Thursday, August 25, 2011

A trip to DudhSagar

Its good to plan. Even if they don't work every time, planning gives you a sense of security. But if you plan a lot for an adventurous outing, it might become boring.

The only part in our trip to DudhSagar that was planned was return bus tickets. And it turned out to be one of my best outings till date.

Before I start with my story, let me introduce my mates who were with me when we trekked to Dudhsagar.
From left to right: Gagan, Vidhu, Karthik,Lalit(me),Rafeeque,Sharath. And Sameer is taking this picture.
All the pictures are taken by either Sharath or Sameer.
the gang 

We ended up going out that weekend probably only because we have missed out on our trip to SriShelam the week before. We planned SriShelam trip almost 10 days in advance.

On july 26 Gagan posted the suggestion of Dudhsagar on facebook. We just said yes without taking it seriously. On 28th the tickets were booked. I was like what the hell. On 29th I went to meet other guys thinking probably they will have a plan. And no body had any idea, other than what omniscient google has to say. The only thing we could find was we have to carry every thing from food items, to mosquito repellent as there is very little chance of finding anything there.

And finally on July 29th evening we boarded the bus to belgaum, with very little clue about our next steps. And only in the bus I realized even our seats are not together. But that did not dampen our spirit.

The Begining
We got down at Belgaum @ 6 in the morning.  We asked the locals there about how we can reach DudhSagar. And we were told we have to go to Mollem first. Now the bus that we got down from goes through Mollem. Now we needed to find out another way of reaching till Mollem. We tried hiring cab(very expensive for our budget), Train -- Nothing at that time, So we ended up boarding another bus to Mollem. It took us 3 hours to reach Mollem. But it is one of the most beautiful and dangerous bus journey I had ever done. Yes both beautiful and dangerous.

The start of the bus journey was uneventful. After some time the view became beautiful. All you can see were trees, with natural shade on the road. It was like walking through jungle. And as we started gaining some altitude, a very dense fog engulfed us. We were seating on the first 3 rows of the bus. So we should have had clear view of the road. but because of the fog nothing was visible. And the road was full of curves (Hair pin curves). It felt  like the driver is driving not by seeing the road but by experience and intuition. To make things more interesting, it even started to rain.

Fog on the way to Mollem
We got down at Mollem @ 11. Again asked the locals about how to reach DudhSagar. And they told we have to go to Collem. Another 20 minutes journey by bus. In the mean while we tried to find out if there is any place  at DudhSagar where we can spend the night, or tents available on rent which we can carry. To our surprise we were told  we can easily get a place to stay there by talking to the locals there.

In any case we boarded another bus to Collem and we were there by 11.30. 
The other thing that we knew about our trip was we have to trek along the railway track for around 10 km. 
As soon as we reached Collem we can see the railway track. Some guides were also available there. They have bikes and you can ride pillion with them if you want. now we had to decide whether we want to walk 10 km or just ride comfortably. It was a easy decision, we chose to walk and that was the best decision we took.

The Trek
As soon as we stared trekking, it started to rain again. Till now we were being saved by bus. but now we have to take care of our luggage. we quickly took our wind cheaters, rain coat, umbrella and hid what ever we can.
The trek starts
It's little difficult to walk along the railway track but it has some of its own benefits also. If you notice there are two milestones (white and yellow on each side of track), they helped us to track our progress. And every km crossed gave us more energy.

When we started the trek it was raining. But it stopped raining in some time. And rain continued to play hide and seek with us. When ever we stopped to take a break, even the rain stopped and the moment we started again, so did the rain, as if rain was also part of our gang.

