Written By : Mayuri Singh Sengar
“Chhattisgarh! Where exactly is that?” This is one of the most common questions I get from people when I tell them that I love Chhattisgarh and I keep going back there. And, I am not surprised! This is the problem – people hardly know anything about Chhattisgarh; they hear about Chhattisgarh once in a while on national media mostly for all wrong reasons. So, here I am sharing with you five main reasons why you should travel to Chhattisgarh right now!
Who doesn’t enjoy being in the lap of nature. I am a sucker of natural beauty and there is nothing more beautiful and soothing to me than being surrounded by natural greenery. The earth’s green cover is not only a stress-buster, but it heals my mind, body and soul.Chhattisgarh is nature lovers’ paradise. You might be surprised to know that, the India State of Forest Report 2017 ranked Chhattisgarh third in the country in terms of forested area, with forest cover of 55,547 sq. km. Almost, 44% of the State’s geographical area is forest and tree cover, majority of which is in Southern Chhattisgarh. So, its green cover is actually one of the reasons why you should travel to Chhattisgarh.
Endless valley view at Peedaghat Watch Tower, Kabirdham District, Chhattisgarh.
Chhattisgarh has incredibly rich biodiversity and is blessed with some of the rare wildlife species like Wild Buffaloes and Hill Myna (known for imitating human voice). It has three national parks, eleven wildlife sanctuaries, and one crocodile park; out of these, Kanger Valley National Park really stands out.
Other environmentally unique features of Chhattisgarh include India’s ancient caves like Kailash Caves, Kutumsar Caves, Dandak Caves, etc; breathtaking waterfalls like Chitrakote waterfall (the widest waterfall in India), Tirathgarh waterfalls (a combination of total seven waterfalls), etc.
Trekking is one of the best ways to explore and soak in the raw natural beauty of this State. Of all the treks, my favorite trek is the Dholkal trek. It is roughly 4-5 km one-way trek in Dantewada district. You should not miss this trek at any cost. I will share more details about this trek in a separate blog post.
Chitrakote Waterfall, a.k.a. the Niagara of India, is the most famous waterfall of Chhattisgarh.
It is really disheartening to see that it is mostly the foreigners who show interest in knowing about the indigenous tribes of India; whereas, we, the mainstream Indians, hardly know anything about such tribes, which have existed in our society from the Harappan times. We carry our own prejudices and assumptions, which mostly are wrong, about them.
As a child, I hated history classes because I never really understood its practical utility. But, as I matured with time, I fell in love with history. It is only when you are aware about your past that you can make a better future. And, knowing about our indigenous tribes is one of the ways to better understand our people and work towards their upliftment.
Chhattisgarh has one of the highest tribal population in India, which makes it an ideal destination to know about the tribals and experience the rich tribal culture first hand. So, tribal culture of the State is one of the main reasons why you should travel to Chhattisgarh.
Tribal dance during the grand procession on the occasion of Fagun Mandai at Dantewada.
The main tribes that live in Chhattisgarh are Gonds, Bison Horn Marias, Abhuj Marias, Murias, Halbas, Korvas, Kamars, Baigas, Dhurvas and Bhatras. Because of inaccessibility to the interior regions where these tribes mainly inhibit, urbanization has not yet taken place here. Due to this, a visit to the rural areas of Chhattisgarh and quality time spent with these indigenous tribes will be the most culturally immersive experience you will ever have.
The best time to experience the tribal rituals, culture and way of life is during their festivals like Hareli, Goncha, Fagun Mandai, etc.
Bastar DussehraIn fact, the biggest and the most famous festival, which is of prime importance here, is the Bastar Dussehra. It is the longest festival of the world which extends to 75 days.
As we are aware Dussehra is celebrated as victory of Lord Ram over Ravana, however, in Chhattisgarh, the importance, rituals and ceremonies of Dussehra are totally different. In fact, Bastar Dussehra is one of the main reasons why you should travel to Chhattisgarh. I will share a separate blog post giving more details about Bastar Dussehra.
One of the ceremonies during the tribal festival, Ghotpal Mandai, at Ghotpal, near Dantewada.
With huge proportion of tribal population, Chhattisgarh boasts of several art and handicrafts which are integral part of the State.
Each tribe has their own art forms, which include various dance forms and songs. These can be experienced in full glory during various tribal festivals, when the entire community participates in the full day-night extravaganza.
As for handicrafts, some of the specialities of Chhattisgarh are complicated wood carvings, bamboo work, bell metal handicrafts (Dhokra art), iron craft, terracotta figures, tribal jewellery and paintings. Dhokra metal casting is actually one of the oldest techniques that is still surviving in Chhattisgarh.
In fact, the main handloom industry in Chhattisgarh, Kosa silk (also known as Tussar silk), is famous around the world for its quality. You can witness preparation of these handicrafts and handloom from scratch.
So, if you are art and craft lover, the traditional handicrafts of Chhattisgarh are one of the many reasons why you should travel to Chhattisgarh.
Silver tribal jewellery at one of the weekly markets in Kabirdham district, Chhattisgarh.
Although the majority of population in Chhattisgarh is Hindu, Chhattisgarh is a potpourri of many religions and cultures. So, even if you are not a religious person (I am neither religious nor atheist) you must visit Chattisgarh to soak in this magnificent aura of religious diversity.
In ancient times, Chhattisgarh was part of Dakshina Kosala and finds mention in Ramayana as Dandakaranya. It is believed that Lord Rama stayed in several parts of Chhattisgarh during his exile days; which makes it extremely significant to Hindus.
