Trek to Devkara falls

October 2, 2015

Devkara is a small village present in the border area of Yellapura and Karwar. Now it is mostly an abandoned village thanks to relocation after Kadra and Kodasalli dam projects.  But this village hides a natural treasure, a spectacular waterfalls which the locals call Devkara Vajra. Devkara stream falling from approximately 200-300m height near Devkara village forms this waterfalls. Devkara stream  eventually joins the Kali river. This falls can be approached from the Kadra side as well as from Yellapura side. Here is my story of multiple attempts to reach this waterfalls from Yellapura side.

1st attempt

In May 2014, my brother-in-law and I rode a bike from Sonda, Sirsi, traveled to Yellapura and then to ಈರಾಪುರ village. We hardly had any information about the falls then and unfortunately we couldn’t reach anywhere near the waterfalls. All we could get was this distant view of the Kodasalli back waters.

Kodasalli backwaters

Kodasalli backwaters

However we did establish a local contact who agreed to take us to the falls next time.

2nd attempt

I was at Sonda, Sirsi in the first week of Oct 2014 and took that opportunity to revisit Devkara falls. This time we reached the local contact’s place at  ಈರಾಪುರ village and started trekking in the forest route at 10AM. Along with the guide, our local contact was accompanying us with his school going son. The guide took us on a circuitous route and we first reached very close to Kodasalli reservoir at 11.30AM.

Kodasalli dam

Kodasalli dam

We were walking on a mountain range overlooking a valley in which Kali river was flowing. On the opposite side of the river was another range where the waterfalls was present. After walking through the forest for an hour, we finally emerged out on top of the mountain range at 12.30PM. This place was called ಹಬ್ಬು ಕೋಟೆ/ಕಟ್ಟೆ and it provided good view of the distant waterfalls. From that far off distance the falls looked so big and we wondered how gigantic it would it appear from the base. Unfortunately we hadn’t planned for a day long trek and we were just carrying a few raw cucumbers and butter milk which we completely finished at ಹಬ್ಬು ಕೋಟೆ.

Distant view of Devkara falls

Distant view of Devkara falls

Since reaching the base of the falls from here was out of question, our guide offered us to take us around a bit and show us a few places of interest. Thus we proceeded ahead on the same mountain range and reached a place called ದೇವಿಮನೆ. This is some sacred place in the hills where the villagers would come and offer prayers once in a year in November. From this place we did venture ahead a bit to get a clear view of Kadra reservoir. Instead of returning back via the same route, our guide suggested that we could do a full circle by getting down to Devkara village and then climb up ಬೆಂಡೆಘಟ್ಟ to reach back ಈರಾಪುರ village. We didn’t really know how much time and effort that would take, but just agreed.

After a steep descent we were at Devkara village at 3PM. The village is mostly deserted with a few houses still remaining. There is a Ramalingeshwara temple in the village where Pooja is done once a week. A priest comes from a far off distance every Monday for this purpose.

Devkara village

Devkara village

Ramalingeshwara temple, Devkara

Ramalingeshwara temple, Devkara

We were now walking beside the Kali river. A trail exists from Devakara till ಬೆಂಡೆಘಟ್ಟ, but were dead tired since we hardly had any solid food since morning. The journey seemed endless and we finally reached the foothills of ಬೆಂಡೆಘಟ್ಟ at 4.15PM. The climb up is abruptly steep and it took quite a bit of effort and time to reach the top at around 5.30PM. Our enterprising guide could find some tender coconuts in an abandoned house and that came as a big relief to us. But the relief was short lived as it started raining. By the time we reached our local contact’s house, we were completely drenched. We consumed the food that we we had planned to have for lunch here and started back on bike towards Sonda at around 6.30PM. Next 60km drive through the winding forest roads was mostly treacherous with non-stop hard rain. Our adventure finally ended when we reached home at 9PM.

