As Pramod was joining my trip the next day, I had one day extra with me and I wanted to explore some new places where I have not yet been. So Benne holey sounded a good proposal by him.
Though I was brought up in Yellapur, Sirsi had been my second home (and my birth place too). Almost all my relatives are in and around Sirsi. So being in such a place and acting like a newcomer to the town is hard to me. But I have to undergo this state at least once every year when I am there exclusively to shoot. Sunil knows it well. So he came to pick me up from the bus stand at 7:00 in the morning and we headed straight to one of the restaurants to have some food. It took around 30min to get out from there and hit the road towards Kumta.
It was drizzling. The ground and the greens around were wet. Low level clouds were moving quite fast. Light was changing every now and then. I was excited. It was almost a perfect condition how I wanted it to be. Cloudy days are the best to shoot inside the forest as they reduce the contrast.
While we were driving in the Bandla Ghat, I spotted a nice stream beside the road. It was slightly inside the green foliage. We halted our car and I went to examine the place. It looked promising. I was tempted enough to take my camera out and start making some images. It was quite slippery all around.
The water from the place crosses the road from beneath and flows onto the other side of the road. It flows beside a huge Banyan tree and its roots were looking quite amazing.
We spent nearly one hour there photographing various aspects. I am huge fan of ferns and few ferns there were very beautiful.
It was after an hour when we realized that we might get late to the final point and started from this place. If you are destined to reach a place late you will reach late however fast you go! :) That's what happened!
From the very first turn itself our car was not able to climb a small uphill and we were forced to leave it behind and started walking towards the water fall. The path was nice and the forest was full of life. It was bustling with the calls of Cicada and a Malabar Whistling Thrush was in full mood of singing!
After a walk of about a kilometer, we finally met first human on the road! He was heading towards the road with couple of cows.
We asked him how much more we need to walk to get to the falls and his reply was "You are very near. Barely another kilometer or so!". At that point of time we had no other choice but to believe him! We started again.
As we go deep inside the forest was haunting! There was no sign of any human settlement, expect the road where we were heading. To make the matter worse it was drizzling occasionally and we had bare minimum protection from rain.
We walked and walked and walked....kept on stepping.....the road seemed endless! By the time we almost exhausted we had come about 5 kilometers! Now we could hear the roar of the falls from distance.
While visiting any of the waterfalls in the Western Ghats for photography, one thing to remember is to look out for other small streams on the way to the main falls. Photographically many a times these small streams prove to me small wonders! The same thing has happened that day. We were almost half a kilometer away from the falls and a small stream caught my attention. It was looking more beautiful because of the wild flowers around it. I thoroughly enjoyed the scene and made some images. Sunil was capturing some good movie as he is a professional videographer.
The roar of the falls was getting higher and higher for each step towards it. After a point where we couldn't even see it, we started fearing that with this much full slow whether it is possible to get even the glimpse of the falls! It is notorious anyways because of few mischief people who had lost their lives, the latest one being just a few months ago!
The roar was really strong. We came to a point where we hit a small junction where we could see two roads, one leading to an open space with only few more steps and other which was leading down the valley. By that time we were quite exhausted by our long walk and no food, and the with that much roar we thought it was not possible to reach the base anyways! So we decided to head towards the open space to have a glance of the source of the roar!
Benne holey Falls as seen from the top
As we went near we could realize how tall the falls was. It was literally horrifying! The sound waves that were hitting us were inducing more fear. We couldn't stand there for more than 10minutes. We were forced to head back! The falls was quite furious! It was as if we had disturbed its meditation! We didn't want to take any more chance! We started heading back.
The streams in the forest carry very sweet water! I have tasted it many times. Crystal clear and sweet as sugar! I drank plenty of water near the stream where I had photographed while going. I had just fell in love with that place. That time it was raining quite heavily. I was in no mood to take shelter! We started heading towards the place where we had stopped the car.
While coming back we searched for the man who had told us that the falls is barely a kilometer away! I wanted to clear his misunderstanding! :) For his good fortune, we couldn't find him!
We were thinking of heading back by 11:30 or 12:00 and when I saw my watch after sitting in the car, it was showing 2:45PM! No food....only the sweet water from the stream had kept us alive all the way for 12 kms of arduous path!
Long live Western Ghats!