July 27, 2011
Rain in its enormous form, the magnificent canopy of thick forest of Western Ghats and the challenge of climbing those 14 steep hairpin bends of Agumbe Ghats along with a bunch of enthusiastic trekking friends need not be only a wild dream. One can, however, say it was a dream comes true for many in our group of 45 happy-go-lucky who ventured out to trek on the Agumbe Ghats on July 17, a rainy Sunday, when many preferred to stay in the cozy atmosphere of their homes.
Mangalore unit of YHAI had arranged a one day trek go Agumbe, one of the highest peaks of the Western Ghats, situated in-between Dakshina-Kannada and Shimoga Districts as part of its monthly trekking programme. Not wanting to squander the opportunity I tried to contact many of my friends but only two responded from by group of friends. Still we had a fairly large group and by 6.30am we had to assemble at the Youth Hostel premises. We headed straight to Hebri in two tempo travelers in between stopping in Moodbidri at Padivals for a piping hot breakfast.
When the group landed in Hebri at around 10 am there was a heavy downpour when we were getting down, which added that dash of zing to our spirits to give a perfect start to our trekking programme and to give vent to the very idea of getting soaked in the cosmic form of rains. The only hitch was that due to heavy rains I could not take out our camera easily to capture those memorable moments as it called for balancing the bag, umbrella, raincoat and of course the camera which had to be covered in a polythene bag.
Agumbe Ghats is one of the most breathtaking scenic routes of Karnataka. Agumbe, which is known as the Cheerapunji of South India receives the heaviest rainfall in South India and the second highest annual rainfall in India next only to Cherrapunji or nearby Mawsynram. It is a part of Maland and Westarn and is surrounded by a luxuriant bio-diversity. It is adjacent to one of the last surviving lowland rainforests in the Someshwara Wildlife Sanctuary and the Kudremukh National Park. So it was not a surprise when we were greeted by dark clouds and one of the heaviest downpours which many of us had not witnessed in the recent past. It rained incessantly with the same velocity all through the trek of 12 kms deluging the road and water gushing through the hairpin bends was really a captivating sight.
There was a steady stream of vehicles passing through the Ghats with their headlights on as the mist, clouds, rain and the dark thick forest made the milieu resemble to an approaching evening. In my carefree meandering through the hair-pin bends feasting on the bucolic beauty of the forests and the deafening roars of the downpour and waterfalls I was often brought to my senses by the screeching horns of the approaching vehicles which maneuvered through the bends and curves with an endeavoring prudence. Some of the trekkers got to experience the leech bites though they were not as plentiful as we expected. Even the concrete road was quite slippery on both the sides of the road due to continuous flow of water.
We came across many falls during our odyssey – of different shapes and sizes, some big and powerful, others small, delicate and with a cascading impact. Some tiny falls had a cave-like opening with stream oozing out from in between a rock. Needless to say I was tempted to get drenched and feel the power and beauty of silvery cadence of gushing water on my body and I did it whenever there was an inviting waterfall. There is nothing more relaxing than listening to the roar of the water flowing through all its majesty or just trickling over the rocks in its delicate and sublime form. The misty rain forests, the waterfalls and streams cavorting in all their finery was more than a feast to the eyes and music to the ears. Taking the cameras out of my bag to capture the scenic beauty was a herculean task. The rains could not be a dampener to our spirits and we all could catch a few memorable moments of our journey through the Ghats risking our cameras to the rains. The risk was worth the effort.
At the curve where the Ghats come under the Shimoga zone there was a fall that cascaded with all its might and elegance and the sight was simply awesome. The sound of the water trickling from the imposing trees was like a pleasing music to the ears. Then we came to the 14th hairpin bend and the much awaited sunset point which an anti-climax considering that it was a cloudy, misty and rainy noon and one could not view the panoramic view of the mountains which otherwise could be viewed from this cozy little sunset point on a normal day. Even on this rainy day the pineapple seller was selling pieces of the fruits to the visitors at the sunset point. Even the crew of “Samaya T V” cared a damn for the rains and we all posed happily when they started shooting to cover the trekking event.
From the sunset point those who could walk went ahead covering another 2 kms while others came by our tempo travelers which picked them at the sunset point. As there were many freshers in the team it was decided to come back by our vehicles rather than walking back through the 12 kms stretch. We arrived at Hebri for a lunch and began our return journey by 3 pm which was early by YHAI standards. We stopped at Padiwals for a tea break and gorged on Masala Dosas and other snacks. However, the fun element continued all through the journey in the form of singing and dancing which came to a halt only when we reached the city.
It is more than a week since I have come back from our Agumbe peregrination. But the sound of the rains still reverberates in the ears and I am yearning to go for another indolent stroll on Agumbe Ghats on another rainy day.
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