Friday, September 11, 2009

Braganza Waterfall!

Funny name for a waterfall, isn't it? Infact its the name given by us to a very small waterfall of height 20ft falling just by the side of the railway track connecting Goa and Karnataka.

Though I dislike trekking on railway track, I was requested to join this trek by those people to whom I could not say no. Did enjoy the waterfall part of the trek. Walking on tracks was as torturous as always.

The railway line was built by a British Officer named Braganza and in recognition of his dedication and awesome engineering skill the ghat is named after him. The station on the Karnataka side is curiously named 'Castlerock'.

There is a small and unofficial story behind this 'Castlerock' name. Two of the first 3 tunnels ( may be 1st and 2nd or 2nd and 3rd or 1st and 3rd : I fail to recall it 100%) towards Goa have an entrance where a 'Castle' like structure has been constructed (same structure exists at exits from these tunnels as well).

And immediately after these 3 tunnels on the valley side of the track a large rock makes up a great sight. The thick forest cover around gives a prominent view to this rock.

After the construction of the railway line, a name had to be given to the station, which the British also planned to use as a stockyard for food items imported from England. There was no previous name for this place nor anybody knew anything about the place. The area was densely forested except the railway line. Hence due to the presence of the 'Castles' and the 'Rock', the name 'Castlerock' was given to this station. And the name just got stuck like a glue!

The revenue office of the British was said to be here at Castlerock. One can still see the remains of 2 huge stockyards by the side of the railway tracks where food and grains were stored by British. Castlerock was also a favourite Tiger hunting spot for the British. It is amazing that the place is still calm and serene. Just the freight trains and the occassional Passenger trains make a noise. Apart from that the place is absolutely quiet like dead!

The water flowing down from Braganza falls is connected via pipeline to couple of drinking water points for the benefit of Gangmen on duty. Surprisingly the waterfall has an arch built infront of it! The arch and the waterfall present a lovely sight if seen from across the railway track.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Waterfalls of Karnataka 2 - Gokak Falls

Located 4kms from Gokak town, this waterfall is active when excess water is released from the Hidkal dam built upstream across Ghataprabha river. The waterfall is in a very open place hence, though it creates noise one can not help but feel that there is no thundering noise like any other waterfall of this magnitude.

Gokak Falls is over 350ft height and about 150ft in width and the sight is one to behold. The water is muddy most of the time during rains as the river gushes down from the dam to the falls and then peripherals Gokak town to flow further towards Bagalkot District where it joins Krishna River. The river originates in the mountains bordering Karnataka and Goa at Khanapur Taluk in Belagavi District.

There is an old hanging bridge built by British across the river just above the waterfall exclusively built for the benefit of the villagers who were working in the Cotton Mill. The bridge has withstood the traverse of time and is still being used by people. It is indeed an awesome experience walking across this bridge with water gushing just below and plumetting to a great depth just ahead. I panicked midway through the bridge and hurriedly headed back.

One can walk all the way to the edge of the waterfall and view from very close up. During non monsoon times there is very little water in the waterfall and local people venture all the way to the base of the waterfall. There is a cave like structure across the length of the waterfall right at the base and people make perfect use of this structure to catch fish, or as a diving platform to the large pool of water below. From above they look like small dots moving around!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Chitradurga Fort

Been to this fort at Chitradurga about three years back. If one googles about 'Chitradurga Fort' enough information is available. Precise information is available in Wikipedia as well. So let me not write anything here. Enjoy the pictures.

Sunday, June 14, 2009


Been to this place called Yana about 3 years back. The place is famous because of couple of amazing rock formations. Lord Shiva's names have been given to these rock formations and a temple of Lord Shiva is also built here. Hence the place is hugely popular among Shiva's devotees.

The place used to be accessible only by 4-5 hours trek through dense forest about a decade back. Now due to rapid commercialisation a road has beem built right to the foot of the rock formations! When I went there, I was expecting at least an hour of trekking. But was utterly disappointed as my 2 wheeler easily found the way all the way to the Shiva Temple and the rocks.

The rock formations are mesmerising. There is a cave which runs across the whole lenght of one of these rocks known as Bhairaveshwara Rock.

Concrete steps with railings have been constructed to make it easy for the visitors to enter this cave. Just goes to show how we destroy the natural beauty of a place in the name of God.

Things have changed at Yana. People are thronging to this place in huge numbers. During Shivaratri its chaos here. The forests have moved away from Yana. People have taken their place by force.

A lovely stream on the way is a beautiful place to spend some time though. We took a heavenly and leisurely bath here on our way back. The stream was just perfect for relaxing.

The name 'Yana' is lovely and so are the rocks, but the place stinks. For the naked eye of a casual visitor all may seem good. But if one peers just below the surface then the destruction of forest, plastic strewn all over, garbage not cleared give a clear idea as to where Yana is headed. Yana can never get back its earlier beauty. But atleast lets hope that it survives!