3rd attempt

Though we had seen the waterfalls, that was hardly satisfying since we hadn’t been able to reach the base of the falls. So last week we made another attempt to reach the falls. This time I took Naren with me to my in-laws place. My brother-in-law found a person from Devkara village itself who had relocated to Sonda. He was ready to guide us and we thought our 3rd attempt should be a success since the guide was born and brought up in Devkara village and he should be able to guide us to the base of the falls.

4 of us started in 2 bikes at 8AM from Sonda and reached ಈರಾಪುರ village at 10AM. Thanks to two wheelers, we were able to cover some trail distance too on bike. At 10.30AM we were at the starting point of ಬೆಂಡೆಘಟ್ಟ (470m) from where we had to descend. At 11AM we reached 130m and touched a flowing stream locally called  ಈರಾಪುರ stream which eventually becomes Kali river.  We walked towards Devkara village alongside the stream and at one point, the falls becomes visible towards our left.

At 11.45AM, we reached 70m and crossed the stream which was utmost knee deep. Next we had to cross another stream that flows from Devkara falls and joins the stream that we just crossed. This stream was flowing with good speed and we had to find a suitable place to crossover. Thanks to our guide, we did find a reasonably safe place to cross the stream where the water was thigh deep at places. We were able to cross it with reasonable ease using sticks for support. We were now at the periphery of Devkara village and were walking along a few abandoned houses and paddy fields.


Next it was some hide and seek with the waterfalls as it is located in such a place covered with dense forest towards its approach that it is not visible at every point on the approach path. There was no well defined path to the falls, but we had to make one by clearing the forest growth and following the general direction of the waterfalls.

Devkara falls

Devkara falls

At 1PM we reached a rocky clearance from where the falls was visible fairly clearly. Based on our last year’s experience, we weren’t taking chances with food and hence were carrying sufficient amount of Pulao, home grown cucumbers, butter milk and ಚಕ್ಕುಲಿ. We finished lunch on these rocks. We had still not reached the exact base of the falls and hence ventured into the forests a bit more to check if better view of the falls could be had. At 2PM we reached another rocky clearance from where we had a decent view of the falls. We decided to end the quest here since the path ahead to the ultimate base of the falls was difficult and it was already well past midday.


On the way back, it took two hours for us to reach ಬೆಂಡೆಘಟ್ಟ base and after an hour we were back at ಈರಾಪುರ village. Thus on the third attempt, we finally had satisfying views of Devkara falls! It was not just about the falls, but this also turned out to be good trek worth remembering after my previous trek in the same area.

2014 in review

December 30, 2014

The stats helper monkeys prepared a 2014 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 31,000 times in 2014. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 11 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

द्वादश आदित्याः (12 Suns)

October 17, 2014

It is very common in Sanskrit to represent a group of related things by means of a Shloka for easy remembrance. One such famous Shloka is the below one which salutes the 9 Grahas (Planets).

नमः सूर्याय सोमाय मङ्गलाय बुधाय च |
गुरुशुक्रशनिभ्यश्च राहवे केतवे नमः ||

In my last blog, I wrote about 12 names of Sun and the Surya Namaskara Mantras based on each of them. These 12 names of Sun are:

द्वादश आदित्याः

1. मित्रः
2. रविः
3. सूर्यः
4. भानुः
5. खगः
6. पूषा
7. हिरण्यगर्भः
8. मरीचिः
9. आदित्यः
10. सविता
11. अर्कः
12. भास्करः

Here is an attempt by me to consolidate these 12 names of Sun in the form of Shlokas. Since I know only Anushtup Chandas (meter), I am limited by 32 letters in each Shloka and hence had to resort to two Shlokas to cover all the names.

मित्राय रविसूर्याभ्यां भानवेऽपि खगाय च|
पूष्णे हिरण्यगर्भाय सर्वेभ्योऽपि नमो नमः || 1 ||

पूजयामि मरीचिञ्च आदित्यञ्च भजाम्यहम् |
अर्चयामि सवित्रर्कौ सेवयामि च भास्करम् || 2 ||

The above two Shlokas basically salute the Sun and offer worship to the Sun taking each of his 12 names in the order mentioned above.

