Thursday, May 16, 2013
Just a ferry ride away from the bustle of my place by far the most visible though remotely located legacy of KotePare Island is a lush, abandoned and green getaway for adventurers. On few weeks back, one find day I decided to take risk a bit so I headed with my best friends to explore few abandoned islands in Arabian Sea.
There are three rocky islands to the northern-most island is called Daria Gadara Kallu, the middle one Daria Bahadurgad and the southern most Kari Eillada Kallu. The sea between the rocky islands and the shore is a safe anchorage for vessels during storms and rough weather.
From the Key west we boarded a ferry and set sail into open waters. This little piece of our journey began. It was a delight to witness the blue beauty all around, so close to us. Eyes seemed to be enjoying this space so serene and peacefully clean. Before all land disappears, literally in the middle of the nowhere a massive abandoned 17th century fort surrounded another two beautiful islands, after all it’s not every day to get visit such a remote tropical islands featuring a moat encircled abandoned fort.
The boat seemed comfortably occupied with the 7 of us seated in it. It take just 30 minutes journey on the ferry that was soon made ready to land Kotepare island. The deal was to take us to the island, let us spend an hour in each island and drop us back at the sea shore. In case if we caught by the Coastal Guard in the ocean either we sent back or suit case or penalty for entering restricted area. If we make it to land safely, then its OK.
Among these three islands this 40 acre island is steeped in history and represents a beautiful example of an abandoned site transformed into useful recreation space for the soul. It was so different a feeling, being on land, amidst greenery and rocks and find myself surrounded by water all around. We decided to live this moment on the shore of the island! Feel the purity of water around and the warmth of the rocks untapped.
The fort on the island of Badhragada is said to have been built by Basavappa Nayaka of Bidanur constructed in early 17th centuary. It is gorgeous, heavily nurtured and bundled with natural treasure. On the serene lap of the tides were mighty but never seemed violent. Fort was supposed to be a main line of coastal defense but by the time it was dedicated the design was virtually obsolete. In 1763 Hyder Ali captured Bidanur and sacked the city and thus commenced his rule over Tulunadu. On his death in 1782 his son Tippu Sultan assumed the throne and ruled the fort until 18th century.
Exploring depths in Island, visitors might encounter flocks In fact all that remains of the fort are its dilapidated traces, but the lush shrubbery forests with the steep slopes surrounding the fort gives it the aura of mystery and a sinister charm. Though the fort has lost all it’s grandeur and is left in neglect for the most part, the lush green forests, blue skies as far as the eyes can see, and silence so resounding that you can hear your own breath, surely invites any heart wanting to loose itself in the lap of nature.
Entire three stairs fort wall have literally fallen into the ground. The elements especially fierce tropical storms continue to take this large Fort apart brick by brick each year, and due to it’s remoteness and policies of the states it’s not in the list for and neglected by Tourism and Archeological departments restoration funds. it’s not hard to see why rumors of haunting at the fort persist the ruins of the fort could easily serve as the setting for a horror film.
The ruined vestiges shows the major problem faced by inhabitants of the island was a total lack of fresh sweet water Originally water would drip through the underground and collect into a series of pools. However, cracks developed, and the system never worked.
The other thing that really blew me away about Kotepare Island was how much freedom we had to explore. For most Islands I’ve ever been to, anything with this level of decay tends to be completely off-limits to abdicable visitors. it really is refreshing to be able to explore such an amazing place with few restrictions. In fact, our tour was quite small and it was easily to feel like we were alone.
The western coasts of the islands are a seashell haven with seashells of various shapes and sizes littered along the coast. There is few beautiful clean sand beaches to swim and relax. Here where the seaside soft sand tickles under bare feet and the water touches with caring which is perfect corner for bathing the huge waves are stop by colorful rocks which can see the reflection of the sun. The western part of the island is scatted with basaltic rocks but there are flat slabs to sit and enjoy the serenity of the place.
We spent 2 hours on the island, the island provides a great backdrop for some good photographs. The ruined vast Fort adorn the island. In the distance, we could just make out the lighthouse of the Daria Gadara Kallu or Lighthouse Island. What could be more beautiful than to be on an island sit by the edge of the fort wall and watch the surrounding heaven on-shores, it was time to wrap up all the good times and take them back as memories forever...
