Saturday, April 11, 2015

A memorable trek to Kodachadri and Arishinagundi Waterfalls: Part (2) -- Ravishing Arishinagundi

02 Feb 2014,

Read Part-1 here

Early morning at 5:30AM, we woke up with windswept kodachadri piercing through hillocks from east with high velocity. After getting refreshed, we started our hike to Sunrise point with torch light. It was around 6AM we headed towards sunrise point. The trail gets very narrower in middle with appalling deep valleys on the other end. The mighty breeze tend to push you down the valley. One needs to be careful of the gravitating valleys as well as pushing breeze! A normal 20mins hike takes you to sunrise point where considerable amount of people were waiting curiously to greet the day's Sun. The scheduled time was around 7AM. Exactly around the time, here we watch sun rising from horizon slowly with bright red color. In matter of 10-15 mins he turned orange and later whitish which was normal Sun appearance ;-). We enjoyed few moments under sun and Rajesh asked us to enjoy for some more time to absorb Vitamin D from early morning Sun. After some more enjoyment under Sun we headed back to our base camp. We packed our belongings and ready for breakfast. Need for breakfast has to be communicated in advance during dinner time. We enjoyed two rounds of scrummy breakfast which comprised of Bansi Rava Upma with pickle and tea. After savoring breakfast, it was time to leave the basecamp. We bought few water bottles and bid adieu to the beautiful Kodachadri ranges. After expressing thankfulness to the priest, we left to Santosh hotel to progress our journey towards Arishinagundi waterfalls.



The time was 8:45PM. This time we did not dare to trek down along 80degree steep gradient rather opted the normal trail. We enjoyed those wild hens again and beautiful western ghats on the way with crest illuminated with magical light of Sun. 10AM sharp, we were in Santosh hotel and reached comfortably. Our guide was waiting to lead us to the waterfalls. We refreshed once more and packed food for lunch. It was 10:45AM when we started downtrek towards Arishinagundi waterfalls. The guide had a partner since he needed company along dense forest during return journey. We would be downtrekking to Kollur main road and hence he needed a partner to return to Santosh hotel. Previous day, Mr.Tangappan had informed forest officer at Kollur about our visit and the officer had given positive nod too. However, the communication line was broken on the day of our visit and we were sceptical to reach the waterfalls since we would be travelling on our own towards Kollur. If forest guards spot us, it would be daunting task to convince them since we did not have written permission. Also there was no mobile signal too to call forest officer. Anyways, the guide convinced that he would call forest officer again in middle and our journey would be smooth.

At the outset, it is a plain walk on road for 500mts and later deep jungles of Kollur. We were under the dense canopy of those tall rain forests covered in darkness despite being 11AM sunny morning. The guide informed that ever since the area has been declared as wildlife sanctuary, the trail to waterfall has been left untidy, and unclear deliberately to permit people only via Kollur. Also people visiting waterfall has declined drastically too! Earlier it was atleast 2 groups per week but now it has reduced to a group per month. We were the second batch of people they were guiding this year. It is impossible to trek along this path from Santosh hotel towards waterfall without a guide. All along the trek, we had nice chat with guide. One of the guide knew Kannada, Hindi and Malayalam language. More than anything, it was the lush green evergreen forests which attracted me every-time. Tropical rain forests have been of great interest for me since childhood days. Now time has arrived to enjoy them closely. The mellowing streams, squealing of million bugs, chirping birds, rustling of leaves and our conversations were the only sources of sound. The trail path is mostly steep descent and sometimes steep ascent. We had to cross two streams en-route of which for one we had to remove footwear. In one of streams, few leeches were trying to sneak into few of us. Fortunately, we noticed it early and moved away from them. The marshy regions along the path gives a feeling as how dense the canopy is. Despite 4months after subsiding of monsoon, some of the paths were still under moisture. We also had to jump along fallen wooden logs sometimes. The guides were easily gliding along the path with normal chappals :-). Even though it was downtrek, that was not easy. Phew .... We were holding a long twig to avoid slippery leaves fallen on the ground. After plenty of circus and workout, here we are at Jeep trail. A few mts of walk along the jeep trail, will lead you to descent point of waterfall. We were able to hear the sound of waterfall from the descent point itself!





