Thursday, September 25, 2008
Kayaking, Camping and Trekking in a paradise
When i heard that there is going to be a water sports and Camping in Sharavathi backwater...It was a great thrilling moment for me. Because after about 8 long years, i was going to touch 'mother Sharavathi'. As usual i am very attached to this river, to its valley and to its people. This is the only major river which takes birth in Karnataka, even though it is for a short distance but flows in Karnataka, serves kannadiga's by providing 30% of states electricity needs and finally finishes her journey at Honnavar in Karnataka only!!!.
Sharavathi backwater is about 60 KM in length and about 15 KM wide !!!!. It became backwater when dam was constructed at Linganamakki of sagara taluk in Shivamogga(Shimoga) district to the river Sharavathi.
As i had some work in Sagara, I had gone there bit early and i had camped at Sagara. Johny coordinated the camp members at Bangalore. They hired a Qualis, and started off from Bangalore on 5th Sept Friday night. Another camper Shashi joined me at Sagara directly from Karwar, where he had gone on a vacation. We all met up at Sagara on 6th Sept Saturday morning at Sagara. Had a Morning tea and left to our base camp. Base camp is about 25KM from Sagara and we reached reached the place by 8:30 AM. Ravi, who is camp coordinator at this place, was ready with equipment at the water front. We wasted no time on the main land, we just fastened ourself with life jacket and hoped in to waiting coracle and left to one of the island, where we supposed camp. While we paddled coracle to our camp place, every one was quite! watching the beauty of backwater was an awesome moment. There are plenty of islands along with ocean like backwater and these islands are covered with thick rain forest vegetation. As we paddled through these amazing islands, we were in the camp site within no time, even though it is about a KM+ of paddling. I heard murmur of campers "we reached so eaarrllyyy is it? :-p".
Dharmanna, our cook, was really in fast mode and prepared "Uppittu" quickly. We had stomach full breakfast. That tomato uppittu was really yummy !!!. Had tea along with breakfast and got in to action quickly. I called up every one for the equipment briefing and after brief introduction we all moved to different island for the practice session. I briefed everyone about how to swim with life jacket and how to float on water while watching that clear blue sky surrounded by thick vegetation filled islands. As everyone was eager to get in to water, all of us started off with the floating session. Initially it was a small round near the shore. Once we got the confidence started off swimming in to deep inside. Our guides team leaders Ravi and Ashok were monitoring us on coracle to instill confidence in us to swim where ever we feel like. In the backwater there are plenty of dead trees. Some tall one among them were visible above the water surface. These tall trees branches were inviting us with open arm..!! So we made them as target, kept on hoping between them...! It was a great fun. After a while, It started pouring...It was nice experience to float on water when it was rainging from top. We spent good amount of time in Swimming/Floating on water. Even that huge anount of "uppittu" which we had stuffed in to our belly got digested quickly...! So we called off this session, hoped in to coracle and headed to our "Kitchen" island, where Dharmanna was preparing the hot lunch.
We wasted no time...Everyone arrived with their plates, like in jail :-p for the lunch. All of us squatted on the ground with sleeping mat spread. Dhrmanna served the hot food, and all of us relished the rice, sambar, pickle, pappad etc., After the lunch we rested for about half an hour. Then we started of our islands exploration in the backwater, which was main part of our program. All of us hopped in to 2 coracles and started off. It was breezy evening, with cloud dancing on our head, waves on the water surface were playing rhythmically. Our coracles too were giving company to these waves and so we too :).
After a KM of paddling, we took first break and our photographers were busy clicking the various posture of this mother nature. We decided to move to another island which was again at a distance from here. As soon as we reached that island, our main photographer, Johny declared that this is the best place to watch the sun set..!. Everyone agreed and waited patiently. No uttered any word, everyone were observing the "Mouna Vratha". Like everyone enjoying the rhythmic beats of waves to the shore, chirping sound of birds in the island and the moment of sky getting red...all these made our stay in the island heavenly feeling.
