Friday, June 01, 2012

Siddeshwara Betta, Kuppalli and Jogi Gundi

The occasion was my colleague Kishan's wedding, made this as an opportunity to spend some time around one of the most beautiful forests in the world. Myself, Zaheer and Puneet boarded the sleeper coach bus from Indiranagar and picked up Rohit at Rajajinagar on our way to Thirtahalli.  After a good night's sleep in the bus we landed in Thirtahalli around 5am in the morning. We called up Kishan's brother who came to receive us in the bus stop and arranged an auto and took us to the Guest House. Zaheer went to bed to get some extra sleep, however myself, puneet and rohit after freshening ourselves went to explore a small peak in front of the guest house called Siddeshwara Betta.

It was an early morning walk on the rocky peak, a small peak which took around 30-40min to reach and was very pleasant to walk in the morning very different from the walks in Bangalore. On top of the peak, one can get a complete view of the valley along the Tunga River in the Thirtahalli town. We sat there admiring the beauty of the place but felt bad to see lot of smaller rocky mountains in and around being  exploited in the name of mining/development. I am sure this is illegal mining, the most surprising factor was that a few years back, i had read that all kind of mining was stopped in the ecologically sensitive western ghats area but was surprised to see it still happening probably at a slower and smaller scale.

The descent from the peak was very easy and just took around 15-20min to come down after which all of us were very hungry and went into a small local restaurant to try out some local cuisine. It was amazing food mangalooru buns/ neeru dose with some spicy kai chatni. We went back to the guest house after the food and freshened up for the wedding.

Kishan's cousin picked us up for the wedding venue around 9:30am. After having a second round of breakfast at the wedding place we took a walk along the river Tunga and got to spot a couple of Keel back snakes. No wonder you get to see so many stone idols of snake gods all along Westren ghats. At times i feel our ancestors were way smarter than us, they marked these places as sacred and all the natural habitats of snakes were marked with these stone idols of snakes probably as a warning as well as a note not to harm them by linking it with god as the fear of god keeps humans away. But its funny to see the modern man who kills snakes and then cleans up these natural habitat for snakes and builds a huge temple for these snakes.

After wishing Kishan and then having a heavy lunch took a cab to explore some near by places. The first one to visit was "Chibbalagude" which has a Siddhivinayaka Temple on the banks of Tunga river with huge fishes. One can feed these fishes with some nominal fees of Rs10 per plate of rice, however fishing is banned in this place. This place looks very similar to the one you get to see in Sringeri.

From here we went to Kuppalli to visit the house of the great Kannada Poet Kuvempu. Was in instant love with the house, it was the dream house i had imagined as how my house would be. After spending some time looking around the house and all the collections which is now kind of a museum dedicated to the poet we headed towards Agumbe. Probably this was one of the worst period to visit Agumbe. I had never heard of water sources depleting in these parts, it receives one of the highest rainfalls in the world but looks like now things are changing. We went to Jogi gundi and I was surprised there was no water in the water falls. Then we went to the over crowded sunset spot at Agumbe. Even though this is a beautiful place it has been badly littered and i would avoid it for my own reasons. 

We headed back to Thirtahalli and took a bus back to Bangalore at around 10pm. It was a quick 1day trip and was fun with friends and also a welcome break.

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