One of the ceremonies during Fagun Mandai festival at Maa Danteshwari temple, Dantewada, Chhattisgarh.
The major Hindu temples and holy places include Devi Danteshwari temple at Dantewada (one of the 52 Shakti Peeths), Maa Bamleshwari Devi temple at Dongargarh, Mahamaya Devi temple at Ratanpur, Bhoramdev Temple at Kawardha, temples at Rajim (also known as Prayaga of Chhattisgarh), etc.
Another important religious attraction is Sirpur which has archaeological remains associated with Shaiva, Vaishnava, Buddhist and Jain faiths. There are several temples and Buddhists monastaries in Sirpur. Even the great spiritual leader Dalai Lama did not miss to visit Sirpur during his Chhattisgarh visit in 2013.
The most famous Buddhist Monastery at Mainpat a.k.a. Mini Tibet of Chhattisgarh.
And with the rising Christian population, Chhattisgarh also has Asia’s second largest Catholic church, the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Rosary, at Kunkuri in Jashpur district.
These religious epicentres provide one of the reasons why you should travel to Chhattisgarh. The best time to visit these religious sites is during the associated famous festivals, like Sirpur festival, Bhoramdev Mahotsav, and various Devi temples especially during Navratri.
Bhima Kichak Temple, Malhar, is one of the important archaeological sites in Chhattisgarh.
Chhattisgarh is one of the most unexplored, underrated, unadulterated, untouched and raw States in the country; and this itself should be one of the major reasons why you should travel to Chhattisgarh.
It has a lot of potential in terms of eco-ethno tourism. It is an ideal destination for adventure seekers and explorers. Because of various misconceptions and myths about the State, not many people have yet explored the region; and those who have, never went back disappointed.
Hospitality, especially by tribals, is one of the best experiences you can have in Chhattisgarh. The people here are very simple and accept the tourists with open arms. In fact, it is extremely difficult to find corruption, greed and commercialization here.
Soaking the beauty of the landscape at Dholkal Peak, Dantewada district, Chhattisgarh.
Want more?Still want more reasons why you should travel to Chhattisgarh? Just go there! Once you visit Chhattisgarh you will understand why the tagline chosen by the Chhattisgarh Tourism Board, “Chhattisgarh – Full of Surprises”, is so apt.
If you are planning to visit Chhattisgarh, I would highly recommend Unexplored Bastar for all your travel needs. The best part of this well recognized travel start-up is that it focuses on sustainable tourism through community-based approach; this means that one of the main beneficiaries of this organization is the local tribal communities.
TIP: The best time to visit Chhattisgarh is from September to March. During this time, not only the weather is comfortable, but most of the festivals are also celebrated.
In case you want to explore Chhattisgarh on your own and at your own pace, do check my Solo Travel Series.
Does Chhattisgarh feature in your travel list? Have you ever been to Chhattisgarh? If yes, how was your experience? Let me know in comments below.
This blog is written by Mayuri Singh Sengar. She is married solo female traveler from India. After spending eight years as a legal advisor in the electricity sector, She bid adieu to her full-time corporate career and happily embraced the adventurous ride of a freelancer. Since then She ticked off many items from her bucket list – from finishing an Ironman 70.3 triathlon to six months of a solo backpacking trip to South East Asia. She has a never-ending affair with adventure sports, mountains, outdoor life, and sarees. She has come a long way since She dared to live her life beyond the usual, and now She shares her experiences to inspire you to get out of your comfort zone and explore life. Hop on and enjoy the ride!
If you are interested in knowing more about her journey, do check lifebeyondusual.com
In case you if you find any difficulty to connect to her website, please directly visit www.lifebeyondusual.com
Also check out her posts on Instagram page mayuri.lifebeyondusual
Nightmares of me paddling my kayak towards the island in the dark but not reaching still haunts me. I’m not sure if it’s the rocks that are calling me back or my mind not having had the satisfaction of experiencing enough of it.I kayaked 21km in 9 hours, 40 min to reach the Rocky Island. It was scary, tough, slow and challenging. Kayaking 21 km is not new to me as I kayak around 50 km every week.This was not the first time I attempted to kayak to the Rocky island. The first was two days prior of the said expedition. My friend Kishore Kumar, and I tried to kayak to the island but, alas - it ended up as race against the time and we had to beat a hasty retreat. We embarked the first expedition at around 2:18 pm from Mulki, Mangalore. The goal was to reach before the sunset.
The reason why we stressed on reaching before sunset is because the large fishing boats were constantly passing through the area around the island. Our kayak and SUP were not equipped enough to signal our presence in the water. If we had continued to be in the water at night, it would have been disastrous. The weight of the fishing boat is enough to crush my kayak, and their propellor is powerful enough to destroy both, my kayak and my body.
In our last attempt, we did everything right. We had all the required equipment, food, and gear. We estimated our speed to be an average of 4-5 km/hour. We paddled hard and strong continuously for 4 hours and 30 min.
When we glimpsed the island for the first time, it appeared to be hazy and seemed like a small structure floating in the water at a far distance. We were relieved that we saw the island with an hour left to sunset. Though we were already tired of paddling against the wind and swell, we continued paddling vigorously in order to reach but we could not make it. We lost the race against time, and we underestimated the mighty ocean and her close friends (the swell and the wind).
