Sunday, May 17, 2015

A Treasure hunt to Vibhuti Waterfalls

27 December 2014,

Uttara Kannada is waterfall district of Karnataka. The district houses the widest cover of western ghats, untrammelled nature, extensive flora & fauna, lovely shoreline and why not to miss the exotic waterfalls nestled deep within the dense rainforest. With its timelessness, the district has endured the modernization era and preserve its extensive natural resource. Being close to Western Ghats, the coast of UttaraKannada enjoys the heaviest rainfalls during monsoon season. The monsoon revamps the dried water bodies, cascading into thundering waterfalls. The district hosts some of beautiful waterfalls namely Shivaganga, Magodu, Sathodu, BenneHole, Unchalli, Mattighatta, Waate-Halla, Burude (ilimane), Vibhuti and may be many more. Despite located nearby hometown, my exploration have been tantalized mainly due to lack of partners. None of these are accessible easily; one has to walk uphill/downhill along narrow trails & ledges for kms, battle with leeches, be wary of reptiles, wade through streams, pass through the entangled canopy and jump over strewed rocks. Transcending these hurdles, one can visualize heaven presented by the lovely nature. Unplagued by the industrialization, the district offers exploration of uncharted pristine nature. I have no longing for visiting far off places (not even Himalayas) but wish to completely explore the western ghats.

The day before, I decided to visit Vibhuti on a whim. That thought galvanized me to embark on a yet another journey towards my favorite destination which is none other than western ghats. Last year during Yana visit, I was disheartened to miss this beautiful waterfall. With no clue, I called up Mr.Ganesh and he happily agreed to carry me in his chariot. The day started in a similar state as presented in my Yana blog and ended up catching Mangalore-Goa passenger early morning. This time, train arrived slightly late in contrast to last year which created humongous delay. The best part of Konkan rail journey is the awe-inspiring landscapes throughout the route. The place is heaven to experience during monsoon season. Most part of the journey, I was seated on the foot-board enjoying the tranquillity. No camera, no action just pure serenity. Of-course, I enjoyed hot samosas together :). Despite departing on time, the train arrived at Kumta 30 minutes late due to overloaded rail traffic. Mr.Ganesh was waiting with his auto in rail station.

It was around 11AM, we started our journey towards the beautiful waterfalls. This time, the route was different. Being near to Yana, there is no connectivity between Yana and Vibuti via shorter route. Hence if you are arriving via Kumta, one has to take a detour towards Gokarna bypass (aka Madanagiri) and deviate towards Yana route. We started our journey with trotting pace of auto. I was busy watching the macro picture of Aghanaashini river for sometime and later the beautiful hillocks. Throughout the journey, the driver kept me busy. He has tiny family with his kids studying in vernacular medium schools. "Maklu hushaaridre yelladru odtaare sirra..." (Children if attentive, can study in any schools) he opined confidently. That's what they can afford as of now. Even that's what we could afford too during childhood days. But that was fun; No workbooks, no luggage, No pressure; just learn & play! Only luggage was the raincoat during ferocious monsoon season. The auto driver continued his conversation about recent developments in the district. The Kundapur-Goa stretch would be broadened and the preliminary works are in full swing. The slow & steady rickshaw finally reached Madanagiri and its time to route towards state highway leading to Sirsi.

The best part along Sirsi route was the Majestic Gangavali river. The river basin is adorned with lush green landscape with blue waters. The river flows nearby Gokarna before merging with Arabian sea. Later on, the attraction was none other than our lush green rainforest :). They are always inspiration for me! The sight of them precluding the sunlight is just splendorous to watch. The region was roofed with tall thick woods with beaming sunlight desperately trying to sneak through canopy! Throughout the journey, one can spot many streams leading to Gangavali. One can hardly find civilization en-route (rather you find treevilization!). Unaware of route, the auto was constantly burning tyre against bitument surface with loads of speculation. One of the person, directed us to spot the checkpost leading to Yana. We resumed our journey and still no clue of the checkpost. I was fraught with anxiety if this mission would just result in unfruitful friction between auto and road. Hoping for best, we finally spotted the checkpost and the guard of checkpost affirmed that we are on right track. He enthused us stating we are barely few kms from the Vibhuti. Rightly after 10kms of journey, at-last we see the signboards. We spotted a narrow road towards Vibhuti. The mud road was being developed into a stronger surface. Since the path was full of ballast, the driver showed uneasiness to roll his auto further. We descended few mts before the hike point and started strolling towards the falls. Initial 500mts is normal walk and later on its a hike for almost 1.5kms along narrow trail. The path was covered with thick bushes and untidy rocks which was bit difficult to tread along. Unfortunately, we could not spot any water presence. After bit more hobbling, we heard the first music of stream and little more, we were awestruck on spotting waterfall all of sudden :). This was a great experience though. It seemed as if nature wants to give surprise to visitors!


It is now time to enjoy serenity in middle of dense forest with the vehemency of Vibhuti Waterfalls. The falls, derives its name from the limestone rocks engraved in its surroundings. They are quite sharp to manage too! One has to be careful negotiating rocks. Despite the absence of depth, the rugged surface tend to injure if not negotiated carefully. Apparently looks like segmented waterfall, with each section having unique plunge. There are multiple plunges attached to waterfall but the main attraction is the view from start of drop. I was just watching some of government school kids enjoying the bath in one of the pool. I have seen Bangalore school kids being tripped to some resorts. These kids are lucky enough to be toured to such exotic destinations and enjoy the true tranquillity of nature. The school kids had lot of merry in water before dispersing for the day. Later, we crossed the stream to have closer glimpse of first stage. In between, I tasted the water and aha! what a taste as always :). Clenching on to the strong stems of rainforest trees, we climbed and reached the base of first stage where we enjoyed sprinkling water generated by thumping waterfall. Mr.Ganesh insisted to cross the stream and climb up some more elevation. But I was contended to view the beauty from here and also did not dare much to cross the ravine. We spent 2hours of quality time enjoying the stunning display of nature. I wanted to stay for some more time but as usual the time constraints pushed us to leave the spot :(. If you can battle with leeches, monsoon season would be heaven to be here. The monsoon endows the region with whopping 6000mm of downpour which results in gallons of water pouring down from the heaven under heavy sky. It would be fascinating to watch the gorging waterfall during monsoon season.


We reached the base and moved towards Kumta. Once again enjoyed the beautiful view Gangavali from vantage sandwiched between mighty hillocks and fields. It was 4:30PM when we reached Kumta railway station. The next train would be arriving only by 6PM. To my luck the Mangalore passenger had arrived late by 40 mins and was just about to depart. I handed over money to Mr.Ganesh and grabbed the train in hurry. Once more, it is time to enjoy the beautiful Sharavati river. I payed my respect to Lord Murudeshwara and later enjoyed sunset in Bhatkal. It was 7:30PM when I reached Udupi and thus ending one more magnificent journey to ravishing western ghats.

Yes, it seems expensive to hire an auto for such long distance, but that’s the only purpose I spend on. Travelling along western ghats is lifelong experience and spending time here which I believe, transcends money.

Related Blogs:

i) Delight

What's special this time!

A vertical panorama and a short video composed during visit

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