संस्कृतं न जानामि न जानामि पाणिनिम्।
पदार्थमपि न जानामि क्षमस्व वागीश्वरि॥

Surya Namaskara Mantras

October 12, 2014

Suryanamaskara is typical done in the sets of 12 and each iteration is usually preceded by a Mantra which involves salutation to Sun using his various names. I have given the Mantras in Kannada as well as Sanskrit here. The short form (which is what is chanted during the Suryanamaskara) and the long form (Shloka from which it is derived) are given here.

Suryanamaskara is usually started by chanting this Shloka:

ಹಿರಣ್ಮಯೇನ ಪಾತ್ರೇಣ ಸತ್ಯಸಾಪಿಹಿತಂ ಮುಖಂ|
ತತ್ ತ್ವಂ ಪೂಷನ್ ಅಪಾವೃಣು ಸತ್ಯಧರ್ಮಾಯ ದೃಷ್ಟಯೇ ||

हिरण्मयेन पात्रेण सत्यस्यापिहितं मुखम् |
तत्त्वं पूषन् अपावृणु सत्यधर्माय दृष्टये ||

Each iteration is then preceded by the following Mantras in the order given:

1. ಓಂ ಹ್ರಾಂ ಮಿತ್ರಾಯ ನಮಃ, ॐ ह्रां मित्राय नमः

ಮಿತ್ರಾಯ ಲೋಕಮಿತ್ರಾಯ ಕಂಜ ಮಿತ್ರಾಯ ತೇ ನಮಃ|
ಆಮಿತ್ರಹಾರಿಣೇ ತುಭ್ಯಂ ಭಾಸ್ಕರಾಯ ನಮೋ ನಮಃ||

मित्राय लोकमित्राय कञ्ज मित्राय ते नमः |
आमित्रहारिणे तुभ्यं भास्कराय नमो नमः ||

2. ಓಂ ಹ್ರೀಂ ರವಯೇ ನಮಃ, ॐ ह्रीं रवये नमः

ರವಯೇ ರತ್ನಗರ್ಭಾಯ ರಾಜೀವಾಕ್ಷಾಯ ರಾಜಿನೇ |
ರಾಮಾಯ ರಮಣೀಯಾಯ ಭಾಸ್ಕರಾಯ ನಮೋ ನಮಃ ||

रवये रत्नगर्भाय राजीवाक्षाय राजिने |
रामाय रमणीयाय भास्कराय नमो नमः ||

3. ಓಂ ಹ್ರ್ರೂಂ ಸೂರ್ಯಾಯ ನಮಃ, ॐ ह्रूं सूर्याय नमः

ಸೂರ್ಯಾಯ ಸುರನಾಥಾಯ ಸುಖಾಯ ಸುಖದಾಯ ಚ |
ಸುರೂಪಾಯ ಸುಭೂಷಾಯ ಭಾಸ್ಕರಾಯ ನಮೋ ನಮಃ ||

सूर्याय सुरनाथाय सुखाय सुखदाय च |
सुरूपाय सुभूषाय भास्कराय नमो नमः ||

4. ಓಂ ಹ್ರೈಂ ಭಾನವೇ ನಮಃ, ॐ ह्रैं भानवे नमः

ಭಾನವೇ ಭವದೇಮಾಯ ಭಯಾಯ ಭಯಹಾರಿಣೇ |
ಭೋಗೀಶಾಯ ಭವಜ್ಞಾಯ ಭಾಸ್ಕರಾಯ ನಮೋ ನಮಃ ||

भानवे भवदेवाय भयाय भयहारिणे |
भोगीशाय भवज्ञाय भास्कराय नमो नमः ||

5. ಓಂ ಹ್ರೌಂ ಖಗಾಯ ನಮ:, ॐ ह्रौं खगाय नमः

ಖಗಾಯ ಖಗಹಂತ್ರೇ ಚ ಖದ್ಯೋತಾಯ ಖಗಾಂಶವೇ |
ಖಗರೂಪಾಯ ದೇವಾಯ ಭಾಸ್ಕರಾಯ ನಮೋ ನಮಃ ||

खगाय खगहन्त्रे च खद्योताय खगांशवे |
खगरूपाय देवाय भास्कराय नमो नमः ||

6. ಓಂ ಹ್ರಃ ಪೂಷ್ಣೇ ನಮಃ, ॐ ह्रः पूष्णे नमः

ಪೂಷ್ಣೇತು ಪೂರ್ವಪುಣ್ಯಾಯ ಪುರಾಣ ಪುರುಷಾಯ ಚ |
ಪುಷ್ಕರಾಕ್ಷಾಯ ಪುಣ್ಯಾಯ ಭಾಸ್ಕರಾಯ ನಮೋ ನಮಃ ||

पूष्णे तु पूर्वपुण्याय पुराणपुरुषाय च |
पुष्कराक्ष्याय पुण्याय भास्कराय नमो नमः ||

