This quote by Jaime Lyn is something I really take to heart. It defines how I yearn for a visit to mother nature after a week or two of this hectic city life. I think this feeling is what made me join my friend's startup “adventuresome” as a crew member. Since joining I have been to many different places. All of them adding to my experience that leads me to become a trek leader of one of the groups. Amongst all these places, the one I fell in love with was a place I visited this August. It’s a village called Didupe in Mangalore district of Karnataka. My friend called me on Thursday and asked me to join the trip so I get familiar with the place and act as a guide next time. This was exactly what I needed after weeks of the same routine of college ( MBA takes a lot out you :p). I was really looking forward to it on Friday evening. Now a little info about the place. Didupe is in Mangalore district as I mentioned and its almost 300km from Bangalore. It’s a secluded green place in western ghats and known for its waterfalls. It takes 7 hours to get there by personal vehicle. I had heard of that place but never did I imagine that it would turn out to be a place that I had only imagined in my dreams. We had a tempo traveler and after picking up all the customers from various pickup locations we left Bangalore at midnight. Everyone was tired so they slept right away after my friend Prashant (trek leader no 1) introduced the crew members. It was a smooth journey as our ride sailed on the highway. By the time we reached our destination, everyone was up and it was 7 am. Weather was also good, sunny but not hot, and I was praying it not to rain because of the monsoon season. But I guess the weather forecast was right or maybe the god Indra listened to my prayers. It didn’t rain a drop throughout our trip. Prashant and Ajay( trek leader no 2) had already arranged our stay and everything for the trip through their local contacts. We had a light breakfast of idli vada and sambhar at a home of a villager where we parked our traveler. That family provided us with a guest restroom and we all got ready for our day ahead.
Our group had 8 girls and 4 boys excluding 4 crew members. All aged between 20 to 30. All the customers were employees of IT companies looking for a change. Needless to say, all were very excited and waiting to whip out their cell phones and cameras to take selfies. Prashant gave everyone instructions and explained that we had to follow our itinerary if we didn’t want to skip any place. So we started off our 5km hike with Prashant and one crew member in the lead, customers in the middle, Ajay and me in the back. The hike was through a trail and at every few meters of the trail there was a water stream passing through our feet. It was a very quite and beautiful trail and almost everyone had started taking pictures. After 5km we reached a farm where Prashant told us that we were going to try something different. He had arranged for a volleyball game in the muddy ground. Owner of the farm had some area dug out and flooded till our ankles and knees. He also told us that mud was used in cleansing of the skin. As expected Boys were first one to jump into it. We wrestled and fought in the mud and maybe it was seeing us having so much fun that even girls got in the mud. Everyone was a kindergarten child again splashing mud on each other. After an hour of rolling in brown mud and taking few snaps, we went to a nearby freshwater stream and cleaned ourselves. To my surprise, the mud came clean off. No trace of it except few faint brown stains on our clothes.
It was almost 1:30 pm now so we had our lunch at those farmers home. We were served traditional local food on banana leaves and it was delicious. We didn’t eat to our full as we still had plenty to cover. After lunch, we started for Didupe waterfall which was a 3km hike around the base of the hill. Our path was through a thick forest cover and almost 80% of sunlight couldn’t pass through the lush greenery. We were not alone, the whole valley seemed to be alive. It was full of sounds of birds and of the churning water of the stream that was running parallel to us. Almost as if guiding our path. All of it, the scenic beauty, the voices of the forest and the stream, was truly majestic. But all of it was nothing compared to the sight of the fall. It was 50 meters tall with water cascading down on the rocks. I stopped and took it all in. It's in these moments that you realize that no matter how advanced man becomes, we will never come close to the quality of the Mighty’s work. We played around in the water for an hour and tried to grasp as much as we could in our minds. Then we headed back to a place where our traveler was waiting for us. It was a home-stay. We had our dinner. Lit a bonfire and played games under the open sky and stars. Soon everyone was exhausted so we set up our tents and sleeping bags and went off to sleep.
Next day we got up at 6:30 am and after freshening up, headed straight for our next destination. Ermai falls. It was 1km away from our home-stay. The path was full of rocks with green algae on them and different colored flowers. The forest was dense and we walked carefully. Its name Ermai means “mystery of missing bulls” as the villagers said because of the powerful stream of water leading to Mysterious disappearances of villagers live-stocks. This fall had 9 cascading levels like giant stairs but because of the water pressure, we could only visit 2. It was a fall like I had never seen. You could cross the falling water and there was a hollow space like a room on the other side. After an hour it was time to say goodbye to Didupe. We left the village at 12 noon and everyone was delighted from the experience and me for one was ready to return here any weekend Prashant would offer me. The place was a perfect combination of hiking, camping, and waterfall I had ever visited and as Jaimy Lin said my soul was satisfied, at least for a couple of more weeks.