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.

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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.

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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.


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

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


पक्षिणः नीडम्

November 3, 2013
मम गृहस्य पाकशालायां chimney यन्त्रः अस्ति। तस्मात् यन्त्रात् एका नालिका गृहस्य बहिर्गच्छति | तया नालिकया पचनसमये उद्भवः वायुः बहिः प्रसरति | एकदा अहं गृहस्य बहिर्भागतः तां नालिकां प्रवेशं कुर्वन्तं पक्षिणं दृष्टवान् | तत्क्षणमेव मया अवगतं – यत् नालिकायां नीडस्य निर्माणं कर्तुं पक्षिणः इच्छा अस्ति इति | प्रतिदिनं पचनसमये नालिकया उष्णवायुः आगच्छति, अतः एतत् स्थलं नीडनिर्माणार्थम् उचितं नास्त्येव इति मम अभिमतमासीत् | पक्षिणः कार्यभङ्गं कर्तुं यदा यदा सः नालिकां प्रविशति, तदा तदा अहं यन्त्रचालनं कृतवान् | किन्तु पक्षिणः निश्चयमचलमासीत् | तेन नीडनिर्माणकार्यं न स्थगितमेव | अतः अहमेव पराजयं स्वीकृत्य पाकशालायां अनिर्दिष्टकालपर्यन्तं यन्त्रचालनं न करणीयमिति मात्रे पत्न्यै च सूचनां दत्तवान् |
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अल्पाकारयुतस्य (४ अङ्गुलि) अस्य खगस्य नाम scaly breasted munia इति आसीत् | द्विवासरपर्यन्तं प्रतिदिनं प्रतिक्षणं तृणमानीय पक्षिणौ मातापितरौ नीडनिर्माणं कृतवन्तौ | नीडस्य मुखभागमेव नालिकायाः बहिः दृश्यते स्म | बालखगान् द्रष्टुमस्माकमाशा आसीत् किन्तु मासानन्तरं काञ्चिदपि खगान् वयं न दृष्टवन्तः | प्रायश: बालखगैः सह मातपितरौ नीडं त्यक्तवन्तौ इति वयं अचिन्तयन् |

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किञ्चित् कालानन्तरं यन्त्रस्य वार्षिकसेवासमये (yearly service time) यदा नालिकया नीडमाकृष्ट्ं तदा नीडस्य मात्रं दृष्ट्वा अत्याश्चर्यमभवत् | ४ अङ्गुलि लम्भस्य पक्षिणः नीडं ३२ अङ्गुलि आसीत् !

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


पक्षिणां कलरव:

February 16, 2013

मम गृहस्य पार्श्वभागे एक: वटवृक्ष: अस्ति। प्रस्तुतमासे तस्मिन् वृक्षे बहूनि फलानि भवन्ति। अस्य वृक्षस्य फलं पक्षिभ्य: अतीव रोचते। प्रात: काले एव अनेकानि पक्षिण: फलं खादितुम्  आगच्छन्ति। बहुविधानि पक्षिण: अस्मिन् वृक्षे दृश्यन्ते।

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विशेषत: अनेका: पिका:आगच्छन्ति। कोकिलानां कलरवं श्रुत्वा एव अहं प्रतिदिनम् उत्तिष्ठामि। घटिकायन्त्रस्य आवश्यकता एव नास्ति। प्रतिदिनस्य एतत् अनुभवं मधुरं भवति।

कोकिल:

कोकिल:

 

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


Burude and Wate Halla water falls

December 7, 2012

During my previous visits to my in-laws place in Sonda, Sirsi I have visited various waterfalls. While I described Mattighatta falls here and Benne Hole falls here, the rest of the waterfalls in the Sirsi-Yellapura region are covered here. When it looked like I have visited most of the waterfalls in the region, I came across Burude falls which is located in Siddapura taluk of Uttara Kannada district. As usual, my brother-in-law and I started quite early  on a Sunday morning with the intention of seeing Burude falls as well as Wate Halla falls which I had unsuccessfully attempted a few years back. We were doing this in November which is usually a good month to visit these remote waterfalls. Some of these waterfalls are so remote that two wheeler is the best mode of transportation to reach them.

Burude or iLimane Falls

We first reached Siddapura from Sonda, Sirsi and continued on Siddapura-Kumta road for around 20km reach a place called Kyadgi. Just after Kyadgi, one can see a sign board instructing us to take a right deviation for Burude falls. From here it’s around 5km to the falls. Somewhere midway on this road, we had to cross a stream on bike and continue on road on the other side. Then we cross a small cluster of houses name iLimane due to which this falls is also referred to as iLimane waterfalls. One can drive up to the point where tourism department has built an open shelter for tourists. After descending down 20 steeply built concrete steps, we had to do some serious descent to reach the base of the waterfalls. The waterfalls is absolutely not visible from the shelter and steep descent makes this falls almost unapproachable for family kind of tourists.

