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The Majestic Jog Falls Trek

It all started with Friday evening.  A full traffic, messy, hustle bustle, rainy, slushy evening of Bangalore it was. Anshulwith me joined the crew ready on for the voyage.  Yet we were waiting for three more folks. Half past the scheduled time, they joined us Mouni's and Vikas. And hence we set off. Organisers kicked of the intro session, a weird intro session where we had to enact our Surnames. Hilarious it was, more than we know our real names we end up calling each other with the fun names we had. ;). And hence started we started. And we dozed off after our intro session.
Morning it was 7.00 AM and we reached a calm place Malnad. Me being in crunched spaces of Bangalore, Malnadwas a paradise, lush green forest welcoming us where we met our captain (guide) Mr.Mahesh. We walked passed his gardens where bees was buzzing in the flowers,eggplant, some fruits, and finally we reached his home. At the corner we saw our tent which was bigger than my room. We had coffee and breakfast which had exquisite Upma, Ananaskesari ;) preparing for the exciting session of Swimming.We were all given something, which was a boon to non-swimmers and little uncomfortable stuff for swimmer, the LIFEJACKET. We set of to the swimming spot.
We reached the place which lead to Sharavathi backwaters. But we had to cross marsh swamp, which gave a natural mud pedicure. I was thinking maybe we will find crocs too.. ;) On reaching near the water we geared up our life jackets ready to get wet. As the swimmers headed first, the non-swimmers followed them. Khandelwal trusted his total life in his jacket and came in.  Congratulations on all non-swimmers who overcame hydrophobia. 
As we all floated like a sloppy sloths in warm water, the sun shone bright enough to give us a nice sun bath. We held hands, splashed water, tried somersaults and swam or floated cross the backwaters. As we reached the other end, few climbed up the rocks to dive or jump. Few jumped, few dived, few fell flat (ouch), and few ran and dived. The highlight was Rahman's dive. Being a non-swimmer he never knew he could dive.  But he was totally a pro in Diver. Congrats Sree and Mounica on their successful jumps.

After a while, we swam back to same shore filled our fuel clicked few pics in so called V shaped and again went into water with a task. We were split into team of 5 and given a task to swim across the water, reach to an end and swim back to shore. Every team was a perfect concoction of swimmers and non-swimmers. It was an impressive co-ordination among the team members to help everyone to reach the goal. And hence our swimming session came to an end for the day. We took the bus to campsite. The lunch was hot and our tummy was ready and we ate nice Pumpkin sambar, Organic rice, cucumber carrot salad and green moong dal sabzi. It was totally sumptuous to our hungry tummy. After the lunch and 15 min of rest, we set to woods, the place where my heart belongs.
It was evening 4 and we descended through moist soil. My first monsoon trek. We proceeded one by one like a train. Train on the trail. There was a point where we had to cross a chasm by stepping on branch. We scratched few thorny bushes, walked and walked and walked till we reach the summit. It was a short climb 2.5 kms.  Mahesh made whistle out of magic leaf. I tried to make the same and blew through it expecting some sound. No wonder I ended up blowing air..:P The view was mind blowing. We had a glimpse of Sharavathi backwaters we went that morning. On reaching the top we put our pit stop, munching the snacks, snatching the chocolate, clicked few pics. Descend was easier and quicker except for thorny bushes.
After reaching campsite, having Mounika as moderator started playing Mafia. Vikram killed on first shot... ;) And the game went extremely well with hot pakodas and tea..Our guide set the camp fire and explained different types of campfire. Then we all exhibited our special skills singing, dancing and load of fun. After stuffing paratas, beetroot sabzi, lady's finger sabzi, burnt chilies and Kheer, we put off the campfire, and set the sheet for tent. My first tent. :) :) Once our tents are up,we crashed. The most peaceful night ever. 
Next day morning, we all woke and people who had extra pair of clothes went and jumped into a nearby pond. And there was a Tarzan Style jumpfrom all of them. :) :) Once they are done with exquisite time in the pond, we stuffed our mouths wit akki roti (the real akki roti) and idlys. Meanwhile guide asked us to get ready for the day. The most awaiting day. We had to travel around 1hr to reach the base of the hill. Funniest part was the Food Anthakshari. For us, tamatar chutney and tomato chutney are two different things. On reaching the hill, filled our water cans, took the set off picture and started our Trek. 

We strolled, saw small mushrooms under huge trees, pineapples plant with no pineapple, bamboo and tress ad plants deep rooted in marshy land. .The nature was embedded with surreal beauty. Ingenious climate encouraged us more and more to march, and everyone was immersed totally to the core. A divine spirit radiated through the entire woods with the dense forest around us, sun was struggling to impinge through the green leaves. Our journey consisted of conquering the tall plants and i felt like I'm inside the wardrobe that comes in The Lion, The Witch and Wardrobe.

We made a pitstop in one plain area free of leeches and talk grasses, little blue flowers blooming. We gazed upon the breath taking beauty of lingamakki dam, Sharavati River, Honevar Island. Then we reached the top of the hill welcomed by the fog. We all settled down for some rest& were asked to maintain two minutes of total silence.  We rejoice in the company of nature for it exercises comforting and soothing effect upon us. The entire Mother Nature made my existence pointless. Chirping of birds, rustling of leaves, breeze of winds, string of the mist, scent of the woods, endless view infront of my eyes and my soul merged with the nature. The moment that made me climb this far,the peace that I wanted to attain so long. We entered into void.

After the minutes the silence was broken, we got dragged back to reality by time. We set off and we headed for lunch. Yummy curd rice and lemon rice. That was like an elixir after our long walk. After our food, came the hilarous part. We were asked to apply Neem Oil to reduce the chance of leech puncturing our skin. Few ppl literally got bathed in it... :D And we set of for the post lunch stride. The leech palace.Extremely marshy and slippery forest where we literally had to slide on the trail by holding the nearby branches and trees.
We had to crossed through snakes, deer, loads of electric fences (as I was told.. :D ), walked through branches, dried leaves,  beetle nut swamp, puddles (Just like Surf Excel ad),streams with clean waters, paddy fields, huts . After so much chatting, pulling pranks, walking and walking and walking we hit the road where our tempo was waiting to take us to the majestic Jog falls. It was a ten min ride and we went and saw Raja Rani, Roarer and Rocket. We were lucky enough to see before the mist conceals it. No wonder why it was majestic. I felt like it is the king of entire Shimoga's natural beauty. And we watched the laser show, the fun show to end the tripwhich wasnot in the itinerary... And after that we sat with our guide had a feedback session and the trip almost came to end beautifully with a GROUP HUG.. That was the best moment of everything.
This trip wouldn't have been any better without any of us. We ate our dinner in Sagara and set of a journey to busy city life with physically tired but mentally energized.

Written By          : Madhumati Muthu
Organized By      : Vikram & Sreemoyee
Date of event     : 22-23rd August, 2015
Place                  : Sagara
Pictures              : BTC album

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