Our family always enjoyed tours, so to beat this summer we planned to visit the Kemmanagundi. Even my uncle’s family joined us for the trip. I booked 4 rooms for two days at a homestay called Ozone valley. It cost us around Rs.2400 per head. My dad along with mom and bro reached the place from Hubli and I with my uncle from Bangalore joined them the afternoon of May 14th 2011.
We were warmly welcomed by a tasty lunch (including non veg ). They had prepared awesome chicken throughout the stay. The pool wasn’t in a working condition, that disappointed us, but there was badminton court which came to our rescue! Soon we were engulfed by the game! After a while, we set out to view some exciting viewpoints nearby. There was a place called Raj Bhavan, where nice gardens treated our eyes. We moved around clicking pictures. We were filled with joy by the picturesque scenery in front of us. As I had been for a trek the previous week itself, I felt like trying it again, this time I was double happy going for it as my bro agreed to come with me . We really enjoyed the climb. It was worth the thirst as we witnessed a magnificent view from a point there. We had to hurry back; the return route was quite enjoyable. We ran, skid through the slopes. After a small break we went to canteen and filled tummies. We were a bit sad that we couldn’t go to place called Z point. That point looked awesome from the road we had to go back to the homestay. The roads, I recall, were filled with pot holes. Guess they were in for rain water harvesting 😀 But this was nothing compared to the road ( wait a minute , can I call that a road???) to Hebbe falls. We dint do anything much later that day, had dinner (which fell short) and retired to bed.
The second day was the most exciting of all! Hebbe falls was the place!!!! As the manager told that only jeeps ruled the way to the falls, we had to leave our cars in the parking area at the homestay. It was a muscular Armada!!! It had to reach us (8 + driver ) to the roaring falls. I can call that, a road to hell. My bro delicate to hill drives enjoyed the front seat. We had the ride of a lifetime. I and Samarth (cousin) occupied the back seat. My buttocks were flying in the air most of the time, thanks to the road! Really a memorable ride, the driver was such an expert at it, to him it was a piece of cake, for us, we were holding our hearts in hand! It was a 13 km ride( the number 13 itself makes it scary isn’t it?!!!! ). My stomach and liver had exchanged their places by the time we reached a place where we had to walk to the falls!!! The walk was pleasant. While crossing streams, so as to not wet my pants, I jumped my way on the stones. On nearing the falls, I alone took a different route which was right through the river. It was a nice jump, bend and walk experience. The waterfall was just awesome, both the dip as well as the view. Wasting no time, we changed and entered the chilled water. Closer to the falls, we felt like God was showering precious pearls on us. It was very soothing to the eye. We went to the foot of the waterfall, got our backs massaged with the water falling at high pressures. We played around and had fun. I hurt myself a few times for which dad asked me not to hurry ( which he had been telling from childhood ). We sat for snacks and left the falls to the jeep. Again the same ride back. Thanks to the two way trip, my stomach and liver occupied their original places!! We just played, watched cricket, had dinner. It had rained then, and hence it turned cold. So I called for a camp fire. We sat around the bonfire and had a nice chat. I learnt how to maintain the fire. It was a pleasure sitting in that coffee estate in night with fire to warm us up and the gleaming moon to let the night glow in its brightness.
We checked out and left to the Bababudanagiri Hills the next morning. As dad had missed his daily cup of tea before checking out, we dropped in at Coffee County on the way. The owner there looked visionary about the tourism there. He was proud to speak about his upcoming hotel (I thought of visiting his new hotel the next time). The road that led to Bababudanagiri was very nice, mind blowing scenery enroute. I guess the hotels in this region have a very scenic touch. The temple was closed for renovation. We decided to visit a place called Manikyadhara, which was situated 3 km from that place. It was a waste as none enjoyed that place. It was just little water sprinkled from the mountain. The ride back is what I must highlight. My cousin drove from there in their car. Even I felt like steering from there. I took over to drive our Ritz. It was the scariest drive in my life. I went so slow initially that dad himself asked me to hit the accelerator harder. There were no railings at all for safety, a single lane, 4000 feet high. Wow!!! I will never forget this ride. We waited at Chikmagalur for lunch. The waiter was, I must admit, the master of all cuisines. He served Kesar instead of butterscotch and still argued!!! We drove to Birur and from there, my bro and me caught a train back to Bangalore. The journey was very boring. But that ended with a lavishing dinner at Pizza Hut which erased all the boredom and hunger. We reached my uncle’s home just to hover over the memories of the trip and my drive.
Places worth visitng around Kemmanagundi: RajBhavan, Z point, Hebbe falls, Bababudanagiri, Kalhatti falls. Be very careful while booking the hotels. Look for the right time, location and facilities.