Edit Blog Post
Published: April 7th 2012
'Dada,i'm on my way to the bus stand'
I woke up with this call from Gaurav,my cousin. On the Previous day, I checked in to a small Hotel in Bangalore and when called up Gaurav and asked him to accompany me for my dream tour to Malnad region, like an offer to play for Mancehester United, he said,'see you tomorrow at the bus stand'.
It was a busy monday morning, around 7am,me and Gaurav walked in to the 'Majestic' bus stand in Bangalore. Our first destination was Hassan, a district town,around 200kms away from Bangalore. Buses from Bangalore to Hassan ply in every 10-15 minutes and depending upon the comfort level and your pocket size, one can opt any. We took a KSRTC 'Volvo' which was about to start for Mangalore. When asked whether this bus would go to Hassan, The driver, with a big smile, said,'hop in'. I was pretty happy that not only Gaurav had joined me but we got a dream start as expected. Distance between Bangalore to Hassan is about 198kms. The condition of the road was just amazing except in a few places where patch work was going on. The KSRTC 'Airavat' hit the
road with all the gears pulled and we were enjoying every bit of the journey. Slowly we crossed the Bangalore city limit, and the bus took to switch from the busy city streets to National Highway no. 75. To cover 198 kms, 'Airavat' took 4 hours and around 11:30 am we reached Hassan. Hassan is a district town with all the mondern facilities available. The newly constructed 'City Bus Stand' was really a gem on the crown. I was really envying the tidyness of this 'City Bus stand' and was trying to compare the same with the 'bus stands' in any distrcit town in Bengal. Even Gaurav was so happy, he took a couple of snaps for his 'Facebook' album. Since we had breakfast on the way, we decided to continue till Chickmagalur which would be some 50kms from Hassan. We switched buses and hoped in to a standard KSRTC bus which was absolutely waiting just for us.
'Dada, look at this bus, so well maintained, not like our CSTC buses', Gaurav broke his silence after a long spell.
'Yes, the main reason are the passengers who travel', I replied.
'Wish we could have such good buses
in our West Bengal',Gaurav said.
I did notice a small line of frustration on his face. Gaurav went on describing each and every minute details about this bus. I knew that he was a 'freak' about automobiles and he 'marked' his mark with dignity. Hassan to Chickmagalur was around 50kms and this bus took almost an hour and half to cover the distance. In between, the bus stopped in Belur which is also famous for it's heritage. I told Gaurav that we would be covering Belur on a seperate tour, not at this time. I noticed he didn't object my decision. One best thing about Gaurav is,it doesn't matter what I do, he supports and thinks it is the best.Around 1:30pm we reached Chikmagalur.Even in the first week of April,we found that Chickmagalur got a 'cozy' climate which was enjoyable indeed. We walked out from the small 'City bus stand' and went on searching for a hotel. After browsing a few, we found 'Hotel Soundarya Residency' fit within our budget and seemed a decent family hotel. After completing the check in formalities and the moment we entered 'room 205' the first reaction came from Gaurav,'Awwwwwhhhh'. It took a couple
of seconds for me to find out whether it was a frustration or a 'jump for joy'. Indeed, he saw it, a breathtaking view of the Malnad hills was visible from the room itself. It did pull up the 'adrenaline' rush and I was thinking what was holding for us for tomorrow's trip when we would climb up that hill. We decided to spend the evening hovering
around Chikmagalur and made a trip to Bhadra Wildlife Sanctuary(which would be published as a seperate blog). I spoke with Mr.Yogi the car owner and cleared my intention about what we could expect the best out of the Malnad region. Finally we settled with Rs.1700/- for a day's tour which would cover almost all the possible places to explore.Mr.Yogi understood clearly that we were not there like 'any other tourists'.
