Sunday, October 15, 2017

Gadayi Kallu + KadamGundi Waterfalls + Ermai Falls

I get an itch from time to time - itch to go to the mountains, see the nature, away from people, away from city life, at a place where there is just the raw earth that was created centuries ago and I am exploring the place as is.  I had witnessed such moments on my India Hikes treks, during my solo travels in US national parks. But i had been away from these for a long time.  My itch was growing and I had to do something.

It is with this, I signed up for a trek to Gadayi Kallu with Summiters. Group travel is not my strong suite but I had no energy to plan a solo sojourn. I convinced Kanishka and Aarti to come along and the Gandhi Jayanti long weekend plan was set.

Summiters was chosen precisely because they do not go with bigger groups and they are picking up trails which are not very popular. A different trek was chosen earlier which was even less explored but rains had made that trek impossible. This was the 2nd option and I took it.

Day 0 -
We met at the KFC at Koramangala Sony Signal, on to a tempo traveller and drove though the night to reach our homestay next day morning.

Day 1 -
Our first experience for the tour starts with drinking Kashaya. Kashaya is a local herbal drink made of Jaggery and black pepper in hot water. Various other ingredients can be added to make it more flavorful but ours was the basic one. It is part medicinal and part coffee alternative. I drank it half heartedly knowing my lack of immunity.  The breakfast was served on banana leafs and the Katori Idlis were back.

Gadayi Kallu is a big hill that sits out of nowhere. It was also used as a fort (known as Jamalabad fort) as it offered natural advantages from a strategic defense point of view. The way to top has about 1876 stairs. The climb would have been decent but it had been raining through the week. Stairs were slippery with moss on them making it a moderately difficult climb. The views while the climb were beautiful

The top was green and we did not relax much as there was a threat of rain. The way down was even more treacherous. We practically climbed down by sitting on stairs one at a time. There was nothing to hold grip on.

We were back at homestay before 2:30 or 3 pm. We had a hearty lunch and then spent time idling around. In the evening, we went for a stroll to a nearby stream and then had boiled eggs on the way back to the homestay. Dinner was again rice and rasam/sambhar. It was getting little monotonous by now.   We slept in sleeping bags. Sleep came quickly to tired bodies. But before that, there was a game of poker with like minded folks.

Day 2
We shifted our homestay to a different one the next day. This other homestay had a 1KM walk on the road which also included crossing a shaky bamboo bridge over a stream.

Day 2 trek was to Kadamgundi waterfalls. It was an easier trek but along the way there are 8 streams to cross some of which had water till my knee height. Shoes were abandoned to make way for slippers.  These stream crossing add more thrill to this trail. The waterfall is gem of a discovery.  The trail was completely clean. Waterfall is surrounded by big rocks from three sides. Where the fall hits the floor, there is a nice bed of sand making it a delightful to stand soak in the water. There is also a rock to sit on and meditate here. We spent close to two hrs just enjoying the fall.

Day 3

The morning started with a visit to the local waterfall -Ermai falls. Ermai main falls was little deep so we did not venture down there. But closer to it, one of its tributaries was falling on a sequence of rocks. It was a little difficult climb but once under the fall it was pure bliss. Standing under the fall we were getting a good water massage

After the bath, we went to the first homestay to have a delicious breakfast of avlakki bath and then drove back home.

Good things about this trip was that most things happened on time. People were ready when asked to and with a smaller group it was a pretty manageable. We stopped near Hassan for lunch and had a fulfilling meal.  By the time we reached home it was dark and raining. This trip will be remembered for amazing waterfalls, bathing under them and decent short treks.