Friday, April 26, 2013
Haddina Bare is nestling in the heart of the Western Ghats, where the grass remains greenish and the trees do not shed their leaves even in the harshest of summers which is in cool clean mountain air some 700 meters above the sea level. As the sun climbs higher with summers onward march stepping outside an air conditioned environment is almost unbearable. So here's a brilliant option for the adventurous soul in search of cooler climes and beautiful vistas.
We started fairly early in the morning from Agumbe so that we can sight wild animals and birds. There were absolutely no one around and enjoyed the peace and quiet. But we could hear the sounds of nature - wind, leaves, some creatures moving around. The initial trail passes through thick evergreen forests, meadows and mountain passes which offering an incredible array of biodiversity to appreciate. Actual our plan was to cover Haddinbare, Meenagundi and Karadigudda in a day time but our senior guide said its not possible to cover all the three places in a day time so we chose to take the Haddinbaare first. There were neat jeep track half track it was fun and a workout. The first 3kms are the casual easy walk throughout the fine jeep track but the minute we crossed the stream it turned grotesque and deep chested inside the woody.
It was an absolute treat to our ears. Our hike was made even more special when we entered in more deep. Our 4½ hours hike winds through evergreen forests, the stunning Someshwara Wildlife Sanctuary Trails allow access to different parts in pristine, community owned evergreen forests.
I got excited because I encountered many spiderwebs and spiders everywhere! spider's web that spanned the width of the walkway. I stopped and turned around and went another way I didn't want to disturb the web and destroy one of Mother Natures most beautiful food-catchers. I really felt bad about wrecking all of the spiders hard work and meticulous attention to detail and symmetry. Spiders build intricate webs of various kinds to trap their prey and wait in the web. Some wait outside the web! Some just lay a small single line trap. Some others just jump around and catch their prey! They are simply ingenious!!
On few places we were facing the sun and could see the iridescent shimmer of the thousands of webs. Almost all spiders spin silk. Spider silk is a fibrous protein. On the abdomen are located the spinnerets, used in secreting silk. While I knew that spiders spin webs to entrap their prey, I known that some spiders live in silk-lined burrows and leap out to capture passing insects.
Some lie in ambush on plants, tree bark on the ground or under stones. Others are hunters that go in search of their prey. Most spiders are lone predators. They live for about a year or so. Most spiders can inject venom to protect themselves or to kill and liquefy prey. The bite of some spiders are dangerous to humans. Spiders feed on live prey, digest them outside and suck in the fluid. Spiders are the largest group of predators in the world!
Gaint Wood Spider is a Large Spider. Huge webs made by these spiders and it is very colorful and large spider. Many we saw had only seven legs. I read that spiders do give away a limb or two in order to save themselves! Large webs built next to each other by these spiders made a huge canopy about 6 to20 feet above the road below. The internet has a plethora of information on any subject so also spiders. I did some browsing and soon found myself finding names and information on the spiders I was shooting.
The grandness of this hike is that much of the trail is in the shade of covered woods. Walking through forest and shade is very pleasing and less exhausting. The entire area is full of thick evergreen forests and therefore totally devoid of grasses. We completed hike in 5 hours stretchy walk.
A continuous breeze caresses the skin and brings relief from the heat and dust of the plains. And the pretty, green and undulating landscape uplifts the spirit like nothing else can. The highest point of Haddinabaare, which gifts an uninterrupted view of rolling hills in three directions. It's almost too much to take in at first. Below the clouds, waves of ridges line up one after other as far as the eye can see, their colors changing from lush green to a gentle blue until they blend completely with the horizon.
We had our individual pack food and rested for few more time on top. Few years back on top of the Haddinabare a wireless network with a repeater was established but its destroyed by the Naxalites and hence not working condition. We took some snaps on top and headed back with different shorten root.
