Drenched in Sakleshpur

Bangalore is always close to my heart.It is where I found my love. There are numerous places in Bangalore which are nostalgic for a variety of reasons. The daily meeting spots, long walks (manytimes hand in hand) - everything is a dream to be cherished for life. With the changes in life and settlement in Chennai, Bangalore more or less started fading away from my (our) memories.

When my wife's cousin relocated to Bangalore recently, both my wife and I longed to revisit this city of gardens and relive those memories. This thought started getting steam around 3 months back,when this cousin visited us and it was now our turn to visit them. After roughly deciding the dates to be around the Independence day plus weekend plus a day or two, it was entry into planning phase.

My wife and I have this desire to visit places which are less commerical and less touristy and we both love water. With 3 to 4 rounds of googling and mapping and analysing the 'Have you heard about'spots, we finalised Sakleshpur to be the getaway town with local sighseeings to nearby places.

Not much information is available about this little town in the Internet ,but we managed to gather some and decided to do it as a 3 day Bangalore-Sakleshpur-Bangalore trip and spend one more day locally in Bangalore.

On the D-day, we took the road to Bangalore and reached in 6 hours. Then spent the night under the cozy blankets.Next day was a long one with another 6 hour drive to Sakleshpur with enroute stops for breakfast, lunch and a brief darshan at Shravana Belagola. The statue of Jain monk Gomateswara stands tall atop a hill and can be reached by climbing 700 steps barfeoot. In and around Shravana Belagola, our eyes fell upon Bahubali childrens hospital, Bahubali bakery and so on. Thinking it to be derived from the movie Baahubali, we found it weird at that time, but later browsed and found that Gomateswara is called as Bahubali. Next stop was a small waterfall near a chai shop. Initially reluctant to enter water, we finally made it thanks to another Tamil family who were enjoying in the gift of nature. My son was all charged up as the mineral rich water rejuvenated everyone. This was a waterfall made for the kids as it was not slippery and dangerous. After a good 60 minutes spent there, we had hot chai and bajjis in the adjacent tea shop. This was followed by a simple dinner and rest.

Aug 13 was an early start. We were all ready by 7 AM and started our search for the one big waterfall of Sakleshpur. We initally thought it to Mallali falls, then changed it to Manjenahalli falls,then to Majihalli falls. We kept asking about some waterfall thats starts with a M, but even locals were not aware about it. Finally, a jeep wala showed us the direction and we reached 'Abbi Falls'. yes thats the name of this serene and beutiful waterfall. Much to our delightthere was just 2 to 3 souls other than us. Though population is huge in India, it is not spread across uniformly and there are these untouched spots waiting to be explored. This waterfall was a little tricky. Going to the base was a strict no-no as the pressure was exteme. We managed to find a seat like rock and helped ourselves to the gushing force of water. My son was all joy again and said 'Ingeye Irundarlaam' meaning 'Lets permanently stay here'. This waterfall with its pristine surroundings made everyone feel at peace and there was nothing more to ask for.

With the watertime well spent, everybody's hunger grew. The hunt for breakfast started. Locals said there is one Lakshimi Canteen which is good for vegetarians. All name boards had only Kannada and we had to out in some extra effort to reach that place. This was a normal mess with 3 wooden tables and chairs. We ordered dosas that cam ewith sagu and chutney which felt really like amirtham. The home like sitting experience with dosas falling into our plates every now and then made everyone face cheerful again.

Lined up next was Manajarabad fort. This fort stood tall atop a hill of 200-300 metres. We had to climb a few stairs, but the view that the fort offered from the top was worth it. The fort when saw from above has the shape of a star. Folks who like to be photographed too often can have a ball here. I personally liked the walls with the green fungus all around and the chilly wind that blew.After a couple of solo photos, it was time to decide if we travel to Bisle ghat today or rest at Dharmasthala. After a few minutes of brian storming, we decided to proceed to Dharmasthala for evening Darshan. We entered the general darshan queue at 6.10 PM and Lord manjunatha bestowed his kindless on us only by 9 PM.

Monday, August 19 is the best day of this trip. After having a dosse (kannada version of dosa) in a highway dhaba we proceeded towards Bisle ghat.All I knew about this place it has scenic view from top and nothing more. We took the road towards Kukke Subramanya and all was good until we took a left turn from the state highway around 10 km from Kukke. It was a mud road with trees covering the roads completely and stopping every ray of sunlight. There was omni van in front of us which stopped and gave way to us. It was just us now. There was no vehicle in front as well as back of us to be seen. The road looked completely deserted without any trace of vehicular movement for more than a decade. All of us in the car fell silent. We were unsure if we should proceed further or turn back. Though we joked about the scene initially, slowly the seriousness crept in. The road was completely rocky and the car was driven at a max speed of not more than 10 km/hr. On top of that, we ran low on fuel with around 60 to 70 km of run distance left. All this bundled together and increased the thrill factor multi fold. Anything might happen - elephants might come out of nowhere, goons and thieves can stop our car or what not. Then a car came from the opposite direction. There was some ease seeing that. Then two more came and we all kneew this place is safe.

While all this happened, we passed a beautfiul waterfall, but did not have the guts to stop. After a few minutes, one more we crossed one more waterfall and another again. In a span of 18 km, there were 6 or 7 magnificent waterfalls.So much water that the place was divine. Apart from the big falls, there were many tricklets of water all along the road and water flowed right on the road. The view on top was okay compared to the way and I was reminded of the saying that I saw in Sikkim 'Journey is the detsination'. The downhill road from Bisle ghat was easy, but fuel level was getting low and low. Call it a miracle, when the warning light beeped, we stopped outside some house and asked directions for the nearest pump. The guy said he sells petrol for emergency and charged Rs 80 as against Rs 69.50 in regular bunks. We filled up 2 litres of petrol and headed straight to Bangalore with a lunch and tank up stop. It was an amazing trip laced with thrills and adventure, lots of water and fun. We were completely drenched in the beauty of Sakleshpur and will be remembered for a long time to come.

More By  :  Srinivasan MK

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