Ghatikallu lies in a remote corner of Chikkamagalur district; around 300 kms from Bangalore. Be warned… only BSNL signal is available there!
We started from here at midnight. En route, we played the ever popular Anthakshari and when our voices went hoarse.. we settled down to watch 3 idiots! Many of them dozed off … but me and 2 others next to me were wide awake even after the movie got over :(. After chatting for sometime, eventually, we fell asleep at day break. Drifting between sleep and consciousness… i watched the sun rise, the mist clear and the green fields and faraway hills.
We had estimated the journey to be of about 6 hours. However, due to some snag in the vehicle, we reached the Ghatikallu homestay only by 8.30. Though the whole place was surrounded by trees and plantations, we could feel the heat.. maybe it was not the best time to visit the place. But then the coffee blooms were all over the place lending a heady fragrance to the atmosphere. I had never seen the blooms, though i had travelled many times through such places. I savored the beauty of the place… all the while trying to recollect the names of familiar looking trees 🙂 and also consciously taking in the fragrance so that i could make it last in my memory!
We quickly freshened up and had our breakfast. The first trip was to the waterfall; we were taken in 2 of their vehicles, through winding roads that all looked the same to us! If left to ourselves, we could easily get lost in such a place!! After a 30 minutes drive, we reached the waterfall (the top from where the water fell). This waterfall is within the private property and so at that point of time, we had it all for ourselves :). Then we trekked downwards through the bushes to reach the bottom where it formed a pond.
The cool water was very inviting.. in fact, by the time i reached the pond, most of them had already hit the waters and had swam to the other end, under the falling water! We wallowed in the waters for almost 2 hours. The swimmers in the team had a field day… and since we all had been provided with life jackets, everyone dared to go upto the waterfall, except me 😦 . I went as far as my feet could feel the ground.. no further. I dared not take a risk even when everyone assured me that i could do it.. and there was nothing to fear with so many people around. Well, i just refused to budge, no matter what. That is, until i was physically frisked away by two teammates! So there… i too did it. Though scared to bits, i was happy .. it was indeed an experience not to be missed 🙂
Reluctantly, we left the waters to go back for lunch.
After some rest at the home stay, we went to the sunset point. We reached around 5.30 and waited for the sun to set… in the meantime exploring the surroundings and taking pictures of the lovely landscape! We could hear the roar of a waterfall nearby, but could not actually see it. We sat down to wait for the sunset and were treated to a couple of lovely songs by one of our teammates. Finally, the sun descended beyond the hills .. offering a picturesque view!
The drive back was awesome. We, some 10 of us were seated in the open part at the back of the vehicle; me and 2 others stood up as the van went down the winding roads. With, the breeze hitting our faces and we going oooh..aaah.. in chorus, it was one hell of a roller coaster ride 🙂
Back in our room, we sat down for a few rounds of cards, sipping tea. Later, a bonfire was arranged in the open space, in front of our rooms. Though hardly the weather for a bonfire, there was something charming and inviting about it. We sat in chairs around the bonfire, under a clear sky, with a million stars twinkling above… it was as if we could just reach out and touch them!
We were to have a dance party around the bonfire.. but the CD player, that was playing fine till then, started acting up 😦 After failed attempts to make it behave, we settled for dumb charades.We continued for some time after dinner. Just when it looked that we could have a dance party after all… the CD player again went bonkers. Dejected, most of the guys went to their rooms downstairs. Secretly though, they must have been glad to get on with their booze party! The teetotalers decided to hit the sack.
But we ladies, even though we were tired from all the activity, didnt give up. Finally, tired of being tinkered with, the CD player gave in! And then the 7 of us… had a blast… dancing away at midnight, right beneath the twinkling stars!! It was fantabulous… the ladies dance party 🙂
Next morning we were to start early for a trek. But none seemed to be enthusiastic about it… due to exertion of the previous day and also the hot weather. So we settled down for a leisurely morning! Some warmed up with a game of badminton while few others sat at the carom board. After breakfast, we were taken to a ‘view point’ which offered a magnificent view of the valley surrounded by the ghats! Though it felt quite hot and humid, we explored a bit and took turns posing for photographs 🙂
On our way back, we stopped at an old temple.
After lunch, we had a small break and then packed up for the return journey. On the way we had a scheduled stop at the
neighbouring Kelagur tea estate. Going in..we were surrounded by beautiful landscape. Walking through the tea plants, we were
mesmerised by the beauty, and again went click..click ..click 🙂
We were treated to bhajjis and tea at the Kelagur tea point; it was a nice send off gesture by the hosts!
On the journey back, most of them just wanted to relax. The rest, had fun with cards for sometime. After dinner though, we were all just eagerly wanting to reach home and tried to get some sleep. I have mostly observed that, no matter what fun you have on a trip, once you set on your return journey, you want nothing but to get back to sweet home as fast as possible!!
All in all it was a fun trip, in the midst of nature!!
P.S: One person from the homestay accompanied us on all our tours. He was a guide as well as a photography enthusiast! All these pictures were taken by him using a DSLR camera. I had a tough time selecting these out of the 800 odd, high resolution pictures, that he shared with us!!!