Sunday, January 8, 2017

Rhapsody in Silver : Belligundi Waterfalls

Mr. Vishwanath of Summiters had informed me about this trek long time back, and I always wanted to do this trek considering the challenges it posed.
I could not join for this trek last year when he had organized one, but was lucky to join the trek this year.

Western Ghats are dotted with Pristine streams and waterfalls. In the dense forest are few waterfalls which are difficult to access due to uneven terrain. The rich Sharavathi Valley is home to numerous waterfalls and offer a feast to ardent nature lovers. Belligundi falls is also known as Kudumari waterfalls, and is one such waterfalls which offers challenge to anyone who is willing to explore it.

Day 1 : 23rd Dec, 2016

Things were planned and we were set to depart on 23rd Dec, 2016. As usual some of my friends cancelled their participation at the last moment, and this time I had to go alone with a new group. 

We decided to depart from Bangalore by 3.30 PM, but the hustle bustle of city traffic made us to hit the highway by 5.30 PM after picking up fellow trekkers.

After a small coffee break near Tumkur, we headed towards Shimoga. Enroute, we stopped at hotel Masala Suruchi (somewhere near Kadur) for dinner. The food was tasty and value for money. 

The dinner was so sumptuous and filling, that most of us fell fast asleep once we boarded the vehicle. 

We reached Shimoga by 11.30 PM and then proceeded towards Kattinakaru village which was our base for Belligundi trek.

We could make out the arrival of Western ghats by the breath of fresh air and cool breeze. The star studded sky was one of the most beautiful sights that I had seen in recent times. After losing our way and asking for proper directions, we managed to reach our home stay at Kattinakaru by 2.30 AM. 
The cold weather and the barking dogs welcomed us at Kattinakaru. We then met Mr. Goutham who was our host and discussed about the travel before hitting the bed. I was dreaming about the majestic waterfalls that we were going to see the next day.

Day 2 : 24th Dec, 2016

We were supposed to start our trek by 7.00 AM, but some of our fellow trekkers caused some delay due to which we hit the trail by 9.30 AM. 

The team :

 From L to R : Deeksha , Usha , Goutham (host) , Amit

From L to R : Tulsi (2 from left), Hari , Dinesh , Narayana (guide - 6th from left) , Ajay , Sridhar , Jyothi , Vishwanath , Goutham , myself

The starting point of the trek was around 10 kms from Goutam's home in Kattinakaru village. Once we reached the point, we started to trek without even looking back (as you know it was already late).

Our guide Narayana and his assistant Dhananjaya had brought packed lunch for us. The initial route was almost flat , except we had to cross small streams and a temple. The path was across the coarse of water which usually flows during monsoon months.


This lesser known waterfalls is hidden deep inside the thick evergreen forests of the Western ghats in the Sharavathi valley. Its a sheer pleasure to trek in this less trodden region, that makes this trek more beautiful.

Rain shadow forests

The Sharavathi Valley:- The Sharavathi river valley nestled in the central Western Ghats, Shimoga district has been an ecological paradise. The Sharavathi River, rising at Ambuthirtha in Thirthahalli taluk flows north-west and drops down in the Ghats at the world famous Jog falls.

The Sharavathi Valley is home to many water falls and beautiful streams. The valley is evergreen to semi-evergreen forest along with moist deciduous type of forests that dominate the entire basin along with scrub savannah, grasslands, marshy areas . The plantation of acacia, cash crops like areca and rubber provides diverse options in the region.

It is also one of the topmost ecologocial hotspot in the Western ghats with varied flora and fauna.

After walking for almost one hour we arrived to a small place that has flowing water and is a small refreshing point (this place is called Kanchinakere). We quickly filled our water bottles before proceeding our trek. Our guide Narayana wanted us to reach the base of the waterfalls by 12.30PM, so that we could return back in time.

Each and every tree was extremely huge, that we had to trek in between the gigantic roots .

In my habitat

From this point onwards, the level of trek increases gradually from being moderate to difficult. The gradients continuously change from ascent and descent almost every few meters. 

The route from here to base of the falls is very thrilling, as we have to take the support of tree roots and balance between slippery rocks while descending. The descent was very challenging, and many people started to fall every few meters. We then reached the water stream by around 12.30 PM. Most of them were completely drained of energy at this point, and this was where we got the first glimpse of the mighty falls.

First glimpse of the Belligundi falls

To have a glimpse of this waterfalls and to feel the presence of its magnificence, one has to trudge through the unbeaten path. For an ardent trekker to reach the bottom of the falls, he has to cross the intermittent streams, wading through grass, shredding of blood to hungry leeches & descending and ascending multiple emerald slopes. 

