Post Trip Write up – Emperors' Never Ending Trip to Uttara Kannada

Awesome Write up from Vishal Ramadoss: 

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Aug 02 , 3:30 pm ,Friday
After letting Thiru (Photographer of our team) in , we started heading towards Ambur for Briyani . The well-known star biryani where we had our feast and a famous sweet at Ambur made our day . We soon headed to nearby hotel and had rose milk and packed few snacks and started towards our first target Jog . There were moments when we used to listen melody songs and watch the video in Thiru’s tab , syncing it was fun . It was Venkat ji’s turn to ask everyone’s love story until Prem reveals his secret crush . No luck . Prem ji is what we know , emperor ;-) .
Our next halt was after crossing NECE Road near Tumkur . We had a nice cup of tea and experimental photo sessions with the car . Soon we started heading towards Davanagere , cruising at 100 km/hr . Traffic was heavy and the road was filled with VRL buses and many lorries. Prem was driving swiftly crossing all obstacles and after some time , Thiru started driving . Shyam and myself were discussing about the possible routes to take Jog and then Yana. After crossing Davanagere , we took a diversion taking left towards Shimoga . The roads were dark and it was raining consistently. Not even a single vehicle was in that stretch , making it more difficult for driving . And adding to that there were stretches of forest which might lead to animal crossing as well . It was a thrilling stretch to drive in that road . Early morning 3 :00 am we reached Shimoga and opposite to bus stand , we had nice breakfast of Parota and Egg curry . Breakfast at 3:00 am , it was awesome and tasty .
Prem was having fever and was resting in the car . Others had a quick breakfast and started heading towards Sagara. While having breakfast , we had a quick recap of what happened during Davanagere-Shimoga stretch . The lack of visibility , absence of traffic , bad roads and consistent rains and sleep deprived driving lead to car dragging and hitting a pipe . Luckily nothing happened to anyone/ the car . There was a pit near the turn and it was a sharp 90 degree curve . Instant shouting of “Brakeeeeeeeee!! Hit the Brakessssss” made Thiru realize the curve and stopped the car during turn itself . It was near Bhadra wildlife sanctuary and instantly Venkat ji switched in .
Venkat ji started driving in Shimoga –Sagara Road , soon we stopped as Prem started to feel the bone chilling weather . So I took my thick sleeping bag and Prem fully zipped himself. It was raining heavily, two more cars were moving towards Jog as they were driving constantly in those ghat roads . We constantly followed and only 3 cars were moving towards the second highest point in India , in that chilling weather . Sharp curves , Landslides , Fallen trees , Government Buses and Incessant rains made the drive interesting and around 5:30 am , we were almost near Jog . We just waited near a tea shop before Jog and had an awesome hot hot tea and again started the engine .
The road towards Jog was pretty awesome .The road were filled with mini water falls due to heavy rains . There was a tree fallen and Venkat ji suddenly stopped and we noticed a beautiful mud track filled with mist .
Soon we started taking Photos and started moving towards the mighty Raja . Around 6:30 am we reached the mighty and most beautiful falls I have ever seen . Locals said in 15 years they haven’t seen such a huge rain filling all the places with water.  Just before Jog , we noticed a bridge and huge Sharavati Valley thumping with water.
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The Jog :
My heart falls for you as the water flows around,
It calms you down as you listen to the sound
It touched my soul with deep murmurs inside
Your mind will spin as you wonder about its pride!
Dear Fall! Dear Jog, where often I
Have quenched and pleased my brooding eye
The water shimmers as it falls , white and clear
My sacred dip and cleanser here !
Dear Fountains of Life, filled with purling evanescence,
Fresh ambience from dew clad mountains with great significance
As the waterfalls explodes onto the deep and rocky grave
Rise to a longer course more bright and brave.
O my invisible beauty
Lodged into mystical deep streams filled with serenity
Such as dull man can never find
Unless that Spirit lead his mind
And Soul to make this move
Emerged all with his quickening love!!!
After spending precious time in Jog , we headed towards Liganmakki reservoir and noticed several beautiful routes for cycling and biking . The amount of water flow at check dam – Mahatma Gandhi Hydro electric works and Liganmakki Dam  was breathtaking . After checking all those routes ,we were jumping with joy and energy to explore more in North Karnataka . Our next target was Yana caves near Sirsi . We had planned to go via Siddapur and see the majestic Vibuthi falls . So we started around 10 am after going to view point of the mighty Jog where we could see the Kumki spot . Prem and myself soon went near the spot , the force was so high and rapid . So , I stopped and asked Prem to return as well . As usual , Prem in his own style went near the slippery rock and shouted with full Josh and wishing his dreams coming true . The whole panorama shot is still in my mind !!
