Revitalising Water Falls

Jul 28, 2009

One can say the monsoon magic holds a special charm for nature lovers who love trekking.  For passionate trekkers there is no greater charm than exploring the scenic beauty of Charmadi Ghats during the rainy season when the nature is in its full bloom and magnificence.  After giving rise to panic the monsoon this year became active in July and it began raining cats and dogs, hippos and elephants in most of the coastal areas of the country like Mumbai, Udupi and Dakshina Kannada.  The rain fury had caused enough havoc in both Udupi and Dakshina Kannada flooding low lying areas and Netravati River had crossed the danger mark.  

When I got the news about the trekking expedition to Kallarbi Falls in Western Ghats on such a rainy day I jumped at the opportunity to give myself another day in the midst of nature, far from the maddening crowd and enjoy the bounty of nature. On July 19, 2009 about 50 members of Youth Hostel Association of India (YHAI), Mangalore started off in two vans to the foothills of Charmady early morning.  Charmady, about 80 kms from Mangalore city, is a picturesque place in Western Ghats.   The heavy down pour had slowed down the traffic movement which was a blessing as we enjoyed the heavy showers.  The group was a mixture of old and new members of YHAI, young and not so young, men and women from different walks of life.  The single objective that guided us all was our passion for trekking and enjoying nature in its pristine form.  We chatted on myriad topics including trekking, water falls, the much talked about Rakhi Sawant Swayamwar, Vinod Kambli’s outbursts in Sach Ka Saamna, Bollywood flicks, actors, latest releases, cooking and everything under the sun. There was an entertainment channel unlimited in Mr Ramesh Kamath who kept us amused through out the 2½ hours of journey through his one-liners and anecdotes.


On reaching Charmadi 9th hairpin bend we took a deviation to enter the thick forest and got down near Mathuru to refresh and for morning breakfast at Panchalingeshwara temple.  We had carried our breakfast in the van and prepared coffee at the temple premises. Having done the pet pooja we embarked on our further journey to reach our final destination of witnessing Kallarbi Falls.   

We move about 3 to 4 kms to come near Banjaru Male the sprawling 3000 acres of  estate belonging to the Yenepoya Group, Mangalore.  Our organizers had taken prior written permission from the Yenepoya office in Ashok Nagar and the gates were opened to us on our arrival for a warm welcome.  As the vehicle passed through the thick green canopy-like forest I was intoxicated by the raw aroma emanating from the trees and plants, the freshness of the air (which was light and clean unlike the city air) and  the stillness of the forest except for the occasional  twitter of birds and insects.  We were advised by our trek organizer Dinesh Holla not to boo or shout for the fear of attracting elephants, as it is believed that the Banjaru Male estate has at least 15 to 20 elephants.  

The mist ridden peaks, little far off and forest area dressed in its greenest best was inviting us with open arms.  We got dressed in our rain coasts and rainy sandals took our umbrellas and ventured out of the van to be greeted by heavy showers in the middle of the thick forest.   The heavy showers in fact added excitement to our enthusiasm which had already reached its crescendo on our arrival at the evergreen forest.  Our panoramic and enchanting trekking had just begun on a bright note as we felt the rain was greeting us happily to the abode of nature.  . 


We were cautioned about the menace of leeches in the Ghats and I was apprehensive about their collective onslaught at the smell of human blood.  I got the taste of it walking just a few furlongs and it sickened me as those creepy bloodsuckers began moving all    over the body.  While my concentration was more on leeches which had begun to attack me I missed out on the picturesque green canopy, the mist filled peaks, the rare insects and the wonderful milieu.    I finally said to hell with these bloodsucking creatures and began my tryst with nature. The raw smell of forest acted like a stimulant and we were lost in the goodness that nature had to offer for us.  

As we traversed through the narrow road the roaring sound of the stream could be heard and soon we were feasting on the robust Aniyuru Hole, one of the 9 tributaries of Netravati. The stream was flowing to its fullest capacity and the bridge built in 1953 enabled us cross the stream without getting into the water.  We would have loved if we had a chance to get into the water, which was impossible here.  After trekking near 4 to 5 kms we spotted a few signs of human habitation in the form of cultivation and houses.  According to Dinesh Holla, an avid trekker who organized our Kallarbi trekking there are about 36 families of Malekudiyas in the Banjaru Male estate.  They work within the estate and have been provided with houses with solar lights and other benefits.  A small Ganapathi temple has been built nearby by the estate owners to these families.  

After that we were into the thick forest where we had to make a path for ourselves amidst the canopy of green vegetation.  Leeches, insects, thorns and creepers or the slippery ground were not a hindrance to our journey.  We had to walk in the dense forest for almost one km distance in the steep slippery path filled with slush.  We had to tread carefully holding branches of plants, trees or creepers and seek the arms of others to enable us move ahead without a fall.  Screams and cries became common from those in the front and the back as one slipped leg or fall means a good make over in the slush filled path.  But the roar of the water fall was enticing us to move on.  Finally after that hard work of steep climb down what we witnessed was simply marvelous and awe inspiring.  The Kallarbi fall roared majestically from a height almost 30 to 35 feet with such robust speed that nothing could be heard in the din.  It smashed the nearby rock sending sprinkle of water all around and all of us were treated with the spray of water now and then like sprinkling of rose petals.  One could sit there and get lost in the mystery and elegant charm of this area.  

It is now believed that the Kallarbi falls is targeted by the government for setting up a Hydel Power Project which means it would soon loose its charm and glory.  Nature lovers and likeminded citizens should not allow one more falls to be sacrificed in the altar of power project. 

