Day 1 Saturday 13th of August 2005We waited until after noon contemplating to go for sita devi or pondicherry. After having lunch at “dal roti” we decided to view “Mangal Pandey” at Innovative Mutiplex. And the evening was spent having dinner at Nagarjuna. Meanwhile we got a call from Bhaskar saying his cousin reached in evening from Mumbai and they would go ahead and do the booking. We played along and said yes sportingly. Pondicherry was to wait for some more time in future.
Day 2 Sunday 14th of August 2005
I got up at 3:45 AM in morning and wondering how would I manage the dogs of JP Nagar when they give me early morning scare. As time flew, I got my focus shifted from dogs to loo to day ahead. Carrying the load to yesterday’s digested food byproduct I started the Passion and picked up Harshad enroute to Bhaskar’s residence which is in Mathikere. Off we went at about 5:30 AM with tankfull of diesel and Tata Indigo on NH4 until Tumkur where we switched over to NH206 or BH(Bangalore-Honnavar) Road.
After few hours of highway driving and regular breaks answering nature we reached tiptur and stopped at Tiptur to have delicious Idli and Wada and a minor glass of chai. After breakfast, we had to leave NH206 at shimoga and take diversion to Tirthahalli. I guess it was NH13. The forest drive was beautiful with monsoon lakes and thick green cover. Here I missed carrying the Handycam.
We had to wait for Manju, another cousin of Bhaskar to join us from Mangalore. We snatched a quick glass of chai to refresh our nurves and then went ahed on the beautiful highway. We passed through Agumbe which is known as cherapunji of the south. Down we went though thirteen hairpin curves to reach a small village few kilometers before Sita Nadi Nature Camp site where we had our lunch. Nothing significant about the lunc but the place was selling lots honey.
Sita Nadi Nature Camp:
Only BSNL had network so my phone was utilized for making calls. We continuously bugged ManjuNath the organizer for direction and meeting. Finally we saw the raft and the river. The riven was making noise but otherwise the jungle was quite. A guy with long hair described the precaution and necessary instructions and after some confusion we set sail along with Rupak the guide, tight lifejacket, helmet ,spade like oar and 4 more guys from Oracle.
Their were initial butterflies but after 10 minutes of warm up and intial rapids we were attenued to what was coming and began enjoying, shouting, teasing ,listening to jungle’s quite ,kingfisher’s fishing and darting across, going through tree branches trying to save our skin against getting bruised, swimming in the corner and jumping down a rock. All the while guided and inspired by Rupak who helped us negotiate through stones and broken trees and their branched.
After about three hours of fun we came back in Jeep passing Hebri on the way which is only 4 KM from the camp site.
Back to Tirthahalli:
The remote security pad of the car got wet and was not functional and the moment we put in the keys and opened the lock the car would scream in alarm. Vicky found the power supply of the alarm in bonnet and got it disconnected and even the blinking went off after five minutes. We took a sigh of relief and began our upward travel.
But our woes did not end there. After few hairpin as we gained heights, clouds too followed suite and covered up the way leaving us clueless about the way forward. Some of us were having our head out of window and guiding Bhaskar until we crossed Agumbe and then the downpour began with the roof of car making noises equivalent to skeletons dancing onto tin roofs.
Finally we managed Tirthalli and checked into Mayura hotel. Rs 200 for double cot room and 300 for triple cot room. Somehow got through the dinner and slept.
Day 3 Monday 15th of August 2005The day was Independence day for us. I got up at about 6 AM and was surprised to see hot water coming through one of the tap and was motivated to take bath despite the wet weather outside. Walked along half a kilometer to meet river Tunga in full muddy glory negotiated herself through rocks , trees and bank. Called up parents and wife and came back to check out and took the upper road enroute to Sagara.
Vicky got inspired to get a stick cut out of paddy field fence and we had the flag ready to be waved out of running car. We shouted patriotic slogans and obtained quite a response from people passing and especially from children parading alongside road with their own band and flag.
We had Roundbhajji and bun in breakfast at Ripponpet and then rejoined NH206. We reached Jog falls in afternoon and our first glimpse was faded out by the cloud cover. Within five minutes, the clouds had moved on and drifted along the sky opening up the veil and the four waterfalls were in front of our eyes in full glory. Beautiful, is all we could say. As we followed the streams downward journey and the clouds forming as they kissed the earth which was about 960 feet below. At one place they were forming a circle with water stream on the left and cloud formation on the right.
We had lunch at Sagara and snacks at Pai Hotel in tiptur as we reached Bangalore in the night.