Next day early at 6am one Indica honked in front of our hotel and we were ready to hit the road. When asked the name, the driver replied,'Ravi'. He seemed to be a middle aged family guy,later we thanked him numerously for driving us to one of the most beautiful but still less explored waterfalls which was not planned earlier.
first place we stopped was a tea shop on the Chickmagalur-Kemmangudi road. After a long time I rediscovered the taste of 'Masala Buns' which was special in the coastal Karnataka region. After driving for another 30 minutes or so we stopped at 'The Deviramma Temple'. The place so serene as if the clock forgot to move ahead with time. Gaurav was enjoying so far as his silence said so. The temple was closed as it was around 7am. I was clicking around and was in love with this place literally. But we had a long road to hit, so unwillingly we both jumped in to the car and Mr.Ravi pulled the gear. This Chickmagalur-
Kemmangudi road was mainly laid out for the coffee estates which surrond the entire Malnad region. It was said that the first coffee plantation in India was started in this region first and later in The Nilgiris. Facts apart, we were enjoying the aroma of early morning brezze and Mr.Ravi was getting excited too.Mr.Sun was up meanwhile and we had to stop in between to greet him warmly.
Next stop was at Kalathi falls.I was pretty excited as I saw the photos earlier and was
planning to frame my creativity too.This falls is unique of it's type. There's a small temple at the base of this falls and the stream of water flows through temple.if you would like to make a visit to the temple, you perhaps need to walk through knee deep water. We reached Kalathi falls after 30-35 minutes drive but,'oh ! my god' was my first interaction. I did expect the stream of water would be less as it was an early summer,but I was more surprised rather frustrated to see a bunch of people taking bath,washing clothes,creating all sort of mess possible. I didn't take chance to click a single snap as it could have been a waste of time. Even Gaurav was frustrated too. I decided to go back to the car and continue for our next destination.
Next destination was The Hebbe falls. I was pretty anxious and frustrated after the Kalathi falls experience,but decided to make a visit to Hebbe still. Mr.Ravi told us previously that we needed to hire a Jeep from Kemmangudi to drive further 15kms to reach Hebbe. And accordingly, we settled for a jeep
or Rs 800/- and hoped in. Initially we thought
the money was too high for a 15km drive, but later we had to change our views. The jeep left the tar road started climbing through the hills. The road was horrible,'No road' could have been a better word to say. Somehow we managed to grab a 'grip'. The driver,Chandu was trying his best to give us maximum confort but he couldn't do any better. We were riding on a road where 'dust and boulders' were laid out.Somehow after driving for an hour we reached a small place.Chandu suggested that we had to walk about a mile from here to reach The Hebbe falls. he also warned us to cross three wild streams through. Gaurav was fiercely excited as it seemed an adventurous walk indeed. We started walking and then we got the first stream to cross. The feeling was amazing, the water was freezingly cold.The track seemed utterly confusing but as suggested by Chandu, we maintained to walk down the stream. After crossing two more we got the first glimpse of 'The Mighty Hebbe Falls'.
'Dada, thank you, if I wouldn't have joined you,I could have missed one of the best sights of my life',that was Gaurav's expression.
I saw a few pics of Hebbe earlier but trust me none of them could do justice to this place. It was mesmerizing. Within a few seconds I started missing my sweetheart. I really don't have words to describe the beauty of this place.May Kalathi Falls have led us to frustration but this place have compensated more
with it's stature. It was depp inside thik lush green forests,amongst which from a roaring height mighty Hebbe Falls gorging down to a 200 mts stairs. I had an intention to take bath as there was aboslutely no one except us, but due to time constraints I had to give up the 'will' and started clicking around. Gaurav
was trying his best to take the best shots with his 'Nokia N8' cell phone. After spending an hour at the base of Hebbe, we strolled back thorugh the same way and following which took a ride through the 'boulder roads' back to Kemmangudi. My jeans was all dirty and I had to continue with the same pair for the rest of the day. But Hebbe took us to such a height that we forgot everything and were trying 'record' as many shots as
we could. We kept playing our 'Hebbe pics' and promised Chandu and 'Hebbe' both that we would come back during upcoming monsoon.Somehow we two speechless souls sank deep into the thoughts of Hebbe. It was around 2pm, we had to stop for lunch,not for us buy atleast for Mr.Ravi. As we had your 'soul' filled with the beauty of Hebbe that we could have continued for the rest of the day. We stopped in a place at Attigundi for lunch and managed with steaming 'Chapathis and Chicken Masala'. Next destination was 'Dutta Peeth' at Bababudangiri Hill. But the beauty of Hebbe took us to 'sweeping feet' that we reamined much of 'silent pranks'.