With our minds and hearts still craving to spend some more time in the pristine beauty of nature we had to leave the place as it was getting dark and we were starving.  It was almost 3.45 pm in the evening and none of us remembered our lunch with our heart and minds filled with the beauty of nature at its best. Climbing back the steep path was as challenging and arduous as going down and most of us resembled like we had played kabaddi in the slush. The workers of the estate rendered whatever little help they could in making the path for us.  On the way back we saw a fallen jackfruit and the estate worker neatly cut it and we devoured the jackfruit.  It was like manna from heaven for our hungry stomachs.  The trekking couple Shobha and Subhash (Himalayan team) proved to be the right company for me to trek and enjoy recalling our mutual love for nature.  

Our vans had moved near the Aniyuru Bridge and we moved with quick steps to ensure we get our lunch as the first batch had gone ahead and had begun their lunch.  The food was in the vans and all the hungry souls ate to their heart’s content.  Finally it was time for us to move.  As the vans could not carry the full load some of us decided to walk another 2 kms where as those who were tired went in the van.  Finally we had to bid adieu to Banjaru Male estate with a heavy heart.  We had almost trekked 14 kms to and fro. 

The tiredness which I never felt during the trek was evident soon caught up with me and I was feeling sleepy the moment I sat in the van.  Soon I was lost in my own world of dreams where the leeches began crawling all over my legs.  I came back to my world of reality only on reaching Mahaveer Circle (Pump Well).   I was later told all the members in the van had a hearty laugh seeing me in various avatars of sleeping in the van.  The fellow trekker who was sitting beside me might have cursed me for using his shoulder for leaning my head.  Poor chap, I pitied him!

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by Florine Roche
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Comment on this article

  • ajay setia, Delhi

    Wed, Sep 02 2009

    I like all writings of Florine, she is a great reporter......this article " Revitalising Water Fall " is very good and Florine should compile her articles in book best wishes to her. Ajay

  • Charan Varghese, Mangalore/ Bangalore

    Thu, Jul 30 2009

    Great article. I am sure there are a lot of less known places which have natural beauty. ...Florine good jod!!

  • Munna, Al-Khobar

    Thu, Jul 30 2009

    Amazing pics huh !!

  • Abdul Azeez, Puttur/Dammam

    Wed, Jul 29 2009

    Ah!Very excellent coverage.Lots.....of thanx to daiji.

  • Rakesh Holla, Udupi

    Wed, Jul 29 2009

    Very Nice article...Stunning photos..Once this article brings to me at Kallarbi.

  • John Pereira, Kulshekar,M''lore/Ghatkopar,Mumbai

    Wed, Jul 29 2009

    Amazing adventure by the trekkers, and the falls too were nature''s bonanza with its enhanced enchantment in the rains. Congrats to Ms. Florine Roche filing this experience in flowing words as I read this piece non-stop This show of her love of nature is an inspiration to the aspiring youngsters. Isn''t it?

  • chandru, landlinks

    Tue, Jul 28 2009

    Commendable work by Roche.. excellent photos.. wonderful article..

  • shobha s pai, m''lore

    Tue, Jul 28 2009

    it waslike experiencing the trek again.thanks for taking me to Kallarbi once again.

  • Jonita Gracel Pinto , chickmagalur/ Qatar

    Tue, Jul 28 2009

    Very Good article from Florine Roche. For your information these Ghats were climbed by some Mangalorain origin people bare footed and started cultivating coffee in chickmagalur districts. they used to encounter wild animals many a time. these places were really wild with out roads Just wild wild wild .

  • water falls, nishmitha

    Tue, Jul 28 2009

    beautiful picture ,,thank you 4 daiji

  • R.Bhandarkar, M''lore

    Tue, Jul 28 2009

    Great flow Flo! Invite me next time!

  • SP, Moodbidri/Karnataka

    Tue, Jul 28 2009

    Florine: Good narration of visit to Charmadi Ghat Forest Area. Infact this gives me my own experience of passing through this area on our way to Kalasa to my grandfather''s estate.A unique experience can not be explained but to express writing articles,taking photographs etc.More importantly in respective of relegion, men, women, kids had this mind blowing experience together is really appreciable. Arrange more tours for youngsters of Mangalore to spend some quality time and rememberance to make life better amd meaningful. Good pictures.


    Tue, Jul 28 2009

    Thanks to Florine and Daiji for giving such a beautiful narration of charmady ghat water-fall with nature''s beauty photos. Really wonderful!!!Keep it up Florine...

  • jerry moras, kuppepadavu / Canada

    Tue, Jul 28 2009

    Nice article Florine. Seems to be you''re very much excited and it must be your first trip to ghats. Anyway, you are lucky and may be serveral others will follow you soon to ghats - shirady or charmady... I''ve lived 3 years those areas. But what is important is expressing expereince than making expereince a way of life.

  • Lydia Lobo, Kadri

    Mon, Jul 27 2009

    Oh ! How I envy you !

  • Vijay, Bangalore

    Tue, Jul 28 2009

    Wonderful pics with good details. Thanks Florine.

  • George Cruz, Managalore/USA

    Mon, Jul 27 2009

    This is an excellent piece by Florine Roche. This article jogs my childhood memories while growing up in India.

  • Ronald D.F.D''Souza, Bondel/Mangalore/Bahrain

    Tue, Jul 28 2009

    Bravo Florine Roche about the revitalising water falls at Charmadi hills. We have such  beautiful places in India and particularly in south India, i dont think we have to explore western countries than our own mother land. i still remenber in coorg district there is a waterfall and a animal sanctuary forest (Ihave  really foregotten)the place name. Florine try explore more places of our own place.

  • Thomas Dsouza, Gorigudda/Israel

    Mon, Jul 27 2009

    Nice article by Florine Roche and beautifull pictures.thanx daiji.

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