Yes we were walking in rain, yes we needed to walk 10 km but the scenic beauty the track provided took away all the pain. The green forest, the grey railway track, the approaching trains, the dark tunnels, numerous milk white water falls along the way and whenever the trees allowed to see the cloud covered horizon made the journey a melting pot of such natural beauties that it was a pleasure to walk.
Green Forest, Grey Railway Track & Cloud covered Horizon

Dark Tunnels

Approaching Trains
We met few railways worker on the way and also came across some of the smallest railway platforms I have ever seen. And we kept asking them whether we are on the right track, how much further, will we get something to eat some where. We all knew the answers to these questions but still we kept asking. And to our surprise, one of us told that there is a Bar near one of the stations, and we can get beer from there but food will be a problem. Beer was ruled out because we did not want to walk after drinking and carrying extra weight of bottles was a strict No-No. We took break, ate biscuits and glucose which we were carrying. '

The one thing this confirmed is Reliance might be behind the line"karlo duniya mutthi main" but its actually KingFisher who has the duniya mutthi main.

The First Shight
And after walking for around 9 km, we got a glimpse of the DudhSagar fall. The fall was still 1-1.5 km away. What we saw took our breath away. And we realized something so gigantic and powerful can also be so soothing and calming. It took away all our tiredness and we marched towards our destination with renewed energy. 
Love @ First Sight
The Fall
We had to pass through a split tunnel to reach the Falls. And the split tunnel actually added to the aura of the fall. It was like walking through a divine opening to witness the fall falling from the heaven. When we finally made it to the falls, we were spell bound. On one side The magnificent fall was falling down from sky and on the other side, water was rushing across the green forest. 

The Fall

Other Side

Night @ DudhSagar
We had stared trekking around 11.45 A.M. and we reached DudhSagar around 5.30 P.M. Yes, we were tired. And we remembered that some one at Collem has told us we can get a place to stay easily by talking to some locals here. But now we realized, its not going to be so easy. And locals, there were none, You either see tourists there or people working @ the railway station. Some one told us we can either go back now, A train schedule to come in 1 hour (yes you can board a train to come to DudhSagar, but its no fun), or we can spend the night at either a church or the railway station and leave the next day.

So we started walking towards the Church, which was 1 km away from the fall and little distance before the railways station.Now when some one thinks of a church at least an average sized white building with a cross on the top comes to mind. And hence we were high on hopes of spending the night comfortably. But when we reached the church, what we saw were: Few stairs leading to a 3-walled room with tin roof. It had a statue of mother Mary inside and a bell (which normally is found in temples). We did not bother to stop at the church and kept walking to the railways station. The railways station was even smaller and hence we came back to church and agreed to spend the night there.
The Blue Church :)

Now we had decided to spend the night in the church. We had 2 torch lights with us. And it was getting darker. We had no idea how dark the night can be. So we decided to collect some dry wood and lit a fire. But because of the rain, we could not found a single piece of dry wood. Not even in the tunnels. We tried to get some kerosene from the people at the railway station. It was a very difficult task. Not that the people there were not helpful, but getting stuffs there was so difficult that no body wanted to part with what ever they had. But some how we manged to get some out of them, and came back happily to the church.

We had our dinner. Bread and Jam that we were carrying. And after some gossip we tried to lit the fire. Now we tried almost everything, but we were unable to light fire. Blame it on the wet wood, or our inexperience, we just could not light fire. After several failed attempts we had no other choice but to give up. After some time we realized that we needed some kind of light otherwise, its going to be very difficult.
 Gagan and Vidhu saw lots of molten wax in a stand before Mother Mary, and they built candles out of those wax and took turn to make sure those kept burning. Soon it was pitch dark. Quite a few number of engines kept passing every hour. And they were happy enough to stop if anyone wanted a lift from DudhSagar to Collem or Londa. But we had decided to enjoy the night and hence we stayed there. 

