A Dream Trek to Kallu Ghati & Dabbe Waterfalls (Sharavathi Valley)

The moment I saw this post on the Bangalore Hikers Webpage, there came a bright smile with a musical memory of our own Dr. Rajkumar singing “ಶರಾವತಿ ಕನ್ನಡ ನಾಡ ಭಾಗಿರಥಿ , ಪುಣ್ಯವಂತರು ಬರ್ತಾರಿಲ್ಲಿ ದಿನಂಪ್ರತಿ !” (Sharavathi is the Bhagirathi river for Karnataka) forcing me to deny all reasons to say No for this trek.
Amidst the beautiful Sahyadri range, this massive river running in a valley beautifying the already beautiful western Ghats! Rich in flora and fauna and the villagers so humble and friendly, this beauty of Malenadu has no words to describe its goodness. Dating back to olden days of Kuvempu, Shimoga Subbanna , Dr. G S Shivarudrappa and so on, Malenadu has borne and seen the best of Kannada Literature / Music days.

Feeling immensely proud for having done this trek recently, here I am going to pen down my experience at the trek and the best things which made this trek a memorable one.

Forest Department MileStone
Forest Dept MileStone

Started from Bangalore on the 20th of May 16, a group of 12 individuals, some already familiar with other members and some first timers, we, gathered at our common pickup point – Majestic. There was huge traffic because it was a Friday evening, which caused a 30 minutes delay . We left Bangalore at 10.30 in a Tempo traveler. The orientation for the trek occurred in a petrol pump while the TT was devouring diesel. The Juicy part of the orientation was a box of home made gajar ka halwa prepared by Santosh, the co-founder of Bangalore Hikers. Post orientation we left to out respective positions inside the TT and unlike other trek drives, this one was comparatively quieter one!

Day 1 : 21 May 2016

We reached Sagara town in the morning by 6 am and got into the IB to get freshened up. This is where we met our dear Guide the tiny but loud (read as Very talkative) Sandeep. We did not waste much time in freshening up and started darting towards the hotel to have breakfast. Truly, madly in Love with Mangalore Buns, I made the best of my breakfast and devoured it!!

We bought grocery for lunch and dinner for next day and started from Sagara towards Bhatkala in the TT. We crossed Muppane forest area and proceeded further around the Sharavathi Wildlife Sanctuary.
Unable to recollect exact village name, but were close towards Sigandur.

This is the first time I trekked along the river and it was quite an experience. When we started first , there were some school children standing on the bund and watching us (read fools) walking on the dried river stream where as there was a perfectly good road running parallel to it. I asked a child prankfully “alli road idyene? (is there a road)”, she laughed loud and said “ide (it is there!)” and am sure they all took us to be fools taking tough rocky trail when there is a perfectly fine road along. After about 300-400m, the stream took a deviation into the forest.
That was when the feel of trekking started. Slowly sun started rising to welcome us to the mid –noon. There was scarce water in the stream. While we parted ways (Same fast trekkers VS Slow trekkers saga!) , we hiked a small extra distance to witness a beautiful grassland above this Valley! There was a good steep climb of around 500m in length and since the forest was virgin, there was no sight of trail! Sandeep came looking for us and then we hiked down and trekked a bit more to reach our lunch spot. It was only about 12.30pm, we had lunch , took bath and rested there for a while to continue our trek to Kallu Ghati.

Small stream, Kallu Ghati
Small stream on the way...

Summer is a good time to do these river treks , but there was very little water at the kallu ghati falls! Lot of us were disappointed, but nevertheless the beauty of the Valley and the stream gave us a relaxing pacification. Unfortunately, (or fortunately, I will tell you why), there was no flat surface to pitch a tent on the huge rocky terrain and we settled for camping by the stream since the next place (Dabbe Falls) was about 1 km steep hike and then again total 5kms by trek. Since it was already late and It was getting dark, we agreed upon sleeping on the rocks.

We spent the evening playing Bluff and cleaning the rock making rocky bed, and who would dare to miss mentioning FOOD ANTAKSHARIIIII!!!! That is the star game of every trek (mostly)

It started real clean with DECENT food and shooted up, got really nasty with “Susu with lime” and “Gomutra” … This time also it was a fun and innovative group who discovered new dishes for antakshari within a snap of a finger!

We had our dinner and some went to sleep post dinner. But I was not getting sleep and for good.

At around 1 am, the moon was at the zenith of its beauty since it was a Full Moon Day (Guru Purab) and I swear to God there could not be a serene beauty as such with stream gleaming with silver moon light and the melody of flowing river! One has to witness and live this enticing moment once in lifetime. At certain places where moonlight could penetrate, it made astounding patterns on the dark trees. For a moment it was giving an illusion of someone showing a torch. That bright was the moonlight!! And on the left side of the Valley where the palm trees made a step like arrangement, moon light spread itself making it look like a stairway to heaven! Or was the moon planning to get down the stairs to take a shower in the stream?
I wish I was a poet to glorify the beauty of that evening. I wish there were words enough to ponder and explain that exact feeling one will go through on seeing such a magic of nature.
This probably is only one tenth of what my feelings were seeing that glorious beauty.
We live only once and if one hasn’t witnessed beauty of nature at any point of time and awed at it, I feel really sorry for that person...

