She is curvy she is beautiful, she sparkle when she wobble. I observe all these in Hogenakkal when river Cauvery stun us with her mesmerizing flow. After seeing the scenic beauty at Hogenakkal I decided to follow river cauvery in hills and ravines and planned my next trip to Bheemeshwari. It’s totally a jungle area located in Mandya district of Karnataka, the area is full green with lush hills on either side of wide and shallow river cauvery. It is also a wildlife sanctuary which we came to know after caught by the rangers while bathing and playing in scanty clothes on the bank of river remote inside the jungle. We paid fine before putting on the clothes, but felt it to be cheaper for the two hrs of fun we had at the enigmatic beauty of the places.
[At 12 in afternoon we reached the jungle lodge a government owned resort where all kinds of exciting activities like fishing, trekking, boating, kayaking, river rafting, burma-loops, Zip-line etc etc are organized by the private body on 60:40 profit sharing basis. Therefore you cannot expect cheaper rates for these activities.]The gate keeper of jungle lodge did not allow us to enter inside until a person name Santosh came. I went near him, he was the river rafting person. I enquired about the activities and the respective charges. He asked for the advance booking which we didn’t have. I tried to convince in polite Hindi language. He agreed for river rafting and told to assemble near gate at 2:30 pm. He also told fishing is banned by the government and trekking is stopped due to hot afternoon. We were lucky that due to rain for last 3 days the water was enough for river rafting. We had two and half hrs for having lunch and book hotel as by that time we decided to hold night there itself. With smile in face we turn our bike back to Muthathi a small village 5 km before the resort.
Staying at Muthathi
It was difficult to communicate with the shop owner as we didn’t have any Kannda guy in our team. We went to one shop, it was a small traditional village shop, filled with chains of gutkhas and shampoos packets hanging in front and biscuits and Namkeen bottles kept on wooden pallet. The owner look like a Kannda villain came near me. “What is in lunch”, I asked. “Rice, Shambhar, Mazika (butter milk) Cool drinks and Cold beer” he answered. Hmm… I gesture. Any rooms?? I dare again. He told 600 per night 200 advance. We went to see the room; it was nothing better than a jail but had 4 beds and 4 blankets. It was the only Taj Mahal in that area outside resort. We paid the money parked our bikes kept our luggage and went to him again for food. He brought five plates of rice soaked in Brinjal Shambhar. Only good thing about it was that, it was hot. Anyway we already landed to some kind of excitement. A jovial feeling lingered into our minds; we saw bizarre cows with sharp pointed horns, jumping monkeys on roof tops, hill covered with long grasses, warning board showing wild elephants and boars. We didn’t know when we finished hot Shambhar.
Jungle Lodge & Resort:
We were in front of the jungle lodge resort at 2:15. In half an hour Santosh came, he asked us to fill a form stating to obey rules and follow discipline while rafting. It was really against our rule anyway we filled the form paid 3000 for five. We kept all our valuables along with camera in a locker provided by them. One over intelligent friend of mine suggested not to handover locker key, for that I gave big lecture on “we should believe people” and returned the key to Shidharaju a resort person. Before keeping our camera we took some 200 snaps with raft & rows in all possible poses &positions taking help of almost every people present in the resort. We did all crazy stuffs that we can.
“Hold the life line rope incase u fall from the raft” yelled Santosh while teaching around 35 people about the basics of river rafting. “Lock your legs”…. “hold the row in right thumb”….he went on. He was teaching us the discipline for which he took our undertaking. We were seven in one boat, one guide on rear seat and one extra person from other group as an adjustment. “Guys foooowad” the sound came from back and we pulled the water through our rows and the raft started moving forward. The revelry in mind reached its peak while the stillness and calmness of the place was broken by the screaming, shouting and whistling by the people. Some were even shouting Inquilab Zindabad which sounds really funny to me. Adrenalin started rushing as we passes on the rapids and whirlpool in the river. At the mid of river when we raised or head to see the enthralling beauty of the place, we enraptured and left with an open mouth to say WOW !
The lush green hills on either side standing as a desperate lover protect and guide their beloved Cauvery from wider to narrower passages. The decorous Cauvery wobble along the rocks forming rapids and whirlpool and creating breezing sound in salutation to the green hills.
We hit to a bigger rapids ahead, my feet raised and in fraction of second, I toppled out of the raft. I felt the receding of lifeline rope from by fingers. I was inside water under the boat where I recalled all the rules of rafting. The life jacket pulled me up above the water when I saw the boat 30 feet away on which our guide was giggling and my friends were silently watching the show. I knew a little bit of swimming and went near the raft. “Why u left the row?? …it is very costly” asked the guide after pulling me on to the raft. “Even costlier than my life” I murmured. We followed the sound “Guys fooowad” and traveled up to 8 km to reach the bank and end our memorable journey.
At 7:00 in the evening we decided to go inside the jungle. It was dark and gloomy visibility was zero, even a small rock ahead was scary as it seems some wild animal sitting. We used a torch to find the way as well as to ensure that we are five by regularly lighting on each of us faces. It was really scary we took some snaps with my flash camera and returned back. We join for supper and had same hot brinjal Shambhar but this time with chapattis. After chitchatting for sometime beside the burning coal ovens, we went to our rooms and slept remembering all crazy stuff we did whole day.
Photo shoot on the bank of river:
Next day early morning we reached to same bank of river where we ended or rafting journey a day before. The path was blocked as the rafting people might have removed one small bridge across a drain on the way. Anyway it wasn’t so difficult for our bikes to cross the bushes and rocks to create a new path. Though it was difficult to access but not as much to debilitate us from our motive. The reason is not that we unanimously selected the place but also it was a right place for our photo shoots and videography. We spend some 2 hours in shooting photos and taking videos of our seductive bathing scenes. Kidding and dancing on the wet sand we felt the joy of liberation. Before we could take some snap in full clothes, two forest rangers came and charged us of trespassing. They started shouting on us as we did a big crime. One of them mistaken our tripod with gun and also charged for shooting & killing animal. One also told that wild elephant and boars come to that place for drinking water. Later we paid them for keeping quite and not informing government officials. We dressed up and filled our bag pack to start for Mekedhatu.
Again the river Cauvery but in new shape, deep gorge, smooth cut rocks and lot of coracles. We parked our bikes on a parking area crossed the river in coracle. On the other side of river a Bus was waiting to take us to the ravine area which was 5 km away. The Bus was really horrible as it was nothing more than a junk of iron rod and sheets. We sat on torn seat and hold the iron pillars as the bus moves along the hills.
It was hot and shining afternoon when we reached the Mekedhatu. The gorge was deep and narrow but not as much as a sheep can cross it. We spent some time in rocks while observing the flowing river deep inside the gorge. We also captured some wonderful views of ravine in our camera returned back.