But we were not so lucky..! A thick wave of clouds just moved in and positioned themselves and blocked the sun like herds of Cows and Buffaloes squatting in a busy Bangalore street. I think all of us experienced these moments in Bangalore :-p. We still waited patiently while cursing the clouds. But happening on the sky was not favoring us. But sun on the sky was doing hide and seek between clouds. So Johny and Shashi were busy clicking photos of what ever scenery they got. After a while finally sunset was over and sadist clouds were rejoicing looking at our disappointment :-(.
As it was getting dark, we decided to move to our camp island. As the sun was set, and the clouds were still around in the sky, it was getting dark quickly. With heavy hearted, we paddled slowly towards our camp island. everyone was silent, waves were too. Only sound audible was that of paddles hitting the water and that of bird chirping in near by islands.
We reached our camp island and pitched the tent immediately. By then Dharmanna had prepared "Kashaya" and was waiting for us. This "Kashaya" is a local drink, which is made by powder of various routes. This powder is mixed with milk to have it. It is prepared in same as how Tea prepared, but instead of tea powder this powder is mixed. All of drank this like water and finished it within no time. It was chill over there, so our guide Ashok sensed this and quickly arranged the camp fire as were troubling Dharmanna in his cooking process!!! by sitting around firewood stove.
So we all moved to the new camp fire and settled there.
Even though we wanted to have a fun time around camp fire, nobody was interested as of us were tired to the core. Just in couple of mins dinner got ready, as all of us were hungry after a long paddling, so quickly got ready to have food. It was a full meal with Chapathi, curry, rice, rasam and finally 'Payasam' (sweet). Everyone enjoyed the dinner and went in to their tents and and dozed off !!!. It was a sound sleep. At around 5 am, it was like water poured on us!!!. All of us woke up to see it was raining outside. As we wanted to breath fresh air, we opened all tents ventilation and we were sleeping. So we had to have this unexpected shower !. We some how we covered these and tried to sleep, But i did not get the sleep. So i got up and started off daily routines.
It was beautiful scene in the morning to see the calm water, the silence around us and the birds song. Near our camp site there were 3 small islands, so we made one of the near by island as a toilet island exclusively !!!. All of us got in to coracle and moved to this island to relive ourselves :-p. Many of us swam back to the camp island and had hot Tea. Johny and Shashi were busy shooting morning beauty of the location. After a while every one got in to water and had a nice morning swim. It was time for breakfast. Todays special was "Akki Rotti and saagu" the combination was just superb....
I called up everyone to brief about our next activity "Kayaking". Kayak is a single men paddling boat, which is fun to paddle around. As everyone was eager to have ride, assembled within not time. After briefing one by one tried a small ride and once they got the confidence, everyone took for a long drive. It was time for lunch. But none of us were hungry as we had tucked in lot of 'akki rottis' in the morning :-p.
But still we finished lunch formalities and decided to say good bye to these islands.
Everyone hopped in to coracle with their belongings and started back to mainland after 2 days of isolation :). After reaching mainland, we started off our last leg of our program, which was to trek to 'Devaragudda' to have panoramic view of Sharavathi backwater and the valley. Till 'Gubbagodu' there was a track, but later there was no track and the climb was getting tough. As we climbed we could see the heavenly valley in different view points. Finally we reached the peak and the everyone were screaming, shouting and dancing in joy. Everybody's question was that "Is that where we played and stayed for 2 days?" in disbelief !!!. After spending sometime and photo shoot in the peak, we started trekking towards 'Alahalli' on Jog falls -->Sagar Road, where we suppose to catch bus back to Sagar and then to Bangalore. We reached 'Alahalli' 5:20 PM and caught a bus to sagar which was about 10KM from there. It was a fantastic, memorable weekend for all of us. All of us were asking 1 question that "Do we have a place like these still on earth? !!".
Photos of our Adventure Water sports and camping Faliclity in Sharavathi backwater
A Blog on our new Adventure Water sports and camping Faliclity in Sharavathi backwater
The Sharavathi Nature Trails.....