7. ಓಂ ಹ್ರ್ರಾಂ ಹಿರಣ್ಯಗರ್ಭಾಯ ನಮಃ, ॐ ह्रां हिरयगर्भाय नमः

ಹೇಮವರ್ಣ ಸ್ವರೂಪಾಯ ಕಾಮಕ್ರೋಧ ಹರಾಯ ಚ |
ಹಿರಣ್ಯಗರ್ಭದೇಹಾಯ ಭಾಸ್ಕರಾಯ ನಮೋ ನಮಃ ||

हेमवर्ण स्वरूपाय कामक्रोध हराय च |
हिरण्यगर्भदेहाय भास्कराय नमो नमः ||

8. ಓಂ ಹ್ರೀಂ ಮರಿಚಯೇ ನಮಃ, ॐ ह्रीं मरीचये नमः

ಮರಿಚಯೇ ಮಹೇಶಾಯ ಮಾಧವಾಯ ಮುರಾರಯೇ |
ಮಂತ್ರಾಯ ಮಂತ್ರರಾಜಾಯ ಭಾಸ್ಕರಾಯ ನಮೋ ನಮಃ ||

मरीचये महेशाय माधवाय मुरारये |
मंत्राय मंत्रराजाय भास्कराय नमो नमः ||

9. ಓಂ ಹ್ರ್ರೂಂ ಆದಿತ್ಯಾಯ ನಮಃ, ॐ ह्रूं आदित्याय नमः

ಆದಿತ್ಯಾದಿ ರೂಪಾಯ ಆಕಾಶಪತಯೇ ನಮಃ |
ಆರೋಗ್ಯದಾಯ ಆರ್ಯಾಯ ಭಾಸ್ಕರಾಯ ನಮೋ ನಮಃ ||

आदित्यादि रूपाय आकाशपतये नमः |
आरोग्यदाय आर्याय भास्कराय नमो नमः ||

10. ಓಂ ಹ್ರೈಂ ಸವಿತ್ರೇ ನಮಃ, ॐ ह्रैं सवित्रे नमः

ಸವಿತ್ರೇ ಸರ್ವಲೋಕಾಧಿಪತಯೇ ಸರ್ವದಾಯ ಚ |
ಸರ್ವಾಭೀಷ್ಟ ಪ್ರದೇಚೈವ ಭಾಸ್ಕರಾಯ ನಮೋ ನಮಃ ||

सवित्रे सर्वलोकाधिपतये सर्वदाय च |
सर्वाभीष्ट प्रदेचैव भास्कराय नमो नमः ||

11. ಓಂ ಹ್ರೌಂ ಅರ್ಕಾಯ ನಮ:, ॐ ह्रौं अर्काय नमः

ಅರ್ಕಾಯಾಕ್ಷರ ರೂಪಾಯ ಅಚ್ಯುತಾಯ ಮರಾಯ ಚ |
ಅನ್ನದಾಯನ್ನರೂಪಾಯ ಭಾಸ್ಕರಾಯ ನಮೋ ನಮಃ ||

अर्कायाक्षररूपाय अच्युताय मराय च |
अन्नदायन्नरुपाय भास्कराय नमो नमः ||

12. ಓಂ ಹ್ರಃ ಭಾಸ್ಕರಾಯ ನಮಃ, ॐ ह्रः भास्कराय नमः

ಭಾನೋ ಭಾಸ್ಕರ ಮಾರ್ತಾಂಡ ಚಂಡರಶ್ಮೇ ದಿವಾಕರ |
ಆರೋಗ್ಯಮಾಯುರ್ವಿಜಯಂ ಪುತ್ರಾನ್ ದೇಹಿ ನಮೋಸ್ತುತೇ ||

भानो भास्कर मार्ताण्ड चण्डरश्मे दिवाकर |
आरोग्यमायुर्विजयं पुत्रान् देहि नमोस्तुते ||

संस्कृतं न जानामि न जानामि पाणिनिम्।
पदार्थमपि न जानामि क्षमस्व वागीश्वरि॥

Books for Life

September 27, 2014

I have been collecting books (and of course reading them!) for a long time now and realized that lately I have acquired quite a few “complete series” kind of books. Now when my existing book shelf
is unable to accommodate the new additions, I thought of writing about a few books that are close to my heart.

Sriman Mahabharata

This is a monumental work that provides simple Kannada translation of Vyasa Mahabharata. Published by Bharatha Darshana, this work consists of 32 volumes with more than 600 pages in each volume. I have been looking for this kind of work in Kannada which provides just the faithful translation of the original Sanskrit Shlokas and nothing else. Though this work doesn’t list and provide full translation of 100000 Mahabharata Shlokas, it includes quite a few shlokas in each of the version. Bharatha Darshana staff tell me that they have included only the important Shlokas but for the rest only the translation exists in the books. For those who want basic translations without any