The ocean consists of not just water but also wind and sea currents. If travelling in the sea is on your mind, you will have to consider the other aspects such as the ocean current and the wind apart from the compass. The wind from the opposite side can push you back and slow you down. Pausing for a minute can derail you from your path, without you realizing it. The swell can splash lots water into the kayak. You need to time the paddle right with the swell.The island was still 6 km away while the sun had set. It was very risky to move forward between those big fishing boats. Even if we had reached the island in the dark, it could have been difficult to get up on those slippery rocks of the island. We had no option but to stop this journey right here and give it another try. After paddling back to the nearest beach, we called our friends to rescue us. We planned on repeating the expedition the next day and leaving much earlier than what we had.Kishore and I are not new to paddling. Kishore is a SUP national champion, and one of the best surfers in India. Kishore has spent close to 15 years, surfing every morning and evening in the ocean. I am a beginner in the water, I kayak, surf, and swim for an average of 50 hours every week since the past year.Kishore has been to this island earlier. With him on my side, I was confident in the water. He knew the island and the water around it. Although, he could not come with me the second time. He had shown me the way to the island in our last attempt. When I started solo, he gave me tips on how to climb those rocks on reaching the island.
With my dry bags already packed and ready from the previous attempt, I left for the island from Mantra Surf Club around 10 in the morning.The previous night, I had nightmares. I don't usually get scared easily, but thinking about this trip gave me the creeps that I had never imagined. Something in me kept telling me to call it off.Once I was in the water, I had other things to worry about.Like the other day, I was paddling a three seater sit on top kayak with at least 50 kg of luggage kept on the front two seats. The center seat had an icebox filled with cold water, juice and fruits. Four other dry bags were kept on the center seat : one with more fruits, one with the snacks, one with the clothes and the first aid kit, one with all the electronic gadgets. I was also carrying 30 kilograms of dry wood, one tent and one sleeping bag, all of them wrapped in a plastic sheet on the front kayak seat.
When I started, the first challenge was to enter the sea without capsizing. A big sea wave can easily capsize the kayak. If that had happened, I could have easily injured myself, and also soaked my luggage in the process. This could have ruined the journey before starting it. I was prepared for this situation though . All food, electronics, and clothes were in the dry bags, were tied to the kayak using a rope. Wood, tents and the sleeping bag was wrapped in a plastic sheet and tied to the front seat of the kayak. I also had an extra paddle, incase I would have lost or damaged the one I had.
The tide was going up, which meant lots of water from the ocean was flowing into the river. When the tide goes up the water level in the ocean rises around 3-6 feet. When the water in the ocean rises, the water starts flowing into the river. The tide goes up and down every few hours. It also affects the waves on the beach. At this particular time, the swell coming near the mouth of the river were not breaking. One will have to cut through the waves with enough speed in order to cross it. A momentary lapse of judgment would result in being thrown around.Paddling across the mouth of the river exhausted me. The sea near the delta is different from the rest of the beach. Due to the shallowness, lot of swells break near the delta. A Swell can break at any place in that 200 meter radius. I had no option but to paddle at a faster rate till I had reached a safe distance away from the delta.After reaching the safe distance, I took some long deep breath and drank some cold water and butter milk from the ice-box. When I looked back towards the beach, it was just another day for my friends from Mantra Surf Club. They were having fun surfing on the beach as usual. They saw and waved at me.I waved back the final goodbye and started paddling towards the Rocky Island - that one thing that had given me the creeps the night before.It was going to be a long journey, a tough journey, a journey which would test my patience and my endurance. For the first 8-10 km, I had to paddle parallel to the shore line at around 2-5 km away from the land. So that I'd have the option to back out. I could always come back to land and go home like the other day.
I could still see the shore of the beach and few tall buildings. Even though Mulki is a small village situated between Mangalore and Udupi, it has many tall apartments which stand out of place compared to the small village and market located in it. Mulki town is situated on the Kochi Panvel highway (NH-66).I had estimated to reach the island in 6-8 hours. According to my calculation, I should have reached the island by 6pm. Even after 6pm, I estimated to have about 30 min to set up my things before it got dark. With two days to new moon, the night seemed dark and dangerous.After sometime of paddling, it was just the ocean and me. The first thing I noticed was a shining light coming from the ocean. It seemed as if there was many small aluminium sheets floating in which were reflecting light. The first thought was that it could have been the garbage floating around. My curiosity was satiated when I realised that it was seagulls floating on the water.
The next thing I encountered were these massive fishing boats trawling the ocean with fishing nets. It is good to have company in the ocean. You can always signal them for help in emergency. It also gives you confidence during your journey. These fishing boats are always in pairs, moving in the same direction and same speed, parallel to each other. They also had lots of birds behind them which were to catch the small fishes poking out from the net.I had this Samsung application that helped to track my route. The app had a feature of notifying me after covering each kilometer. It would tell me the total distance and time I had taken to cover. It was all fun and games for the first 7-8 kilometers. Then the wind picked up and the swell increased.Soon it was 2 o'clock in the afternoon and I had to cover 10 more kilometers. I figured that I had to paddle 2.5km/hour to finish it on time. It seemed to be easy and doable at that point of time.I kept on paddling and at around 3pm, I glimpsed the island for the first time.From far the island was not very distinguishable from the hue of the ocean, and it easy to lose sight of it. Once I lost the track of the island, I had to find it again which took a little extra effort. So now I could see the island, it was easier to navigate. I just had to kayak towards the island. I did the same and the big fishing boats slowly disappeared.But, where did they disappear to?It was at this point when I realised that I had strayed deep into the ocean. I was where the whales and dolphins swam. I could see more of the island. Those tiny rocks became little bigger and I could see 3-4 of them close to each other. It still looked far so I kept on paddling. My energy levels had dropped down. The wind and tide were still against me. In fact the wind got much stronger. I could feel I was slowing down. I began taking more frequent water and snacks break.