Here comes the hard part :-). Even though the path is descent, the slope is around 70 degrees and one has to be highly heedful while managing the downhill. Sometimes we had to bend down to avoid the bushes and jump across fallen woods. The mud was very much slippery too! The only advantage was dense canopy of region which precludes the sunlight entering the ground. All along the descent we could hear energetic plunge of waterfall. After few more descent along narrow trail, its now time to climb and jump across the boulders. We had greater workout than previous day :D. Few more steps, here we are at the magnificent sight :-). The natural splendor none other than wondrous Arishinagundi Waterfalls. Wow!! What a beauty situated in mystical location of dense rain forests of Kollur. Absolutely spectacular nature plunging from height of 120feet into those deep pool of water. We were delighted and unable to control emotions which compelled us to cheer with enthusiasm :-). The time was 12:45PM when we reached the waterfall site. Rajesh was desperate to swim in the pool of this beautiful Turmeric pond and he did it too! Myself with help of guide crossed the stream to capture full glimpse of waterfall. Later we all enjoyed bathing in pond. The water was clean and ice cold :D. A healthy bath for 30mins relieved all our strain and we regained our energy too :-).
The pond has uneven landscape and turns deeper abruptly after few distance. It is advised that only swimmers need to launch into the pond. Even guides are not aware of the depth. After fun in water, we shared the lunch amongst ourselves and made sure that no waste is left out. We carried all our waste as before. Being in secluded location, the surroundings were spick and span! I am not sure as how the waterfall derived its name. A raw translation from Kannada to English gives it name "Turmeric Pond". It has two stages of plunge but the attractive is the first stage which is tallest. Here the water plunges to rocky surface later sliding towards the pond. After the pond, follows the second stage which is not of that height. May be during monsoon season or early days of monsoon retreat, the water directly dives into pool. We were satisfied viewing the larger stage and hence did not get down the second stage. The source of water is majestic Souparnika river itself along with many tiny streams. They weave to form the thunderous Arishinagundi waterfalls amidst the sublime western ghats. Later the Souparnika river flows along Kollur, teases Maravanthe beach near Kundapur eventually merging with Arabian sea nearby Shiroor. Not to miss, the breath-taking landscape of Maravanthe beach near Kundapur combined with Souparnika river is one of the natural marvel of the nation!

Arishinagundi waterfall is almost impossible to access during monsoon season mainly due to presence of leeches and torrential rainfall. Kollur is one of the highest raining place in Udupi district averaging around 6000mm annually. Also the streams will be brim, gushing with high velocity which makes it impossible to cross them too! From Kollur side, one has to cross few streams before reaching waterfalls which might be difficult task. Even along the valley, it requires crossing 2-3 streams before reaching waterfall. One of the guide highlighted that there will be sea of water thundering along the boulders which are visible now. Last but not least, the snakes :D. This region is home to wide variety of serpents especially King Cobras. It is not safe idea to venture this area during monsoon season due to said reasons. Fortunately we did not spot any snakes this time :-).

After lunch, it was time to bid an emotional adieu to beautiful nature at 2:00PM. At this time I remembered those wonderful narration in one of rainforest documentary "Tiny streams weave together to form the grandest of waterfall that roar like thunder" and felt it too! I remembered the chords of Andy Blueman's music Rainforest and appreciated his brilliance in transforming the ambiance of rainforest into musical notes. There is also good news that he will complete the music in near future too [desperately waiting :-)]. Lots of emotions running through me as the sounds of rainforest music echoes in my mind. With happy heart, we bid goodbye to the sight and started trekking upwards towards Jeep trail. The return path, we took the trail towards signboard. Last time our journey was crippled due to the presence of snake. This time myself and Rajesh were enthralled to complete the mission :-). As we walked towards the Jeep trail, we recognised the spot where snake had thwarted our journey. OMG, that was too close :-(. If at all snake wouldn't have been present, we would have made it quite comfortably! Nevertheless, it is forgotten story now ;-) after successfully reaching the finishing lane! Especially I was satisfied to view alluring waterfall after long wait of 3 years since I stumbled upon this sight.