Early Morning
This was a Sunday morning. We got up @ 4.30 in the morning, only because a train has stopped right in front of the church and was blowing its horn with full power. And then around 60-70 people got down from the train. And for the first time we realized DudhSagar is a very popular tourist place. People come early in the morning by train, spend some time there and go back in the evening by the return train or by boarding any of the engines.
It was still quite dark, and we have to make place for all those people in the church. Every one was waiting for the first ray of light so that they can go and enjoy the waterfall.  
Once there was light, we also left for a last view of the fall. It was drizzling. There was very dense fog, and we could hardly see the top of the fall. It was nature its best. The beauty can not be described in words. You have to be there to witness that beauty. And it is now why the fall was named DudhSagar. The flow of water was milky white.

Return to Belgaum and to Hyderabad
Around 11 in the morning, we decided its time to say good bye to DudhSagar. But no one from us was in mood to trek back. So we boarded a train to Londa and from Londa to Belgaum. Now DudhSagar does not have a ticket counter, So you are at the mercy of ticket collector if you are boarding a passenger train and not just a engine, or a goods train. We booked a hotel in Belgaum and rested there till evening and boarded the bus back to Hyderabad in the evening.

For people interested to Visit DudhSagar
1. Trek from Collem to DudhSagar - ~10 km along the railway track
2. Trek from CastleRock to DudhSagar - ~ 15 km along the railway
3. Board a train to DudhSagar from Belgaum

If planning to stay there or trek, always carry food, First aid stuffs, dry clothes and torch lights. And dont forget a very good camera. Its a paradise for a photographer.

More Pics
A Closer View

Dark Tunnel

The Journey

First Sight

The Split Tunnel

View from DudhSagar

Friday, August 12, 2011

Books Vs Movies

Best way to time travel : Read books.
Few months back, one of my Friends made me buy a book. He himself had not read the book. But have been suggested by many and read somehwere that,this is 1st part  of a very Widely acclaimed and International best Selling trilogy.

Few days after that purchase, On a uneventful evening I opened the book for the first time but could not read beyond first few pages. The book was just not connecting with me. I gave it few more try in next few days, but never managed to go beyond the 1st 15-20 pages. So the book ended up in some corner of my cupboard.

Last saturday, after returning from office I just switched on the TV and going through the channels @ random. on HBO, I noticed a movie based on the same novel was to be telecasted @ 9 PM. It reminded me of a T- Shirt tag line that I have read some days ago (my younger brother's). It said "Why read books, Just watch the movie." And believe me I did not like the T-Shirt (I love my brother).

Now, I am not a movie buff. I normally watch movies for the heck of it. But some how I wanted to see this movie. I felt like anyways I have already wasted my money on the book. lets just sit for 2 hrs and find out what was the book about.

To my horror the movie turned out to be in Swedish (with English Subtitle). But I enjoyed the movie thoroughly. I had to concentrate more on the subtitle than on the screen, But I did not move till the movie was about to over. 5-10 mins before the movie was scheduled to over, I with lots of relucatnce switched off the TV. I just did not wanted to know the ending.

The only thing that kept coming to my mind was if the movie is so good, How beautiful the book should have been. Or the book is acutully very good,but its no my taste. in that case I should not have liked the movie also (that too in swedish). So i decided i ll give it one more try. If required I ll force myself to read atleast 1st 50 pages.

So Thursday , I carried the book to office, read few pages there. Nothing much. Thursday night i continued reading. Still not very exciting. But slowly the plot become interesting and I started enjoying the writing. Now I knew whats going to happen next ( as I have already seen the movie), but the experience of reading the book completely different from it watching it on TV. And today I finsihed reading the book. 

My reaction : The movie was SHIT, if u compare with the book. 
Even when I knew whats going to happen next, Book gives so much details of every thing, it literally transforms the reader(at least me) to the scene of action. With all the slightest details ranging from the kind furniture, color of the wall to the clothes the character is wearing, You feel like you were actually watching all events unfolding right infront of your eyes. As if you are physically present there. With movies, you like the acting, you like the special effects, but you never connect with the character like this.

Reading a book feels like time travel. Watching a movie is just a dream.

P.S. : the novel is question is "The Girl with Dragon Tatto" and Thanks Sarat for making me buy this book. I enjoed reading it.