Day 2 : 22 May 2016

Next morning was a bright sunny morning! We were up by 6am and started getting freshened up to continue the trek. We ate our breakfast and packed bags to set the journey. We cleared up all that we dirtied, leaving no signs of Human Nuisance! Why am I making this point here is, if Nature has so many nice things to give us, we should not leave poison like Plastic, tins, glasses etc. which may be hazardous to the nature. If she has so much love and caring for us, we have no rights to ruin her beauty. So we made sure we made minimal damage(I am sure we did to some extent by intruding) before we left the place at 9am.

The next phase of the trek was awesome too. It is a perfect 80 degrees climb of about 1 kms length. It was very challenging as we had to climb with our backpacks and make way for ourselves holding some uprooted tree roots. An amazing experience for me of my lifetime. It was tough and very challenging to make groove to keep the feet, hold the root to gain momentum and fix the other feet to a higher level. It needs upper body strength and the whole team did wonderful job there by hiking it with no issues at all. After the vigorous climb was a moderate hike of about 5kms to the Dabbe Falls.
The whole trail was full of leeches and these leeches had their share of Bangalore Hikers Blood without any hesitation. This was that small favor we returned to the nature. I never kill a leech if it bites me. Trust me I gently remove and throw it aside. It doesn’t have to die! For all the niceness I show towards the nature, there was this one angry Hornet which didn’t certainly like me! I realized that this Hornet was following me from a certain distance, and when it came in front of my face and went all around me once to make sure it has got the right target, it intelligently chose a highly inaccessible place on my body!!! No need to scratch your head a lot, it went and stung my hamstring!! I mean seriously? That is one place I cannot even see! I had severe radiating pain. It was so bad, I started abusing the Hornet! I shrieked out of pain. That hell of a pain I had never ever experienced in life. I cursed that insect to my heart and continued the trek.

We reached Manjappas home (I think its called Manjappas home only) at around 11.30 am and got rid of the bags after trekking 5kms. We took only few things like lunch, water and dry clothes as the way to the waterfall was very steep and dangerous to carry the backpacks.

We spent some more time at Manjappas’ and started towards the fall. There was another group (WORTH MENTIONING) of men who had carried food and BEVERAGES !! trust me they had carried alcohol to take to the fall.
We climbed down. This way was too steep and risky. The first slope was quite challenging and a straight 90 degrees drop of about 10ft without anything to hold on to (other than the far spread roots). We carefully got down this slope and after another 300m there was another. The best one was almost about 750m from the top and there was just a rope. This was rocky slope of 90 degrees with few grooves, hardly giving any grip. So, once has to hang his body lose, give a 70-80 degree angle to the slope and rappel down!! It was one of the best experiences!! We successfully made it to the base of the fall and only to be mesmerized by the awesomeness of the beauty called Dabbe Falls.!!! She is epitome of surprise and beauty mixed with melody.
She is a tall beauty of 253m (Source Internet) and even in summer she was full like a loving mother. The other group was already enjoying alcohol while we waited for them to give some way to sit under water. They were not troubling otherwise (we were two ladies in the group), and were decent enough to let us play In water after some time. Desperate were we to get into the water, we plunged and played and had a gala time at the pool made by the water. We ate our lunch, got ready for a group photo session (and of course solo sessions too!)

After series of photo-shoots, we set to leave from the waterfall. Lohit showed me a very tiny green snake at the small poodle of water and the shy snake started climbing the rock. I also unfortunately witnessed the leftovers of the beer –boys crap! They had thrown food and palm –leaves plates and BEER TINS. I request readers to follow some rules while going to such serene places. We have no rights to ruin this.

Dabbe WaterFalls, tall beauty of 253m

We took 30minutes time to climb and reach Manjappas place. Our dear friend Modi took hot water from their home and made amazing lemon tea which was just that thing needed at the moment. We packed, bid bye to Manjappa and started rest of the hike towards Hosagadde.
It was a 5km journey and we walked a mix of small hikes, streams, one or two houses, jeep tracks and a hell a lot of mango trees. The mangoes were ripe and no one seemed to care for these. We also found a treasure of a guava tree bearing fully ripe big guavas. We devoured like never before and continued walk to find few Date palms!!! How wonderful can it get?

We reached Hosagadde by 5pm and got into the TT which was waiting for us there.
We reached Sagara by 6pm, visited a nice restaurant serving Yummy dosa, Maddur Vade and Bhajji. We enjoyed our evening snacks with amazing tea. We bid a formal farewell to Sandeep our friendly, humorous guide and started to Bangalore.

We stopped at Shimoga for dinner and our formal feedback session for Bangalore Hikers. We got good feedback and some pointers on improvement side too from the participants including me. Since all were tired and sleepy from the trek, everyone dived into sleep after dinner.

We reached Bangalore at 4am from the most memorable, adventurous trek for 2016 monsoon.

Written by: Mamta Rivonkar
Event date: 21st & 22nd May, 2016
Place: Kallu Ghati and Dabbe Waterfalls, Sharavathi Valley, Karnataka
No. of hikers: 12 (10 M, 02 F)
Event Organizer: Lohith V N
Photos of the event: Coming soon...
Photo Courtesy:
Author's blog link: A Dream Trek to KalluGhati and Dabbe Waterfalls (Sharavathi Valley)