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Monday, July 30, 2007

Kokkare Bellur

29th July 2007
Sunday morning, I got up with a lazy mood. With nothing to do, I felt bored and decided to visit Kokkare Bellur, a bird sanctuary near Bangalore. I and my wife started towards Mysore and reached Maddur in an hour. It took quite an effort to find the route to Kokkare Bellur. I had a make a couple of U turns and ask 4-5 people to get into the right path.

Direction: After Channapatna, go towards Maddur. Before Maddur, is a village Rudrakshipura. It is just before the BPL factory. Take a left turn here and Kokkare Bellur is another 12 kms on this village road.

The road was quite bumpy. In a state where the National Highways are in a pathetic condition, to expect a good village road would be ridiculous.

When we reached Kokkare Bellur village, we could not see any birds. We asked a villager and he said that the season was over and there were only 3 or 4 Pelicans left!! Needless to say, we were disappointed. I should have checked for the birding season before. We went inside the village to see the remaining Pelicans. As soon as I stopped my car, we were surrounded by a group of children. They took us to a place where there was a lone Pelican sitting on a tree. We came to know that during season they will be in hundreds and everywhere. Unlike typical bird sanctuaries, Kokkare Bellur does not have a lake. But there are water source like Shimsa River some kms away. We decided to return back as there was nothing much to do other than watching the lone Pelican. The children then started begging for money. There were some twenty of them. Usually, I shoo away the people who indulge on begging. But looking at their innocent faces, we gave away whatever coins we had. We cannot blame them, the poverty that is driving them to beg.

While returning, another gang of people were heading towards Kokkare Bellur. We suggested them to return as the place was devoid of any birds. We continued our journey as they started discussing themselves about their future course of action. We had our lunch at Kamath Lokaruchi.

It was not a great trip, but definitely I will visit the place again on next March for the Pelicans.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Gokak and Godachinamalki falls

14th July 2007
The plan to go for White water rafting on Sitanadi did not take off due to “n” number of reasons. The prospect of spending another weekend in the dingy city of Bangalore loomed large. I saw an article in “Prajavani” about Gokak falls. Due to good monsoon, the falls was full in roar. Immediately, an idea came to my mind to visit the falls. I was joined by like minded friends Saran, Abhijeet, Ajay and Raghuveer.

We started on Friday night on Rani Chenamma express bound for Kollapur. After 13 hours of journey, we got down at Gokak road station at 10:30 in the morning. We immediately got a bus to Gokak falls. The falls is about 6 kms from railway station and Gokak town is another 6 kms from the falls.

Gokak falls is formed by Ghataprabha River. It falls from a height of about 250ft. There is also a power station at the base of the falls. A hanging bridge is constructed just before the falls. We went on the hanging bridge; it is quite scary with roaring water at the bottom, falls next to it, and blowing wind and shaky bridge. The villagers even take bicycles on this bridge.
We then went to the top of the falls. It was a mini Niagara but with muddy water. We shelved our plans of bathing in the river due to the muddy water. But we did enjoy a lot sitting there. There is also an old temple next to the falls.

The falls can also be viewed from a “View point” just near the main road. There is also a textile mill constructed in 1887. Most of the building looked near Gokak falls looked “British type”.
The next point was Godachinamalki falls. I knew that this falls was in Belgaum district, but could not find much information on web. Rajesh Naik provided me the details about this falls. The falls is near the village Godachinamalki, about 15 kms from Gokak falls. From the village, 3 km walk will lead to the falls. Buses go till the village. Private vehicles can go another 2 km. Since, we had to return back on the same day, we decided to hire a vehicle to the falls. We went to Gokak town and finished our lunch. We brought some “Karadantu”, a sweet famous in Gokak.

We then went to Godachinamalki falls. From the parking place, we walked for 15 minutes in the fields to reach the falls. This falls is formed by Markandeya River and is 50 ft height. Unlike Gokak falls, the drop is not sudden, the water cascades on different steps before falling into the valley. We could go very near to this “Red” falls and could feel of the force with which the water was falling. The sight was simply amazing.

We then headed to the railway station. We had planned to visit Hidkal dam, but it was closed to public and also we were running out of time. We train arrived at 6PM and the return journey was longer with 14 hours.