Thursday, October 17, 2013

Drive to Shringeri and Sirimane waterfalls - Part 1 - Shringeri visit

21 Sep 2013

Traveling and driving has been my favorite pass time for many years. Nowadays I am even used to drive 600kms a day as a consequence frequent travels. That gives me immense happiness and an opportunity to meet new people and explore new places. The next day of our travel to Murudeshwara was focused on visiting Shringeri temple but Sirimane waterfalls was not in picture at all! I brought it to picture ;-). We wanted to start early but usual hiccups delayed journey by an hour and we finally started around 9AM. The morning was exactly mirror image of previous day :D with heavy rains pounding our village till 8:30AM. We started our journey in mid of heavy rain itself :-).

Shringeri is 90kms from our village. The same route as I visited HanumanGundi last time. The only problem was deplorable stretch from Belman to Karkala. Other than this stretch, the road from Karkala to Shringeri was well paved as per my past experience. As we traveled interior towards Karkala, the rains started receding. It means, the rains were pounding only coastal belt but not the interior parts. We were getting ready to travel through the craters of Belman-Karkala stretch. Voila! what a surprise ;-). The road has been patched up recently :-). Even then roads were uneven and few small pot-holes were present which were resistible! We could reach Karkala in 20 minutes. Had it been the similar situation as last time, it would have taken 45mins or more. The road after Karkala is simply majestic :-). Even our car enjoyed too! Also dense forests and clouds added more glory to our journey. The distant rain forests were looking so pretty :-). The same scene as I visited last time except for less rains. Last time, it was raining tremendously heavy which was typical pounding rains of western ghats. Shringeri is around 58kms from Karkala and it takes 90 minutes to cover due to narrow roads and up-hilling of western ghats!

Few kms after Karkala, we entered Kuduremukh National Park gate where actual western ghats starts. One has to take pass to enter national park premises and same has to be handed over at the other end. The authorities make note of each and every vehicle that pass through the park jurisdiction. Authorities have printed many rules and regulations on the pass to follow the guidelines in park limits. Majority of them are not to litter the park and maintain sanctity of place by preserving peace of wild animals.

I was enjoying the uphill of Kuduremukh ghats with beautiful nature and powerful pull of CRDi engine made it easy to climb the grades. Western ghats driving is mesmerizing experience by itself especially during monsoon season provided roads are healthy ;-). Rains and clouds are pretty much easy to manage unless it is not  cloudburst :-). In middle of ghat section, we took small break in one of the water springs and my father offered to drive. I shot many videos till Shringeri :-). All through the journey it was the pretty western ghats which filled our soul and made us forget everything rest. Of-course we were attentive while driving ;-). Despite presence of feeble people, the problematic part was adamant cattle and crazy dogs :D. The cattle were mainly cows which used to cover entire road. At-least there used to be 8-10 minimum in number :D. They rest happily in middle of highway taking role of break inspectors ;-). Due to rains, most of the land surface was wet. The only warmest portion was the highway due to plying of vehicles. Hence they used to occupy entire width of road. At times we had to park vehicle and dispel the cattle manually :D. When we neared them to dispel, they were pleading for food :-). That was cute sight to watch. At some places we fed them with bananas too! Next is crazy dogs resting on the road for same reason. But they used to get out very soon but some of them lethargically used to wake up and move away cursing us :D. Some of them pose like heroes standing profound at the edges of road :D. Overall great entertainment despite adding delay to our journey! Apart from these sights, at many places there were landslides due to recent torrential rains. Also retaining wall of the highway had collapsed at some places. At these places it is impossible to glide the vehicle out of road or else you will end up in one of the gorges! Watch out for rushing trucks along the curves and blind spots. Even they are adamant to avoid slipping down the roads due to heavy load :-(. A note in Kuduremukh pass also requests drivers not to honk in park jurisdiction but inevitably you need to honk at each and every curve gently to get rid of such surprises. The truck drivers rush downhill to gain sufficient momentum for climbing the uphill. Recent newspaper reports cite that forest department has cleared hurdles to widen such narrow highways.
The same pictures as shared in one of previous blogs.

Along the highway, one can spot small Ganapathy temple. Bus drivers stop at this place to have brief blessing to uphill without obstacles. During my childhood days, up-hilling western ghats were considered tough and risky task due to narrow roads. Many travelers used to seek blessings before starting up-hilling. As a result many ghats have small temples just before actual ghat starts. Even broader shiraadi ghat has chowdeshwari temple :-)

Kuduremukh National Park jurisdiction ends 7kms before Shringeri and one needs to hand over the pass obtained during start journey. Around 11:30AM, we reached Shringeri temple. Rains had receded but there was thick cloud cover. There was normal flow in Tunga river. Slightly larger crowd due to weekend. We also visited the protected monument temple where shiva, durga and ganesha are deities. The mahapooje at main Sharada temple concludes at 12:10PM and later we had lunch in temple itself. I had hefty full meals and it was tasty too :-). My father wanted to visit the centers maintained by math authorities but we realized it late. Unfortunately it is closed for public visit by 12PM and would open only by 5PM. We had no choice to leave for the day since we had to pack for our next day travel to Bangalore. After brief purchase of books by father, we started back to our native village.




The write-up turned out to be bit lengthy again and part 2 of the post is covered here.

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