We went , we saw and we were conquered....

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Day 1 : The Golden Sands Beckoned.....

The festive spirit of Christmas and New Year still lingering on... what better way to start a new year than the way a bunch of us did.The first weekend of new year and that too so truly amazing and memorable.It was a day when we decided to get the better of our New Year's "hangover" and do some exploration.It was a trek to Gokarna, a beach trek. What is so amazing in a stretch of sand with salt water all around???Well, read on.

Finishing our Friday evening chores early enough for catching the bus ride to the destination, we assembled at MTV.We started our journey after 8:30 p.m. much unaware of what lies in wait for the next day. After a light dinner and picking up Chetan on the way we were all set. Heres when disaster struck us... No not a punctured tire , not a bus break down nor losing the way but by our Sleepy Driver... He had to get sleep man, and so he slept for one and a half hours...And so we were late by more than that...Hopes of getting to Sharavathi River View point at sunrise was a faraway dream now.. Nevertheless we reached there at around 8:00 the next morning. And what a breathtaking view it was! Our cameras may not have captured all that beauty
but our eyescertainly did. The coil of sparkling water midst the misty mountains.

Refreshed by such natures beauty we followed the twisting ghat roads to reach the first planned stoppage point , the Bangalore circle(Honnavara)... The roads there led to Mangalore, to Gokarna and back to Bangalore. We had not planned the take the third road at least for another two days.After freshening up quickly and having breakfast, we set off; armed with cameras,water and some refreshments ;to
Haldipur beach a further 10 kms down the second road. Srivatsa called up Ravi who had already gone there before and got the route... Finally we reached Haldipur Beach.From then on its a different story.

At Haldipur we were greeted by the golden sands and the deep blue sea,the sound of waves and a light cool breeze.Even though i hail from Kerala where beaches are almost everywhere, this was some thing out of my imagination. A secluded and lovely beach. To complete the picture there was an island in the sea and also a small hill on the beach where vegetation was in plenty. Fishing boats stood aligned in the sand and I could see the sand being carried out by a gust of wind.And it did not end there. What a better sight than a dolphin's fin cutting through the waves. The dark blue shade of the dolphin's fin danced into and out of the waves. It was a sight to behold.

Our destination and the limitation of time forced us to move on. Such a pity i couldn't click in time.Crabs we walking fast on the beach. It was interesting to see them moving away and jumping into holes when we came near them. The sea caressed our feet's gently with frequent waves. Moving on we were met with a huge boulder's of black rock. A quick break there taking in the splashes of the seawater on the rocks, we climbed up a small hill and down onto another beach.

Here the vegetation was closeby. A few fishermen were pulling in the catch of the day. It was a short walk on the sand before We reached another set of rocks,more sharp and slippery to cross. The heat was getting on to us. Tiredness was increasing and were running short of water.
Finding our way on the rocks we moved on until there was a good deep gap between two rocks we couldn't cross. An alternate way was over a hill. It was steep with very less foot hold. MI 2 Style we climbed up until no more we could go further. A couple of kids on the top of the hill warned us and we slid down the grassy slopes to safety. Lo!! we found a way around the rocks. It lead to a small rocky enclosure,the sands there burying shells of mollusc's which may have been washed in during high tide.All water we had drained out by then. May be we could find it on the next beach at some house.

The next hill was a splendor. It was adorned with blond grass,black rocks and the clear blue sky as topping.

We came down it. Some road was under construction, may be for commercialization of the beach. There was red dust all around. The stretch of Kumta beach lay in front of us for almost 5 kms. We washed the red mud off our legs in the sea and moved on. We had to reach the end of the beach before high tide as we needed to cross , the place where the sea joined the river, on foot.

This walk was the best.We took in so many sights we had never seen before. Some of us spotted starfishes in the beach sand. We also saw squids or whatever it was called. Then another event caught our eye. An eagle was carrying a snake in it claws. Alas!! it dropped the reptile even before we could take a shot of the fight for survival.
There were sea gulls on the beach. Some where ready for take off as it was nearing the end of the day. Everyone of us were waiting to catch the sun set.
We reached the river at around 6:00. Wow!! crossing the sea. Me and Bharath went first. The water was almost till waist level. We reached the other bank safely. The others who were a bit late had to get drenched till their chest. But everyone were overwhelmed by the experience. We even went back into the water to enjoy a cool break. Then the sun began to shine less, now an orange globe, it began disappearing behind a hill. The sight was worth it and a perfect way to end the days adventures.