interpretation of all 100000 Shlokas of Mahabharata, Gita Press provides such a series, but it is in Hindi.


This entire series costs Rs. 2300 which comes to around Rs 75 per book. Needless to say that the price is heavily subsidized.


Srimadvalmiki Ramayana

Last year I purchased this 3 volume series of Valmiki Ramayana in Kannada from Gita Press. These books provide basic Kannada translation of all the 24000 Shlokas from 7 Khandas of Valmiki Ramayana. I am actively reading this work from last year and till now completed Bala, Ayodhya and Aranya Khandas. I always wanted to read and understand the original Shlokas of Ramayana and this book is exactly serving the purpose. I have now acquired enough hold in Sanskrit language that I can follow the Sanskrit Shlokas with some help from the Kannada translation present in this book. I am
thoroughly enjoying this book both from Kavya perspective and the Sanskrit language learning perspective and I usually manage to read and understand at least one Sarga in a day. After reading 3
Khandas, I am realizing that we have been fed with many wrong interpretations of Ramayana which I plan to write about separately some other time.


This 3 volume set costs around Rs.600 which is of course heavily subsidized considering the paper and printing quality.

Kumaravyasa Bharata

Sometime back I happened to read Kuvempu’s autobiography Nenapina Doniyalli which includes hundreds of his poems. This inspired me to read (and of course write!) Kannada poetry and I bought Kumaravyasa Bharata edited and translated by A R Seturamrao. This book provides Kannada translation/interpretation of Kumaravyasa’s (aka Gadugina Naranappa) epic work Kumaravyasa Bharata aka Gadugina Bharata. In Kumaravyasa Bharata, Kumaravyasa has retold Vyasa Mahabharata in the form of Kannada poetry composed in Bhamini Shatpadi meter. For Kannadigas, this is like what Tulasidas Ramayana is for Hindi speaking population and it used to be the primary source of Mahabharata for my parents’ generation where singing, listening and interpreting the verses from Kumaravyasa Bharata used to be favorite evening pass time in many households.


