March 5, 2011
Those who want to enjoy mother nature's bounty find time to do so despite their chaotic and busy schedule to be in her arms and get pampered. Those who have experienced the goodness brought about by such quiet retreats swear by their frequent jaunts to such places where they get immersed in nature and her perpetual beauty. It is nature in her pristine form which provides health, happiness and peace of mind to the stressed souls constantly living under anxiety and stress.
There is an adage that goes "nature provides for our needs and not for our greed". Children need to be taught this and they need to be enlightened about the splendour of nature and with this idea of taking them closer to nature Jai Hind Swimming Club, Mangalore, organizes a day-long trekking expedition for its children. It is an annual affair which both children and their parents look forward to and participate in enthusiastically. As children love to cavort in water, waterfalls or streams with flowing water are chosen for such expeditions. In the last 10 years the club has organized trekking to Kudlu Tirtha, Dondole Falls, Jomlu falls, Kanya falls etc.
This year, Sitanadi Nature Camp, situated in Hebri-Agumbe Road, about 3 kms from Hebri, was chosen for this annual retreat and the group of nearly 110 people had a frolicking time amidst bubbling kids and thick green vegetation of Hebri.
Sitanadi Nature camp is a part of the Someshwara Wildlife Sanctuary along the banks of Seethanadi river and the place is just awe-inspiring. The nature camp is located on the banks of river Sita overlooking the Somewhwara Wildlife Sanctuary. Sita river flows through some of the densest evergreen forest in the Western Ghats with good rafting stretches and offers scope for rafting during monsoon season, especially from June to October. Accommodation facility is available at the nature camp in the form of farmhouse, home stay or heritage stay at reasonable rates and one can easily spend 3 to 4 days at the nature camp as base camp and enjoy nature’s resplendent splendor and richness and submerge in the cathartic benefits it offers. Trekking activity is available to nearby waterfalls like Kudlu Tirtha, Jogigundi, and Onke Abbi Falls, which are situated inside the forest.
The Joy Ride
On Sunday January 30, we started off at 7 am from Mangalore, in two buses and stopped at Moodbidri for a sumptuous breakfast. The bus ride of 2½ hours could be rightly termed as ‘the joy ride’ as children and parents enjoyed some memorable moments during this journey. The old guards (the parents) and the new generation were embroiled in an antakshari duel which was quite interesting, engrossing and thoroughly entertaining. Every now and then children or parents resorted to an impromptu dance in the bus, responding to the tunes of the songs that came up, Sheela Ki Jawani and Munni being the choice of the younger lot.
We covered the distance of 90 kms (from Mangalore) without our realizing it and reached Sitanadi Nature Camp at around 11 am and there we were at the doorstep of the green forest which welcomed us with its cool and clean breeze and thick foliage. We moved towards the nature camp through the dense forest amidst the constant chirping of birds and insects and soon we found ourselves in a different atmosphere. The children were an excited lot and to add to their joy we came across a narrow stream right through our trail. And lo, we were at the camp site, a shadowy place with greenery all around and an assortment of facilities for children to make merry such as climbing, sliding, crawling, hanging, swinging, net climbing or to frolic boisterously.
The nets, the swings, the slides, the trees, the sea-saw etc., were the facilities that sent them into a wild delirium. It was a hard task to coax them to have their thirsty drink as they fancied taking a joy on all these. Guest houses in camouflage paints were the major attraction at the camp site that made us feel we were in a jungle. Children were also enjoying the pranks of the monkeys in the nearby trees.
Fun and Frolic
After acclimatizing at the camp side it was time for some games both for the children and the parents. Separate games were organized for junior and senior children to encourage even young children to participate. Attractive prizes were the incentives for children and parents to partake enthusiastically. Right in the middle of the game there was a catastrophe when a young member of the club Jovin fell from sea saw (of all the things) and his right hand was twisted and wringed. The boy was immediately rushed to a nearby hospital where they straightened and plastered his hand. It was momentary set back that dampened our spirits and the group lost its rhythm and mood. This was the first mishap the club experienced in all these years though the club has undertaken tougher trekking expeditions in the past.
The group gathered its wits soon after once Jhovin was sent to the hospital for timely treatment. Even as everyone was busy discussion the ifs and buts of the mishap it was time for lunch. Arrangements were made for our lunch at the nature camp and children were waiting for it to get over soon, to enjoy the most important part of the camp – to jump into the flowing river stream adjacent to the nature camp for swimming. For nearly an hour they swam and did all kinds of somersaults in the cool waters of Sita. The water amidst the thick green forest, the cool breeze, the sound of chirping birds mingling with the noise of the children splattering and romping in the water, the fish in the river watercourse etc., was just the kind of milieu that needed to rejuvenate the mind the body. Though the children did not want to get out of water we had to drag them out to start our journey back well before it got dark. A hot beverage infused fresh energy to the children who were tired after swimming. Prizes were given to winners of various competitions by coaches Ramakrishna Rao and Umesh.
A Great Day Out
We retreated with a refreshing mood but with a heavy heart of leaving the immaculate environs. One can imagine the beauty of the place during the rainy season when the river flows flowing swiftly, the stream in full flow, the forest much greener with thick vegetation and the cacophony of the chirping insects. We left the place at 4.30 pm and the return journey continued with the same gusto, just like the ongoing one as both parents and children had enough energy left to play housie-housie and also to dance and sing. In Padubidri we stopped to buy ice cream cones and packed the boxes in the bus to save time as getting down from the bus for evening tea and snacks meant loss of one precious hour. By 7.30 pm we were in Mangalore and it was back to the routine.
Coaches of Jai Hind Swimming Club Ramakrishna Rao and Umesh had done a pilot trip to the place to assess the situation and to take permission and also to make arrangements for lunch, tea and cool drinks. The staff at the nature camp are friendly, cooperative and helpful. Needless to say the children and their parents had a great day out at Sitanadi Nature camp.