After taking few more pictures, we had tea and snacks !! And started moving towards Yana. Around 11:30 am , 5 more kms to Siddapur !!
Car totaled. What a mess ???
 A slight moment of wink and instant sleep had left the car to topple and crash in a pit . Luckily everyone was safe . It all happened within no time . The car was toppled and only my window was open . I quickly came out and tried to open the door . The door was filled with dirt and got stuck . I quickly hit it and opened it . Prem instantly came out of his sleeping bag and then Venkat ji . Shyam took all the documents and things from dashboard and came out . Thiru came out then . Lack of sleep and constant driving skill was the cause for the accident .
Prem was already with viral fever . Thiru tired  . Soon the villagers came by and I had asked them to take us to the police station to file a complaint so that we could claim insurance. I had asked shyam to take care of the things and prem to wait near the car , inform car owner Kumaravel as well. Venkat ji had pain in his neck and was unable to move it , but he was coping with it . No one had injuries . Venkat ji and myself soon headed to Siddapur Police station to file a complaint . They made us wait for a long time as the Inspector had gone for a function . After 2 hours of waiting , we explained the situation and suggestions from Guna ji , Anand Lakshman and Venkat ji’s friends made things simpler and complete the formalities . Although the day was tiring and long , even the pick up guy in village was taking advantage of the situation and asking money . Money had a great role to play that day , and it was ruling everyone .
Afternoon , Shyam , Prem and Thiru were waiting near the bus stop . We had called in Maruti motors from Sagara to check the vehicle and tow to their service station . The police made us wait for another 2 hours for inspecting the vehicle . Meanwhile we had bought lunch for others , as no one had even a cup of tea from morning . After a while , Police came along with us near the spot and started analyzing the situation . The Maruti guy also came for checking the vehicle. At first he told you had to replace the car !! OMG . We had asked him what is the extent of damage and after some time he said , the engine and gearbox is fine , only the outer shell is damaged . Interior is fine and rear is also fine . Police had taken photos and the guy towed the vehicle towards Sagara. We had asked him to move it to Shimoga as it is bigger and better town in Karnataka . It was 7:00 pm , we came back to Police station , we were waiting for the Panchanama to get signed and certified by the Inspector . We waited , waited and waited . Phew!!! What a tiring day . I had spoken a lot of Kannada in one day and certain words that are even unknown to the common speakers :P . With the help of Venkat ji’s contacts and others , we got the Panchanama aroung 8 pm . But wait , still some amount of corruption is left . The sub inspector called me and told  “ We need a Xerox machine for the police station , kindly give 5000 rs and get the Panchanama”. Buggers , we somehow managed to reduce the amount and came out of that  Police station and reached Shimoga . We had earlier asked Shyam , Prem and Thiru to carry the baggage and wait in Shimoga . With great amount of help and support from Anand Lakshmanan , we stayed at his uncle’s place that night . Venkat ji and myself finished all the documentation and formalities , coming towards Shimoga . We got a call informing Venkat ji that his bag has been misplaced somehow earlier when Shyam ,Prem and Thiru were travelling . The situation was becoming more miserable and it was a dreadful day !
That night we went to Anand’s place and slept , trying to forget what had happened . But this is something we will never forget , after all the journey without obstacles will not be interesting .We made sure that the car will be made in perfect look than earlier and return it safer.
The next day , Venkat sir and Shyam were heading to check their bags near mysore . We had asked Thiru to return safe , via Bangalore. Prem and myself were all set to continue the mission again . As we had come 675 km far to check and plan all routes . Also , the car will be checked for insurance claim in two-three days. So we were about to explore Uttara Kannada and Goa via Bus as of now !!
After taking rest for 30 min , we were all set to start heading towards Sirsi first . We got a bus around 10:30 and was observing the sheer beauty of Karnataka . The green slopes , lucid plantations , crystal clear water and lush green farms were a visual treat and scintillating . We were able to notice their culture and food as well when the bus driver stopped for the passengers to get Pineapple that was fresh and taken from the farm . It was a nice to see people so friendly and happy .
We were thinking to skip Yana and move towards Dandeli Reserve . So Pitstop at Sirsi first . There was a calm and clean mess opposite to Sirsi bus stop where we had our lunch . The Rawa fish fry was special and tasting really good.  There was no direct bus to Dandeli , so we had to go via Yellapur . Sirsi is known for lush green forest and for large number of waterfalls. The forests were covered with Areca nut Plantations as well  reflecting their major trade.
