Sunday, November 9, 2008

Chunchi falls - Sangama - Mekedaatu

It was almost fifteen days since we had been on our last adventure (@ Maidenahalli), we were again searching for some getaway place nearer and finally we decided on Chunchi falls near Sangama for a short visit. I had good vague memories of Chunchi falls which I had visitied on a office trip somewhere in 2003! (the splendid falls was etched in my memory which made us decide on the venue this time).

10th august 2008: As strict as I am ever, never mind the "aah not again" chores from my regular group of Raja, Guru and myself, we left bangalore by razor sharp 6:30 am on a dull saturday morning towards kanakapura, with the regular fuel filling exercise at talghatpura IOC pump and with a small tea break there. Guru had another reason to be tired because of the severity of the toothache he had added with fever (poor chap! he struggled for almost the entire morning, still put up a brave face), we breezed past kanakapura and stopped at a small village enroute for the much needed breakfast. Still we had quite a slow drive with neither my eyes nor the body willing for the drive but being forced to till we had breakfast. The breakfast was pretty good added with a good cup of hot tea propped us up. Just before 15 to 20 kms before sangama is a huge arch to the left which is the deviation to Chunchi falls and a board is also put up notifying the same. Another 5-6 kms through this road landed us at the edge of a cliff from where a little bit of walking is required to reach the falls. There was a old man there issuing tickets and collecting parking fees and we were the first ones there as it was quite early in the day. We spotted a watchtower to the left in the opposite direction of the falls and we walked up there first to get a view of the valley through the fields making our own path. The view from the watchtower was good with a cool breeze blowing over. Spent a lot of time lazing at the tower and after an hour of idling time decided to trek up to the falls. From there no definite path was visible, we started walking on the banks of the river Arkavathi, on the boulders, b/w the shrubs literally wherever we could place our feet firmly. We were able to hear the sound of water falling from quite a distance and was like solving a puzzle to reach the falls. Well when we reached there, we could see the silver drops of water falling graciously from the top, in two stages or rather because the water flow was very less so much that the inner rocks and the parch green was clearly visible. Overall we were dissappointed having see the same falls in full flow last time and later when we got to the place where we had parked the car, got to know that the water is diverted to a power plant and is released to the falls only on few days. Still putting the dissappointment behind we enjoyed the mini trek and the bumpy walk.

As we were back much earlier than expected, we decided to head towards Sangama and if possible Mekedaatu. Even the water flow at sangama was moderate but the crowds were more as also the plastics and the drinks. Incidentally I have been to sangama around 3-4 times but never ventured out to Mekedaatu. This time however as none of us had been there, we started our walk crossing the river towards Mekedaatu. No difficulty is crossing the river as the water level was only upto knee height and at the other end of the bank there are 2 buses which ferry people to Mekedaatu and back to the river bank for 12 rs per person. We heard its about 4-5 kms away and decided to walk rightaway upto Mekedaatu. Empty stomachs, hot sun and a dry muddy road made it tiresome and we took more than a hour to reach there and the distance was 6kms. Many groups who had started walking behind us in b/w changed their minds and had boarded the bus, but we kept on moving as we had decided to walk irrespective of how far it ever would be! On reaching

there we could spot hoardes of people there almost covering every inch of space available. Here the main attractions are the rock formations and the force of water flow. On one of the boulders we could see hardly any people and rightaway decided that would be our territory, as we tried reaching there realized the difficulty and the reason for no people swarming there :).

Mekedaatu instantly impressed me on my first time visit itself - the gushing water, the amazing cut in the

rocks & boulders, the scenery, the lush green surroundings and heard its abundant in wildlife too. Sitting on the edge of the rocks and peeping down to see the water is itself an experience that cant be described with the water sprinkling onto the face and sometimes scary too (one small slip and you are gone for ever!). We spent as much time as we could watching the rivers flow in such force and carving out various shapes in the rocks which dare to stop their flow and later we chose the easier option and came back by the bus till sangama. Played for very less time in the water (i'm scared of drowning in the water from previous experiences!) and started searching for food as our stomachs started crying. There is only one dhaba kind of a hotel where we had some food (but expensive) to appease our grumbling stomachs. All the while one thought was running through the mind of a few display boards which we had seen. The boards are actually "Warning messages" put up by the friends and families of the victims who were washed away in the waters at Sangama and to warn people of the dangers (Swimming, swirls/whirlpools, crocodiles) but people care a damn and regularly the victim count is increasing (hope the government does something!). Mid evening and the crowd had considerably reduced and the rain gods made their presence felt with heavy lashings and finally we decided to head back to the dry, safe confines of our homes. Heard there is an old guesthouse there at Sangama (plans for utilizing that has already started in my mind)!

Overall a nice, good, not so clean, crowded still space for everybody, adventurous, beautiful place and a worthwile trip very closer to our namma bengaluru.

Route: Around 90 kms from bangalore on Kanakapura road on the way to Sangama / Mekedaatu. About 16kms before 'Sangama' you have to take a left turn to the Yeleguri village to go to the Chunchi waterfall. The waterfall is about 6km away from the deviation.

Tips: Play safe in water as the currents are very strong. Don't litter. Avoid plastics / liquor. Dont leave traces of your visit. Preferred to carry own food and water.

Care for the nature and the nature cares for you!

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