu Beedu, took the same road as was taken during our forward trek. It was an exciting waterfall at Godangundi. Reached home, prepared avalakki and ate as if we never had food in last few weeks.
Prepared our bags and said Good Bye to the hosts. When I said that I would like to be their guest for three days every year, the man was happy and welcomed me by saying warmly “KHANDITA Baappa” (Please do come).
We had to trek back to Kattina Kaaru, 5KMs away to take a bus to Sagara. We started our walk at 12PM. This time though it was thru forest, it seemed more like a country road with landscape on both sides. During this journey we found a few prickles of Porcupine (Mullu Handi/ quill pig), which were shared among Usha and Manja. Usha also collected a peacock feather from somewhere. We reached Kattina Karu exactly at 1:30, when a bus flew away honking. We thought we missed the bus, but locals said bus was at 3:30 and we had to wait near the bus stop to get it.
Meanwhile, there was a bike that stopped just in front of us, with the rider wearing police uniform. He enquired all about us and after learning about Nayana and a few references he gave, cop stopped being inquisitive and kept defending his action. We let him pass off and headed to the bus stop. We waited for the bus till 4 o’clock.
A well-broken bus came our way. We all got in. Driver was struggling hard to change the gear and put the breaks, it was such a Dakota bus which could’ve broken down anywhere on the way. Road it took was phenomenal as we were traveling by the outer cover of Linganamakki backwaters. Bus was traveling very slow, so we had ample time to say bye to the catchy valley that treated us with its warmth and unpredictable’ness.
We reached a place called Kogaaru where the bus dropped us. We were still around 30Kms away from Kargal from where we had queried a vehicle to pick us up. While waiting for the same, we prepared maggi at a nearby hotel and had it with contention. All squeezed inside the 10-seater trax when it arrived. Reached Kargal at around 5:30-5:45PM. We boarded a bus to Sagara from there; no one of us got a seat, as it was crowded.
Reached Sagara, waited for trip organiser Mahesh. He had booked for the 10:30 Rajahamsa. Collected tickets from him, and freshened up at the same hotel, as Subbu and Manja decided to stay back at Sagara for that night. We all used their room for freshening up. Then took auto rickshaws to hotel Harsha Paradise for the dinner. It was an awesome dinner; brilliant soup was in store for us. All exchanged their experiences and gave some suggestions to Mahesh for better organisation of such treks in future. All seemed to be contended about the organisation, places covered and the way it was carried out.
That’s why they say life’s uncertain. Barely a few hours ago we were walking, had no association of people, but in a matter of few hours, we were again in the company of a crowd, were relishing hot and sour soup, visualising a lot of houses and some noise. Experiencing both of them same day, we were there.
We boarded our bus and were back in the maddening city by next morning.
It was a very much educative trip for me, where I met a host of good people, spent invaluable days in the company of forest dwellers, wild animals, cheering birds, rushing waters, cloudless skies, millions of stars, beautiful mountain ranges, artistic lands, and all the other exquisite things.
All in all, a refreshing trip, bout of much welcome change of environs, a wonderful experience of vanavaasa for three days :).
Disclaimer : Hope my account was not boring and wrong. Intension was to recollect all the minute details of it. I have hidden the host’s names purposefully.
Picture courtesy : Ganesh Kudva and Usha/Dwaraka.