7 months of sitting at home! I am sure I was not the only one feeling frustrated.
We did visit nearby locations every week for day trips and picnics, but it was evident that day trips cannot replace the fun of spending a few days away from home. Our patience was withering every passing day. Finally, after much thinking and a lot of planning, we decided to hit the road.
As we were traveling with children, the safest option was somewhere away from the crowd. A place where we can ditch our constant companion – THE Mask.
We chose to visit Jog falls (not that it’s not crowded) but we decided to stay in Sharavathi Wildlife Sanctuary. A place in the middle of nowhere.
Endless planning: Road trip during Pandemic
Sharavathi valley (in Sagar taluk) is around 350 km from Bangalore, which means 7-8 hours of driving. In a scenario like this, we ensured complete preparation and detailed planning to avoid any halts in between.
Planning is always hectic and mentally stressful especially when you have to carry everything. We chose a humble yet beautiful homestay with just basic facilities. Do you want to know, what all we carried for the trip? Here it is! Don’t panic with the long list, this was September 2020. Now we are much more open to the idea of eating out, but at that time it was a scary thought, especially in roadside restaurants
Some of the things we included in our checklist were:
- Breakfast (my friend backed Focaccia bread and boiled eggs, tea for both morning and evening)
2. Snacks for the rest of the Journey (which was a combination of healthy and not so healthy. We carried some fruits, Makhanas, chips, and cookies)
3. Lunch (Fried rice)
4. Toiletries & medicines (with a lot of sanitizing products like wipes, spray, and sanitizers)
5. Bedsheets & quilt (sounds a bit too much, but things were so uncertain that it was better to carry everything)
7. Disposable plates, spoons, etc
8. Umbrella and torch
9. Toys, paper, colors, etc. to keep kids engaged
10. Last but not least – Mask
On the road
Finally, the D-Day arrived. We started our journey around 6 o’clock in the morning. It was a pleasant Day. Traffic was minimal. We stopped by at around 8.30 for breakfast. We drove past beautiful villages, picturesque mountains with windmills, and fields surrounded with greenery. The feeling of stepping out under the sun was pleasant and liberating. With many pitstops, it was evening when we reached our homestay.
Our Home Stay: Love at first sight
Just two white houses in the middle of a jungle. Sounds amazing, isn’t it? Yes, that’s the place where we stayed. Our homestay was a hundred or so-year-old house surrounded by areca, spice, and coffee plantation. It offered a picturesque view of the lush green hills. We spent most of our time on the first floor sit out, admiring the beauty of nature during the day and gazing at stars during the night.
Imagine waking up to a misty view, with sunlight filtering through the clouds. Peacocks, crickets, and birds adding melody and music to the whole surrounding.
Heavenly! Was this place so impressive or it was because of our first outing after so long? Whatever it was …we had an unforgettable experience. The best part is there was no network at all. Which means the much-needed digital detox.
Rooms were very basic, with no frills (no phone or television) but neat and clean. Our hosts were warm and friendly. We relished home-cooked local preparations every day. Some of the dishes like pineapple sambar and jack fruit Dosa were something that I tried for the first time.
3 days itinerary to explore Sharavathi Wildlife Sanctuary and around
This is not a complete itinerary, (my next article will cover the complete itinerary along with places to visit around Sharavathi Valley) Our plan was to be laid back and not go by any checklist.
Day 1: Watchtower & Linganamakki Reservoir
The first day, it rained all night. It was drizzling in the morning too. After a sumptuous homemade breakfast, we walked to the watchtower, which was just a few meters away from our homestay. It was a good hike; we walked to the top of a small mountain. The view from the top of a rickety watchtower left us speechless. All we can see was the beautiful Sharavathi river with small islands in between. All you could hear was the sound of wind and peacocks.
It was a bright but windy day, we enjoyed our morning at the hill, soaking in the sun and beauty of nature.
Our next pitstop was Linganamakki Reservoir, which was just a few kilometers drive. Constructed on the Sharavathi River, the Linganamakki dam is 2.4 km long and one of the largest human-made water reservoirs in India. Unfortunately, the dam was closed for visitors, so we couldn’t go too close. Still, we could enjoy the magnificent view of the dam nestled with forested islands and hills covered in dense foliage.
In the evening, it was time to unwind and enjoy the campfire under the star-studded sky.
Day 2: Jog falls, Sharavathi Adventure camp, and the watchtower
The next day we visited the world-famous Jog falls. It was around 21 km from our Homestay. Being a weekend, the place was slightly crowded. But we could enjoy a clear view of the splendid plunge falls. This segmented waterfall is the second largest plunge waterfall in India.
The sunlight falling on the misty water made everything glow. We enjoyed the view. The path to go down to the bottom of the fall was closed.
While heading towards Sharavathi Adventure camp and Jungle resorts, we came across a secluded beach on the Sharavathi river. The tranquility of the place, the glittering water of the river, the golden sand was a visual delight. We enjoyed the tranquil surroundings while soaking in the evening sun. It was time to head back home.
Evening it was time for hot Maggi & tea. Maggi and mountains are the perfect combinations. Isn’t it?
Before it gets dark, we wanted to visit the watchtower once again. So, we sprinted towards the hilltop (it’s not allowed after it gets dark). The Sunset view from the watchtower was mesmerizing. In that golden orange glow of the setting sun, the squawk of peacock added to the tranquility of the place. We sat there for some time, listening to the sound of wind and our own breath before it was time to return back.
Day 3: Murudeshwar and Apasarakonda Beach
This was a free day for us! Being so close to the beach, we couldn’t resist spending a day exploring the nearby beaches. In the morning, we drove to Murudeshwar.
Driving past the serpentine roads of Saravathi wildlife sanctuary, surrounded by thick dense woods and waterfalls was an enriching experience. People with motion sickness may experience a tough time here.
Sharavathi wildlife sanctuary has a rich biodiversity. On our way, we spotted peacocks, snakes, butterflies, and Malabar giant squirrel.
Murudeshwar was 90 km from our Homestay. It took us 2-3 hours to reach the temple. Surrounded by the Arabian sea from 3 sides, the gigantic Shiva idol along with the 123 ft tall gopura is awe-inspiring. The mesmerizing Murudeshwar temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva. It boasts of the second tallest Lord Shiva idol in the world.
We wanted to visit Murudeshwar beach, but it was crowded and sunny. So, we decided to explore Bhatkal beach and reached Apasarakonda. It was noon, and there was no one on the beach. The sight of the sun, sand, and sea together after a long time was exciting. Walking on the soft golden sand was a relaxing experience.
Evening, we returned back to the homestay and enjoyed our last campfire before returning home the next morning.
Overall, these 3 days were not only relaxing but truly enriching. Disconnecting with the outside world and reconnecting with ourselves was something that we really needed. Western ghats never fail to amaze you.
Have you traveled to any place post lockdown? How was your experience? Do share it in the comment box.
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