We 16 from Bangalore ASCENDers planned to spend October 1st and 2nd at Honnemardu, with The Adventurers who organize water sports in the back waters of Linganamakki dam.Honnemardu or Golden Lake has some of the most spectacular views of the sunrise and sunset. Deep in a forest, without the slightest trace of civilization, it’s a haven for die-hard outdoors fanatics as well as those who want a complete break from the City life. Some of the water sports activities here include coracling, canoeing, kayaking and wind rafting.As planned Train tickets were booked to Shimoga and all boarded 11.10pm train (train no 6277) at platform 9.The journey was comfortable.Train reached shimoga at 5.00 am covering a distance of 300kms. Next destination was Talaguppa which was 110kms away. Even there is a train to Talaguppa from Shimoga.This train is one of its kind in India because it runs on ASHOK LEYLAND Bus engine and takes around 3 hours to reach Talaguppa.Honnemardu is 12kms from Talaguppa by road or a trek of 8kms crossing paddy fields and streams will take you there but in the process will cost you two more hours.Zeeps are available from Talaguppa costing anything between 150/- to 200/-.We wanted to have more fun in water rather than on land so decided against trekking to Honnemardu.Harish being a native of Shimoga had managed to hire a Tempo Traveler from Shimoga.Our driver was waiting for us at Shimoga railway station and we hurriedly boarded it.Nearing Sagara we stopped for breakfast and tried the whole menu of a small hotel.We continued again along the mist-kissed muddy roads to reach Honnemardu at 7.30am.
We were welcomed by Nayan and Ganapati from The Adventurers, after introduction we finished our morning ablutions in the decent toilets of the club.Luggage's were dumped into a small cottage which is on a small hill,climb to the hill was a bit difficult for few as it is very steep but the view from top is splendid.Vast expanse of water with many small islands,it is been said that after the Linganmakki dam was built many villages were submerged in the back waters and left 147 small islands though the number is not sure.After the breakfast (actually second) all headed for the water.We started with swimming this was a perfect activity for non-swimmers as we were wearing life jackets.After an hour of swimming and diving started coracle-ing followed by canoeing lessons. We had competitions, photography shoots and all kinds of fun in the water. At 1.30pm we headed for lunch and emptied all buckets of dishes.Organizers provide good quality food at this remote place and that is appreciable.After resting for a while again we were in water at 3pm.Canoeing single/double,balancing on wind surfing boards and playing water volley ball were the activities that went on till 4.30pm.
After drying ourselves and collecting back our luggage from the small hill we had high tea. Then we were asked to trek to a nearby hill to watch sunset.There is a clear path up to the peak and it’s 20mins decent climb; the last 200 yards stretch is v.steep.Few could not scale the last stretch.After sunset we were back at the club,collected our luggage and started for the night stay at the island in Coracle’s.Here myself and Baby who were coracle-ing decided to go slow and started to eat carrots which we were carrying, Manju and Manavalan were with us.This delayed us very much rest of the coracles had already reached island and we had still half way to go it was already dark we cld not see any thing and tides increased.We panicked as we were not sure which way to go and tides were increasing we had a torch and fortunately some one who reached island also had a torch we started coordinating with torches and after 15 minutes of grueling we managed to reach the exact point on the island.
This was a small virgin island we pitched tents and collected fire wood for camp fire.After spending some time singing, dancing we had dinner .After dinner we slept in the tents, Ganapati stayed with us on the island .If anyone has energy left organizers will take you on a night trek up to the other part of the island.We got up early at 6am and disassembled the tents and started back to the club.The whole place wore a mystic look sun rising at a distance and we were wading through the calm and cold waters of sharavati.We quickly finished morning rituals and after breakfast had photo sessions with the organizers and bid good bye to them.
Our next destination was Jog Falls after 2 hours of travel we reached Jog but as usual the water was very less.For most of the year Jog Falls has little or no water as the water is diverted for power generation.After spending some time here and taking lots of photos we visited Mahatma Gandhi power station.Again Harish managed to get permissions for our visit as his father works in the same department and had sent one of his colleague to guide us.This elderly gentlemen took us tru all the stages of electricity production explaining them.He also discussed the problems faced during the power plant set-up.Photography is restricted here so we could not take any photos.We came back to the Jog view point and had lunch at the KEB canteen which serves a decent food.Jog Falls is one of the prominent tourist attraction of Karnataka but the government as done nothing in providing facilities to the visitors,lots of tourism development opportunities lay here to be tapped.As thought we were not able to go to the base of the falls as we were running short of time and left Jog around 2pm.
On the way back to shimoga there are many interesting places which are a worth of visit.But we had a flat tyre and lost some of the precious time.As some of us helped the driver to change tyre’s others had a good time playing road volley ball.Next we visited the Tavrekoppa Lion Safari which is 10kms before Shimoga.After the lion safari which was a small trip of just 15mins we visited every cage of the small zoo eagerly and enjoyed like small kids. Sakrebayalu Elephant Camp,Keladi,Mandagadde Bird Sanctuary,Gajnur dam are other places of interest around shimoga.By 6pm we reached Harish’s home at shimoga and had high tea.After a while we bid good bye to Harish as he was staying back and walked to the railway station to board the train to Bangalore. Train was on schedule and left at 10.10pm and we were back in Bangalore at 5am.This ended a beautiful weekend spent amid splendid landscapes watching mesmerizing sunrise and sunsets.
- Do not take a two day package as all the activities can be enjoyed and completed in a day.
- Hire a vehicle from Shimoga or take a zeep from Talguppa,do not waste time in trekking as it takes more than two hours to cover the stretch.
- If you have been to a Lion safari anywhere before,then you may not like this one.Try to avoid.
- Tents provided by The Adventurers are very old and are stinking also they are not water proof.If you own a tent remember to carry it.
- Food provided is excellent.
- Contact details:
- The Adventurers
- Mr. Swamy, Ms. Nomita
- 142, 69th Cross, 5th Block, Rajajinagar,
Bangalore INDIA 560 010
Phone: 91-80-3305508 or 91-80-3409712
|Train fare to Shimoga and back-sleeper class||294/-|
|Tyarekoppa Lion Safari entrance fee||5/-|
|Tyarekoppa Lion Safari vehicle parking||50/-|
|Total cost per head (including tips)||1030/-|
Written by: Mudassar
Event organized by: Mudassar/Harish