Pretty now and then I use words like monotony, boredom, life goals, practicality, life’s purpose etc. So many happenings in life, so many ups and downs, so many reasons for laziness and procrastination and yet the heart still keeps murmuring “Take Me Anywhere”.Boredom is the most dreadful ordeal that we have in front of us. We experience months of grapple and scuffle that forces the heart to say “Take Me Anywhere”. So with all the might and will we need to wage the war against the boredom by sea, land and air. All that went through my mind was victory, victory and victory at all costs. However long and hard the road may be; for without victory, there is no survival.
I quickly said yes when a bunch of office buddies planned a trip to Chikkamagaluru. I felt the time was perfect(or maybe I thought so) and the heart was repetitively murmuring,. For I always wanted to visit the Tea Estates in the Western Ghats and this was the time. Since everyone chooses to visit Mullayyanagiri, Bababudangiri, Honnammana halla, Kemmanagundi etc., we chose the unconventional itinerary. We decided to go to Gatikallu.
On a mission to explore Gatikallu
We started at 11:00 PM from Bengaluru and took a break at a CCD on the Highway towards Hassan. What took us by surprise was the foggy roads at 03:00 AM on a Summer night. Our Michael Schumacher had no plans of halting until the view on the roads is clear. He drove us like crazy with our heart in mouth, we did trust his driving skill only with presentiment to reach the place safe and sound.
Chikkamagaluru takes its name from Kannada Chikkamagaḷa ūru that translates to “younger daughter’s town”. Rukmangada, the legendary chief of Sakharayapattana had given it as a dowry to the youngest daughter .
Gatikallu Homestay is in Chikkamagaluru and is spread out over 100 acres of coffee, pepper and cardamom estates with an enchanting stream cutting right through. Waking up to a dreamland like this is enchanting. The painting that I made in my childhood appeared to be real for the first time. The mountains, some houses, pets around it, beautiful trees, some vehicles, the Sun rising and setting. Everything was surreal. Had I not gone, the regret would house for a long time.
The hospitality at the homestay is indeed great. 11 of us checked in on a Friday morning. When I say, Friday Morning that itself is a blissful feeling. The breathtaking view from the place we stayed in was jaw-dropping one. Somehow, none of us realized, that we were gazing at the mountains as we finally waged a war against the monstrous tyranny called monotony(boredom) without getting into our respective rooms.
Chikkamagaluru is a land of Coffee and Tea estates. Having said that, you are in for a surprise when the Coffee arrives. The best coffee I have ever had, no CCD or a Restaurant would match this. Relishing the taste buds with the native foods like Kai Kadabu, Kori Rotti, Dose and a variety of non-vegetarian foods(at least I thought my friends enjoyed it) right on top of a mountain, amidst the coffee estate is another reason for Happiness.
The home-stay provided multiple activities in our booking and they also made us to feel home. Our first activity on the first day was Trekking. So we made our way to the ghats. All of us got into an open Jeep and the journey began, the curves on the ghats are so sharp that even a flaunting super model will be in for a surprise.
Our first stop after a good 30 minutes 4*4 drive was at Kalabhairava Temple, Chikkamagaluru. A magically small and beautiful old temple in the middle of a jungle. This temple is said to be 900 years old.
After the temple visit, we made our way towards Ballarayanadurga (Chikkamagaluru). Gatikallu is a 2000+ feet tall “One rock Mountain” with one of the most stunning views of the valley below in the World. Gatikallu derives its name from the most beautiful spot on Ballarayanadurga.
I have never been a trekking enthusiast earlier and as a result of it, I had to pay lesser preparedness. That only makes me warn people to be trek-ready before the next one. Trust me, one wrong step while walking down the steep mountain and I walked barefoot all the way down. Ensure to carry at least 1 right kind of footwear for trek unlike me who carried 3 pairs, none of which were helpful. Honestly, it is frantic when you look down and realize you could be dead with one wrong move. But also, if you are careful and zestful it is the most liberating feeling when you are on the cliff.
Hiking down to a waterfall
Post trekking, the next destination was a beautiful waterfall. After another 20 minutes of a humpy bumpy 4*4 ride we reached this remote place. You will get all the time and space to enjoy with your lunatic gang, as it is not crowded . This small waterfall beautiful in its own way. The plunge is of a smaller height. However the water is sufficient for a good time to relax.
Somehow, the water games make me feel hungry like I have been starving for ages. Only because of hunger, we chose to leave the water fall. The next activity was Kayaking. My first time and opportunity to fight hydrophobia. I’m generally a stay-away-from-water person. But this man-made lake is so beautiful that I forced myself for Kayaking. After a good joyous kayaking session, I jumped into the water with a life jacket on.
Overcoming the biggest fears is the best thing you can do to yourself ☺ I’m glad I did!
End of Day
A good sumptuous meal after the day long hard work is what the tummy demands. We quickly hogged all the food served. We went for relaxing. Take bath, sit outside and just watch the serenity. My eyes could never thank me enough for being at this place. In the evening, the next activity was going to Sunset point. But we chose to be where we were. It was no less than a magic to watch the sun returning from my zone to another.
While girls chose to do some crazy photography during sunset, the guys settled down to sleep.
The nights are calm. Usually, the music that plays is heard. Even though the wild animals are in the region, none were spotted. The campfire was setup at night. A lot of snacks, party music and a lot of gossips. It surprised me how even the guys get into gossiping mode with the girls around. A game called CONTACT. Somehow the game was getting more and more interesting until real late. We chose to have dinner post the game. Another course of meal and time to hit the bed.
No trip is complete without the ghost stories. The 2 other members stole the show with their stories. I regret having not taken that slot for myself. And that’s it every girl on the trip was shivering and chased the story tellers out. I slept well that night. We had other plans for next day. Next morning, we all geared to get ready quickly and start from there for the love of Tea Estates. If not only for photographs I would still go and enjoy the Tea estates.
Visit to Tea Estates
We went to Kelaguru Tea Estates spread across more than 200 acres on either side of the hills. The enticing view on either side with tea estates is the soul soothing experience. Supposedly, the factory was set up during the British Era. It stands still, high and firm on top of the hill. We visited with the tickets and got an overview of the Tea powder manufacturing unit. They make about 12 types of tea powder at their factory. Just an amazing thing to watch.
We departed the place by noon with the plan to reach Bangalore by late evening. With sufficient breaks for Jackfruit, Mango, Sugarcane juice and a final stop at CCD. We safely reached Bangalore by 9, after requesting Mr Michael Schumacher for the 1000th time to drive slow and safe.
Note: Summer is not the right time for any type of trips usually. But somehow most of my trips happen only during this time. Ensure to be Summer ready before you go. Trust me, as I finish writing this piece I have searched at least 100 articles and videos on youtube with keywords “How to remove tan quickly”
Signing Off with a promise to return with yet another story!