I could see my destination for tonight, right in front of me. I just needed to paddle little more and I could take a long break till next morning. The island was right in front of my eyes but far from my reach. Slowly the sky was turning orange, the sun was on its course to set. The island appeared bigger and I could see the light reflecting from those rocky structures.My friends back at Mulki were expecting me to have reached the island. They were calling me, and were worried that I was still in the water. After some time it started getting dark and my phone battery was running low. I stopped clicking pictures and receiving calls. It was very important for me to reach the island before it got dark. I was going to step into an unknown and uninhabited place which is far into the ocean.I paddled all I could, but I couldn't reach before sunset. The sun had totally disappeared into the ocean, I had no time to watch the sunset. The moon was right above the place where sun set. The waning moon offered just enough light to see a big black rock in front of me. It has been 3 hours since I saw the island and I was still paddling towards it. Apart from being tiring it was frustrating. I could see it and I was paddling towards it but I was not able to reach.My calculations had gone for a toss. The distance to the island seems to be too far. The wind never went down, the swell never decreased. Instead it got more windy and rough. I kept thinking that when I reach the island, I will find that every hardship faced was just a test. I kept on paddling for at least one more hour in the dark. The dark rocks were too close to my eyes and too far for my paddle.I started getting bad thoughts and I was very scared. I was hallucinating on my thoughts. I felt as If I am caught in this infinite paddling sequence in the ocean. The island is not getting any closer and I am stuck here paddling forever. Suddenly a huge trawler brushed by my side. I realized it only when the boat had passed by me. I got very scared and realized that I am not in a safe zone. This is a no mans land here. I need to watch my back more closely.I heard the water splashing against the rocks after a while. I was relieved and scared at the same time. Relieved that I had reached the island and scared because I climb the slippery rock in the dark that's infested with razor sharp barnacles and coral. The water near the island can get extremely choppy. At one point in the island, the water level rose and fell to 10ft within a few seconds. Within the blink of an eye, the waves could've rammed my kayak and broken it to pieces leaving me stranded amongst razor sharp, barnacle infested rocks.Locals say that this island and the water surrounding it has taken few lives in past. Everything was scary and confusing in the dark.Kishore had told me to approach the island from the northmost side. The water there was comparatively calmer and it was easy to climb. This place is not just one peice of rock, it is a cluster of many rocks of different sizes. There are 8-10 bigger ones and few dozen smaller one. The distribution of these rocks is in an area that is 800 meter long and 100 meter wide.
If I had approach the island from the wrong side, I would have paid heavily for any mistake. I cautiously approached the island and observed the water rising up and down with the swell. I spotted a small rock which was part of the island, where If I had rammed my kayak at the right time, I would have been able to get off and hold on to it. If I approached the rock when the water was going up, I could climb on top of the rock, get down quickly from the kayak, and hold back the kayak, so that that kayak does not go down with the water.I tried it twice, but could not time it correctly. The third time I was on the rock. I got down and moved up the island, and held the kayak from its front handle. I took my time to breathe. I had to get the kayak out of the water without damaging it, and the kayak was heavy. I waited for the water to rise more than the previous time and I pulled the kayak little more up.I was famished and exhausted. My back needed to rest. I lay on the rocky island and for the first time I saw the sky, which was brightly lit with stars. I had never seen so many stars in the sky. I was relaxed and happy to have made it. I took my time and started pitching the tent. It was windy. I didn't find anything to tie my tent to the ground. The wind was strong enough to blow away the tent. I took all the dry bags and the cooler and put it inside the tent.
I wanted to start the bonfire immediately. I took some wood and lit it. I also cooked some noodles for dinner. It was amazing to sit there among the stars and the fire. I could see the cities situated on the shore. I could see the lights along the coast line. After eating the noodles I took my sleeping bags out and lied down under the sky.
I was alone but I was not afraid. I started thinking about my life. How and where it all started.I remember the first memory of my life very clearly. It was when my mom dropped me off at my grandmother's home. I was crying as I saw my mother leave. But was it where my life started? Was it my memories that made me what I am? Am I a box full of memories? If I could somehow erase all my memories, would I still be myself? I had just experienced the Ship of Theseus’ paradox.From when did I started considering myself as an individual? From when did I get separated from everything else? I am no different, I am still the same star matter in a different structure. The feeling of “Aham” and “I” is separating me from everything else. If I just drop the “I”, I becomes the whole, I gets connected, I dissolves into the universe, I becomes the universe, I is universe. Aham Brahmasmi.This feeling was wholesome and happy. The feeling of dropping “I” is bliss. I wish I could drop the “I” forever. I am still not ready yet to drop it. Maybe I don't want to. Someday, I will be the whole I, the real I, forever.With these thoughts swirling around in my head I slept under the stars in my sleeping bag. The fire was offering some solace on the otherwise cold night. The water was splashing against the mighty rocks and spilling all over the place. I was hoping that the island would not submerge into the ocean.
I was so glad I came here, to the rock, to the ocean. Into the wild.Next morning, I woke up before the sunrise. It was a beautiful sunrise on the west coast. I trekked the whole island, the island was full of crabs and different kinds of corals. The island also had very rough water on all the sides. I was so glad that I climbed the island from the north side. Kishore's tip was life saving.
