Belligundi Water falls - The Princess of Sharavathi River Valley
We could see the princess of sharavathi valley, after a arduous trek in all its grandeur. The sad thing was sighting King of snakes, Cobra supposedly died falling from the hillock. We had King Cobra for the first time.
Are you a waterfall lover and fond of trekking to admire and witness the beauty of the waterfalls? Are you opting to explore the Sharavathi valley in Western Ghats of Karnataka? Are you eager to trek in the rich dense forest and rejuvenate in the magnificent falls? Then here you go...! Belligundi Falls, A marvelous waterfall in the lap of Sharavathi valley...!
One of the majestic waterfalls makes an everlasting impression for the trekkers in the Sharavathi river valley. The stream plunges down from an estimated height of ~800 feet making a spectacular view appearing as if it cuts and separates the green valley in a silver line.
What Inspired me to trek - Way back during the monsoon season, I have visited the Kalghatta viewpoint, popular for viewing Belligundi fall. The valley was fully covered with thick mist and couldn’t get a glimpse of the falls. But I was thrilled with its thundering sound. As time passed, I got another opportunity to trek Goodanagundi falls and visited the same Kalghatta viewpoint. An instance look at the majesty of the falls, which is tumbling down to the valley in a single stretch, thrilled me again. This is the moment, I zeroed in on what should be my next trek...!
After we left Bengaluru in the late evening, we reached Kattinakaru, a village in Sagar taluk of Shimoga, in the early morning. We had a good power nap in the cottage at Kattinakaru before our guide Narayana knocked the door to wake us to freshen up and get ready. After breakfast, with packed lunch, we proceeded to Karani which is around 10 Kms from Kattinakaru, which is the base point for the trek.
Stretch 1 - The trek starts from the last house in Karani after crossing a small stream. Traversing few minutes in between the golden gross paddy fields, the path gradually enters to the thick forest area.
Narayana briefed us about DO’s and DON’T’s near the small temple on the way and warned about the possibility of encountering vipers and other wild animals on the way. All we applied DMP oil to protect us against insect bites and possible KFD (Kasanoor Forest Disease) spread. The first stretch mostly on traversing through the forest jeep track under the canopy of tall trees.
After trekking about an hour, we approached a stream which is the resting point for most of the trekkers. This place is named as Kanchinakere. In the olden days, this place was meant for resting village commuters and buffaloes which are used as a means of transporting goods to other parts of the villages and small towns across the valley. One can witness the rocky rectangular-shaped container for storing water for drinking or feeding thirsty animals. Filling water bottles, our trek proceeded in a quiet but birds chirping melody.
Stretch 2 - This stretch is a gradual ascend for an hour in between the giant trees in the dense forest. This trial leads to the top of the valley. Capturing nice photos all along the way, we did trek further to reach another stream. At this point the valley opens to offer a nice view.
Stretch 3 - This stretch turns to be a challenging as this is a steep descending trail. Another hour of trekking tests your physique. Imagine, one needs to ascend this stretch while coming back...! Here every side looks like the way to the trail making it difficult to find the right path unless guided. Further down to the valley, we can listen to the sound of the fall first time. Crossing the terrain further, we had hit the river bed and one can see the first view of the spectacular falls. During monsoon, this would be the last stop as it’s difficult and dangerous to venture towards the falls from this point.
Stretch 4 - The trial stretches along the side of the stream and gradually needs to cross the stream negotiating the huge rocks and bushes. During monsoon season, crossing the stream and slippery rocks is dangerous.
Here you go...! After carefully hopping and crossing the stream and climbing the rocky boulders, finally, we were at the front of the falls. As soon as we reached the base of the falls, controlling excitement is next to impossible…! We all were hurried to get into the bottom of the falls to dip through. The base of the falls is not as deep as I expected. Standing below the falls, dipping in the water, showering in the sprinkles of the falls, rejuvenating body in the lap of mother nature, all make one feel happy and fortunate. Every bit of effort made to this falls is worth it. The rainbow formation across the falls makes the falls look even more fantastic and perfect picturesque moments. I really wondered how glory is this falls in peak monsoon.
King Cobra’s demise – The dead Cobra’s body in the water near the base of the falls didn’t go unnoticed by Narayana. He was quick enough to find a long stick and along with others taken out Cobra and moved to the rocky terrain. The intention was not to poison the floating water. A large wound on the body of the Cobra looked like a rocky edge pierced the body. We were guessing what would have happened to the King Cobra – Common imagination was that Cobra was swept away by the stream while crossing and along with stream plunged down to the bottom of the valley and had hit the sharp rock edge. Narayana guessed the Cobra was close to 8 feet long.
Spending a good amount of time in the falls, capturing the beauty in our eyes and cameras, we started our return journey. Had lunch on the streamside and mentally prepared to trek another 8 KM to reach Karani, the base location.
This fall is in midst of dense Sharavathi valley. One must always accompany the local guides as the route traverse through dense forest. It's known that this valley is a home for many wildlife including Deers, Tiger, Dhole, Python, King Cobra, etc. Localities say frequently they spot tigers and their footprints.
There are 2 known routes to approach this fall:
- From Byndoor – Shiroor – Athyadi: Trek to waterfalls from this side is comparatively easier than from the Kattinakaru side. This requires 4-5 KM trek to reach the falls
- From Hosanagar – Nittur - Kattinakaaru – Karani: This route demands to trek 8 km to reach the waterfall
Written permission from the Forest department is required. The waterfall is located in the midst of the reserved forest and doesn’t even think of venturing without permission.