Travelogue: Sharavathi Valley Backwaters

There are some amazingly awesome places in Karnataka which need the right guidance and facilities to attract tourists. One step forward in achieving this is made by Mr. Sampath who is responsible for the revival of tourists flowing into the Sharavathi Valley Backwaters. All you need to do is inform Mr. Sampath a week in advance, the number of people in your group and rest is taken care by him.

About the place: Sharavathi Valley backwaters is formed as a result of Linganamakki Dam constructed across the river Sharavathi which later flows down the hill and results in Asia’s highest waterfalls, the Jog. Due to the sudden rise in water levels because of the construction of the dam, many low lying areas around the path of Sharavathi are submerged resulting in formations of a number of islands. The slow flowing water provides the perfect platform for swimming, boating, kayaking and other water sports. A small hill of moderate trekking difficulty gives the aerial view of the wonderful backwaters.

Atop Raja Falls (Jog)

Getting there: At a distance of about 300km from Bangalore, Sharavathi valley is a minimum of 2 days trip. Take a bus to Sagara and then hire a local taxi guy who takes you GubbaGodu, 20km from Sagara. Make sure you reach GubbaGodu well within 8 30am in-order to make the rest of the day enjoyable. Since our bus reached Sagara by 6 30am, we decided to view the Jog and proceed towards GubbaGodu. Heavy rains played spoilsport at the Jog and much to our disappointment, none of the gates of the Dam were opened.

Things to carry: Here is a list of accessories you *must* carry in-order to help yourselves during your stay in Sharavathi Valley.

  1. A proper BackPack. (A bag which can be put on our back and other kinds of bags wont do).
  2. A plate with a spoon for eating food. (Must)
  3. One cup for drinking water, tea etc. (Must)
  4. One light & thin bed sheet, Foam sleeping Mat will be arranged by them.
  5. A small hand torche. (Must)
  6. A 1 ltr. water bottle.
  7. Well worn in sports/canvas shoes/sandals.
  8. Toilet kit (toothbrush, toothpaste, comb)
  9. Sun cap and Sun lotion.

Please carry only items mentioned here. Carrying extra stuff might just discomfort you.

Day 1: GubbaGodu – Mr. Sampath’s men were waiting for us with Hot steaming Idlis with Chatni and Khashaya. The experience of sipping hot Khashaya on the river banks is bliss. One thing needs a mention here. There are no basic facilities for freshening up in these islands. Be mentally and physically prepared to get yourself up and going amidst the woods. Atleast you can tolerate that to see nature’s heart. Boats were kept ready for us and we proceeded towards another island. Everything here is environment friendly and that means you should not expect motor boats. Rowing your way all through these islands is the only means. For the first half hour you would enjoy the rowing, but afterwards you need the villagers to take you through. I tell you rowing against the current is not an easy task. Half way through some of us dared to swim across the river and repented heavily for it. The distance what you see is actually way too much less than what it is, and we ended up swimming half the distance. By the time we reached the shore, there was nothing left in us. We could barely walk. Sampath’s men then setup tents for us and we took some time off to rest from travel fatigue and swimming disaster. In sometime Sampath’s men prepared lunch and for the rest of the noon we spent time admiring nature.

By 4pm we set out to another island which is said to have a wonderful sunset point. Again rowing ourselves through a rather calm Sharavathi we reached the place which is another treat to the eye. As the sun went down behind the hill we felt the much needed relief from city life. Took some amazing photographs and headed back to the camp island. To our surprise Mr. Sampath’s men had readied the campfire. Now you are in the an island lit by just the moonlight, pitch silence, campfire and surrounded 360 degrees by water admist a forest. This is pure awesomeness. Hospitality of the best of its kind when we served Hot tea and Mirchi(Chilli Bhajji) at the campfire site. Could not ask for more. Sung, danced and screamed like no one was hearing or seeing us and not to forget the heated argument on Rahul Dravid vs Adam Gilchrist. We were then served dinner and the tents were setup with mats for out sleep. Most of us just roamed around till midnight and just passed off.

Day 2: Awesome breakfast which included Ragi Dosa and Akki Rotti with hot Khashaya. We had boats ready for kayaking. Put on our life jackets and entered the water — fun unlimited. Half the day was already over when we were done with the water sports. Had awesome Pulav for lunch and left for the main Island near GubbaGodu. No sooner we reached there, we set off on another mission — trek the hill which gives a breathtaking aerial view of the backwaters with islands. With heavy backpacks we had to walk nearly 45 minutes nonstop to reach the base of the hill. After recollecting some energy we started the trek which takes not less than another 45 minutes to reach the top. I promise you every step is worth its weight in gold. The scene from the top is just not expressible. With some final photography with the lowest of batteries left after two full days of life with no electricity.

We literally ran our way down the hill to catch the last bus to Sagara and then headed back to Bangalore from there on. To say the least the effort of Mr. Sampath is just remarkable. The price he charges is very nominal. You actually feel that you really got more than what you actually paid for. Here are his contact details –

For the complete photoset click here.

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6 thoughts on “Travelogue: Sharavathi Valley Backwaters

  1. Hey Aditya,
    very nice.. i had been there in April,2010 really mind blowing experience even though i’m from village background but i never experienced the nature in that way. its just breat taking moments to me..
    in night tho like me and my friends lying under the sky and looking at the stars wow i really can’t express that moment of my life.. its just away from all this city boredom life.. Guys, really go and enjoy the nature worth visiting… :):)

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