Monday, December 29, 2008

Kaurav Kunda

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It is difficult to imagine that such a nice place exists so close to Bangalore. Barely 75 km from the garden city, stands Kaurav Kunda. We started one Saturday afternoon in JD's car with some groceries for dinner at the peak and breakfast next morning. After reaching Chikkabalapur, we finished our lunch and moved on to a village, Hariharpura, near Kaurav Kunda where we parked the car and proceeded towards the peak. It took around 1 hour to make it to the peak and the sun was just about to set.

On the windy peak, it took pretty long to cook rice and sambar and we killed time trying to roast potato properly and eat. It was dark and there was little wood nearby for us to make a bonfire. There was no water source and we had to manage with the little water we had, just enough for evening soup, dinner, and morning tea and we had to wipe our hands and utensils with grass and tissue paper.

It was quite cold and misty that night and our sleeping bags were wet by next morning. In the morning, we found ourselves surrounded by sea of clouds and the sun giving colors to it. It was something that I have never experienced before. Everything around was submerged in milky white clouds with streaks of orange and blue.

Once sun stopped its color show and the photography session ended, it was time for tea without sugar (which we forgot to get). Then we packed our bags and moved downhill to our next destination, Jarmagadu falls. We were climbing down from the opposite side (relative to where from we climbed up) and there it was tricky due to big boulders, drenches, and shrubs. We were stopped at a place where there was nearly 90-degree steep gorge and had to change direction. It took an hour and half to make it to the base.

There was a small pond with thick layer of mosses and bacteria from where we drank water (of green color) and cooked noodles. We asked for direction to Jarmagadu falls and proceeded (left on the trail), but unfortunately we were misguided to Jakkalmagadu gorge. It was strange that most of the local villagers had no idea about Jarmagadu falls. After walking endlessly for 2-1/2 hours and finding no clue of waterfalls, we decide to retrace our path, get to the car, and then go to the falls (can be reached by vehicle till Jangamarappanahalli en route to Ketenahalli village and then 2-km walk). All the while we kept on guessing about the location of the falls based on the pictures of Kaurav Kunda in JD's camera taken from Jarmagadu. Later on, we came to know from a villager that we had to take a right turn after crossing coconut plantation (we were misguided to take left turn) for Jarmagadu.

While getting back to the village, we saw relentless quarrying going on around the base of Kaurav Kunda and probably in a decade, there won't be any sign of this hill. By the time we reached the car, it was 4:30 pm and there wasn't enough time for us to reach and enjoy Jarmagadu even though it was at a distance of just 1 km by car and 2 km walk. Hence, we decided to head back to Bangalore. Hopefully, next time we will make it to the falls.

Second Attempt: We decide to pay a visit to this place again in the third weekend of Jan before the season of clouds was over and to seach the falls from Kaurav Kunda. It was pretty late by the we reached Hariharpura and hence by the time we could make to the peak, sun had already disappeared. All the way, I had been carrying dry twigs for camp fire, but since that was not sufficient, we thought of going down to get some more and hence I, Vivek, Ranjan, and Jagadish proceeded down while others, Mayur, Abhishek, and Ramesh were preparing tea (which took 1 hour to cook because of the wind). We were back with some more dry wood. We started making fire at a place which was covered by stones and was less windy, but it turned nightmare as the dry grass caught fire and the fire started spreading at a speed unimaginable. It was paniky and we had to use already scarce water to extinguish this.

Pitching the tent was difficult because of winds and we had doubts whether it will stand there or not. Though it was worth because of the warmth it gave.

Next morning, we were expecting the same drama of clouds and sunrise, but to our dissapointment the sky around us was clear and I went back to my sleeping bag for few more hours of sleep until irritating JD woke us up. We had Upma and then proceeded downhill. After we reached the narrow mud road, we proceeded towards the falls (turned left). As soon as we crossed coconut plantation, we turned right. Later we got 2 bifurcations and kept to our right. At the third bifurcation which was like a "T" turn with a hill at our front blocking road, we turned right. After this, there was no proper route and it was just JD's instinct to guide us to the falls. We got a gorge and some remains of a dry stream which we followed to reach the falls. Dissapointment again. The falls had turned into something comparable to a peeing kid, literally. We came to know later from women working in fields that post moonson this falls is frequented by huge crowds.
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