Friday, June 24, 2016

Ramanagudda Trek, Charmadi

On a beautiful morning I started my journey with based team Sahyadri Trekkers, we went for Ramanagudda trek which is one of the most magnificent natural treasures of the Charmadi hidden among a blanket of greenery. 18 people crammed up in tempo traveler we left Mangalore around early in the morning. I witnessed the marvel of green Charmadi through the drenched glass of my TT window. The feeling was as if I was seeing a pearl in the ocean.
 My affection and attraction leaped with every single visit I made in Charmadi. I don’t know the reason but this temptation may be because of my urge to enjoy the spectacle of Barekallu Jenkallu in moon light or to spend a night in dark forest of Devaramane, Kumbhakalu, Dodderibetta, Jenkallu, Hosamangudda, Durgadabtta,Yettinabuja, Divatigebetta and shiver with excitement in entire night.
Furthermore, the breathe-taking feel of the gust of wind from top of Yettinabuja, sight of the highest pinnacle of Amdicallu, making of delicious barbecue between colorful wild flowers of Baremale (Butterfly hill) reaching at the bottom of Minchukallu in search of few drops of water, hanging the body well above 1150m while rock climbing at Yerikallu pinnacle, its numerous delightful routes, both easy and difficult all these justify, well beyond doubt my love and affection for this lovely heaven on Earth.
There was not a single moment which I wanted to miss absorbing every single thing in nature the majestic mountains, many gurgling streams, many small waterfalls ,hidden caves, green covered peaks were few things in that beautiful Charmadi hill ranges, many small  sleepy villages was very quiet with moving around in their own world. The sub-tropical climate and heavy rains during the wet season create an environment where several unique plant and animal species flourish.
The Charmadi range is the central part of the Western Ghats, a major mountain range of Karnataka, well known for its flora, fauna and mountain tops. It runs parallel to the Arabian Sea and forms a long wall, which gathers to it monsoon clouds and has much thick forest.  The northern part of this range, from the Bandaje River to the Ombattu Gudda is called the Charmadi. The Charmadi range is 50 km long, north to south, and is 10 to 20 km in width on east-west axis. The height varies between 900 to 1350 m.
Nevertheless I have always come across great and divine people during travelling. It’s hard to forget people whom I met while roaming in Charmadi, my friends with whom I shared my last drop of water, it was an amazing experience being in deep forest, stretching the limits of verticality of terrain. Some say it pain of trekking, while I feel it to be the joy of achieving new heights. All said the reality is that I have fallen in love with Charmadi and wish this journey continue with more spectacles to explore tantalizing windows in.
The starting point is Malayamarutha guest house from where the trail starts. The initial trail is through a fairly dense forest. Then the forest cover disappears slowly and beautiful grasslands appear which continues to the summit.
Spikes of rock occasionally break through the green carpet smothering the mountains and remind me of sleeping dinosaurs. The creator must have taken all the time in the world to create such a beautiful place and then send his children to admire play and enjoy in his magical land.
The route is moderate gradient and passes through dense coniferous forests. We had to climb up a ridge till halfway up. This trail on the ridge was easy terrain if somewhat steep. The group made good speed as we kept walking up the hill. The hike is quite steep in the middle and later flattens out.
One by one everyone reached the summit. We were all tired and hungry. The packed lunches were out and finished within minutes. It was scalding hot and except a few trees there was nothing to offer us a cool shadow. The views from the top are absolutely stunning. No picture can do justice to it and it further bolsters the view that Ramanagudda is one of the most scenic treks you can do in the Charmadi. We stayed about an hour at the summit soaking in the views and the achievement
 Finally after many hours of exploration we finally emerged and started our way back but our minds were still dwelling in the prehistoric times, totally a unique experience than our regular treks.

