by GokulTamilselvan (GTS) - Keablogger
Travel Date: August 2015. Travellers: Gajendaran, Selva & GTS
Jog, Murdeshwar, Gokarna, Sharavathi river dam and Kollur - Agumbe stretch.
Do these places ring a bell?
Yes, the Ace Director, KB Sir had used these places to shoot a song for "Kalki". These are also the places the KeaBloggers (a tightly knit weather blogging community) visited as part of the "Chasing Monsoons @ Western Ghats"
Gajendran (one of the bloggers) had casually put a question a few months back in the blog, "anybody game to do WGhats by Road". It was dismissed as another fantasy query by a majority, but 2 other intrepid bloggers - Selva and me(Gokul) had instinctively said Yes and there it was - a 3 member gang was ready to wade through the Rainwaters of the WGhats.
It was Tuesday, 18th Aug evening. Gaje (Gajendran) drove his vehicle to Nelson Manickam Road with a firm view that I may not be around. But there I was packed and ready to go. We then picked up Sel (Selva) and begin our drive through the Blore Highway. A dinner halt at Hosur was followed by a smooth drive through the express highway skirting Blore and taking us over the Southern Deccan Pleateau. The odd Police penalty (for the Sunfilm) and the frequent tolls did take away a bit of fun. But the fast moving Cumulus clouds, those delicate air parcels underneath the Blue backdrop cheered us along the highway dotted with Artifical Gardens and tilted houses. We were well on our way to the Holy Grail. For most of the weather enthusiasts Agumbe is to us as what Vatican/Mecca/Tirupathi/Golden Temple to others!
The first signs of Wghats could be sensed at Hassan from where we took the recently opened Shiradi Ghat Road. The usual suspects were there to tell us that it was the Ghat section - Lush green vegetation, Smell of herbs, Tall Majestic Mountains, Noisy Insects, Damp and Moist fallen leaves, Orographic lift of Clouds along the hill slopes. Lunch was at Karkala with the traditional Karnataka sambhar laced with Jaggery. Our eyes caught the locals having a bowl shaped equal quantities of sweetened kesari along with a normal kichdi version of rava on a single plate in Karkala. Yin-Yan theory at work?
We passed the Kudremukh hills before reaching our Gods Own Place- the one and only Agumbe. While Agumbe may very well be the Malgudi of RK. Narayan, it offers a different perspective to us, the Monsoon Pilgrims. Clouds were moving into the town from all directions and we were literally on Cloud 9. Agumbe ranks as the one of the rainiest places in India and we could see how this has changed the lifestyles of the residents of Agumbe. All house rooftops were laced with weeds and tall green grasses due to the perennial rains. Adharshan, our auto driver at Agumbe, took us for a Darshan to Agumbe rain forest research station.
We soaked in the overnight incessant rains ,unable to sleep and excited to see and hear the nature's soaking. The next morning saw us trek to a nearby falls and as we were returning back, I could see something clinging on to my leg and I became another unsuspecting victim to the omnipresent leeches in the region. It was a scary moment, but the trip down to the west coast did take my mind out of that gory violence launched by this suction worm. Small pockets of mist rose up from the puddles on the road with the distinct fragrance of Water Vapour, whenever a ray of light was able to squeeze in. A perfect place for a shoot. We did a mini Breakfast at Agumbe. The idlis were cylindrical in shape and bonded so delicately that as we touched, it disintegrated into small pieces it was made with some coarse form of rice , not like the batter with which TN Idlis are steamed.
Lunch at Udupi was followed by a drive along Bhatkal before we reached Murdeshwar for the night stay. Our early morning walk helped us to compare notes with the Konkani speaking fishermen. Children were helping their fathers in an old-fashioned fishing method and there was all round gaiety. We were surprised that freshly caught fish were being sold adjoining the Murdeshwar Temple.
Our next stop was Apsarkonda falls which was a trailer before the main Jog falls. We drove through Gersoppa reservoir into the wild wild water spraying beauty - the revered Jog falls. (can you describe Jog falls). We were truly stirred and shaken by this sight and made a reluctant exit to Tumukur. It was a nightmarish drive with light rains and treacherous roads. Sel and me were copiloting Gaje to ensure a safe journey to Tumukur. Overnight halt there was followed by a morning return to Chennai via Ambur. And yes, we did gorge on the delicious Biryani in the leather town.
We are now emboldened to start thinking about our next monsoon trip. Yes, it will be Cherrapunji or Mawsynram 2 of the rainiest places in India. Maybe an Assamese/Meghalayan movie song was picturized there???