The liberal amount of Ganjifa art work throughout the book by Ganjifa Raghupathi Bhatta is an added attraction in this book.

Anything related to Mahabharata must be huge and so is this book comprising of 1300 pages. With high quality paper and printing, this single book costs Rs. 2500. This is the most expensive single
book that I have invested in till now!

Rigveda Samhita

The word Veda is so commonplace to us that I am sure most of us don’t know or never had opportunity to really know what’s in Vedas.  In 1950s, Mysore Maharaja Jayachamarajendra Wadiyar brought together a team of Vidwans led by H. P Venkatrao to provide a version of Rigveda for Kannada speaking population. This monumental work resulted in a series of 36 books which are now being reprinted by Kannada and Culture Department, Government of Karnataka. This book lists each Rigveda Mantra, with word by word listing of the Mantra, description of it from Sayanacharya’s Bhashya, word by word meaning, translation, English translation, special notes and grammar notes.


This is a collector’s item and over last few years, I have managed to collect all 36 volumes with the intention of reading them after my retirement :) However quite a few retired people are advising me to finish this reading before retirement as their experience tells them that such work can’t be done with reduced mental faculties of old age!


Each volume has more than 750 pages with high quality print and paper. Each volume is available for a subsidized average price of Rs 250 per volume.

The History and Culture of Indian People

I picked up this series from Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan mainly as a reference book and not really for page-to-page reading. This is a set of 11 books covering Indian History from Vedic age till



Shivaram Karanthara Sahitya Shreni

This is a series of books over 25 volumes that aims to include the complete works of Kannada writer K Shivaram Karanth. This was published by Kannada and Culture Department, Govt of Karnataka. Most of his novels and plays are included in these books. Each book has 2 novels and when I bought this, each book was available for as low as Rs.50!



The complete works of Swami Vivekananda

This is a set of 9 books (when I bought long time back) that includes Swami Vivekananda’s writings, lectures, discourses and more. Published by Advaita Ashrama Kolkata, it is generally available in Ramakrishna Ashram book shops.



DVG’s Jnapaka Chitrashale

This is a series of 8 books written by D V Gundappa (of Manku Thimmana Kagga fame) which describe certain aspects of DVG’s association and experiences with different kinds of people whom he came across throughout his life. He has categorized them into different categories like “common people”, “Patrons of Art” etc. This series should give a good insight into the life of DVG






पक्षिणः जननम् (Birth of Bulbuls)

June 29, 2014
मम गृहस्य परिसरे विद्यमानानां पक्षिणः विषये अत्र, अत्रअत्र पूर्व्ं मया लिखितमस्ति | गृहसस्याणि खगान् आकर्षयन्ति इति विचारे मम गृहमेव प्रमाणमित्यहं मन्ये| एकदा पाकशालायाः नालिकायामेव नीडनिर्माणं कृतं पक्षिणा| अद्यत्वे द्वौ पक्षिणौ अस्माकमुद्याने निवेशनं कृत्वा शिशू प्राप्तवन्तौ । अस्य वृत्तन्तस्य विवरणं करोमि अत्र|
Bulbul's nest

Bulbul’s nest

उद्यानस्य एकस्मिन् भागे मल्लिका लता अस्ति। तत्र वयं अनेकवारं न गच्छामः । एकदा तस्यां लतायां नीडमेकं दृष्टवान् । सामान्यतः पक्षी सुरक्षितस्थले नीडस्य रचनं करोति, किन्तु एतत् नीडं भूम्याः निकटे एव आसीत्। अपि च नीडे अल्पाकारयुक्तौ पिङ्गलवर्णबिन्दुयुक्तौ द्वौ अण्डौ आस्तां!