While I was pondering over the list of waterfalls , Shivaganga, Burude , Benne Hole , Mattighatta , Muregaar , Mabgi , Jog , Banagere , Unchalli ,Viboothi and lots to be explored , I saw beautiful roads and dense forests which was so enticing . For sure , we must do Sirsi-Yelapur Waterfall Exploration. While we were noticing boards of Magod Falls , Sathodi Falls , we realized it’s time to get down at Yelapur . Karnataka is such a beautiful place and filled with so much of life forms .
Directly got down at Yelapur Bus stand and got a bus to Dandeli right away . The route to Dandeli was stupendous . We crossed Supa Reservoir which was magnificent. The forest was 340 sq m area and was virgin ;-) . It was awesome to sit in a bus alone and go into the woods . I was shooting a video and noticed peacocks. The eve was approaching , we were totally flabbergasted after seeing such a dense and huge forest . No wonder , there are umpteen number of waterfalls in these areas . We reached Dandeli around 6:30 pm had a mysore bonda . Damn Tasty !! Then met Ram , fixed the rafting and started plans for Goa . While crossing Dandeli ,we noticed the huge Dandeli Stream that was running with full vigour . The season for rafting starts only from October , due to heavy monsoons and water currents .So it was Ramanaguli , 75 km from Dandeli where the rafting was fixed which was in Karwar-Hubli Road.
Since we did not get direct bus to Goa ,we got a bus to Ramnagar . Ramnagar is a place that intersects Molem and Belgaum . So we immediately caught a bus  and reached Ramnagar around 9 pm . After getting down near Ramnagar , Prem and myself went to nearby shop to have tea and enquired about the bus timings . And they said the bus had left and after 3 am only buses will start to come . So , we went to nearby shop and had bread omlette . It was so cold , so we had bought water bottle and asked the shop keeper to boil and serve. The hot water made my night . Soon I was chatting with Prem about my Lorry Diaries , which motivated us to travel to Goa by Lorry . Lol !!! Luckily we got a lorry for 70 rs per person to Molem , The Jain driver was so friendly  . Shyam’s camera came handy in documenting this trip . Throughout this trip , I had taken short videos to document interesting experiences .
The lorry ride was thrilling and I noticed that it is very difficult to drive with the head lights and terrible ghat roads. It was raining incessantly , and we reached Molem . We had to get down the Ghat slowly and steadily to reach the track . The driver was friendly and spoke both Hindi and Kannada . Was able to converse very well with him and also took a video . Early morning 3:00 am we reached Molem and we were in middle of nowhere . Both of us were sleepy until a shopkeeper gave us place to rest . We spread our tarps and sleeping bags and slept till 7:30 am .
Project DudhSagar :
Early Morning , we took a bus near the Bharath Petroleum Bunk to Colem from where Dudhsagar is 12 km. Once we reached Colem , we had to go via bike to check the route as we were short of time . So we checked out for bike and also quickly had a breakfast in Colem . We bought brushes and toothpaste , brushed after several days , put camera batteries for charging , got some batteries for my GARMIN to load the trail . After everything was set, we were to sit as pillion till Bhagwan Mahaveer Wildlife Sanctuary entrance with annoying life jacket . Ofcourse , safety was first priority , but whats the life jacket doing while travelling near railway tracks. There was a superb trail running along with the railway track and after some time it diverted into the forest intersecting with the jeep track . So there are two routes to Dudhsagar , one jeep track and one bike trail . We saw more peacocks near the meadow and after some time we noticed a possible camp site – A temple and went till the entrance.  The bikes could go till the stream only as the water was fierce !! We parked the bikes and crossed the stream and walk towards the entrance.  After that , we told those bikers to go back , we would go to Dudhsagar from here onwards. That grin look on the biker face whose main intention was business was nice to see :P . We both removed the jackets and gave it back . Started climbing up in trail that lead to the track . From the track we started moving towards Dudhsagar which was 2 km away . The view was simply amazing and the amount of water flowing was great. It is really Sea of Milk !! The water was splashing with force and it was wet everywhere. Heavy rains making the mist move made my day . We went down for a nice refreshing dip . What a view , Milky waters of Goa making our body and soul refreshing .
