Wednesday, August 31, 2011

The Historical Kalhatti Waterfalls, Kemmannugundi

      'Kalhatti Falls' is one of the famous waterfalls in Kemmannugundi. This place proves a great combination of history, religion, nature and adventure. The temple near the falls is associated with the Cholas, the Hoysalas, the Marathas, the Vijayanagar Kings  and the Wodeyar Kings. There are various  carvings on the rocks surrounding the falls and on either sides of the temple entrance.
Road to Bliss
Kalhatti Falls as Seen From the Village
Closer View
  The Kalhatti falls from a  height of about 400 ft amidst the Chandra Drona hills and is clearly visible from a far away distance. It is a multi tiered falls and at its lowermost tier is a temple dedicated to Veerabhadra Swamy (Lord Shiva). The Tamil inscriptions on the rock indicate an association of the temple with the Cholas. The name Kalhatti (supposedly named so by the Marathas), is derived from two Hindi words 'Kala' and 'Hatti' meaning a 'Black Elephant'. The reason being that, the water falling near the temple cascades over three rocks that resemble elephants in their shape and size. Hence, the name. The village near the location of the waterfall is also named after the falls as Kalhattipura.
Approach to the Temple
Veerabhadra Swamy Temple and  the Kalhatti Falls
Elephant Shaped Rock
Lord Anjaneya
Lord Veerabhadra  
Lord Shiva
Kalhatti Falls
Note the Tamil Inscriptions at the Bottom 
Lord Vishnu
   Though the temple was closed, we heard from a local that the the temple is a cave temple and entry to the cave is restricted. The Annual fair is held during the month of April/ May. One can trek till the top of  the waterfalls but only during post-monsoon season. We walked up to the next higher tier through the slippery path. The place was filled with the noise of the waterfalls. While playing in the waters, we were also visited by a pair of blue whistling thrushes, though their whistles were overshadowed by the noise of the waters. After a while, it started to drizzle and  we had to hurry back.  
Another Tier of the Falls
Blue Whistling Thrush
The Slippery Path
Colors of Joy
Note: Avoid  visiting this place during festive season.

To be continued...............

Saturday, August 27, 2011

The Mighty Hebbe Falls - Kemmangundi, Chikmagalur

      'Kemmannugundi'  is also very popular  for its waterfalls. Apart from the 3 famous waterfalls, there are many falls that remain unknown while a few more additional ones by default are seen during the monsoons. We planned to visit the three waterfalls  namely the Hebbe Falls, Kalhatti Falls and Shanti Falls. We had to let go of our initial idea of trekking to the Hebbe falls as it had started raining continuously and time was also a constraint. We hired a jeep from Kemmanugundi up to the coffee estate through which is the path to the Hebbe waterfalls. A kilometer's  walk from hereon leads us to the falls.
Monsoon Waterfall
Monsoon Magic
Visibility Quality to the Jeep Driver
Lovely Forest Jeep Track
     A few words worthy to be mentioned about our little guide here...he proved to be rather brave and courageous for having withstood the strong winds though he was shy and spoke less. The jeep ride was no less than a roller coaster ride. We enjoyed every second of the 35 minutes ride. Our guide showed us the path up to a stream that we had to cross and walk further and also mentioned about the other 2 stream crossings after which we would reach hebbe. He bade us a temporary good bye at this point. We got ready to cross the stream, the path to which was made slippery by the light drizzle. The first stream had shallow waters though the force of water could be felt, especially by low weight individuals. Carefully reaching the other end of the river stream and checking for the suckers, we continued our walk.
Our Little Guide Prakash
1st Stream We Crossed
     At times, the path being very steep and narrow and we had to be cautious and slow. After a  few minutes of walk through the dense forests and as we got close to our destination the rain started to pour heavily making our sight almost invisible. Luckily, we were a few yards away from the falls. We finally crossed the third and the last stream, rested for a while, opened up an umbrella which later proved to be of no use because of the heavy rain and the water force of the falls which could be strongly felt at quite a distance from the waterfall ! We could hear the heavy noise made by the falls. Along with the rain, the mighty Hebbe gushed with pride and power. What a sight it was! The water fell   in full swing. Hebbe, falls from a height of more than 500 ft  in two tiers. The first tier is known as ' Chikka Hebbe' (Small Falls) and the second tier  is known as 'Dodda  Hebbe' (Big Falls). It was an amazing experience to feel the mighty force of  the falling waters standing underneath it and at the closest distance possible. We had to be extremely careful as the rocks on which the water fell and we had to stand on, were quite slippery and one slip can prove fatal, since it's nature and it commands respect. Though the continuous rains gave us less opportunity to photograph the falls, it was a complete feast to our eyes. We spent very little time at the falls and had to walk back quickly as we felt the rain only got heavier and it would be difficult to cross the streams. We  along with a couple were the only  ones  present at that time at the falls. Finally, after checking  for leeches that silently suck blood without warning us, we started walking back, again crossing thrice the river streams which were flowing full because of the rains. We rested for a while and walked through the coffee plantations to reach our jeep. The ride took a little longer due to the almost zero visibility condition.
The Mighty Hebbe
As Best As It Can Get
The Hebbe Falls
Down Stream
Friendly Blood Sucker (Leech)
   When we were almost about to reach the starting point, we saw a few people walking the track towards the falls, appreciating  their bravery and wondering how easy or difficult  it would be for them to reach the falls, as they had a long way ahead. Overall, it proved an adventurous experience.

