Journey of Life is never easy and so is a normal journey in a KSRTC deluxe bus, which is what we discovered in a night's travel from Bangalore to Kadur. The road was laden with a lot of potholes, sharp curves and deep curves (atleast that's what we felt by the way the driver drove the bus). Our sleep was disturbed by periodic sudden brakes and sudden overtaking maneouvres(this would have impressed Schumi).
After a five hour journey, we reached Kadur at 5:30 am. We had to wait for the next bus to Lingadahalli, which was at 6:30 am. This was a typical town bus lifted directly from a RK Narayan novel. The half an hour journey was filled with some amazingly beautiful landscapes - big arake nut fields and hilly terrains interlaced with the most popular method of farming - terraced farming. The bus was moving at a constantly slow pace, with passengers getting in and out at regular intervals. This was the only bus that served as a gateway to the hill station atop. Our cameras kept clicking at every possible scenic beauty.
On the way to Lingadahalli
We reached Lingadahalli at around 7:15 am. We were dropped at the bus stop that was frequently visited by the cows and buffaloes of the town. There were rows of shops on either side of the road stretching to about a kilometer (or maybe even less). It was a sparsely populated town, the number being a quarter to that of Malleswaram. It was clearly visible that agriculture formed the major occupation of this area.
We waited for around half an hour when we caught the bus to Kalathgiri, where we had booked a guest house for our stay, managed by the Department of Horticulture funded by the Govt of Karnataka. As soon as we saw the building from outside, it took us no time in naming it as BHOOT BUNGALOW. It had an eerie feeling that one couldn't explain. Though the building was not in ramshackles, the plasters binding the wall had withered off with the passage of time to give it a pale appearance. Nevertheless, the view from the balcony overlooking the Kalathgiri falls, was a sight to behold. A temple, sandwiched between the rocks and across the falls added a strange dimension to the place. It took us about an hour and a half to complete our morning routine before we took the bus to Kemmanagundi to traverse the hilly terrain. Our morning talk centered mainly on Mission Impossible(!!!).
Bhoot Bungalow and View from Balcony
The travel was filled with steep curves, and the bus was climbing up the hill. Everyone was vying for the window seat to catch the glimpse of the magnificient view. We reached the destination in about an hour and started the trek towards Shanthi falls. The 2hr trek was filled with light moments, each of us taking turns in carrying the food bag, admiring the natural beauty and comparing it to the fast paced city life. Shanthi falls was not as exciting as it promised to be, but it was a revelation to lay our hands on pure, icy cold water. We continued our trek towards Zed Point (of course the zed point is now replaced by various other names for obvious reasons known only to us!!!) - the highest reachable point in Kemmanagundi.
Zed Point and the View
This part of the trek was fascinating and highly adventurous. The pathway leading to this place was very narrow with support on one side(thanks to the hill) and land on the other side, but several feet below. We knew that one wrong step here and there would definitely take us up. The Z shaped pathway (so the name Zed point) was leading us to the top of the hill, meandering several miles. It was after around 1 hr that we reached Zed point. We had absolutely no words to describe the beauty of the panoramic view and this is one moment that will be cherished in our memories for years to come.
The view stretched to distant lands miles across, lakes and a sea of hilly ranges. It was here, where we hungrily devoured our bread and biscuit packets. The whiff of fresh, pure air that swept past us was highly enchanting. We spent around an hour in this beautiful peak before we decided to take the same path and catch the evening bus to Kalathgiri. We reached the bus stop, when it gushed forth a downpour. We thanked our stars for we could not imagine what could have happened to us had we been stranded on the peak in direct contact with nature's fury. Thus ended the first day of our trip not to forget to mention the unforgettable dinner of our lives at the Kalathgiri Canteen.
Pathway to Hebbe falls
Morning of Day 2, we took a jeep from Kemmanagundi to reach Hebbe falls, which was 9km away. The route to the waterfalls had everything except a proper road. The path was laid with stones of all dimensions, sludges and rocks, that it was inconceivable of us to imagine how the jeep managed to keep in motion. For parts of the travel, the jeep was moving almost vertically from the base. But the scenic beauty of the place stumped us. We can rate this place as an artist's paradise. The clouds had covered the peaks in such a way that it looked as if the a layer of blanket had been draped around it. The jeep dropped us at a certain point, from where we had to trek to the waterfalls. We first of all had to cross a small stream of flowing water, and then follow a tiny pathway, which was wet and muddy thanks to the intermittent rains. At some places, the wet and slippery rocks made it difficult to keep our feet on the ground. Coupled with slippery rocks, there were leaches, which had a good feast with all of us in the fray. It was about half an hour when we finally reached the waterfalls. Our initial reaction to it was unbelievable. The water was flowing from two levels in the rocks. It was indeed a picteresque sight. It was an unforgettable feeling when we got to the base of the waterfall and clung on to the rocks to see the water pouring down from such a great height and at a ferocious velocity. This is another sight which would be etched in our memories for a long long time.
Nature has bestowed us with wonderful gifts and what can be explored is only a handful. It would be magical if we live to see the different facets of nature in our lifetime.