Close to Nature
A weekend getaway to leave behind the hectic pace of urban life.
I was looking for a place of pristine nature for weekend trip just to get relieved from the hustle and bustle of Bangalore city life. I came across a place from different blogs, surrounded by dense forest, sprawling hill and serene river, Sangama and Mekedatu. I preferred to go to Sangama and Mekedatu for weekend getaway among all other scenic places near Bangalore. We booked a car for two days and booked a hotel. Interestingly, we found that there is only one hotel and restaurant, Hotel Mayura, at Sangama which is run by KSTDC.
It was in the month of December. Bangalore temperature was moderate and sunny day. We had a heavy breakfast and started our journey at around 11:30AM. Sangama is 95kms from Bangalore and in the taluk of Kanakpura. Kanakpura is the nearest town to Sangama. Sangama is the confluence of river Kaveri and Arkavathi. Mekedatu is around 5kms from Sangama. Meke means goat and datu means jump in kannada. It is believed that this name came from a mythological story. A goat chased by a tiger leapt across the Kaveri River and the goat was none other than Lord Shiva.
Chunchi falls lies en route to Sangama. It is around 16kms from Sangama and 89kms from Bangalore. So, we decided Chunchi falls as the first place to be visited in the trip. We had some snacks and tea near Kanakpura. Important information is that you'll rarely find any restaurant and/or dhabas once you cross Kanakpura. So, if you want to have lunch then it is better to have before Kanakpura. You can have only snacks from the shops owned by locals at the parking area of Chunchi falls.
Chunchi is a small remote village. We reached Chunchi Village just before sunset. Both villagers and cows were ambling; many houses were painted with colourful canvasses. We experienced the beautiful coexistence of life and nature in that village. We reached the parking area of Chunchi falls. The falls is 10-15mins walk from the parking area. The way towards the falls is surrounded by lush green trees.
Chunchi falls is formed over Arkavathi River and surrounded by rocky terrain and forest. The name Chunchi is acquired from a tribal couple Chuncha and Chunchi. Police staff was not allowing going near the falls. So we enjoyed the view of the waterfalls from the top and took some photographs and came back. Finally, we were heading towards our final destination of that day, Hotel Mayura of Sangama. It was a beautiful road with Western Ghat range on one side and forests on both sides. Sometimes we could see peacock on the road. It was an amazing forty five minutes road journey.
We reached Sangama in the evening and found the place very crowded as many tourists were coming back from Sangama. I was a bit upset to see the crowd. But after sometime I felt relaxed knowing that almost all the tourists came for a day trip. They are not going to stay back. As we didn't have proper lunch, we thought of having dinner around 7PM. We went to the restaurant of the hotel which is not in the same building. We saw some local eateries for snack were still open. We ordered food in the restaurant and they were insisting us to go back to the hotel room. They said room service is available and they would serve dinner at hotel room. Hotel is in a very nice location, but not properly maintained. The restaurant had less option for dinner, but the quality and taste were good. We enjoyed the dinner and had a nice sleep in the lap of nature.
We woke up early in the morning and went out for a walk. Walking on the bank of the Arkavathi River and appreciating the beauty of undisturbed Western Ghat and the confluence of sacred river Kaveri and its tributary river Arkavathi was an ineffable experience for me. Local children were searching something in the river water and their mother was working. Boat that goes on the other side of the river for the tour to Mekedatu did not start. Small eateries owned by locals were about to open. Owner was cleaning the shop. No tourists could be seen on road.
We ordered breakfast in the restaurant and came to the open terrace in our hotel and saw my kid was playing and enjoying seeing lots of monkeys in the tree just next to our room. By the time breakfast came we got ready and had delicious South Indian breakfast and started our journey to visit one and only place of the 2nd day trip planned in our itinerary, Mekedatu.
We booked a boat for our family and enjoyed the ride. Once we reached on the other side of the river, we found a mini bus was waiting for passengers. Bus waits till it gets filled up. Bus services are available from 8:30AM to 5:30PM. Private transportation is not allowed. Bus service is run by the hotel. It was really a unique experience of 5kms bumpy journey. As the bus goes slow, we could enjoy the flow of the river Kaveri of the entire 5kms through rocks. The river enters into the gorge in the last 1km.
Bus dropped us at a view point of Mekedatu. But we could not see the gorge much from the view point. So, we hiked to the zone where gorge gets narrowed down. The entire zone is comprised of curved granite rocks. As the rocks on the gorge are smooth and slippery, the place becomes very risky to hike. The fear of risks could not hold us back to reach that rocky terrain with our kid. We finally realized that it was worth taking risk as we were stunned getting the panorama view of the gorge on one side where Kaveri rushes through hard granite rock and the breath-taking view of the Western Ghat on the other side. The place reassured my mind and soul that nature did not lose itself in our civilized society.
We returned back to Hotel Mayura and finished our lunch. We then went to see a Lord Shiva temple which is inside a forest. The temple is located inside a small village in a valley of Western Ghat. Visiting this place was a pleasant experience as the chirping sound of bird in such a calm environment rejuvenated our mind.
We finally headed back to Bangalore packing up all the pleasant memories in our basket.