To be continued ..........

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Z Point Trek - Kemmannagundi, Chikmagalur

   "Kemmannugundi", also known as Kemmanagundi is a hill station located in Tarikere Taluk of Chikkamagaluru District. It is located at a height of about 1500 mts above mean sea level. The name 'Kemmannugundi' is a combination of three kannada words Kempu (Red), Mannu (Soil) and Gundi (Pit) and is attributed to the nature of soil available locally. The place is pristine and the monsoon rain only added to the beauty of this place. We were accompanied by rain through out our journey and thoroughly enjoyed nature.
Colors of Life
      We knew by name about a place called Z point, and when we inquired with a local, he advised us to avoid getting there and did so without giving us any satisfactory reason. Though confused, we did not want to miss this chance and proceeded. A trek of about 4 kms takes us to a popular view point called the 'Z point' (called so because of its resemblance to the letter Z when seen from far). The place being situated at a high altitude, is known for its strong winds. We trekked towards Z point braving leeches and crossing wet and slippery pathways with almost zero visibility at times. Though the view was foggy for most of the time, we caught glimpses of the wonderful view from top. The lush green carpet with drops of rain, the white fog and the red colored soil that made for the pathway proved the best contrast.
Beauty hidden behind the Fog
A Foggy Morning
Trek towards Z Point
  The trek was as exciting and adventurous as it could get. Walking along the edge of the cliff with pathways at some stretches turning into waterways as it rained,  we managed to cross and reached the final stretch. From far behind the final stretch, it looked as though steps were laid and we could reach the peak easily. But, half way ahead we realized it was not as easy as we thought. All of a sudden we were dragged in the direction of wind and the winds were strong enough to have pushed us aside if we had proceeded further. It was our first time experiencing gusts of this sort. An experience that will last for a long time.  And since at that point in time, we were the only ones trekking that peak, we did not want to take any risk. We waited for the winds to slow down, but there were no signs of it. We then slowly started to walk down holding each others hands firmly  and made sure every step was cautiously laid. The first few steps were the most challenging ones ever laid in our lives until now. It was equally exciting and frightening to have experienced such high speed winds.  Once we passed the danger zone, everything calmed down and we walked back to our vehicle.

Rock Layers - Beauty and Power of Nature
The slippery pathway
A Glimpse of the Peak

To be continued ..............

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Just Like that

   Below is a compilation of a few amongst our many favorite captures .
Bhadra Back Waters
Dark Clouds Hovering Over Bangalore
Raging Nature
A Pleasant Greeny Evening
Lovely Sunset
A Walk Back to Shelter
Golden Shower Tree  (Cassia fistula )
Mating Plant Bugs
Fire/Flame Lily (Gloriosa superba)
Honge  (Pongemia pinnata)