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Madaga Falls at Masur

One of the finest old tank, situated between fort hill and forest, and feeds to irrigate more than 10000 acres of land. The tank is quite an ancient one but has come under rejuvenation during various periods. It is known as Madaga Lake is a beautiful huge lake in a place called Madaga near Masur, Hirekerur Taluk.
 The river Kumadvathi which originates in the Agastya Parvata near Humcha in Sagar flows north near Shikaripura continues towards Masur and forms this huge beautiful lake.  A small waterfall is formed at the out flow of this Lake.
 The 20 feet height 30 feet wide waterfalls plunges into a deep pool and further it continues and joins to River Tungabhadra near Ranibennur. We can actually get down to the bottom of the waterfall and have a beautiful view of the falls. We need to do a bit of rock climbing to reach base. The roaring sound of the falls which created fumes all over were relaxes my body and soul. To have a look at the full majesty of the falls you need to visit the place in rainy season.
This place has a beautiful story behind its formation. Few centuries back there lived 2 big Land Lords - Mallana Gouda from Masur and Puttana Gouda from Rattihalli. Since there was no irrigation in this land, once they both decided to help the people of this region by building a big lake and irrigate the surrounding area. There were no equipments like JCBs, it was all by the human labour, both the land lords, pulled hundreds of people to build the lake and it took few years to form mountains and finally built a big lake. But unfortunately, there was no source of water to this lake, they waited and waited but there was no trace of water to this lake, everybody was very sad and worried.
 Finally they decided to enquire an Astrologer (Bhavisha Kelsidru) then they came to know that, to get water to that lake they have to sacrifice the life of the youngest daughter-in-law Kenchamma (not sure daughter-in-law of Mallana Gouda or Puttana Gouda) It became a very tough decision for them, but looking at the benifit to many people, they took the painful decision to sacrifice the life of Kenchamma. To execute this they made a plan to have a fair in that lake place and have a gold/silver idol of Kenchamma at the centre of Lake.
The ruins of an old fort can also seen, the western face fort-hill offers a commanding view of the surrounding plains. 
Kenchamma was not aware of the plan. After the fair got over, everybody went back to their homes. Then Mallana Gouda / Puttana Gouda asked Kenchamma to go & get the gold/silver idol of her from the lake (plan was to sacrifice her life during this time) It was God's blessings the moment Kenchamma reached the centre of the lake, water flooded in to the lake & Kenchamma was washed away. Since then, Madagh Masur Lake is always filled with water with no scarcity of water. Hence this lake is also called as Kenchamma Lake, there is a Temple of Godess Kenchamma in the centre of the Lake. This temple is only visible if there is a continuous draught in this region for 7-8 years. Hence there is one more temple of Godess Kenchamma on the bank of the lake.

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Mysterious Magical Trees, Savanur

Savanur is famous for its Archaeological site, Baobab tree (Local says Dodda Hunse Mara) is one of them which is well maintained by ASI. This is the only place in the state of Karnataka or rather in whole India which boasts of having three big Baobab trees on the outskirts of the town. These are special trees with girth varying from 12.63 - 15.70 meter and height varying from 16.40 - 18.50 meters. Specialty of these trees is that they have a huge base (girth) with branches tapering at the top, giving it a bottle shape.
Parts of the tree is said to have medicinal properties. These trees are famous in different parts of the world for its medicinal use. Local people believe that the any food item kept under these trees remain fresh for long duration.
The Baobab Tree is one of the oldest trees on earth with some trees living to be over 1000 years old originally from Africa .Baobabs have massive cylindrical trunks, up to three meters across, covered with smooth, reddish-grey bark, green palmate leaves, dark brown floral buds or spectacular flowers with white petals. The large, dry fruits of the baobab contain kidney-shaped seeds within an edible pulp.
These are said to be more than 5000 years old and according to mythology Lord Krishna brought the seeds of the same from Africa and planted them here. These are planted in a triangular shape and stand together closely. The state government has put up a fence to protect the trees and a board briefly describing the history of the trees, which also gives the statistics about height and girth.
 The fruit is nutritious, possibly having more vitamin C than oranges, and exceeding the calcium content of cow's milk. The dry fruit pulp separated from seeds and fibers is eaten directly or mixed into porridge or milk, and is also known as "sour gourd" or "monkey's bread". In Malawi, the fruit pulp is used to make a nutrient-rich juice. In Zimbabwe, the fruit is known as mawuyu in the Shona language and has long been a traditional fruit. In the coastal areas of Kenya, baobab seeds are called mbuyu and are cooked with sugar, colored, and sold as a snack. Mabuyu is also the term used in Tanzania for seeds of the calabash gourd, which are prepared in a similar fashion.