Bulbul's eggs

Bulbul’s eggs

अण्डं तु दृष्टवान् किन्तु कस्य खगस्य अण्डमिति ज्ञातुं पार्श्वे स्थित्वा पक्षिणः निरीक्षणं कृतवान्|  किञ्चित्कालानन्तरं नीडस्योपरि उपविशन्तं मस्तके किरीटसदृश पक्षयुक्तं पक्षिणं दृष्टवान्| एषः पक्षी बेङ्गलूरु-नगरे सामान्यतः दृश्यते| अस्य नाम आङ्गलभाषायां Red-whiskered Bulbul इति अस्ति| K N Dave महोदयेन लिखितं “Birds in Sanskrit Literature” पुस्तके अस्य नाम गोवत्सकः इति दत्तमस्ति|

Red-whiskered bulbul

Red-whiskered bulbul

पश्चात् नितराम् नीडे एव उपविशन्तं पक्षिणं दृष्टवन्त:। दिनद्वयानन्तरम् अण्डाभ्यां द्वौ अरोमयुक्तौ शिशू बहिरागतवन्तौ। जन्मस्य तत्क्षणं तौ पक्षिणः शिशवः इव न दृश्येते स्म ।

Bulbul chicks - right after birth

Bulbul chicks – right after birth

यदा द्वित्राणि दिनानि अतीतानि, रोमं पक्षं च प्रप्तवन्तौ। शिशोः प्रथम-उड्डयनं द्रष्टुम् अस्माकम् आशा आसीत् किन्तु कदा पक्षिण: सर्वे नीडं त्यक्तवन्तः इति न अवगतमेव अस्माभिः!

4 days old bulbul chicks

4 days old bulbul chicks

संस्कृतं न जानामि न जानामि पाणिनिम्।
पदार्थमपि  न जानामि क्षमस्व वागीश्वरि॥

Trek from Jenukallu Gudda to Shivaganga falls

April 13, 2014

Any day I would prefer bone-chilling cold or even rain to scorching sun during my treks. Apart from Ombattu Gudda trek and beach treks, I haven’t done treks post December in any trek season. So I was a bit weary when Pradeep Hegde invited me to join his group which was attempting to trek from Magod Falls to Shivaganga Falls during 1st weekend of April. I have visited both of these falls but the challenge in this trek was to follow and walk beside the river between these two falls. But the invitation was hard to resist as I would be venturing into Karnataka Western Ghats region in Uttara Kannada District for the first time. Moreover, I was just a participant in this trek as opposed to being an organizer in most of my treks which sometimes is easy.

Though I had booked the bus ticket till Yellapura, I got down at Sonda for a quick visit to my in-laws place, had a good breakfast and got myself dropped at Magod falls (around 35km from Sonda) in bike by my brother-in-law. While I waited at Magod for rest of the group to arrive, Pradeep asked to me instead come over to Jenukallu Gudda, a view point overlooking a valley and which is around 4km from Magod. Apparently a local had advised Pradeep to attempt the initial descent from Jenukallu Gudda since descending down the Magod falls will be difficult and will need ropes. Though our group was equipped with ropes, we decided to start with an easy descent. The group had 12 members: Pradeep, his neighbor Satheesh, Avinash, Venkataraghavan, Vinayak, Nagarjun, Bharath, Ravi, Naveen, Sriharsha, Abhishek and I. The original plan was to reach Bedti river at Magod, follow it downstream till it joins Shalmala River and continue following Shalmala river upstream until it reaches Shivaganga falls.

View from Jenukallu Gudda

View from Jenukallu Gudda

We started the descent from Jenukallu Gudda (470m) at 10.45AM. The descent was mostly steep with dry leaves on the forest floor making the descent a bit more challenging.  We lost altitude quickly and hit a jeep tack (80m) at 11.30AM. We took right deviation into the jeep track and started walking with the hope that we will reach the confluence of Bedti and Shalmala rivers along the way. After a few hundred meters into the track we could see a dried up river bed towards our left and we continued the walk for an hour or so under direct sun before reaching a Siddimane (A house belonging to Siddi tribe) at a village called Kelase. To our surprise, we learnt from Siddis that we are way ahead of the confluence point and are in fact walking in the opposite direction! At Siddimane, we took a break to prepare lemon juice since fresh water was available here.

