Thursday, March 13, 2008

Linganamakki Backwaters, Sharavati valley [ part 4 of probably 5 ]

So much traveling on Friday ensured that I slept like a log. We woke up late and had a elaborate breakfast - delicious akki rotti with mast makkan. It was only after that did Vinaya disclose the the plan for the morning. It was not visiting fair (Maari jaatre) but Sharavati back waters. His college friends who arrived at Sagara that morning had the same problems as us during the journey and hence were also late. Add some organizational delays... and it was already 11:30 ish by the time we left home. We picked up Kirana and gang from his home and headed south - the same road we took to Ikkeri. The road is not all that good. Its not too bad either... Its the kind of road that remain in this semi-torn state for ever.

We passed villages after villages before we enter the reserved forest. This is the Sharavati Valley forest. Although it is a reserved forest, one can still see some human habitation. Apparently they are very small villages of five to ten houses. Still, there is good (predictable) bus service to this part of state. We went round AvinahaLLi and reached a place called Hulidevarabana (means - home of the tiger god). Now neither the tiger remains, nor its godly stature - just the name. However, on the same road, a few kilometers earlier, there was a sanctuary which claimed to have a few tigers and lions. At Hulidevarabana, we took a right turn to go towards Holebagilu (means - gate towards the lake). In fact, the place is exactly that. We reached Holebagilu it was already an hour past noon. We had missed the Barge that takes busses and cars to the other side...

For those of you who are wondering what is the big deal about backwaters... A dam is constructed across Sharavati at Linganamakki. The main purpose of the dam is generation of hydro electricity that powers half of Karnataka. Once the dam is constructed, it means that River practically flows or not entirely on human will. This storage of water inundates vast areas of land. Lot of people have to vacate their homes and businesses. On paper, they are relocated. But in most cases the destination is only nothing more than a promise. I had heard, read, seen movies, about the pain that the displacement of people that inevitably happens when a dam/reservoir is constructed. I had seen the backwaters on the map - a big blue coral like shape. But none of those helped in guessing the size of this thing. Its huge... extremely huge. What you see in the picture (first from top), is just a narrow streak of water body formed at the the perimeter of the storage area in between two hills (range). This reservoir has submerged thousands of villages containing fertile farm land - thereby adversely affecting the farmers. It has swallowed up acres and acres of forest land. Even now, one can see half submerged dead trees that once stood proudly over all their neighbours... It is almost as if they are in denial that their land is no longer land but water. People on the other hand have moved on and tried to build their lives all over again. But i guess, they are feeling just the same.

Ok, we had missed the barge - and thankfully so. If we had not, we would be stuck on the other side because the barge would not return until the bus (scheduled to come more than an hour later) from other side arrived. Perhaps before the dam was built, there would have a road connecting places like Nittur (famous by the Ninasam) and Sagara. But now, one has to either take the barge or take a round about road. Since we missed the barge, we had ample time to take lot of photos. Almost every body had a digital camera and we went on a clicking frenzy. At the deeper side of the river (can i still call it a river, now that it is no longer flowing?) we saw a school of fish like creatures moving as a group. I had seen such organized swimming only on TV - that too only in deep see fishes. There was enough confusion as to whether they were fish or tadpoles. After about an hour, we finally got tired of shooting. Finally we headed back.

At Hulidevarabana, we took a right to go visit another beautiful spot called Hasirumakki. Barge here would take us to the road leading to Kollur. So to say, it is no different from Holebagilu. But lesser number of people know this place and hence was more peaceful. Since it was dry season, we drove across the river bed to go to the another side of the lagoon. By then, it was way past lunch time and all us were very very hungry. We quickly devoured 4 different kinds of rotis (akki rotti, jolada rotti soft, and two kinds of hard rotti) with at least five-six different kinds of side dishes. I really lost track of their names half way through.. each one of them was as pleasing and stimulating to the tongue as the other. We had fresh and ripe papaya, sweet chikku and banana for dessert. The drive back was spent listening to eternal classics "DTPH" and "KKHH" and over analyzing the photos taken...

How to reach Holebagilu and Hasirumakki?
Hope you do have access to google maps. Sagara-HoleBagilu and Hulidevarabana-Hasirumakki.


Gauthaman said...

This blog story appears like another Medha Petkar is in the making.

Shubha said...

wow... thats pretty darn detailed... impressive... chicoo, papaya and all the fruits... cant wait to be in india.. hopefully mangoes will be around then... :)