We retired at a Hotel in Kumta. My searing headache was soothed by every bit of food I ate and the food was also good, Roti and Channa.
We changed our plans for the next day. Tomorrow we would be heading to Yaana (by advise of a hotel staff) instead of Gokarna. We would leave by8:30 tomorrow.

Day 2 : The Caves of The Gods....

Yaana, a pilgrimage spot mostly was 42 kilometers way from Kumta. The nights sleep did very good. Everyone was up fresh and ready to go. Except for Sunith,poor guy had to stay back due to vomiting... The reasons to that we are not yet sure of why... ;)
We hit the road after 8:30 carrying with us idli and vada for lunch. The bus ride was made interesting by a round of truth or dare. At the end of which we are in serious doubts about Sunil.
Anyway we reached Yaana at 9:30. It was a 2 kms climb to the main rock. We spotted a huge rock sprouting out of the ground. We took some photographs and carried on wondering what we will see next. A few more steps and we could hear the gushing sound of water. In no time we found a stream. And that meant photo session.

Feeding our cams with some beautiful pics we continued on upward the hill. The visitors to the place was largely children on picnic and some people on pilgrimage. Walking along the path with the stream on one side and tall trees on the other, we spotted colorful butterflies, crossed small streams that flowed across the path, until we came to the first temple. Large number of people were praying there. From here we spotted the first rock formation jutting out into the sky.

We walked to the base of the rock. There was a temple inside and also a narrow cave from where one could hear cries of bats due to which we didn't enter. Not because we were afraid or anything, but why disturb those peaceful creatures.
The next stop was at an even more impressive rock formation. A temple dedicated to Shiva was there and we could hear bhajans. We left our footwear at a small shop there(Yeah! there was a shop) and went into the temple. In here the Gods were carved on the rock itself.
There were many people singing there. We left the temple to the caves above. It was like a huge wind tunnel. Cool breeze was coming out of the cave. We explored the huge cave. Bharath and me took a forest path and went round the rock. We walked for some time till no clear path could be found any more. Coming back we found that some of us had climbed up through an opening in the rock. We went there. All those who had gone had come back. So Bharath and Me started through the small opening. Bharath cut his leg and had to back off. I carried on under the guidance of the already enlightened ones. Squeezing through the hole, I found myself in an enclosure. I went forward from the directions given by the voices below in the cave. There was a small path cut through the rocks by frequently flowing water. I followed it to find a way out. I called out for Bharath to help me get down. I gave my cam to him when he came and i got out through a small opening. It was time for lunch when we got back to the shop. We ate the Idli and vada that we had carried. Then started down hill. We reached the bus at 3:00. As we had much time left we decided to spend some time by the stream and we started on an up the stream trek.

Ducking low branching and braving slippery rocks, we finally found a place to rest . Mine and Bharaths feet were sore we had commited the stupidity of walking downhill without shoes. The cold water was very soothing for the legs. Then came the episode of "Get The Splash Shot". Everyone was trying to get the photo of stone splashing in water. After a number of successful and not so successful tries we decided it was high time to return back to the bus.

We reached back to the hotel and packed our bags. On the way back we had a round of dumb c and truth AND dare(continuation). The weekend was over.
What a start to the new year , eh? We had food at Sagar.

We reached back to MTV at 6:00 on Monday morning. Everyone parted ways. Me and Srivatsa the CTO (Chief Trek Organizer, who did a superb job) ,left on bike. It was pretty cold and i was in t shirt and shorts.... brrrrrrrrr.....

The trek was organized by the MindTree Trekking Club. CTO was Srivatsa who did the job really well. Thanks to all the members of the trek who made it really memorable. Date 4th of Jan 2008-7th Jan 2008.


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