Dried up river bed near Kelase village

Dried up river bed near Kelase village

At around 1.15PM, we reversed our direction, continued to make progress on the jeep track and reached another Siddimane at 2PM. We had a good lunch that included “Avalakki oggarane” from Pradeep’s house and “Masala Majjige” (butter milk) mixed with lemon grass. Post lunch, a Siddi boy briefly accompanied us till the river and after which we were on our own walking upstream along Shalmala river (after the confluence with Bedti) which had a good amount of water in it considering that it was summer. We were now on the right bank of the river and the path mostly consisted of boulders. The heat was a bit too much for me and the walk was made further difficult by the blisters I had all over the feet.


We went past a few Siddis who were fishing and finally reached the confluence (125m) of Bedti and Shalmala at 4.45PM. While the confluence point had a bit of depth and hence calm waters, the Shalmala side had gushing water and was rocky.

The confluence of Bedti and Shalmala rivers

The confluence of Bedti and Shalmala rivers

Many of us spent some time cooling ourselves in Shalmala while most of the group had an extended river time at the confluence point. Swimming and breath-holding skills were at display: while Satheesh excelled in swimming and managed to crossover to the other bank, Vinayak could hold breath under water for more than 2min!


Our camping site was on the river bed at the confluence point which already had arrangements for stove (made of stones), all we needed was to get some dry wood which was available in plenty. Boiled rice Ganji with pickle, curd and butter milk was on the menu. Ganji was so very filling and was a bit unusual for me since we usually stick to ready-to-eat stuff to keep the logistics simple in our treks. The night was cloudy and warm and sleeping inside the sleeping bag wasn’t an option for many.  There was even a light drizzle past midnight.

On Sunday morning, we got up fairly early and wanted to end the trek before noon to avoid the harsh summer sun. The combination of pickle and freshly obtained honey (given to us in the morning by Siddis from their night’s catch) gave a distinct flavour to yesterday’s Ganji and I could see Ganji was more in demand than the freshly prepared maggi noodles! We started upstream alongside Shalmala river at 8AM after a round of lemon tea with honey.

Shalmala river side was very rocky and we were mostly walking over huge boulders. We had to cross over to the opposite bank multiple times whenever forward progress on one bank was difficult or impossible. With the amount of water in the river in April, we mostly could negotiate the river without much difficulty and I am sure the challenges on this trail will be totally different if the water level was high. But we were facing a different challenge and that was the dry heat. The rate at which I was loosing water via sweat seemed to be more than the intake rate. Given that we were walking beside a river, there was never shortage of water fortunately.

River Shalmala

River Shalmala

At 10.30AM when I was feeling a bit down, we had a lemon juice break. I must have taken close to a litre and it really helped to get my energy levels back. Next we climbed over to a small hill only to realize that it was more difficult than a small jump over the rock that we were planning to originally avoid. Thus we had to backtrack and make progress over the boulders itself. The quest for the end (Shivaganga falls) continued and we kept making progress in the hot sun. I even reached a stage where I felt just drinking loads of water wasn’t helping me and had to resort to Glucose which Pradeep was carrying. I can’t remember when I had taken Glucose on a trek, must have been in the last decade, but such was the harshness of this trek for me.

Shivaganga falls

Shivaganga falls

Finally we reached the base of Shivaganga falls (270m) at 1PM where we consumed chapattis for lunch with Chatni pudi, jam and honey. Next it was a steep climb to reach the view point of the waterfalls (465m) from where we had hired a jeep. Thus ended one of the most difficult treks I have done in recent times. Though the trail distance and the terrain was manageable, the summer sun brought out a whole new challenge to the trek. I have done treks earlier in other extreme conditions like winter trek at -20°C in thigh deep snow, altitudes upwards of 5000m etc, but this summer trek in seemingly easy terrain turned to be a trek to remember as far as endurance is concerned.

Map of the route we took is here, courtesy Vinayak.


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