The sanctuary consists of tropical evergreen, semi evergreen and moist mixed deciduous forests rich green clothing to the slopes of the Western Ghats. Machilus Macrantha, Lophopetalum wightianum and Artocarpus hirsuta are some of the species of flora found in this sanctuary. Mammals in the Someshwara Wildlife sanctuary include Tiger, Leopard, Wild Dog, Jungle cat, Wild Pig, Sambar, Spotted Deer, Common otter, Wild Dog, Jackal, Gaur, Barking Deer, Lion Tailed Macaque, Bonnet Macaque, Palms Civet and Common Langur. Reptiles are represented by King Cobra, Python and Monitor lizard. Someshwara Wildlife sanctuary also houses some interesting birds like Malabar trogon, Ceylon frog mouth, Malabar pied horn-bill and Malabar whistling thrush.
Spotted deer, Mouse deer, Barking deer (Muntjac is timid and shy animal), Sambar, Gaur, wild boar, Indian Hare, Langur, Lion tailed macaque (This is an endangered primate found only in dense evergreen forests of mid western ghats and It is found in groups of 5 to 10. They are reported from the Agumbe Ghats and Balmane section The Lion tailed macaque population in Someshwara WS is the only largest viable population among the protected areas.) King Kobra are found all over the sanctuary. Jackals are the chief scavengers of the sanctuary. Seethanadi, Golihole and some of the other big streams form the aquatic habitat of the sanctuary. They contain the rare Mahasheer fish and otters. Gaint squirrel is an arboreal mammal normally restricted to the relatively undisturbed areas of the forests. Flying squirrel, Land monitor lizard, Tortoises also occur in the sanctuary. Cane turtle a rare species, which is on the verge of extinct, is seen rarely.
The sanctuary covers western slopes of Western Ghats. Terrain is hilly and very undulating. Ghat forests are principally of gneiss composition interspersed occasionally by quartzite, mica-schist and granite, out crops of which, occur in long stretches along the sharp edges of the ghats. Upper reaches of ghats, which form eastern boundary of the sanctuary consist predominantly of rock precipices and are completely inaccessible from Agumbe up to a place called Hosaghatta, a distance of 10 kms. These rock cliffs are very steep and exposed over long stretches. Wild plantain and grass slips are nested in them.
Weather is cooler during monsoon and up to December. It becomes increasingly hot and sultry from January onwards till the onset of southwest monsoons. Due to the proximity to sea, the diurnal changes in temperature are low and extremes never occur. Climate is humid and warm throughout the year because of the proximity to sea. In the ghats and foothills, weather is usually misty during the early hours of the day. Trees are very tall and majestic. Crowns are narrow. The boles and trunks are swathed by a mat of mosses, orchids, ferns etc. Someshwara Wildlife Sanctuary is home to a wide range of wild animals generally found in South India.
Bird life is plentiful here and the avian denizens of the forest put on a splendid show. On the drive to the sanctuary, you can spot restless babblers, flocks of oriental white-eyes in search of flowers and scarlet minivets whose crimson plumage stands out brightly amid the greenery. Bea eaters scout for dragonflies, suddenly darting to catch them mid-flight and then returning to their perches with their prized catch trapped in their beaks.
The sanctuary has a good population of a variety of birds typical to the western ghats of Karnataka. Avifauna found in the Sanctuary include Jungle myna, Peafowl, Common fowl, Common myna, Red vented bulbul, Little cormorant, Cattle egret, Little egret, Black drongo, Jungle crow, Crow pheasant, White cheeked bulbul, Brahminy kite, Grey jungle fowl, Pea fowl, White breasted water hen, Red wattled lapwinger, Spotted dove, Bluerock pigeon, White breasted king fisher, Malabar gray hornbill, Great Indian Hornbill, Golden backed threetoed wood pecker, Scarlet minicret, Ashy swallow shrike, Paradise fly catcher, Magpie robin, Taylor bird, Purple sunbird, White backed munia, Golden oriole.
On return I spent few time in nearby huge lake which adjoins Agumbe village is a 10-minute away from the town and catches the flow from the nearby hills to form a large reservoir. Its deep, placid waters reflect the greenery of the surroundings in surprisingly vivid detail, its beauty further enhanced by the last golden rays of the sun as it goes over the undulating hills. Here we spent quiet in meditative evening at this picturesque lake, a perfect antidote to the end of the day's exploration.