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The camera was getting wet , but it was worth a risk to shoot a video in such conditions . So instantly took a cover , and started shooting . Ofcourse Shyam would have done the same thing ;-) . After a while we walked towards castlerock route and enquired about the distance and returned back . We could see trains coming and it was blissful to see a train pass a waterfall and tunnel , both of us walking in the same route . Molem National Park was simply superb .
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Now it was time for Prem and myself to walk 15 more kms in the railway track to reach Colem and move on to Goa. We walked , walked and walked !! At one point we were bored , started chatting about changing plans , silent for some time , started leaping , jumping , running , walked in the trail instead of track , counted the tunnels , counted the rails , counted the bricks , noticed worms inside the rails , looked out for next station , noticed the jeep track from where we came from , Atlast noticed few foreigners !! Phew the last stretch we were hopping in the track to reach Colem and have lunch :P . The bikers asked how did you go and come back so soon . No surprise at all , After all we are CTC ians .
After reaching Colem , we took our bagpacks and had a great lunch . We got a bus to Ponda and then Old Goa . I started taking videos of  Molem National Park and 1 more hour of Bus travel will lead to City life at Goa. Goa is really a blend of city and forest , literally amazing place . Reached Ponda and caught bus that goes to Banasthiri Dam . I noticed a total change in Goa this time due to heavy monsoons . It was totally green and filled with dense trees rather than barren land .  We reached Old Goa during the eve and went to meet a friend of mine Jerome . After getting disappointed about the stopping of water sports near beaches , we decided to explore North Goa and our next location was Aarambol . We were pondering over speciality in Goa and we realized Goan food is more special than anything else . So we decided we will spend the evening eating and going to beach . Next day we will go to Aarambol and afternoon head towards CHENNAIIIIIII. Atlast 5th day running , still the journey is on . We went to Café Ritz and had taste of real Goan food . Thanks to Jerome for providing us a great supper of Capreal , Xacuti , Richard fry , Rawa fry . The food was delicious and rich .We went to Calangaute beach and started chatting for a while about Goan culture . Laughs !!
Had a nice bike ride along the beach crossing Panjim and reaching Old Goa . Had a nice rest at Jerome’s place and woke up in the morning with aim to explore North Goa. As usual woke up late and started at 9 am . Directly went to Café Ritz Restaurant for Breakfast. They were unloading all types of fishes ,prawns , took a nice video . We had ordered xacuti and pav , finished our quick breakfast and headed towards Aarambol via Mapusa. Aarambol was North of Goa and we had to come back by 1:30 to catch our train at 2:30 at Vasco/Madgaon.
The bike ride and roads were awesome . It was Mumbai highway and we reached Aarambol around 12 . We did not have time to spend and look out for campsites. The beaches weren’t great due to heavy rains . But the place was a visual treat with backwaters , beaches and forests . Immediately we started back towards Old goa . This time we took an alternative route along the beach . It was raining heavily and Prem was riding with utmost care. As usual I took sole responsibility of a photographer ;-) .
We got a call from Jerome to pick him up as the bike we were riding was his :P . We reached Old goa around 1:00 pm ,soon picked Jerome and we had no choice but to go to Vasco by Auto/Taxi . We did not get auto so we took the taxi and reached the station . Had a little tiff with the Taxi driver . Surprised even the taxi walas and auto drivers in Goa speak proper English.  Police caught us and asked what is that device hanging around your neck , they were happy to see a GPS and left us .  Atlast Vasco Railway station , we had nice food at Police canteen then had Cornetto Ice cream .
Aug 06, Tuesday , 3 :00 PM, Vasco,Goa
We caught our train to Bangalore , eventually heading towards Chennai . The train route was via Dudhsagar , so we had a chance to view it from Train as well . Yippie .We were waiting for the moment with the camera and MINDBLOWING . Yesterday , we went by walk and had a refreshing dip , and now it was from the train !! Nothing can beat this experience , we noted down the route and stations Dudhsagar , Caranzol , Castlerock , took some pictures and started to rest for a while . Night there was a moment when the train was halted for an hour near Dharwad , and when I went to the restroom , it was full dark and the other compartment was  removed . Left unnoticed , I was about to slip down , Laughs !! Then we both went out and had snacks . Next day morning we reached Bangalore and caught Brindavan express .
Phew ! The Bangalore train was empty and after few hours became tiring . It was so humid and Prem jumped in Perambur directly going to office . I still have Prem’s shoe :P Adidas Running shoes for Sale. I reached home and recollected our journey and it was an unforgettable experience ever .
Nothing gives me as much pleasure as travelling. I love getting on trains and buses and bikes.

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