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Burude falls – top two sections

The river flows down in 5 steps here, each forming a nice waterfall. Only first three of them are visible and one could reach the top of the 4th one but not the base. We did make some attempt to reach the base of the 4th waterfall, but the vegetation was simply too thick and we had to retreat.

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At the top of Burude falls

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2nd section of Burude falls

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The stream flows down to form more falls after this…

There was enough water in the stream even in November to make the visit worthwhile. It will be very difficult to visit these falls in rainy season due to leeches. The ideal season to visit is between September and November.

Wate Halla Falls

I had attempted this waterfalls in September 2009 with my wife and other relatives. While we were descending to reach the falls, my wife and I lost the guide and others in the front and were forced to come back. There were so many leeches that it was impossible to stand there a second without a leech getting on to us! This time I was hoping that it would be more easier since it was November.

Wate halla falls

2nd and 3rd sections of Wate halla falls

This falls is approachable from Nikunda on Sirsi-Kumta road. At Nilkunda, take a right deviation into Nilkunda-Devimane road. After a kilometer from here, a stream cuts the road, and after the stream the road forks. The right hand fork is easy to miss, but this is the road that will lead to Wate Halla falls. The stream can be crossed on bike most of the seasons except during the rainy season. After a kilometer’s walk from here, one can see a path descending down into the valley which will take us to the Wate Halla falls. We couldn’t see any other possible routes down the valley anywhere nearby except this one.

1st section of Wate halla falls

1st section of Wate halla falls

A steep descent of 100m will take us to the base of Wate Halla Falls. The stream flows down in 3 steps here forming 3 waterfalls. Wate in Kannada means a variety of bamboo and Halla means valley. The waterfalls thus gets its name due to the abundant presence of this variety of bamboo in the valley.

Visit to Wate Halla falls can be combined with the Unchalli falls which is quite nearby. Again its impossible to reach the base of this falls in rainy season and mostly difficult until September.

For those interested in temples, its worth a quick visit to this temple in Nilkunda.

An old temple in Nilkunda

An old temple in Nilkunda


More waterfalls around Sonda, Sirsi

April 21, 2012

My visits to my in-laws place in Sonda village, Sirsi, Uttara Kannada district of Karnataka have never been dull. Every time I have come back after visiting a worthwhile nearby place, be it waterfalls or temples. You can checkout my previous two trip reports here and here. The visit during December 2011 was no different. I was ready with the details of two more waterfalls. As usual my brother-in-law, who has been part of my earlier explorations was more than happy to accompany me.

Distant view of Mattighatta falls

Distant view of Mattighatta falls

Our first destination was Mattighatta falls. We left home after breakfast in a bike. Bike is the preferred mode of transport in these places. It generally takes us nearer to the waterfalls than any other mode of transportation. To reach this waterfalls, one has to first reach a village named Hegde Katta. Though we took the Hulekal road from Sonda to reach Hegde Katta, one could ideally start on Kumta Road from Sirsi and reach Hegde Katta. The distance between Sirsi and Hegde Katta is around 15km. From Hegde Katta, proceed on Mattighatta road for a distance of around 8km to reach Devanahalli. From Devanahalli proceed further for a distance of around 15km to reach Mattighatta village. From Mattighatta village a downhill drive of around 2km will take you to Kelagina Keri.

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We were told that there are two options to view the waterfalls: first option is to do some climbing and see the waterfalls from a distance and the second is to descend down the valley and reach the base of the waterfalls. Given that it was December, we chose the latter option as water level was likely to be low in December. We took the road in front of the Government school and reached Vaidya mane, a farm house. After getting further directions from the inmates, we started towards Siddi mane which involves walking inside the arecanut plantations. Siddi mane has a cluster of houses occupied by Siddi people who work as laborers in the nearby plantations. A Siddi woman gave us further directions to the waterfalls. A short walk from there would lead us to a river and she asked us to walk “in the” river for a kilometer or so to reach the falls. We were amused by her description of waking “in the” river. We went ahead concluding that she meant walking beside the river.