For hours, I watched the swell hitting the rocks. The water would come up, hit the rock, and splash everywhere. When the swell went down, all the water would trickle down like a waterfall. The sun was up, I packed my luggage, my plastic waste and paddled back home.Now, I know mother ocean more. I understand her more, I respect her more, I want to be with her more.Huge thanks to Mantra Surf Club and all the boys for supporting me throughout the journey. They were ready with rescue boat in case of emergency. Special thanks to Kishore, for showing me the way to the island and helping me with the preparation. Thank you Ashika Appaiah for editing. Peace.
This adventurous solo Kayak Trip To The Rocky Island Of The Arabian Sea was by our KayakBoy aka Sushant. He loves watersports and has been kayaking since 2016. Sushant has kayaked more than 2500 km in last 2 years. He also loves camping and staying close to the nature. Apart from watersports, he loves motorcycling, driving car, treking on mountains. If you are intersted to Kayak you can feel free to contact us and we can arrange for it.To read more about Sushant's kayaking and other stories, Please check his website //kayakboy.in/
Goa…The first few things that comes to your mind after listening to that word are beaches, clubs, casinos, and of course Drinks. However, Goa is a lot more than just that stereotype.
The Greenery of Monsoon will take your breathe away on any given day provided you are a true nature lover. The temples here are historic and divine that you will actually feel the peace from within. The churches of Portuguese era will mesmerize you with its architecture and calmness. The Portuguese styled houses renowned for its unique design can get sold for crores on any given day.
Apart from all these Goa is also known for some of the picturesque waterfalls that can be spotted during monsoons. Being a nature trekker I have covered most of the waterfalls through some scenic jungle route all across Goa, but the Doodhsagar waterfall was alluding me since many years.
Doodhsagar, as the name suggests, translates to Ocean of Milk and is very renowned waterfall not just in Goa, but across India. Doodhsagar Falls is a four-tiered waterfall located in the Western Ghats on the Goa-Karnataka border and is India’s 5th Tallest waterfall. Doodhsagar falls is one of the most visited places in Goa. Those who have seen the Shahrukh and Deepika starrer “Chennai Express” will remember this waterfall without fail.
As a friend of ours had returned from Abroad after many years we thought of going out for some leisure time, but Doodhsagar was never in the plan, it just happened that the idea of adventure came to our mind and without a foolproof plan. We left for this unexpected journey. IT was Sunday, we started at 5.00 am from our Mapusa for a road journey of about 80kms to Kulem railway station with a pitstop of about half an hour for the breakfast. A car journey is always nostalgic and hilarious if you end up traveling with your classmate friends and so was the case with us. We didn’t even realize how quickly we covered the distance to reach the starting point of the walk to the waterfall.
As we arrived the Kulem station, we purchased fruits and water bottles and ORS to kill our hunger and thirst which we would have surely suffered on the way. Meanwhile, some people hurried at us offering us bike ride along the railway track and through thick jungle for waterfall sightseeing. But we declined that as we had to experience the walking through the jungle kind of feeling. The walk along the railway track which we started with 200% excitement began at about 8.00 am. We had to walk from Kulem station towards the Castlerock station which falls in Karnataka. The waterfall is right between both these stations. The fast-moving feets got slowed down a bit after few 100 meters as we entered thick forest. Gradually Sound of Water gushing somewhere in the forest, birds chirping and occasionally a train passing by and we waving hands at the passengers became a common affair. Strangers waving hands at strangers Ohh! that was soo childish.
The legs had started getting tired after covering some 7-8kms but we kept pushing ourselves. As we reached Sonalium station en route Doodhsagar we spotted a group of 15-20 youth comprising both boys and girls returning back to the start point without witnessing the waterfall, after enquiring we found that few girls had injured themselves and didn’t want to continue with bruises on their knees, pity the entire squad had to give up the journey. The expression on their faces could sum up the situation.
As we proceeded further wherein we encountered multiple tunnels of various lengths full dark and spooky. The one most funniest tunnel incident was when we were approached by a goods train while crossing the tunnel and we ran like as if being chased by tigers just to avoid any confrontation with the train inside the tunnel. We laughed throughout the day remembering that incident.
By now we had finished half of our fruits n stock of water but the waterfall was nowhere to be seen. Just then we got a sneak peek of the waterfall from a distance of couple of kilometers and it was a relaxing moment that gave us an extra push to reach our destination.
After 4 hours walk through the jungle coming across Monkeys, Beehives, strange creatures, beautiful birds, dead snakes n frogs we had finally reached the God’s magical creation only to be stopped by couple of of Railway police guards, asking us not to go any further. We couldn’t believe we ran out of our luck even before clicking a picture with the waterfall. The railway police narrated us the stories from past of carelessness leading to accidents and subsequent deaths which made them stricter against tourists. However after a lot of requests, convincing and chit chats they finally agreed to let us go near the fall for few minutes and that’s all what we needed.
Finally, the moment arrived, The Bahubali-1 look alike waterfall was right in front of our eyes. The sound of the water coming down from the rocks itself was enough to give you goosebumps. the white water was even brighter due to the sun shining on it, the only song I was humming standing in front of the waterfall wasDhivara prasara shourya bharaUthsara sthira ghambheera. ?
Another incident that made the trip memorable was getting robbed by monkeys. A friend carrying spare clothes and fruits in the bag kept it aside and got busy clicking pictures only to realize after returning that it has been taken away by monkeys. We tried looking for it but all in vain. We thanked God that there was no mobile or wallet inside left behind otherwise it would have ended as the most regretted trip for him.After the eye soothing experience, we bid adieu to the Railway Cops and began our journey to the foothill of the waterfall, this was a bit tricky route as we didn’t know which passage to take to go downhill but just then we saw few tourists coming out of the thick jungle and we got the way. We followed their trail and within 30 minutes walk in the rain through the dense, slippery and muddy forest we were at the spot we arrived at the foothills where the water was crushing on to the lake below. The flow of the water was strong and increasing steadily as the rain had started picking up. we walked through the flow with the help of ropes and support of each other for a better view.
