Trip to Mallalli falls, Abbimatta falls, Gaganachukki and Bharachukki

This is a continuation of the travelogue of my trip to Coorg. On day 1 we covered Devarakolli falls, Devaragundi falls and Matsya Teertha in Thodikana. Day 2 experiences follow.

The next day, we got up early. Since we were almost out of fuel, we decided to walk the entire distance from the homestay to Mallalli falls – we were told that it would be about 4km. It turned out to be 5.5km one way!

We started early morning at about 7am from the homestay. The path is mostly tarred – it is mostly downhill when you go. The jeep can take you almost the entire distance. There is a toll – where you pay Rs.5/- per person. This place was not even open when we crossed it. Finally as you reach the final spot you are warned about the ferociouness of the falls. A board reads, “Mallalli falls is very deep and dangerous, take care. Crocodiles are there.”

It is difficult to describe the grandeur of this falls. Slowly approaching the tip of the hill, the clean, calm water gushes down the valley for god knows how many meters to make a ferocious fall.

There is dense forest on all sides of the valley. The falls unfolds as you climb down the hill – you can’t see the whole view from any single point. There are cement steps laid out for almost half the distance. The steps are huge – it reminded me of the Chitradurga fort steps (which are actually meant for elephants). Sometimes I feel it is easier to climb in the regular paths than these – it seems to tire me easily. We saw a few frogs and snails on the way.

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As we neared the falls, we could feel the droplets of water in the air. There was a cool breeze. The final point where you need to stop is undescribable. The droplets which felt like a drizzle was now very strong – to the point that we were completely wet. But it was not even a bit like getting drenched in a regular rainfall. The droplets from the falls were so fine that they deposited on our brows, arms and hair. It was a very amazing feeling to close our eyes and experience the moment. It is these moments that you cherish and make it worth the journey!

We spent quite some time here. My advice to shutterbugs is to go to this place as early as possible – 6:30 seems like a good time. Unfortunately we didn’t have such advice. I had difficulty getting good snaps – by the time we reached Mallalli falls, there was sunlight on one side of the falls, and a shadow on the other – this is always difficult to click because of differences in lighting. Anyway, I don’t repent it because sometimes trips are worth more than the photographs.

On our way back the toll collection guy had opened shop and asked us if we had stayed at the falls overnight – it seemed like it is uncommon for visitors to visit this falls so early in the morning. He distributed chocolates as it was Independence Day. We wished each other, bought a fruit juice (which was nothing like anything I had before) and then left.

We were back in our homestay by 10. That is 3 hours since we started. I should say that is pretty quick! We got ready, had a hefty breakfast, thanked the homestay owner (Ningappa) and checked out of the place.

We still had the fuel issue – so were not sure whether to go to Somwarpet fill up and then go to Abbimatta falls or to do Abbimatta falls on the way to Somwarpet. Abbimatta falls is a small falls about 5km from Somwarpet. The driver now had some confidence that we can go to Abbimatta falls, and then to Somwarpet – he said we should be able to make it. So based on his confidence, we decided to cover the falls first.

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Abbimatta falls is not clearly visible because there are trees and a small stream that is deep. We entered the fields, looked for paths to the falls and not finding one, decided to satisfy ourselves with telephoto shots of the falls. For the locals, we seemed to be capturing some breaking news. Nearly a dozen workers in the field stopped their work and started staring at us as we crossed the fields. They stayed motionless for the next 5 minutes. They finally got back to work only when we started speaking to a couple of them enquiring about the falls.

It was 12:30 by the time we checked this place off our list and started heading to Somwarpet. The entire fuel fiasco was just a mythical daemon – there was enough fuel until we reached Somwarpet!

We now had 2 options – either go back to Bangalore directly or see if we can cover Shivanasamudram – which would be an icing on the cake in our ‘Falls trip’ – which was pretty successful so far.

We decided to postpone our decision until we cross Hunsur and then, depending on the time we visit the falls or skip it. When we enquired with the driver, he seemed to be confident of reaching the falls by 4:30, so we decided to go. Unfortunately, we lost our way – on SH7, instead of entering SH79 we continued on to Arkere and had to move back – losing atleast half an hour of precious time. At this point, I made use of the Google Maps on my phone to see if it is worth it and I can tell you it is not good if you are looking for a way out. Google Maps suggests the shortest route to the destination – unfortunately, the shortest route need not be the least time consuming route. The route that Google Maps suggested was via narrow mud roads and it would have taken us far longer time.

We reached Gaganachukki an hour late than the estimated time. Both falls Gaganachukki and Bharachukki look ferocious and wide and I had a lot of expectations. But we were disappointed when we reached this place. It was nothing like the snaps we had seen. There was hardly any water and it seemed like a mystery – is this really the same falls?! It was a bad icing on the cake.

We decided to cover Bharachukki too since our hopes had died out and we just had to tick it off the list (and get the GPS information to the place). It would not be worth it to come to this place specifically and it would be better to cover it since we were already so close. We knew it would be too late by the time we reach the falls, but it was ok as it would not be something that we would miss.

It was 6:45 by the time we reached Bharachukki. I clicked a few snaps with varying exposure time – between 2 to 20 seconds and trying out various color balance levels in vain. The photos were all bluish and not worthy of publishing.

We had dinner in Malavalli – and then headed back to Bangalore via the Kanakapura route. It was a huge circuit but an amazingly well planned trip. Thanks to Manja for the excellent trip planning.

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