Getting there: Purushotham was fallowing my blog since from long time, which i did not know. one fine day he buzzed me in gmail and asked me "if families can visit for the camping". I was very happy, as my wish was to make program for everyone including ladies/girls as these people get very rare opertunity to do these activities. Instantly agreed and directed him to make the reservation for the travel. Accrodingly he reserved the tickets to Shimoga in train. Totally there 4 families if his friends and collegues. And best thing was that he decided to get his small (1yr 8months old) baby for this aventure program :). She was very livevley all over the program, which made the program further interesting!. I also had other group coming for the hard trek, We traveled in Sleeper Bus to Sagar. We reached Sagar by 7:00 AM, I got down at Sagar and then Our trek guide Narayana continued the journey in the same bus till Kargal. Purushotham and team were traveling in train as they had advance reservation, they took Bus from Shimoga to Sagar and landed in Sagar by 8:00 AM. Our local BUS, which takes us to Basecamp was ready. We all got in to waiting BUS and traveled to basecamp. It was about half an hour journey. We all got out of BUS and trekked down for about 15 mins to the camp site.
Welcome to Basecamp: By the time we reach the camp site, our crew were ready with equipement and breakfast was also ready. We requested everyone to get freshen up quickly and come for the breakfast. Menu was "UppiTTu and KeSari Baath with oGGaraNe AvalaKKi" and then there was this "Kashaya". This is a local drink like tea/coffee. This drink is made out of powder of some roots of the plants, which are available in Jungle out there. It is delicious and very healthy drink for the local weather. All of us had heavy breakfast and relaxed for a while under the tree. By then Subbarayaru family also joined us for the program. Subbarayaru family is well known in that area and very nice people. All of us relaxed for a while and decided to start the Activity.
Acticities: First activity was to get used to water, so fastened the life jacket and flunged in to water. This time ladies were brave than men ;-) !. They were very comfortable with life jacket and plunged in to water but few men were reluctant as they did now know the swimming. After litle confidence building talk they all ventured in to water and we swam/float for some time by hopping between dead trees which are visible above the water surface. It was a great fun time for all of us. Then we all came out water. Next activity was to learn coracle paddling. I briefed about coracle, its features and paddle details and then i took one by one in coracle and taught them the paddling technique. Everyone quickly learnt the technique and all oof them practised the paddling for sometime. Later we decided to shift our activities to Camp island. We loaded our backpacks in to coracle and 4 of us got in to each coracle. As there was not much of wind it was easy to paddle and in an about an hour of paddling we all landed in Island.
By then Our cook Dharmanna had prepared "Petrol" for us!!!. Its actually a orange coloured juice, which was looking like a petrol. So someone named it like that !!!. We had nice juice and realaxed for a while. It was time for lunch. Menu was rice, sambar, pickle and papad. All of us had nice lunch and relaxed for a while. Then we decided to start our next activity, which was to go on Island exploration. All of us got in to coracles and some in to raft and started off the expedition. After an hour of paddling we landed in an island which was so beautiful. We parked our boats and walked along the shore. As SUN was getting set, Birds in the island were rejoicing the pleasent weather and thier chiriping was apt music to ears. When i was walking along with the shore, i noticed a hole on the ground and i peeped in to that. To my surprise, i saw "Common Indian Monitor Lizard". I think becuase of my foot noice it was getting to the hole dug by it. By the time i called camera man, it went in to the hole completely. Weather was very soft with cloud around the sky. We all had litle snacks and had juice again. After little chill out there we decided to move to another island to view the sun set. We could not have nice sun set view as there were thick cloud blocking the sun. We decied to pladdle back to the camp island. After an hour of paddling we were back to the camp island.
Night Camping: By the time we reach island, camp fire was on and Dharmanna had prepared 'Khashaya' and and hot "Mirchi Bonda". We all sat around camp fire and bonda/khashaya. It was time for fun time. Some cracked jokes, some did singing and some shared wild experience. Dinner was ready, but we decided to have it late as were feeling full with lots of mirchi bonda inside. After an hour or so finally we decided to have dinner. Menu was Chapathi, palya, rice, rasam and Hesaru kaalu(Moong) Payasa. It was delicious dinner. All of us had stomachfull and sat around camp fire for sometime. As we were tired, we could not sit for long and we decided to retire for the day. Oh what a sleep i got! i slpet till 7:00 in the morning, which i do very rarely!. I usually wake up by 5:00 in the morning...but today it was lazy morning.
Marning Raaga: All of us woke up and paddled to different island (Named as "Shit Island"!!!) and finished our routines. By then Tea was ready all of us had tea and relaxed for a while. We decided to have breakfast and then start the activity for the day. By 8:30 breakfast was ready and we all moved to kitchen. It was "Akki Rotti" for the breakfast. Akki rotti is prepared with rice powder. It is beautiful when it is made traditionally. Here in Bangalore also we get them, they are not that good as they have been just roasted on thava. Here after roasting on thava, it will be put in to live fire and burn it a bit, which gives great taste. Dharmanna was fast and feeding us the hot rotti's just out of Thava. We all ate nicley and had tea again.
Next Day activities: After bit of relaxation, fastened Life Jacket and started off the activities with a small Swimming/Floating. Next activity was KAYAKing. I asked everyone to assemble aroung Kayak and briefed them about this type of boat. Kayak was first made by wood and used by ESKIMO's. They were using it for travel/transporting purpose. But later people started using for liesure purpose and started making in fibre. This kayak is real fun to paddle. If we know proper paddling technique, we can reach up to 30KM/Hour! speed. After the brief and demonstration, everyone took the boat for small drive and then for long drive. After Kayak, it was time for Raft rowing. Every one tried the rowing found it most difficult!. Then some found a Dead dree branch peeping out water and it was looking like srping board!. So many of us had gala time diving from this. Then we tried diving from raft too. it was fun filled aquatic session. Then everyone swam back to the camp island. It was time for lunch. All of us had lunch and relaxed for a while. After the relaxation we decied say good bye to the island and go for a trek to near by hillock "Devaragudda". All of packed our backpacks, loaded in to coracle and landed in main land. Then we started off the trekking. It is a ridge of miles together and walking on this ridge one can see beautiful sharavathi backwater and lots of islands in it. Other side one can see Sagar town. we spent some time on the peak. We also had juice and Avalakki and relaxed for a while. We had local bus to sagar at 6:00pm, so we started getting down to Bus stand. We reached Bus stand and waited for a while. Got in to Bus and reached Sagar. Had dinner in Sagar and returned to Bangalore. It was an another memorable trip.
Photos Link of the program:-
Few Words from Campers:-
****Its really an eye opener on sharavathi, its really amazing to see this kind of place.
you and your team extraordinary effort in arranging camping, water sports, trekking and food is amazing, just no word to describe it, its class apart.
We really enjoyed our camping and water sports, needless to say about simple veg food which was too good.
We shall keep this memory for our life time .
Wish you good luck for future pursuit, conserving forest,providing local employment.
****When puru approached me few weeks back on this sharavathi backwater program, initially I was reluctant because of the distance. But when I landed at the base camp the sight was amazing. Water water everywhere. Probably I would have never seen such a clean fresh water in any other river. The life jacket really gave us confidence to get into water without even thinking how deep it is. Coracle, kayak and the raft were great to learn and fun to use.
The food was great. Cook Dharmendra was very friendly. The camp were comfortable. The sigh from Devaragudda gave us a clear picture of how much more is there unexplored. Overall it was an excellent weekend to remember.
Thanks for organizing such a lively camp