Just like any Hill station the Top of the hill was covered with thick fog and it gave the impression like somebody is pouring jar full of milk on mother earth from the heavens. It was a mesmerizing and spectacular view of water pouring down at the foot of the hill and touching your feet and continuing its journey to meet the Arabian sea.
As it was already 3.00 pm and we had no plans of getting lost in the jungle so we decided to head back towards the point where we started from in the morning, before it could get dark. The return journey was, of course, going to be tiring and slow and that is it was. This time we chose to walk back using the Kaccha Road made by the Locals who ferry people to the waterfall in their Jeeps, as the ferry service had not begun the pathway was comparatively better but ruined at certain places. This route is used only by local Jeeps and bikes for the sole purpose of ferrying the tourists and remain closed during monsoon. This path makes you come across a temple dedicated to the Goddess Doodhsagar.
After the tiring walk of hours, we finally reached back to the Kulem station and thus came to an end to our 24+km and 8hrs long gruesome trekking Experience.By far our best experience within Goa.The Memories, the scenery and the beauty captured by the eyes and the lens will be long lasting for sure..
Whats next??Maybe Doodhsagar waterfall again in a couple of years, but from Castlerock station.
This adventurous story is written and experience by Din Redkar.
Also, read his blogs on his blog site //wayfarerguru.wordpress.com/
Feel free to contact him on his Instagram Page @the.dark_fantasy
Coorg, ‘The Scotland of India’ also known as Kodagu, is a rural district in the Southwest Indian state of Karnataka. To explore Coorg, We need at least a week. But somehow, I managed to visit some good places in just two days. So if you have just two days to explore Coorg, then my plan might suit you. Best time to enjoy the serenity of this beautiful place is from June to March. Visiting Coorg both in monsoon and post monsoon are treat to your eyes. During monsoon, heavy rain and fog enhances the beauty. Post monsoon, whole Coorg will be very chilled and green. Coorg is destination for all types of travelers. It has hill stations, temples, water walls, adventurous sports like trekking, rafting, farm touring places and lots more.
People out there are great in hospitality, They let you stay in their own houses. Due to which you get to see and live according to their lifestyle. They don’t let you feel like you are away from home. Because of this, the concept of home-stay is famous in Coorg. Home-stay is also very economical and a friendly place to stay during your holidays.
I had noted down the tourist places to be visited in our two days trip to Coorg. The date was fixed and we had to find a place to stay in Coorg. Since it was the weekend and the year end too, already all the hotels and home-stays were full and slightly overpriced. One of my friend made use of his contacts and managed to find a good home stay near to Virajapet town.
Since I am from Mangalore, my trip starts from this place only. We started on 30 Dec early in the morning at around 6.00a.m. Early morning drive is much better, as less traffic and morning views of hills are so mesmerizing. We headed towards Madikeri hill station town in Coorg which is around 138kms from Mangalore and takes about 3.30 hrs of driving. Coorg and Mangalore are well connected with a very good state highway. On the way, We had to pick two of our friends from Puttur. We had our breakfast in Puttur and picked those two friends and headed towards Coorg. Just after passing Sullya, Sampaje ghat starts. Awesome driving experience starts from here, Its a 55 km of smooth & uphill drive surrounded by beautiful mountains.
As per my plan our first visit was to The Namdroling Nyingmapa Monastery or the Golden temple in Kushalnagara which is around 31 km from Madikeri.. We reached there at around 10.00am. The Namdroling Nyingmapa Monastery is the largest teaching center of the Nyingma lineage of Tibetan Buddhism in the world. Namdroling has been dedicated specially for the study, practice and preservation of Vajrayana Tibetian Buddhism and is home to over 5000 Tibetian monks. You can see beautiful Tibetian style architecture and artworks in this temple and its surroundings. This place is so silent and peaceful and best place for meditation. We spent almost 1.30 hrs in this place and then decided to leave for our next destination, Dubare – Elephant camp.
On the way to Dubare, there are two more places you can visit if you have enough time. One is Harangi dam and other one is Kaveri Nisargadhama. Before you visit Harangi dam, find out whether there is enough water and is it allowed to visit the dam. We didn’t have plans to visit these two places, hence straight away reached Dubare. River rafting and Elephant camps are the main attractions of Dubare. To visit the Elephant camp you have to cross the river by boat. Also you can try river rafting in this same place. This place is so crowded often, So I would prefer that you visit the elephant camp and do river rafting in some other place on the way back to the main road. There are many river rafting spots available. The attraction and thrill of river rafting depends on the time you visit this place. During rainy season, It will be too adventurous as there will be strong water flow. But at this time river is very calm, still you can paddle and enjoy. After paddling and rafting for nearly 45 minutes, we were exhausted and hungry.We had our lunch in the small restaurant nearby, where we enjoyed good and tasty local food.
It was 3.30 pm when we started back to Madikeri from Dubare. Raja seat was our next destination, which is a small park with a musical fountain, train for kids and a beautiful location to view sunset. Sunset time was around 5.45p.m., but we reached much early than our plan. We relaxed under the trees and clicked some pics. In the meantime people started gathering to occupy their seats in the newly built gallery to view the sunset. I can always watch sunset from the beach as I live in the coastal city Mangalore. But watching setting sun from the mountains is so soothing and peaceful. It was really a magical view. Just as soon as the sunset, it was all dark suddenly.
