Had been quite a while since I'd really "been out". with James also hinting for an exotic n wild location, going out on the weekend was almost inevitable. Plus, James had just got his Nikon D-80 and was very very eager to try out his new gear. After a bit of discussion, we decided it would be Sangam (Mekedatu).
P.S - The images all are links to my flickr page. If you do like any image, would love to get comments from you :)
We started off on a very very cold saturday morning, all batteries charged, fuel tank full !
Being close to Kanakapura road, did not take long to hit the road. With the sun still yet to rise, had to ride a wee bit carefully, as the twilight at morning aint the best for riding. The headlights aren't strong enough and the sunlight's not enough either.
With not enough light, stopping @ lakes on the sides of the road did not make sense. About 50 minutes into the trip, we reached Kanakapura. There was this one little bridge which I remember which ran over the Arkavati river. So there we were on the bridge with our cameras in hand shooting. The amused villagers were at their wit's end trying to figure out what on earth were we trying to capture :D
Saw these dudes who were mining sand from the middle of the river. Made for a nice shot.
On the downside, sand mining's killing the rivers :( I remember seeing so many types of fish as a kid here, but with sand mining, the flow of the river's reduced and there's lots of silt around.
By now, we were hungry, and having known kanakapura, I suggested an awesome place which serves fantastic Masala dosas. I dont remember the name, but locals call it "Vasu's hotel". Got in by about 7:15am, but were let down. they did not serve their famous "Masala Dosas" before 8am :(
Anyway we made do with idly sambar and vada. James enjoyed the strong coffee.
With our bellies full, we moved on towards Sangam. The route was pretty scenic with small little villages and lovely lush fields dotting the roads. on the way spotted a group of cattle egrets.
Also saw this lovely little cobweb with the morning dew.
Moving on, we stopped for a little birding. Spotted "Indian roller", "Black drongo", "Little green bee eaters" and for the very first time for me the "European bee eater". The european bee eater's larger in size, has a different coloration and lacks the characteristic "thread" on the tail of a green bee eater.
A few mushrooms gave more photo opportunities. The morning dew on them added zing.
The european bee eater -
Along the way saw lots more lovely landscapes. With the fields having various produce, the hues and colors added lots of vibe.
We were really beginning to enjoy all of it. The serenity, the views, the atmosphere, all to be taken in.
Arrived at Sangam, the point where the two rivers - Arkavati and Cauvery meet (hence the name). The place was full of water and the views nice n green, with the rainy season at it's fag end.
We had to take a coracle ride to reach the other side of the banks, which leads to Mekedatu. A rickety old bus greeted us for the 4 or so Kilometres. Wonder how it still runs !
With loads of bumps, reached mekedatu. There used to be a rock ledge that was so narrow that a goat could leap it to reach the other side of the gushing river. Provides for quite a terrific view of the valley and the gushing waters.
with some photographs taken, was time to move on to some "real action". Took the bus back towards Sangam and got down in the midst of nowhere. Trekked for about 45 minutes on rocky terrain to reach a spot with 4-5 mini-cascades.
Felt awesome being in the middle of nowhere with no one around for miles together. No sound other than the flowing water and birds chirping, with occasional winds whistling. You really begin to see the real beauty of nature in all it's entirity. Sat there for quite sometime. A couple of dragonflies were mating in a nearby puddle with sudden dips into the puddle to drop the eggs, where the young would develop into awesome underwater hunters.
In the blazing sun, had to navigate real tough terrain to move ahead. We were aptly rewarded for all our efforts. We reached a spot in the corner of the river which formed a slope with fine sand in the shadows of trees. Little waves splashing against little rocks.... bliss !!
Had a relaxed dip which helped bring back some life into our now battered strength. With the sun bang on our heads, it really was getting HOT. Quenched our thirst with the cool flowing waters of the Cauvery.
We did not want to leave that place, but had to as we did not want to stay there for too long (it's still a wild place).
started our trek back to the banks if Sangam. Going was really tough now, with the sun beating down and the uneven surface of the rocky terrain making it tough, had to take numerous breaks to let our fatigued muscles recuperate.
In a largish puddle, saw a croc basking on a rock. Before I could take my camera out, it dove into the water (I'd been spotted! ). Also saw a couple of mongooses. We decided that the plain surface of the dirt track would be better to get back than the rocky banks. After a bit of a mini-climb, reached the dirt track that connects Sangam to Mekedatu. A short while into the walk, saw some movement on the edge of the track. Tracked it closely to find a juvenile snake (some kind of a boa) with a frog in it's mouth. Pulled it out of the bush, knowing that the snake would not be able to bite with it's mouth full and snakes generally do not let go of their prey easily. Was about to take the camera out and click when James said he wanted a clearer shot. So pulled it out on the track, but alas ! the snake spit the frog out and slithered into the bushes :( An awesome photo opportunity missed :(
Ruing the missed shot, trudged back to the banks. Took the same coracle back to the banks. Thirsty and tired, we gulped down a couple of litres of water and sprite. With the rainy clouds threatening to break, wanted to get back to Bangalore at the earliest. stopped over on the way before Kanakapura for some landscape shots.
Reached Kanakapura pretty early. This time there was no way we were missing the masala dosas. Hungry, we ordered for 4 dosas for the two of us, not before the waiter confirming that we really were eating two dosas each :D
Devoured the dosas eagerly, they were simply delicious and cost just Rs.10/- anyone passing by Kanapura during the day/evening must stop over at "Vasu's hotel"
With darkness set in, the rain clouds opened. But with us being tired we were in no mood to stop. Drove on in the rain and reached bangalore by 8pm, dropped James to the bus stand where he took the bus to viveknagar.
A trip which worked out very very well, with some awesome shots. Had the opportunity to view nature's beauty in all it's splendour, the unforgiving wrath of the sun and the tough rocky terrain.
See you all till the next ride :D