Monsoon drive to Jog Falls, Kalhatti and Hebbe FallsMonday, September 14, 2009
Actual Date of Travel - August 1-2nd 2009
Monsoon had cast its magic and we were spellbound for sure. Yet another eventful weekend in the diaries of the Wandering Soul. Read on to find out more.
Monsoons are an inviting time for the true nature lover to get out of the comfort of their cozy homes and step into the muck for spectacular scenery that comes alive this season!
Route Followed from Bangalore to Shimoga - On google Maps
Distance from Bangalore to Shimoga – 270 kms.
Friday night(July 30th 2009), five of us set out on a quest for Dabbe but ended up at Hebbe on Sunday afternoon! Since this was a monsoon special, we wanted to trek to some relatively unknown falls and Dabbe Falls were just the thing we wanted. Some googling to get some buzz words to ask people like Dabbe Falls, Hosgadde, Sagar and we were all set for the adventure. We decided to drive down to Sagar as it would give us more flexibility. We started from Bangalore at around 12.30 AM Friday night. The roads were pretty decent and we were covering good distance at a good speed. We were all meeting after a long time. So with lots of catching up to do, the night went by swiftly. We took our first break at 4.30 or so near a small village called Birur. A hot cup of chai and we took to the roads again. We reached Shimoga by 6 AM Saturday and the sleep deprivation had already left us worn out. A quick nap at hotel Navrang which was strictly just about OK and the investigation started. We had no route plan to go to Dabbe and we trusted the locals enough to come unprepared. Here’s the typical conversation that ensued on the eventful day.
Nice… we ask them where it is and they ask us what it is instead. :-|
One of us: Do you know how to go to Dabbe Falls?
Right… we got confused between a D and a H!
A lot of phone calls and local inquires still got us no closer to Dabbe Falls than we were from before. With nothing better to do, we decided to go on the customary touristy kind of tour to the Jog Falls and then head to somewhere else. Little did we know that Jog Falls was going to keep us busy all day long!
A different view of Jog Falls that you've already seen - Perspective
The drive to Jog Falls from Shimoga was awesome. And by awesome I do not mean the quality of the road (which was good anyway) instead it is the quality of the scenery that keeps you company all along. And the cherry on top was the lovely rain. Jog Falls is at a distance of 103 kms from Shimoga and we started from Shimoga at around 10 and reached Jog Falls by 12.00. Hunger pangs led us to the nearest makeshift hotel and not even a glance at the poor mighty Jog Falls. Fill your stomach first and then fill your senses seemed to be the motto! After a sumptuous meal, we headed towards the view points and it was still raining.
At first glance, it was not that impressive. The exact feeling was okay.. So this is Jog Falls. Nothing great about it and especially nothing great at all when compared to its earlier glory! A huge green valley, on one side lies the view point and on the opposite side falls the Sharavathi River. Falling from a height of 830ft, it is a pleasure to watch the tiny ant sized humans at the bottom of the falls. It was not until we started to get down the fun started rolling in. It is almost a near vertical slope but the stairs go zig-zag down the way. And mind you, there are a lot of steps,1380 to be precise(Yea ok! I didn’t count. They were numbered). And getting back up is going to be super tough if you are not up to it. Shaky knees and vertigo are the possible side effects.
Once at the bottom, we did wade through the crowd, streams and boulders. We did a lot of boulder hopping over the slippery rocks to reach a high point adjacent to the pool. Slippery that it was and the cold shower from the top made it an enthralling experience. It was 4 PM and we were now looking at the Herculean task of getting back up. It took us half an hour to reach the top.
From here we headed to the Bungalow viewpoint right opposite this view point which takes one on top of the plunge. If you take a left from the bridge on your way back from Jog, it leads to the Bungalow view point. We spent a good one hour watching the water drop from various rock faces. It was 6.30 by the time we headed back to Shimoga and reached Shimoga by 9 or so. A day well spent.
On the way to Shimoga Friday night, we saw signposts showing Kalhatti falls and Hebbe Falls at a distance of 34 and 42 kms off NH-206. Since we had nothing better to do on Sunday either, we decided to visit Kalhatti Falls on our way back to Bangalore.
This is how we ended up at Hebbe starting our quest for Dabbe! A good 42 kms from NH-206, the route passes through beautiful scenery, mountains and clouds keeping you company for most parts. We could see Mullyangiri from a distance and the guys played with some weird creepy crawlies for quite a while! Duh Guys! Then we reached the crossroads where the signpost said 1 km to Mullyangiri and 13kms to Hebbe Falls.
From here, the ride to Hebbe though the green pastures and the estate lands easily could be one of the bumpiest rides of your life. You need to hire a jeep unless you own a SUV. We were running late already and only one jeep was left which was more of cargo jeep. It had no seats and you could fit in some 5-10 goats in it. We 5 got into it and hung on to our lives while the driver mercilessly whizzed past the rugged terrain. And then suddenly, we found ourselves amidst a sea of greenery and mist covered mountain tops. That was a jaw-dropping sight! The landscape was very different from the usual Western Ghats that we saw until now. The dried, dark bark of the trees, the super red soil and the super green grass was the sight that welcomed us into the valley. Mesmerized we took in the views with great pleasure while still hanging on to our lives..Literally! ;)
A good hour later we reach a small house in the estate from where Hebbe Falls was a 30 minute walk. It was now that the driver deemed fit to enlighten us about the possible leech attack on our way to Hebbe. This wouldn’t have been a problem if not for the broken slippers of Sujeet and the flip-flops of the rest. A handful of salt and we headed on the muddy path towards Hebbe. We crossed the stream a couple of times, we slipped, we managed before we were treated to the majestic tiered falls - Chikka Hebbe and Dodda Hebbe meaning the little Hebbe and the big Hebbe. The trek to the second level of the falls (Dodda Hebbe) takes 3 hours it seems. Here the showers were drenching us even at a far distance from the drop. Taking pictures was a real challenge with the showers directed upon us by the conspiring wind. I did not want to get wet. But I wanted a picture of me in front of the falls. So I went near the falls only to be totally camouflaged by the surrounding rocks and totally got drenched to the core. Well yea.. I was the one who wanted to get up close and personal. Who am I to complain now! It was delightful as ever. The guys had a good time under the falls. Satisfied, we started back.
It was 9’O Clock in the night and we were somewhere in Bangalore outskirts stuck in traffic with nothing good to look forward the next day. The past two days along NH-206, we spotted signposts full of Waterfalls, wildlife sanctuaries, Temples, hills, viewpoints. An option for each kind. But now we were looking at signposts showing “Mekhri Circle” “Yashwanthpur” and a couple of more uninteresting destinations. What an unwelcoming welcome that was. But all good things come to an end.
You see, also the thing with mountains, waterfalls, forests, rivers is , that no matter however many times you have seen the sight before, each time it is a revelation nonetheless. That is reason why you will see me raving about the mountains, waterfalls, rivers or the forests in each one of my posts. Just as beautiful as ever!