Walking through the canopy and listening to the sounds of chirping birds makes the hike memorable. The sight of the silver line of this roaring waterfalls through the canopy that is cascading from height of 600 ft brings a pinch of curiosity in you.

Once the shola forests end, one has to trek further around 1-2 kms to the right thereby crossing small streams and rock boulders. This takes you to the base of the falls from where you can have a refreshing bath in the lap of Nature.

However, few people could not proceed post this point due to the difficulty in terrain and physical stress.
It took around 30 mins for the rest of us to reach the base of the waterfalls. 

The sight from the base of the waterfalls was breathtaking and spellbinding. The thick forests of the Sharavathi valley could be seen from here. 

There was a beautiful rainbow that was formed at the base and this made our bath more colorful. Without even looking back most of us took bath near the rainbow and this was extremely refreshing and rejuvenating.

Taking a refreshing bath under the sprinkling water, a natural shower with a vibgyor of colors removes the hardship and rejuvenates the body, mind and 

All our physical sorrows were vanished by taking a refreshing bath in the Sharavathi river. It was a real Natural therapy treatment for all of us.

Water drops as seen from the Rainbow

This feeling cannot be explained, but has to be experienced.

After the bath, we all gathered near the rock for lunch. The lunch comprised of Chapathis , Chutney , and Gojju (a local delicacy). Trust me this was one of the best lunch we had and the chutney was truly lip smacking.

We started to trek back by 3.30 PM and hoped to reach the starting point before sunset. However, our calculations went wrong, as the darkness engulfed in no time. All of us were really tired with the ascent due to which the water bottles ran empty within a short span. We were gasping for breath and waiting to reach Kanchinakere, so that we could fill our bottles again. 

Trekking in the darkness was a first time experience for me, and it was a unique experience. It was good that we anticipated darkness and brought torches before hand.

Atlast we reached the Kanchinakere water source by around 6.45 PM, and the group prepared fresh Nimbehannu Panka (Lime juice). It was like finding an oasis in the desert, as it brought back all the energy within us.

From this point it took another 2 hours for us to reach the starting point where the tempo driver was waiting for us. We finally reached the starting point by 9.00 PM, thus marking an end to this amazing trek which was totally surprising , exciting and thrilling. 

We reached the homestay at Kattinakaru by around 9.30 PM, and soon most of us hit the bed to earn a well deserving sleep after having delicious Malnad dinner.

The homestay decorated with lanterns 

Day 3 : 25th Dec, 2016

I took a small stroll around the house to have a glimpse at the surroundings.


Arecanut plantations

After the morning rituals and breakfast, we bid goodbye to Goutham and his family and thanked them for the amazing hospitality they showered on us.

While driving back to Bangalore, we had a quick visit to Jog falls only to be disappointed by the water level in there. It was truly dis-heartening to see Jog falls without water.

Just a comparison 
(The first picture was photographed during Aug 2007, whereas the second one was during this visit)

Tips for trekkers

1. Smoking and Drinking is strictly prohibited
2. Permits and Guide is necessary
3. Usage of plastic is banned
4. Avoid trekking in Monsoon season (lots of leeches and riskier to trek)
5. Best time is Oct to Jan
6. No mobile signals except BSNL at Kattinakaru
7. Water bottles and Energy bars are recommended
8. Trek level : Moderate to Difficult
9. Do not mess with wildlife if at all you encounter any.
10. Leeches are abundant during monsoons and the frequency reduces thereafter.
11. Carry powerful torches
12. It takes almost 10-12 hours to trek (up and down)
13. Snakes like Vipers , vine snakes , Cobras(Spectacled and King) , Rat snakes are common. Best advise is to leave it as it is if you encounter with any snake. Be very careful & do not harm them in any way.

How to react in case of Snake bite ? see this blog

Green vine snake

Snake images were photographed during my previous trip to Western ghats. You can see that blog here

Route :

Bangalore - Tumkur - Arsikere - Shimoga - Sagar - Talaguppa - Kargal - Kattinakaru

Belligundi falls as seen from a distant view point

Picture courtesy : Vishwanath
(Note : This was not photographed during this trip)

Our fellow trekker Mr. Dinesh has shared his experiences of trekking to Belligundi falls. Please see this short video here :

To know the grandeur of Jog falls during monsoons, see this short video :

If you are interested in this trek, then please contact :

Mr. Vishwanath
(Summiters Adventures)
+91 97403 60365

Thank you

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