The arduous part of our hike is the steep uptrek for 1km till Jeep trail. It was hard trudge for us climbing those hills. We were under prolific sweating and our clothes were once again washed in sweat. Many times, we had to rest in between. Nearly after 45 mins of steep uptrek, here we are at Jeep trail. The time was 2:45PM. Phew... That was too hard man :-). Now it was time to bid adieu to those lovely guides and move towards Kollur. One of the guide plucked dalchini leaves for us and its fragrance was mind blowing. As mentioned in my previous blog, the region is also home to nearly 64 types of medicinal plants and this was one of them. After saying goodbye to lovely and courteous guides, we started down trek towards kollur [I forgot to take their pictures]. The Jeep trail was repaired and hence no cluttered rocks this time! It was facile downtrek. We spotted a wild monkey too which instantly ran away from us. On the way we had apple and water with brief rest. Half way down, humid weather indicated that we were almost in sea level. 4PM sharp, we were in Kollur main road waiting for bus. No forest guards were spotted on our downtrek which cleared all our apprehensions. We did not spot a single bus for half an hour :-(. Even though the distance to Kollur was mere 2kms, nobody was ready to walk further due to humid weather :D. What a contrast! It was too cold at top and now it has turned completely opposite. Later we spotted an empty auto-rickshaw towards kollur for Rs.30/- and here we are in Kollur at 4:45PM.

Thats end of our mighty 25kms of trek for 2 days and literary journey for this post too! We were exhilarated to finish the trek without any hurdles. Ashutosh was so much enthusiastic to plan our next trek :-). Rajesh interfered saying it would require much rest before planning further. I was happy mainly because it was self organized and everything went smooth. We enjoyed the scintillating western ghats for 2 long days. This time we made it to Arishinagundi waterfalls even :-). We demonstrated team work very efficiently and everyone was diligent in their work. This would not have been successful without co-operation from everyone. Other than this, it was great tranquillizer in serene environment of beautiful rain forests of Kollur away from ruffled city life. As I mentioned in my earlier blog, passing along these forests filled with medicinal vegetation itself is free service for our lungs. The water in streams were pristine filled with natural flavours. Also presence of such exotic waterfalls makes western ghats an enticing place to explore and relax. The abundant nature provides yearning desire to explore such marvels which can never be subdued.

We found a room to refresh ourselves and were ready to visit Mookambika temple by 6PM. As indicated earlier, the humid weather enabled us to comfortably bath in cold water. We had darshan of goddess Mookambika and thanked her for smooth itinerary. The crowd was feeble may be due to exam season. We also relished laddus of temple and later on had light snacks and tea. Once we were done packing stuffs, we left the room by 7:30PM. We thought of having dinner in temple itself but it would start only by 8PM. Since bus was scheduled to depart at 8:30PM, we had no option than eating outside. We had light dinner and juice. Later we reached Kollur bus stand to board the bus. The bus arrived at 9PM, 30 minutes late than scheduled time. If at all this was known, we could have easily managed tasty temple food. Now its forgotten story again. Time to say goodbye to the temple town and western ghats once again. We had great time with lots of memories in bucket. After reaching Bangalore, it was time to clean filthy shoes and shabby clothes drenched in sweat :D.

What's up this time :-)

i) Two more panoramic shots

ii) A video of Arishinagundi Waterfalls

Related Blogs:

i) Arisen
ii) Heaven on Earth

A concluding note:

Do hear Blueman's Masterpiece (not yet completed) Rainforest. It echoes perfect ambience of rainforest with magical use of synths.



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