On the way to falls

On the way to falls

We reached the river and started walking on the banks. The river was pretty narrow and either bushy or rocky on both the banks. We had to cross over to the opposite bank multiple times since it was impossible to make progress on the banks. We realized what it means to walk “in the” river when most of the times we were negotiating the boulders in the river. The water level was low and I am sure it will be very difficult to approach this waterfalls even in the month of September when rains would have stopped. After a kilometer into the river, we finally reached the base of the waterfalls.

At the base

At the base

Even in the month of December, the river had enough water to make the waterfalls majestic. The high rising rocks on either sides adds to the beauty of the falls. The base had thigh-deep water. Reaching the base of such a beautiful waterfalls in such a remote location was a very fulfilling experience. During rainy season, Mattighatta falls could easily add more arms: a nondescript section seen a the top of the rocks could easily turn out to be majestic falls by itself.

At the top

At the top

On our way back we met the Siddi woman again who informed us that they can host people visiting from outside and they had even hosted foreigners. We climbed back up and reached Vaidya mane. The landlady kindly offered us butter milk which is always such a good drink when you are tired and thirsty.

Our next destination was Shirale falls which is near Yellapura. We reached Yellapura after a drive of 50km from Sirsi. Shirale falls is approachable on Yellapura-Karwar highway after Idugundi and just before the Shirale village. We must have covered 16km from Yellapura when we saw the direction to Shirale falls marked on a bus stand wall. We took a left deviation into a village road, traveled for 1.5km before reaching a village which had a cluster of houses. One person reluctantly showed us the way to the waterfalls after collecting an entry fees from us. The waterfalls is in a private land and hence the entry fees. The water gushes down from a height of around 150ft to form a waterfalls. There wasn’t enough water during this time and we felt it is not really worth visiting Shirale falls. On our way back, the villager who collected entry fees from us described all the trouble he is having with so many visitors coming to visit this falls and creating nuisance and leaving garbage behind. Apparently he has started collecting entry fees to dissuade people from visiting. I wouldn’t recommend a visit to Shirale falls to anyone as it is not really worth for all the trouble and travel involved.

Shirale falls

Shirale falls


Birds in my neighbourhood

June 13, 2010

I moved into Bangalore 10 years back and stayed mostly in well populated areas where the most commonly seen birds were crows and eagles. Recently I have moved into a new locality in the outskirts of South Bangalore where there is a considerable bird population. I won’t be too much off the mark if I say that I see more birds and insects than humans when I spend an average day at home! It has been a very exciting experience going behind these birds with my newly acquired camera and here are some results of the same. I am yet the learn the art of bird watching and hence most of the shots here are taken with maximum zoom (20x w/o tripod of course)  and hence are not all that clear.

The most largest and easiest to photograph are birds which I think are cow egrets. These keep following the cows that come near my home everyday for grazing.

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My work room window opens into a vacant site which has a few Sapodilla (Chikko, Sapota) trees . (This locality was apparently a farm land earlier). These trees are favourite hangouts for some beautiful tiny birds (around 3 inches in length).  I am not qualified yet to identify the names of these birds. Here are some pics of them taken from inside my window with fullest possible zoom of my camera.

Here is another tiny one on the roadside parthenium plant.

Along with Mainas, there is another kind of bird, roughly as same size as Maina which comes in groups of 8 to 10. These are quite fearless of humans and provide some photographic opportunities.

Another bird which allows itself to be photographed fairly easily is what we call ಕೆಂಭೂತ in Kannada.

Parrot is one bird which sounds so common, but I hardly remember seeing it anywhere else than in zoos. Photographing this bird was difficult since it hardly remained at one place at a time. And most of the times, it blended so well with the green foilage that it was hard to spot.

 

This black bird is so often mentioned in various books and poems, but I should confess that I saw this for the first time. It look exactly like a crow, but slightly smaller in size with distinctive red eyes. One could easily ignore this as a crow, but this is the Koel. I was observing it for quite a few days without knowing it as koel, until I heard it calling out, which was unmistakably koel’s sound.  I had read the comparison between crow and koel in the form of poems and stories in the childhood and I was glad to experience it and verify it first hand.  One such saying in Sanskrit comes to mind: को भेदः काक-पिकयोः ? वसंतकाले संप्राप्ते काकः काकः पिकः पिकः | (which roughly translates as this: What’s the difference b/n crow and koel ? When Spring arrives, crow will be crow and koel will be koel)

Here is an other elusive one.

I never knew there were cuckoos which are not black in colour like the below one:

This one posed for the photograph without much hesitation.

Kingfishers are regular visitors to my home given the proximity to the lake.

So moving into this new neighbourhood has been an interesting experience.  There are many other birds which have remained still elusive for my camera, I wish I had a better camera to do full justice to the beauty of these birds!