After enjoying the sunset we left to our home stay which was booked on the way to Virajpete. It was about 30 minutes drive from Madikeri to our home stay. But we took more time because of the less maintained road and darkness. Finally we reached our home-stay, which was located right in the middle of the coffee estate. We couldn’t see anything except the feel of driving through the forest. It was so silent and cold.. We reached our home-stay at around 7.30pm. Everybody freshened up and got ready for the dinner. By 8.30pm our dinner was ready and served. Its was so good and we tasted all the local dishes, which we never tasted. Our home-stay was so well maintained that we felt as if we were staying in our own house. Everybody were so tired and slept quickly, all had a good sound sleep. For the Next day our plan was to leave our home-stay by7.30am. So We all woke up around 6.00 am packed our bags and got ready. It was a foggy morning and we couldn’t see anything except our home stay. But as the time passed fog cleared out and we got to see the coffee estate, mountains surrounding by and some houses far away in the hills. It was such a nice view, We never thought it would be so good surrounding. Our breakfast was served at 7.00am. It was soft idli, sambar and coffee. Once again a good food, very delicious. We left our home-stay as per our plan and drove towards our next destination, Mandalpatti.
Mandalpatti is around 21kms from Madikeri city. Mandalpatti or Mugilu pete is at an altitude of 1235m which is located in Pushpagiri reserve forest. We can reach to the top only by 4×4 jeep. If you visit Mandalpatti during monsoon or just after the monsoon, you can feel the beauty of this place covered by dense fog. But if you visit after November you can just see the beautiful landscapes & mountains all around. Road to Mandalpatti is very bumpy, if you love your car then better go for a jeep drive. It is a best experience in jeep. After a thrilling jeep drive uphill and downhill and beautiful clear views we reached back to the base from where we started our jeep drive. Abbi falls is nearby and easily can be visited. But we skipped it , as many of us have already been to this place. After this bumpy jeep drive our next destination was to Talakaveri.
Talakaveri is around 44kms from Madikeri and it is the birth place of River Cauvery, a holy river. Talakaveri is a famous pilgrimage center too. On the way to Talakaveri, you can visit one more famous temple Bhagamandala. We changed our plan and first visited Bhagamandala. It was around 1.30pm when we reached this temple. They serve free lunch to the devotees in this temple. We worshipped god, had our lunch and then left for Talakaveri. Talakaveri is just around 8kms from Bhagamandala. Talakaveri is at an altitude of 1276m, is a beautiful pilgrimage center as well as nice viewing point. You have to climb up the hill next to the main temple premises for the viewing point. Most of the time this place will be covered with fog. But at this time of the year it was all clear and we could see beautiful mountain view.
It was around 4.00pm and Talakaveri was our last destination. We had covered all the places as per our plan, hence decided to drive back to Mangalore with some unforgettable memories that we will cherish forever. On our way back home there are lots of shops selling best coffee powder, spices, honey, home made chocolates, all locally made. All these things worth buying. We bought it and headed towards Mangalore.
From this place, Mangalore is 144 kms and would take 4 hours to reach. It was dark when we were driving down in the ghat roads. Roads are good, but try to drive safely because it has lot of curves and way too much of traffic on the road due to lots of tourist vehicles. We stopped at Puttur to drop two of our freinds. After that straight drive to Mangalore and we reached by 9.30pm. We were fully exhausted, but very happy too. It was a thrilling and adventurous journey overall. This was two days trip plan to Coorg from Mangalore. There are lot more beautiful tourist locations worth visiting in Coorg. You can check it out in our website tourhythmindia.com. If you are planning 3 to 4 days, then you can cover most of them. Although the weather is good throughout the year, but the Best time to visit Coorg is from October to March. And If you want to experience the heavy rain, fog and gusting waterfalls then plan your trip in rainy season i.e. from June to September. We hope that you like this small and simple story and plan your next trip to Coorg, The Scotland of India.
This is the story of my trek to Kudremukh Peak, which commenced on December 17, 2017.Kudremukh is located in the bordering area of the Western Ghats covering three districts in Karnataka namely Chikkamagalur, Dakshina Kannada, and Udupi. An ultimate place for nature lovers and trekkers. At a height of 1894m from sea level, this trail is a moderate to difficult one. Kudremukh Peak is the third highest peak after Mullayanagiri and Bababudangiri. With Natural grasslands and very dense Shola forests, it makes the greenery of these undulating hills eye-catching and memorable.
I am writing this to share my trekking experience and also to show how the peak looks in December and how the climb is expected to be. I had the information that trekking Kudremukh Peak is best from October to February. No doubt it was true, but I don’t think it is the same now. Because with the less rainfall, short winter, comes the dry season. As a result, the mountains are no more green and it is mostly dry everywhere. You can Compare the photos of our same trek in October and in December, there is a huge difference. And if this continues, I think it will be more difficult for us to trek in February as it might start getting very hot during January. The best time to trek this place is in October and November. Soon after the rainy season, this place is heavenly. So I would like to suggest that you should plan your trek in the month of October or November.
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Without further adieu, let me tell you about the memories we created on this trek. It was 5.00a.m. in the early morning and we started from Mangalore, with 13 people on board, all college students except me. Everybody was so enthusiastic about the trek and most of them were trekking for the first time. After 3hrs. of the journey from Mangalore and a small nap with some road bumps, we reached a village called Balegal in Kudremukh. Balegal is just after the Kudremukh Iron ore mine which is now closed down.