The road from Kemmangudi to Bababudan giri as mixed bag of 'Bounty and Bumpy'. Around 3:00pm we
reached Bababudangiri and drove further to Manikyadhara view point. There was a narrow stream but due to insufficiency of water,it turned out to be a blunt one for us. But yes, the breathtaking view of the Chikmagalur Valley from Manikyadhara view point was 'woth' a visit to this place. We took a few clicks and then proceeded to our next destination.
After crossing a few wild streams and
somewhere in between the serenity, Mr.Ravi stopped the vehicle and gave us a big smile. We didn't understand the lines between.
'Anything happened?',I asked with curiosity.
'Any technical issues',Gaurav joined me as well.
'Sir, pack your cameras, trek down a mile and come back, it's a surprise gift from me',Ravi replied to all our questions with his smile.
I got his intention clear as I am always trustworhy to this local folks about something out of the box.
'Let's see',I asked Gaurav to get down and join me.
'Sir, this is a private place so make sure you go and come as early as possible',Mr.Ravi turned his FM on after stating this.
I was forming the 'cloud of questions' for me, what this place could hold for us.
'Dada, It seems some waterfalls',Gaurav broke the silence.
I was hearing a noise of a wild stream and was trying to judge the source of that noise.Hesitantly we started following that noise and after climbing further down about a mile the surprise was unfold. Mother nature carved this place with utmost secrecy and excellence. You guessed it right,It was a waterfall and
stunning. We have seen Hebbe earlier today but this place was no less than Hebbe. Stream of 'white satin' flowing down on a canvas of carving 'dark granite'. I was stunned and so was Gaurav. Again wherever we go serenity follows us. We were just the two 'souls' to enjoy the beauty of this 'mother
Nature's' marvel. When everything goes right something turns 'the table'. My Canon 60D blinked an unhappy warning of 'low battery'. Still we had the Mullayangiri left in our list. Left with no option,I switched my camera off and sat at one corner trying to feel the rhythm of nature. Gaurav was trying to
venture the neraby surroundings with a 'frame' to reach the 'higher ground'. Don't know what happened,I woke up from my dream as the time was clicking away.
After saying 'adieu' to this 'un named falls', we climbed back the same stroll and reached where mr.Ravi was waiting with his car.
Next stop was at Mullayangiri hills, we had plans to experience one of the most scenic sunset amongst the Malnad Hills. We reached Mullayangiri hills and climbed around 300 steps. Mullayangiri is the highest peak between The Himalayas and The
Nilgiris. There we met with Anand and Mansi,a wonderful couple who
drove all the way from Pune to this place to enjoy the beauty of Malnad hills. The sunset was worth a watch. Finally we climbed down the same stairs and drove back to Chikmagalur.
Another day was over from 'a few days' left in life.Indeed,We had the best of the Malnad hills.I am thanking Gaurav not only for joining me but being my 'cady' in this tour.
A snapshot of Chikmagalur :
How to get there :
By train : Nearest rail stations are Hassan and Kadur, from which Chickmagalur is 50 and 40kms respectively.A taxi would cost Rs. 1000-1200 from either of these places.
By road : Distance from Chickmagalur to Bangalore via Hassan-Tumkur is 245 kms. From Mysore 178 kms. The road condition is just amazing.
By Air : Bangalore - 245 kms and Mangalore - 151 km.
Where to stay; Chikmagalur has staying options aplenty. Starting from star category hotels to the budget family ones. We stayed at Hotel Soundarya Resinency.
Room rates are 900/- AC Double, 500/- Deluxe Double Non A/C.
Being a district
town Chikmagalur has all the bank ATMs,Hospitals,Supermarkets. So you never run out of options.
Chikmagalur to Kemmangudi can be reached via two routes
1) Chikmagalur-Deviramma Temple-Kalathi Falls-Kemmangudi
2) Chikmagalur-Bababudangiri-Attigundi-Bhadra WLS-Kemmangudi
Best would be to follow route 1 to reach Kemmangudi and then follow route 2 while returning. Infact that's what we did.
Hope this blog finds you in a happy note and if you have questions any, please let me know.
Tot: 1.052s; Tpl: 0.075s; cc: 9; qc: 59; dbt: 0.0301s; 1; m:saturn w:www (188.8.131.52); sld: 2;
; mem: 1.4mb