Oct 23, 2009


...the story continues from my visit to Syntheri Rocks.

I was supposed to turn right at the forest check-post but instead went straight. After a while, two guys riding bicycles made me realize the mistake. I reversed the car and traced back the 6 kilometers back to the check-post and turned left. From here the forest got denser and about 2km down the road I could smell elephant dung and saw broken bamboo shoots and fresh elephant dung on the road. Another half kilometer down I saw a similar spot, broken bamboo scattered across the road and elephant dung. I had missed them in matter of minutes. Bad luck because I missed seeing the elephants and good luck for having missed possible trouble.

As I moved towards Ulavi, rain got heavier and heavier. By the time I reached Ulavi it was pouring cats and dogs. I parked the car close to the temple gate, got my bag and got out. By the time I locked the car and ran 20 meters to the temple gate my hair was dripping wet. From the gate to the temple my tee-shirt and trousers were wet too. The pujari greeted me and invited me to step into the Sanctum Sanatorium. I applied vibhuti to my forehead and waved the arti around while the pujari chanted a song. I got few flowers and a coconut for prasada. We spoke about rains and mentioned that the day rain was heavier then any other day.

On the pujari's insistence I had food at the temple dining hall ...a thin watery sweet and rice and thili-saru. The meal was satisfying. It was almost 3 and I decided to leave so that I can get out of the jungle before it gets dark. Rain was still pouring.

One last stop, As I climbed up the steps leading to the Hanuman temple, I was surprised to see a herd of donkeys grazing on the slope. From here I could see most of Ulavi- government guest houses on the left, temple and paddy fields straight ahead, the main street and stalls to the right and the temple guest house to my back and of course water every where.

A bunch of farm workers returning home.

Few kilometers away from Ulavi there's a short tower to the right which offered a good view of the hills across the valley. If it was a clear day, probably I would not have liked it so much. The mist added beauty to the whole place. It cleared for few seconds giving a glimpse of the hills beyond and closed the curtain.

I stopped at a forest guard house, the two guards told me about the elephant crossing in the morning. To me it was confirmed that I missed them narrowly. I drove on stopping on and off to shoot pictures.

On the outskirts of Dandeli, I saw people coming out of the cemetery after a funeral. Earlier in the morning I had seen two men with spades walking in.

Water level had increased in river Kali, morning I had seen rocks on the water surface. The river has a deadly reputation- rapids, whirlpools, currents, crocodiles,

After Haliyal, at many spots, rain water flowed across the road. I twas dusk by the time I reached Dharwad and on the outskirts, near Tapovan I could see few houses inundated.

Later I heard that the day had received the heaviest rains for the season.


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