From Balekal, we had to take a jeep drive and reach Mullodi, the starting point of our trek. In October it was very chilled, but it was not so cold this time in December. We could already see the difference in weather. After driving 6kms upwards the hill we reached the trek starting point. There is a homestay nearby, which you have to pre-book if you want to stay at night. But from Mangalore it’s not so far, so one need not stay overnight. We had hot veg pulao and hot tea for our breakfast. Sometimes they serve hot and soft idli with sambar which is the favorite breakfast in Karnataka. After breakfast, We left our excess luggage in the homestay, so that we could climb easily with less weight. We carried some packed lunch called Puliyogare, which is made of rice and is a healthy food and best for trekking.
Waterfalls near the trek start point
Just as we crossed the homestay we could hear the sound of a small waterfall which was roaring in October. But was very silent at this time. We planned to get wet after we are back from our trek. Hence we continued to the Forest office. We have to inform Forest office about our trek, pay the trek and the guide fees in the office. Kudremukh Forest is a reserved forest area, hence we have to take permission before we start trekking. Entering without permission is a punishable offense and strictly prohibited. Also, We were instructed to be back by 6.00pm by the forest officers. We would be fined if we did not reach by then. It is compulsory to take a trek guide and only local people can be the guide. During the trekking season, the local people get the opportunity to earn some extra money as working as trek guide. In the off trekking season, they are busy with their agriculture, mainly with paddy, rubber and coffee plantations.
Usually, with a decent speed and proper rest, it takes 5hrs to reach the peak. It’s written as 9kms as trek length in the signage, but it’s actually more. It’s around 10.5kms. By 9.00am we started to trek and our plan was to reach the peak by 2.00pm. The trekking path was so different compared to the one in October. In October it was completely green and the path was hardly visible. But this time it’s easy to find the trekking path. This time when we trekked the path was so wide and very clear because the grass had started drying. As we walked for 1 Km, we could see the first view of the peak which still was 8kms away.
First view of the peak
very less water in December
We had to cross 3 to 4 streams in our trekking path. Since the water was scanty, it was easy to cross. But I remember when we crossed these streams in October, it was so joyful, we were fully wet and were shivering too. I hope there will be water for the trekkers who will trek in January or February. The path was so muddy, wet and slippery during October. But this time it was too dry and slippery. Thankfully there was cold breeze throughout the day.
Mountains in October
Mountains in December
By this time our breakfast was fully digested and we also wanted a break and shade to relax. It was almost halfway up & our guide said that just little bit ahead, there is a nice place to take a break under a tree with a seating made up of stones. We can take a break as well as view magnificent mountain view from this place. Even the sky was so clear. It was around 10.30am. We ate some fruits, rested and took a break and then started again. We could see the peak bit closer from there. All the first time trekkers were so happy. But others knew what came ahead. After a small curve and a stream, we had to pass through the Forest. It was so nice because it was so dense and fully shaded. After this forest came the actual hard part of the trek, climbing the hill which is very steep. It is almost 60 degrees. And this is the toughest part of this trek. Everybody with great difficulty climbed up.
By now all of us were tired again and exhausted after the steep climb. But it was so worth climbing this steep hill and view the mountains from the height. A small break was the most important thing now. And there we saw a lonely tree called as ‘Ontimara’. The tree was covered with beautiful green leaves when we last visited. Compare the pics.
Trek path is hardly visible in October
Trek path is wide and clearly visible in December
We took rest for some time under the tree and started again. Just after this, there was a beautiful arch made up of bamboo welcoming us though it was a bit dry than earlier. The peak is closer now. And just after this, comes the second steep climb. Many of us broke down. But others encouraged them and it was just roughly 500mts after this steep climb to reach the peak. Everybody started climbing except two stopped there and went back. After this second steep climb, the peak was too close, just 500mts away and that too it was a level surface to walk.
Peak in October
Peak in December
All of us were finally content to reach the peak. We felt we achieved something. It was just 1.00 pm. We had reached 1hr prior to our estimated time. We enjoyed the magnificent view from the top of the peak. We were taking photos, discussing the hardship we crossed, the struggle, the pain. But finally, we achieved our target and reached the destination – The Kudremukh Peak.
We took a long break, almost an hour. We stepped down to a level surface where there is a small stream flowing and decided to have our packed lunch. It was 2.30 pm. After having our delicious lunch, we started descending. The same steep hill we had to cross again, but since we took good rest for some time it was little easier. We were very careful and were climbing down much faster. Our knees were very badly hurt, we could feel it when we were climbing down. We took two small breaks under those two trees. The guide with us was a blessing. He was continuously instructing and guiding us so that we reach before 6 pm.
Mountain in October
Mountain in December
It was easy to climb down compared to climbing up. By 5.30 pm everybody reached the base, took a nap, relaxed. As our legs were paining sorely, we dropped the plan to visit the waterfall nearby. A body massage would be a therapy at that moment. But to our dismay, there was no such facility available. After freshening up and having a cup of coffee, we boarded our vehicle and started driving towards Mangalore. We reached Mangalore by 9:30 pm.
Undoubtedly the climb was difficult for the first-timers. But it was worth it. If you are planning to trek this peak, then do trek either in October or November because it is not so convenient after that. It’s mostly dry after that. Also, try and avoid rainy season because there will be lots of leeches and it will be too slippery and risky.
We Tourhythmindia arrange such treks from Mangalore. If you are interested trekking with us, then feel free to contact us.
Watch the video of the same story